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vocabulary
1000+ books

100 Words Encountered in

Science

Other Interests
geology
He majored in geology and went on to become expert at finding oil.
geology = a science that deals with the earth's physical structure and processes that affect it
DefinitionGenerally geology means:
a science that deals with the history of the earth as recorded in rocks

or more rarely:

the rocks, minerals, and rock formations of an area
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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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
Word Statistics
Library7 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
SATtop 10
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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
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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enzyme
Alcohol takes longer to pass through a food-filled stomach, allowing the protective enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase) to break down the alcohol.
enzyme = any complex protein that is produced by cells and acts as a chemical catalyst (causing a chemical reaction)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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component
It has only three major components.
components = parts
DefinitionGenerally component means:
a part of something
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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anatomy
The anatomy of the frog is similar to that of a person.
anatomy = structure of the body
DefinitionGenerally anatomy means:
the medical study of the structure of the body — as in "to study anatomy"

or more rarely:  the structure of a body — as in "a part of the anatomy"

or still more rarely:  any detailed analysis — as in "anatomy of the disaster"
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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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
Word Statistics
Library1 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)
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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specimen
The museum holds over a million insect specimens.
specimens = examples regarded as typical of its class
DefinitionGenerally specimen means:
a sample regarded as typical of its class; or a bit of tissue, blood, or urine that is taken for diagnostic purposes
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Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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species
It is an endangered species.
species = a similar group of animals or plants identified as separate from others because they can interbreed with each other
DefinitionGenerally species means:
a similar group of animals or plants identified as separate from others because they can interbreed (create baby animals)  with each other
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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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
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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hypothesis
2 meanings
as in:
a study to test her hypothesis
The study will test the hypothesis that a good marriage is more important than a higher income when measuring happiness.
hypothesis = a seemingly reasonable, but unproven, idea based upon known facts
DefinitionGenerally this sense of hypothesis means:
a seemingly reasonable, but unproven, idea based upon known facts — often an idea to be tested
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
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as in:
Let's assume hypothetically that
For the purpose of discussion, let's accept that the hypothesis that she is guilty is true. What would we have expected her to do after the incident?
hypothesis = something that may not be true, but that is temporarily treated as true to advance a discussion or to further investigation
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
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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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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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nucleus
They have the nucleus of a good team.
nucleus = the center (in this case, key central members)
DefinitionGenerally nucleus means:
the center (or most important part) of something — such as:
  • physics:  the center of an atom where protons & neutrons reside
  • biology:  the center of a cell where DNA resides
  • sociology:  the closest family (mother/father/children in contrast to the extended family)
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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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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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
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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
SATtop 1000
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induction
as in:
electromagnetic induction
The wireless charger works through induction.
induction = the transfer of electricity or heat from one object to another without the objects touching
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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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
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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clone
2 meanings
as in:
Can we clone it?
In 1997, Dolly the sheep was the first mammal successfully cloned from an adult cell.
cloned = technologically made as a genetically identical copy
DefinitionGenerally this sense of clone means:
to make a copy of something — especially a genetically identical copy created with technology
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
It is a clone.
To understand differences that could be expected in human clones, it is useful to look at identical twins.
clones = genetically identical copies (like identical twins created with technology)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of clone means:
a copy of something — especially an organism with identical genetics created through technology
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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distill
distill the essential ideas to fit on a single page
distill = extract essential elements
DefinitionGenerally distill means:
to purify, concentrate, or separate a liquid (such as whisky) by boiling it and condensing its vapors

or:

