n. beggar; religious friar forbidden to own personal property who begs for living
E.g. "O noble sir, give alms to the poor," cried Aladdin, playing the mendicant.
a. capricious; liable to sudden unpredictable change; quick and changeable in temperament
E.g. Quick as quicksilver to change, he was mercurial in nature and therefore unreliable.
a. of or pertaining to prostitutes; tastelessly showy; lustful; deceptive; misleading
E.g. The net result is that both the news columns and the editorial columns are commonly meretricious in a high degree.
v. hypnotize; attract strongly, as if with magnet; bring into a state of mesmeric sleep
E.g. Not only is she an Arab-American, but she could mesmerize the Israelis and Arabs into a peace deal.
n. swamp gas; heavy, vaporous atmosphere, often emanating from decaying matter; pervasive corrupting influence
E.g. The smog hung over Victorian London like a dark cloud; noisome, reeking of decay, it was a visible miasma.
n. aspect; air; manner; demeanor; carriage; bearing
E.g. Besides, there was such unchanged love in his whole look and mien -- I forgave him all: yet not in words, not outwardly; only at my heart's core.
a. habitually moving from place to place especially in search of seasonal work; wandering
E.g. These migrant birds return every spring.
n. environment; person’s social setting or environment
E.g. Using painted cloth as the backdrop, she is able to create the illusion of the right kind of milieu for the action.
n. imitation; act, practice, or art of mimicking
E.g. Her gift for mimicry was so great that her friends said that she should be in the theater.
n. petty details; small particular or detail; a minute or trivial matter of fact
E.g. Had she rattled off a list of magazines I'm sure Cunty Couric would have had more gotcha crap to throw at her, like trivial minutia from a specific article that nobody would remember.
v. cause to sink or become stuck in; hinder, entrap, or entangle
E.g. The mud could mire their rear wheels.
n. one who hates or mistrusts mankind
E.g. In Gulliver's Travels, Swift portrays an image of humanity as vile, degraded beasts; for this reason, various critics consider him a misanthrope.
n. collection of various items, parts, or ingredients, especially one composed of diverse literary works
E.g. This is an interesting miscellany of nineteenth-century prose and poetry.
v. interpret incorrectly; misjudge; mistake the meaning of
E.g. Yet any discussion of weight and breast cancer is considered sensitive because some may misconstrue that as the medical establishment blaming women for their disease.
v. make less severe or harsh; moderate
E.g. Nothing Jason did could mitigate Medea's anger; she refused to forgive him for betraying her.
v. tone down in intensity; regulate; change from one key to another
E.g. Always singing at the top of her lungs, the budding Brunhilde never learned to modulate her voice.
n. one of two equal parts; a half
E.g. I generally contrived to reserve a moiety of this bounteous repast for myself; but the remainder I was invariably obliged to part with.
v. make less rigid or softer; calm in temper or feeling
E.g. The airline customer service representative tried to mollify the angry passenger by offering her a seat in first class.
a. constituting or acting as a single, often in rigid or uniform
E.g. Knowing the importance of appearing resolute, the patriots sought to present a monolithic front.
a. bitingly painful; harshly ironic or sinister; serving to fix colors in dyeing
E.g. Roald Dahl's stories are mordant alternatives to blank stories intended for kids.
a. dying; in dying state; approaching death; about to die
E.g. Hearst took a moribund, failing weekly newspaper and transformed it into one of the liveliest, most profitable daily papers around.
v. cause to experience shame or humiliation; embarrass
E.g. They mortify her so heavily that she ran to her room in tears.
a. spotted with different shades or colors
E.g. When old Falstaff blushed, his face was mottled with embarrassment, all pink and purple and red.
n. one who, or that which, molds or forms into shape; one skilled in the art of making molds for castings
E.g. The machine enables a moulder to form a consolidated and accurately shaped brick in a few simple movements taking about 30 seconds.
n. bare end of nose between nostrils
E.g. The gale still rising, seemed to my ear to muffle a mournful under-sound; whether in the house or abroad I could not at first tell, but it recurred, doubtful yet doleful at every lull; at last I made out it must be some dog howling at a distance.
a. varied; greatly diversified; made up of many differing parts
E.g. A career woman and mother, she was constantly busy with the multifarious activities of her daily life.
a. very liberal in giving; showing great generosity
E.g. Shamelessly fawning over a particularly generous donor, the dean kept on referring to her as "our munificent benefactor.".
a. unruly; rebellious; turbulent and uncontrollable
E.g. The captain had to use force to quiet his mutinous crew.
n. lowest point; point on sphere opposites zenith diametrically
E.g. Although few people realized it, the Dow-Jones averages had reached their nadir and would soon begin an upward surge.
a. incipient; coming into existence; emerging
E.g. If we could identify these revolutionary movements in their nascent state, we would be able to eliminate serious trouble in later years.
v. cause to become sick; fill with disgust
E.g. The foul smells began to nauseate him.
a. lacking definite form or limits; hazy; cloudy
E.g. After twenty years, she had only a nebulous memory of her grandmother's face.
n. belief in magical spells to produce unnatural effects; practice of supposedly communicating with spirits of dead ones to predict future
E.g. The evil sorcerer performed feats of necromancy, calling on the spirits of the dead to tell the future.
n. act of denying; assertion of the nonrealistic or untruthfulness of anything
E.g. Sorry, strictly speaking, the negation is applied to the verb and the verb to the subject.
n. new or newly invented word or phrase
E.g. As we invent new technique or profession, we must also invent neologism such as "microcomputer" to describe it.
n. newborn infant, especially one less than four weeks old
E.g. The neonate was born prematurely so she is still in the hospital.
n. recent convert to a belief; one newly initiated
E.g. This mountain slope contains slides that will challenge anyone, either expert or neophyte.
a. destitute of nerves; lacking vigor; weak; powerless
E.g. Then he said: "Something told me 't if I didn't come back and get--" He shuddered; then waved his nerveless hand with a vanquished gesture.
n. bird too young to leave its nest; young child
E.g. He picked out another nestling from the young brood, and again sailed away.
v. cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations; vex
E.g. Do not let him nettle you with his sarcastic remarks.