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100 Words Encountered in

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Ivy League
She wants to attend an Ivy League school.
Ivy League = a group of universities and colleges in the northeastern United States that have a reputation for scholastic achievement and social prestige
DefinitionGenerally Ivy League means:
a group of universities and colleges in the northeastern United States that regularly compete  against each other in sports and have a reputation for scholastic achievement and social prestige

(Specifically:  Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, & Yale)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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muster
as in:
muster strength or the crew
She mustered the courage to introduce herself.
mustered = gathered
DefinitionGenerally this sense of muster means:
to gather

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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mockery
I will not permit the defendant to make a mockery of this trial.
mockery = something that is ridiculous
DefinitionGenerally mockery means:
ridicule (to make fun of)

or:

something so inadequate it is ridiculous (silly)
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Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
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omen
He looked for an omen before going into battle.
omen = a sign of what would happen
DefinitionGenerally omen means:
a sign of something about to happen
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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farce
as in:
the meeting was a farce
The peace talks have become a farce.
farce = a situation that is so badly organized or going so poorly that it seems ridiculous
DefinitionGenerally this sense of farce means:
a situation that is so badly organized or going so poorly that it seems ridiculous

or:

a situation that is made to look like one thing, but is really another

or more specifically:

a situation that is supposed to be fair, but is completely unfair
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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oblivious
She is oblivious to the dangers.
oblivious = unaware of
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Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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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
SATtop 500
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contract
as in:
legal contract
She signed the contract.
contract = a written agreement that is enforceable by law
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contract means:
an agreement - typically written and enforceable by law
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Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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debut
The band debuts a new song or two every month.
debuts = introduces (or presents for the first time)
DefinitionGenerally debut means:
a first presentation - such as:
  • the first performance of a new play
  • the introduction of a new product
  • the introduction of a young woman to society at a social event held in her honor (a debutante ball)
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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ruse
She pretended to need help with her homework as a ruse to see him again.
ruse = a deceptive maneuver — such as a trick or lie
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dominate
The defending World Champions dominated their unranked opponent.
dominated = controlled
DefinitionGenerally dominate means:
to control; or to be most influential, powerful, or conspicuous
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Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
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rout
We routed the other team.
routed = defeated in an overwhelming manner
DefinitionGenerally this sense of rout means:
an overwhelming defeat; or a disorderly retreat
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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acquire
Children acquire language at an amazing rate.
acquire = obtain (come into the possession of something)
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Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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emerge
China recently emerged as a world power.
emerged = came out (became)
DefinitionGenerally emerge means:
to come out, or to appear
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Library42 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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perimeter
Don't go beyond the perimeter of the campgrounds.
perimeter = the outer edge
DefinitionGenerally perimeter means:
the outer edge — in various senses such as:
  • stay inside the defensive perimeter — the outer edges of the area that is defended
  • on the city's perimeter — one of the outer edges of the city
  • What is the perimeter? — the sum of the length of the sides of a geometric shape — such as a square
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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bronze
She received the bronze medal at the Olympics.
bronze = a metal alloy of copper and (usually) tin (that is given at the Olympics for a third place finish)
DefinitionGenerally bronze means:
a reddish brown metal that is made of copper and (usually) tin

or:

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

or:

something made of the alloy — such as a sculpture
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Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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poise
She has great charm and great poise.
poise = composure; or calm confidence — even when under pressure
DefinitionGenerally poise means:
in control or prepared

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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designate
2 meanings
as in:
designated driver
I'll be the designated driver.
designated = assigned (for a particular purpose)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of designate means:
assign someone or something for a particular purpose
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
designated by a star on the map
State capital cities are designated on the map by stars.
designated = signified (indicated in a particular way)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of designate means:
indicate or signify (show something in a particular way)
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blitz
as in:
blitz the quarterback
He's especially good at responding to a blitz.
blitz = American football:  a defensive maneuver to swiftly tackle the quarterback by pursuing him with one or more defenders who normally remain behind the line of scrimmage
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compliant
as in:
compliant with the law
The company was fined for not being regulation 4.3 compliant.
compliant = conforming to rules
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 2000
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guile
Her cleverness and inventiveness was exceeded only by her guile.
guile = cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceit
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
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trivia
The game show places a premium on remembering trivia.
trivia = facts or details that are generally considered unimportant
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contend
as in:
She contended for the gold medal
Militant groups are contending for control of the country
contending = competing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to compete
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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sprain
She sprained her ankle.
sprained = injured the ligaments of a joint caused by stretching them too far — most commonly injuring the ankle

