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The Second Hundred Study Words for

Standardized Tests like the SAT® & ACT®

Ordered by Importance of Study
Based on the SAT® as redesigned for tests taken after January of 2016*
(click/touch triangles for details)
Return to the Top 100 Words
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)
Word Statistics
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
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sinister
They created a sinister plan to recruit terrorists.
sinister = evil
DefinitionGenerally sinister means:
evil or harmful; or making an evil or frightening impression
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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ornate
The hotel is decorated with ornate furniture, lots of carved designs, and gold leaf gilding.
ornate = having lots of decorative detail
DefinitionGenerally ornate means:
of a thing:  having lots of decorative detail

of speech:  more complicated than necessary because of unusual words and phrases (fans might call it flowery or finely finished, but most would call it too complicated or showy)
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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apprehensive
She is apprehensive about her new job.
apprehensive = worried
DefinitionGenerally apprehensive means:
worried over possible misfortune
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distinct
Martinez and his colleagues identified 21 distinct emotions made by the human face.
distinct = different
DefinitionGenerally distinct means:
clear, easily noticed, and/or identifiable as different or separate
Word Statistics
Library26 uses in 10 avg bks
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elaborate
as in:
elaborate on your plan
Please elaborate on the reasons you think this is the best plan.
elaborate = explain in detail
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
add details or explain in detail
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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dispute
2 meanings
as in:
their border dispute
The area has long been a source of dispute between India and Pakistan.
dispute = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
disagreement, argument, or conflict
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
She disputes his claim.
She disputes her landlord's claim that the music was that loud.
disputes = challenges
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
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Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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implication
as in:
the implication is that...
I object to her implication that my work was sub-standard.
implication = something implied (said indirectly)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implication means:
Something that follows from something else.
The thing that follows could be:
  • something suggested indirectly (not said directly)
  • something that can be concluded (often a logical consequence)
  • something that results from something else
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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implicit
3 meanings
as in:
not explicitly but implicitly
"Did she explicitly promise?"
"Well, I guess not explicitly, but nobody who was there could have missed the implicit promise."
implicit = understood (without having been directly said)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implicit means:
not stated directly, but understood (or capable of being understood) from something else
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
implicit problem with the design
This risk is implicit in your plan. We can work to minimize the danger, but it cannot be eliminated.
implicit = exists as an inseparable part or characteristic
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as in:
I trust her implicitly.
Her team has implicit confidence in her decisions.
implicit = without question or doubt
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reflection
4 meanings
as in:
lit by the reflection
I watched the reflection of the sunlight in the underside of the pool umbrella.
reflection = light seen after it bounces off a surface to another
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
light seen after it bounces off a surface to another; or the process of bouncing light, sound, or other energy off of a surface
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
is a reflection of American values
The diversity of our police force is a reflection of our community.
reflection = representation
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
something that indirectly shows something else — such as an indication, demonstration, expression, or representation of something
The exact meaning of this sense of reflection depends upon its context. For example:
  • "The students' behavior is a reflection on the school." — indication of quality
  • "She says the immorality in the movie is a reflection of American values." — expression or representation
  • "It was a reflection of the selfishness she had seen growing for years." — demonstration
  • "The surrounding panic found no reflection in her." — expression or demonstration
  • "I saw no reflection of jealousy in her action." — indication or sign
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
After reflection, I think...
Upon reflection, I should have been more patient with her.
reflection = careful thought
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
careful thought — sometimes concerning memories
Word Statistics
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as in:
share my reflections about it
In this passage, the author shares some of her reflections on life as a waitress.
reflections = thoughts and memories
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflections means:
thoughts or memories
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comprehend
I don't think she comprehends how dangerous this has become.
comprehends = fully understands
DefinitionGenerally comprehend means:
to understand something — especially to understand it completely
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Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
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disdain
She tries to be polite, but cannot hide her disdain for authority.
disdain = lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
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Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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utter
as in:
utter stupidity
She suffered utter devastation when her child died in the accident.
utter = complete
DefinitionGenerally this sense of utter means:
complete or total (used as an intensifier—typically when stressing how bad something is)
Word Statistics
Library23 uses in 10 avg bks
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moreover
The company has too much debt. Moreover, it is responsible for a long term lease on expensive office space.
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
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inconsistent
Her play is inconsistent. Sometimes she's unbeatable and other times she beats herself.
inconsistent = not the same at different times
DefinitionGenerally inconsistent means:
not the same in different parts or at different times

or:

not in agreement [with something else]
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critique
Please critique the performance.
critique = analyze and judge
DefinitionGenerally critique means:
an examination and judgment of something
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abstract
3 meanings
as in:
abstract thought
We all agree that we want what's "best for the country", but that is an abstract concept and we cannot agree on which specific laws should be passed.
abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
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as in:
read the abstract
The abstract is free, but there is a fee to see the entire article.
abstract = summary
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
a summary; or to summarize — especially academic writing
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as in:
abstract art
She is an abstract painter.
abstract = not imitating objects of nature
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
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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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fluctuate
"I'm not overweight. I fluctuate between chubby and curvy."
fluctuate = alternately increase and decrease in quantity
DefinitionGenerally fluctuate means:
to alternately increase and decrease in quantity
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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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acquire
Children acquire language at an amazing rate.
acquire = obtain (get)
DefinitionGenerally acquire means:
obtain (come into the possession of something)
Word Statistics
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objective
as in:
an objective viewpoint
By any objective analysis, you would have to agree that...
objective = fact-based (not influenced by personal feelings or preferences)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
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domestic
as in:
domestic happiness
We share the domestic chores.
domestic = household (relating to home or family)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of domestic means:
relating to a home or family
Word Statistics
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invoke
She invoked the Fifth Amendment as reason not to answer.
invoked = cited or called upon for validation
DefinitionGenerally invoke means:
to call upon
The exact meaning of invoke can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "invoking God's help"; or "invoking the spirit of the dead" — to call upon a great or magical power
  • "I invoke the First Amendment"; or "I invoke the words of Thomas Jefferson" — to cite or call upon for validation
  • "She invoked his sympathy and family memories." — to call upon someone's feelings or memories
  • "She invoked his assistance." — to call earnestly for
  • "The program invokes the subroutine" — to call up a computer program
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coincide
The two events coincided
coincided = happened at the same time
DefinitionGenerally coincide means:
to be similar — especially to happen at the same time or place
Word Statistics
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scorn
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
scorned = rejected
DefinitionGenerally scorn means:
disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
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malicious
I am not interested in hearing malicious gossip.
malicious = evil; or made with the intent to make others suffer
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
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perish
...government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln  --  Gettysburg Address
perish = be destroyed or cease to exist
DefinitionGenerally perish means:
to die — especially in an unnatural way

or:

to be destroyed or cease to exist
Word Statistics
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dubious
She was dubious, but agreed to come with us anyway.
dubious = doubtful; or suspicious; or full of uncertainty
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
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acquisition
From the fifth grade onward, most vocabulary acquisition occurs incidentally while reading.
acquisition = obtaining (in this case, understanding of words)
DefinitionGenerally acquisition means:
obtaining possession of something; or the thing possessed
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complement
The coach is not looking for the best players. She's looking for players who will best complement each other.
complement = make better
DefinitionGenerally complement means:
add to something to make it better or complete

or more rarely:

a quantity of something that is considered complete
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satiate
The candy satiated my craving for sugar.
satiated = satisfied
DefinitionGenerally satiate means:
to satisfy a hunger; or fill to satisfaction (typically said of hunger for food, but can be said of anything desired—such as of knowledge or sensual pleasure)
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foreshadow
The author is known for creative use of foreshadowing.
foreshadowing = using events as signs of future events
DefinitionGenerally foreshadow means:
to be a sign of future events
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perishable
Spoilage is an important cost for businesses that deal in perishable goods.
perishable = things that decay (spoil)
DefinitionGenerally perishable means:
things that decay (spoil) — (often said of foods that need refrigeration such as meats or milk)
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precise
as in:
about noon; 12:03 to be precise
Is it precise enough if I measure to the closest inch?
precise = accurate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of precise means:
exact (accurate)
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Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
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function
3 meanings
as in:
Its main function is to...
The function of the lens of the eye is to focus light on the retina.
function = job or purpose
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
purpose, job, or natural activity
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as in:
can't function well without sleep
I don't function well on less than six hours of sleep a night; and I do best on nine.
function = work or operate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
work or operate — sometimes to work or operate normally or in a particular way
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as in:
Amazon's new search function
I like Amazon's new search function.
function = computer code that performs a specific task
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agitate
We are agitating public unrest, so there will be a cry for change.
agitating = stirring up emotions to increase unrest
DefinitionGenerally agitate means:
to stir up or shake — emotionally (as when people are angered or upset) or physically (as when a washing machine cleans clothes)
Word Statistics
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compensate
2 meanings
as in:
she compensates with extra effort
She uses several techniques to help compensate for her dyslexia.
compensate = make up
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
make up for; or adjust for
Word Statistics
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as in:
she is generously compensated
She is generously compensated for her work.
compensated = paid
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
to make payment to someone
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entity
The law applies to any legal entity that can enter into a contract.
entity = person or organization
DefinitionGenerally entity means:
a person, organization, lifeform, or anything with a separate existence
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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
Word Statistics
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appropriate
as in:
appropriated the
The money has been appropriated, but it hasn't been spent yet.
appropriated = given or assigned for a particular use
DefinitionGenerally this sense of appropriate means:
give, assign, or seize a resource — usually for a particular use
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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subtle
3 meanings
as in:
a subtle poison
She is working subtly against us.
subtly = working in a way that is hard to see
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
working in an indirect or hidden way
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as in:
a subtle shade of blue
Her warning was subtle, but unmistakable.
subtle = understated (so as not to draw attention to itself)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
understated so as not to draw attention to itself
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as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
She used subtle reasoning to expose the absurdity of his argument.
subtle = making use of slight distinctions
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
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inclined
2 meanings
as in:
I'm inclined to
I'm inclined to believe him.
inclined = have a tendency; or an attitude or mood that favors something
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency; in the mood; or an attitude that favors something
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as in:
on an incline or incline his head
I climbed down the incline.
incline = something that is at an angle (in this case, probably sloping land)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of incline means:
to be at an angle or to bend
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tentative
as in:
said it tentatively
The puppy approached us tentatively until it knew we wouldn't harm it.
tentatively = done in a careful way indicating a lack of confidence
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tentative means:
done in a careful or unsure way (indicating a lack of confidence in exactly what will happen)
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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optimistic
I'm optimistic that I'll get into a good college.
optimistic = expecting the best
DefinitionGenerally optimistic means:
expecting the best; or focusing on the good part of things
Word Statistics
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enable
The test enables earlier identification of autism.
enables = makes possible
DefinitionGenerally enable means:
to make possible
in various senses, including:
  • to give someone the ability, knowledge, or authority to do something — as in "The study will enable an informed discussion."
  • to activate a computer system for use — as in "You can enable the feature in the Settings Page."
  • to permit someone to repeat bad behavior, so they reinforce the bad pattern — as in "I don't want to enable her drug addiction."
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resolution
4 meanings
as in:
a New Year's resolution
Her New Year's resolution is to read deeply at least one hour a day.
resolution = a firm decision to do something
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as in:
a United Nations resolution
The United Nations passed a resolution condemning the country's use of chemical weapons.
resolution = a formal statement of opinion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolution means:
a formal statement of decision or opinion voted on by a group
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as in:
Her resolution weakened.
She ran each mile of the marathon with increasing resolution.
resolution = determination
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolution means:
determination (firmness of purpose)
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as in:
a dispute resolution fund
We anticipate a peaceful resolution to the dispute.
resolution = solution or outcome
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolution means:
a solution or outcome
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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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devise
She plans to devise something to launch water balloons.
devise = come up with (invent or create)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devise means:
to come up with a way of doing something — typically a creative idea or plan
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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contend
3 meanings
as in:
She contended that...
Her lawyer contends that the contract isn't valid.
contends = claims or says
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to claim that something is true
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as in:
She contended with it
She contends with headaches.
contends = struggles
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to struggle
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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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deference
They changed their strategy in deference to the President's wishes.
deference = respect
DefinitionGenerally deference means:
polite respect — often when submitting to another's wishes
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evoke
Her story evoked sympathy.
evoked = aroused
DefinitionGenerally evoke means:
to call forth or cause — typically to arouse an emotion or bring a memory to mind
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controversy
The film benefited from the controversy.
controversy = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally controversy means:
disagreement — especially regarding a public issue that arouses strong feelings
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defer
2 meanings
as in:
deferred the decision
The weather forced us to defer our departure another day.
defer = delay
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
delay or postpone (hold off until a later time)
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as in:
deferred to her wishes
I defer to her expertise.
defer = submit
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
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apprehend
2 meanings
as in:
apprehend the situation
She doesn't yet apprehend the seriousness of the charge against her.
apprehend = understand
DefinitionGenerally this sense of apprehend means:
to understand or perceive (see or become aware of)
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as in:
apprehend the criminal
Police are determined to apprehend the murderer.
apprehend = catch and arrest
DefinitionGenerally this sense of apprehend means:
to capture and arrest someone suspected of breaking the law
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plausible
She offered a plausible excuse.
plausible = sounding reasonable
DefinitionGenerally plausible means:
apparently reasonable, but unproven
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inhibit
as in:
inhibited the growth of...
The drug inhibits the spread of cancer.
inhibits = slows or prevents
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inhibit means:
to limit the activity of someone or something
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refute
The speaker refuted his opponent's arguments.
refuted = argued against
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to disprove or argue against
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