to extract essential ideas
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 2000
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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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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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infinite
There are infinite possibilities.
infinite = unlimited; without boundaries; or too numerous to count
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Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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discrete
We collected data from three discrete studies.
discrete = separate or distinct
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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physics
MIT is known for teaching physics.
physics = the science of matter and energy and their interactions
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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virus
The common cold is caused by a virus.
virus = a submicroscopic organism that causes disease (by using the cellular reproductive machinery of the organism it invades)
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Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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empirical
Is her theory supported by empirical data?
empirical = based on experience or observation rather than theory
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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galaxy
The Star Wars story is said to have taken place in a galaxy far, far away.
galaxy = a collection of star systems
DefinitionGenerally galaxy means:
a collection of star systems held together by gravity — for example, our sun is a star whose system includes Earth and the other planets. That star system is a tiny part of the Milky Way galaxy
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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solar system
The comets of the Oort Cloud are in our solar system and reach a distance from the sun that is over a thousand times further than Pluto.
solar system = the area that includes the sun (or any star) and everything that revolves around it
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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capital
She worked hard to raise capital to start their new company.
capital = cash (or more generally, material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of capital means:
material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets
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Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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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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glacier
Scientist believe Europe will continue to face greater glacier retreat due to global warming.
glacier = a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river

(editor's note:  To see pictures, click on the Google Images link that is shown after clicking on the word link.)
DefinitionGenerally glacier means:
a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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phosphorescence
She loves to swim in the ocean on nights when phosphorescence shines in her wake.
phosphorescence = a dim glowing light
DefinitionGenerally phosphorescence means:
a dim glowing light

or more technically:  a fluorescence (dim light)  created by a chemical reaction within a living organism; or a dim light that continues to shine from something after the bombarding radiation (stronger light that fell upon it) has ceased
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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kinetic energy
A large ball may not fall faster than a small one, but it has more kinetic energy.
kinetic energy = the energy a moving object has because of its motion
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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interpolate
2 meanings
as in:
interpolate the data
If a straight line crosses through 2, 4, and 8, we can interpolate that it passes through 6.
interpolate = estimates a value that lies between two known values

or in digital imaging:  adding pixels (dots or resolution) to an image based upon examination of surrounding pixels
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
interpolate the manuscript
The bracketed line on that page of the Odyssey is thought by some to be an interpolation added long ago.
interpolation = to insert words into texts — often falsifying it
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meteor
Most meteors come from rocks that are about the size of a pebble.
meteors = a streak of light in the night sky that results from a space rock burning in the earth's atmosphere
DefinitionGenerally meteor means:
a streak of light in the night sky that results from a space rock burning in the earth's atmosphere

or:

a meteoroid:  a small space rock that hit the earth's atmosphere

or:

a meteorite:  a stony or metallic object that is the remains of a meteoroid that reached the earth's surface
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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gene
The gene determines hair color.
gene = a single segment of DNA which when combined determine inherited traits
DefinitionGenerally gene means:
a single segment of DNA which when combined determine inherited traits such as hair color or height
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Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
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wax
The moon is waxing. It will be full tomorrow.
waxing = gradually increasing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of wax means:
a gradual increase (in size or strength or power or number) — especially the part of the moon that is visible
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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wane
Our passion has waned over the years, but our love has grown.
waned = gradually decreased
DefinitionGenerally wane means:
a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number) — especially the part of the moon that is visible
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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Ph.D
She is a research scientist who earned her Ph.D in physics.
Ph.D = a research doctorate usually based on at least 3 years graduate study and a dissertation; the highest degree awarded in universities in many fields of study
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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incandescence
an incandescent bulb
incandescent = shining
DefinitionGenerally incandescence means:
shining (usually emitting light as a result of being heated)
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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abridge
The new law might abridge our freedom of speech.
abridge = reduce
DefinitionGenerally abridge means:
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements — especially to a book
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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abrupt
2 meanings
as in:
an abrupt change
The bus came to an abrupt stop.
abrupt = sudden and unexpected
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Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
she is abrupt
She has an abrupt personality.
abrupt = rude or unfriendly because of using too few words or moving too quickly
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Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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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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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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acrid
We were chased from the room by the acrid smoke.
acrid = harsh or caustic
DefinitionGenerally acrid means:
harsh or caustic — physically as when smoke from burning rubber might irritate the throat; or metaphorically as when someone says something that is especially sarcastic
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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acute
3 meanings
as in:
acute pain
She felt an acute pain in her neck.
acute = sharp (a severely negative event) — often with a rapid onset
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as in:
acute vision
Beavers have an acute sense of smell.
acute = sharp (highly perceptive or intelligent)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acute means:
sharp (highly perceptive in some area or mentally sharp)