(ligaments are the tough, fibrous bands that connect bones across joints)
DefinitionGenerally sprain means:
injury to the ligaments of a joint caused by stretching them too far — most commonly injuring the ankle

(ligaments are the tough, fibrous bands that connect bones across joints)
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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volley
3 meanings

in volleyball
They were especially excited to win such a long volley.
volley = many uninterrupted returns over the net
DefinitionGenerally this sense of volley means:
to hit the ball before it touches the ground

or:

in the form, long volley:  many uninterrupted returns over the net
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in tennis
She won the set on a back-hand volley.
volley = a tennis stroke in which a player hits the ball before it bounces
DefinitionGenerally this sense of volley means:
a tennis stroke in which a player hits the ball before it bounces

or:

in the form, long volley:  many uninterrupted returns over the net
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in soccer
From 18-yards out, she kicked a volley into the upper corner of the net.
volley = soccer:  kicking the ball while it is in flight
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inherent
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the inherent dignity of each person.
inherent = existing as an inseparable part or characteristic
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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Triple Crown

in horse racing
The Kentucky Derby is my favorite race of the Triple Crown.
Triple Crown = a title won by a horse that can win the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness
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no-hitter
He pitched a no-hitter; though it wasn't a perfect game.
no-hitter = baseball:  a game in which a pitcher allows the opposing team no hits
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Lou Gehrig
Lou Gehrig set the record for most career grand slams before his career was cut short by ALS.
Lou Gehrig = admired U.S. baseball player who hit 23 grand slam home runs before he had to retire because he was stricken with ALS (1903-1941)
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rue
You'll rue the day you betrayed me.
rue the day = to feel sadness and regret
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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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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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acclaim
the book was released to great acclaim
acclaim = praise enthusiastically and publicly
DefinitionGenerally acclaim means:
to praise enthusiastically and publicly
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
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accolade
The Heisman Trophy is the highest accolade in college football.
accolade = an award or public praise
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acerbic
I appreciate her fine mind, but find her humor a bit acerbic.
acerbic = sour; or harsh
DefinitionGenerally acerbic means:
clever or funny, but also harsh or cruel
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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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acrimony
The meeting ended in acrimony.
acrimony = bitterness or anger
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acumen
She built a very successful company with uncommon business acumen.
acumen = uncommon ability to make good decisions
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adage
Remember the old adage: "It's not how much you earn; it's how much you save."
adage = saying
DefinitionGenerally adage means:
An old saying considered wise by many; e.g., "Actions speak louder than words."
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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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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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affable
She's an affable, never-met-someone-she-didn't-like kind of woman.
affable = good natured and sociable
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afflict
She is afflicted by diabetes.
afflicted = made to suffer
DefinitionGenerally afflict means:
cause suffering — such as illness, pain, or unhappiness
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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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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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aficionado
He is an aficionado of fine cigars.
aficionado = someone who is enthusiastic about a particular subject
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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aggravate
2 meanings
as in:
he aggravates me
She is the most aggravating person I know.
aggravating = annoying or irritating
DefinitionGenerally this sense of aggravate means:
annoy or irritate
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as in:
aggravated his illness
The offense is aggravated by...
aggravated = make worse
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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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agile
She is amazingly agile for someone so tall.
agile = able to move well quickly and easily
DefinitionGenerally agile means:
able to move well quickly and easily

or:

able to think well quickly and easily
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allege
She alleged that she was the victim of a crime.
alleged = asserted (said) without proof
DefinitionGenerally allege means:
claim (asserted without proof)
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 2000
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alleviate
Regular massage will help to alleviate the pain.
alleviate = to lessen something that is bad — especially to lessen pain
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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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SATtop 1000
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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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amiable
She seemed an ideal candidate—attractive, amiable, intelligent and energetic.
amiable = friendly and kindly
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amicus brief
Twenty states filed an amicus brief.
amicus brief = a document filed in a legal proceeding by an interested party who is not directly part of the case
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amicus curiae
Both the ACLU and the Justice Department were amici curiae in a case involving an employer's alleged abuse of his employees civil liberties.
amici curiae = an adviser to the court on some matter of law who is not a party to the case; usually someone who wants to influence the outcome of a lawsuit involving matters of wide public interest
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anemic
The company has been managing anemic growth.
anemic = lacking vitality
DefinitionGenerally anemic means:
suffering from too few red blood cells