(often with a connotation that resulting awareness is painful)
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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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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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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aerate
the worms help to aerate the soil
aerate = expose to air
DefinitionGenerally aerate means:
expose to air

or:

to add a gas to a liquid such as adding carbonation to a soft drink
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affinity
She thinks deeply and has an affinity for others with the same kind of mind.
affinity = a natural attraction or feeling of kinship
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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aggregate
2 meanings
as in:
the aggregate effect
Aggregate expenses include expenses of all the divisions of our company for the entire year.
aggregate = combined (quantities of different, but related things)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of aggregate means:
the combination of different, but related, things; or relating to such a thing
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as in:
he aggregated them
We need to aggregate the data from all sources.
aggregate = the act of combining different, but related quantities or things
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AIDS
Many people who spread AIDS are unaware that they have HIV.
AIDS = a serious (often fatal) disease of the immune system transmitted through bodily fluids especially by sexual contact or contaminated needles
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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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amorphous
Her art is as amorphous as the culture it reflects.
amorphous = without clearly defined boundaries
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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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antiseptic
I washed the wound and then used alcohol as an antiseptic.
antiseptic = a substance used to clean wounds because it prevents infection by killing harmful micro-organisms such as bacteria
DefinitionGenerally antiseptic means:
a substance used to clean wounds because it prevents infection by killing harmful micro-organisms such as bacteria

or more rarely when used as an adjective:  describing something as thoroughly clean and free of micro-organisms
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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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apparent
The effects of the drought are apparent to anyone who sees the dry fields.
apparent = clear or obvious
DefinitionGenerally apparent means:
clear or obvious; or appearing as such but not necessarily so
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Library50 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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arable
The government nationalized all arable land.
arable = of farmland:  capable of being farmed productively
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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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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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astringent
3 meanings
as in:
treat with an astringent
I use an astringent where my skin is oily.
astringent = a drug that causes contraction of body tissues — especially topically
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as in:
astringent taste
The apple wasn't ripe, so it had a drying, puckering, or astringent taste.
astringent = similar to a sour or bitter taste (creating a dry, puckering feel in the mouth)
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as in:
astringent remarks
The book contains some of her most astringent remarks.
astringent = harsh or hurtful
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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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augment
Our school district hired a new counselor to augment our college counseling service.
augment = enlarge or increase
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autopsy
An autopsy is required because foul play is suspected.
autopsy = an examination and dissection of a dead body — typically to determine the cause of death
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bacteria
The infection is caused by a bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.
bacteria = microorganisms (living creatures so small it takes a microscope to see them) that can both cause disease and be beneficial.
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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baffle
2 meanings
as in:
baffled him
She looked baffled by the question.
baffled = completely confused
DefinitionGenerally this sense of baffle means:
to completely confuse someone
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as in:
acoustic baffle
The car's tail pipe has an acoustic baffle to reduce noise.
baffle = something constructed to control the flow of sound or fluid
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bard
He calls himself a bard from Brooklyn.
bard = someone who composes and recites or sings poems about important events and people
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besiege
The Turks besieged Vienna
besieged = surrounded with armed forces, cut-off from supplies, and attacked
DefinitionGenerally besiege means:
to surround with armed forces, and cut-off supplies or attack

or:

to make an overwhelming number of requests, complaints, or comments — typically in an annoying manner and sometimes while surrounding
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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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blockade
They could not get weapons past the naval blockade.
blockade = action to keep people and goods from reaching a location
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bovine
She showed a bovine apathy.
bovine = stupid and slow-moving like an ox or cow
DefinitionGenerally bovine means:
belonging or related to the genus Bos (cattle, oxen, buffalo, etc.); or stupid and slow-moving like an ox
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breadth
The introductory courses are meant to add to breadth rather than depth of understanding.
breadth = the range of variety
DefinitionGenerally breadth means:
the distance between two sides; or the range of variety — especially a broad range of knowledge
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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