or metaphorically:  lacking vitality
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appalling
The live in appalling conditions.
appalling = shockingly terrible or horrible
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appease
The President is thought to have made the statement to appease the party faithful.
appease = satisfy or pacify (bring peace and calm among)
DefinitionGenerally appease means:
satisfy or pacify (make less angry or upset) — typically by giving something wanted
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apropos
2 meanings
as in:
unusual attire, but apropos
The story was apropos.
apropos = of an appropriate or pertinent nature
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as in:
Apropos, did you hear from John?
Apropos, can you lend me some money for the weekend?
apropos = use to introduce a related item as in:  "regarding"; or "speaking of that"; or "incidentally"
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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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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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ardent
I am her most ardent fan.
ardent = enthusiastic (feeling intense emotion)
DefinitionGenerally ardent means:
showing or feeling intense emotion — typically strong positive feelings such as enthusiasm or love
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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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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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ascend
We saw the rocket ascend.
ascend = move or slope upward
DefinitionGenerally ascend means:
to move or slope upward
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askew
She came out of the water with her glasses askew but still on her head.
askew = not straight (not in proper alignment)
DefinitionGenerally askew means:
not straight (not in proper alignment)

or:

(when used metaphorically) not right, or not as planned
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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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assault
I was assaulted by a man in a mask.
assaulted = attacked
DefinitionGenerally assault means:
to attack someone or something physically or verbally; or to threaten violence
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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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astute
Astute investors spread their risk instead of investing all their money in just one thing.
astute = smart and perceptive
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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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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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audacious
It was an audacious act of piracy.
audacious = bold and daring
DefinitionGenerally audacious means:
bold and daring (inclined to take risks) — especially in violating social convention in a manner that could offend others
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audible
She spoke in a barely audible whisper.
audible = capable of being heard
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aura
The place has an aura of romance.
aura = a distinctive but intangible quality surrounding a person or thing
DefinitionGenerally aura means:
a distinctive but intangible quality surrounding a person or thing

or:

paranormal:  a radiant light surrounding a person that is said to be seen by those sensitive to another's life force; or drawn around the head of a saint
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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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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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avenge
In the story, she wants to avenge the murder of her brother.
avenge = take revenge for
DefinitionGenerally avenge means:
take revenge for a perceived wrong
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avert
We are trying to avert a strike.
avert = prevent
DefinitionGenerally avert means:
prevent from happening

or:

turn away or aside — often to turn your eyes away from something
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avid
She's an avid sports fan.
avid = enthusiastic
DefinitionGenerally avid means:
enthusiastic or strongly interested
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badger
2 meanings
as in:
badgered her until she agreed
Stop badgering me. I gave you my answer and I'm not going to change it.
badgering = nagging
DefinitionGenerally this sense of badger means:
to nag or bother someone repeatedly — typically to get them to do something
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as in:
saw a badger
The word badger is thought to have come from a French word for "digger".
badger = burrowing mammal with strong claws widely distributed in the northern hemisphere
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baleful
She looked at him with two unblinking, baleful eyes.
baleful = threatening or harmful
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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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bastion
These rules are a bastion against corruption.
bastion = defense or defensive fortification
DefinitionGenerally bastion means:
defense or defensive fortification — such as people who defend a principle or fortifications that defend people from attack (especially the projecting part of a castle wall or rampart)
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battalion
The 4th Battalion was ordered to fight a rearguard action.
battalion = a large group of soldiers — especially an army unit consisting of a headquarters and at least three companies
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bedlam
Amid all sorts of bedlam the teacher continued taking attendance.
bedlam = a state of extreme confusion and disorder
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belabor
Please don't belabor the obvious.
belabor = keep talking about something more than is necessary
DefinitionGenerally belabor means:
to keep talking about something more than is necessary
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belie
2 meanings
as in:
his smile belied his treachery
His gruff demeanor belies a soft heart.
belies = is in contradiction with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of belie means:
to give a false impression; or be in contradiction with
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as in:
the loss belied our confidence
Her actions belie her words.
belie = to show something to be false or unfounded
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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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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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