400 ESL GRE Vocabulary 2
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/dɪ'skraɪ/ v. Syn. detect
catch sight of; discover by careful observation or scrutiny
In the distance, we could barely descry the enemy vessels.
dry up thoroughly; make dry, dull, or lifeless; preserve foods by removing the moisture
A tour of this smokehouse will give you an idea of how the pioneers used to desiccate food in order to preserve it.
/'dɛsəltərɪ/;/-tɔ:rɪ/ a. Syn. aimless; haphazard
aimless; haphazard; at random; not connected with subject
In prison Malcolm X set himself the task of reading straight through the dictionary; to him, reading was purposeful, not desultory.
turn aside, especially from main subject in writing or speaking
The professor does not digress from the topic and never bores his students.
/dɪn/ n. Syn. clamor; roar
loud, confused, harsh noise; loud, continuous, rattling or clanging sound
They were unable to sleep because of the din coming from the bar.
a piece of music of a mournful character, to accompany funeral rites; funeral hymn
The stranger, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge.
/dɪ'skɔ:d(ə)nt/ a. Syn. conflicting
not harmonious; conflicting; disagreeable in sound; harsh or dissonant
Nothing is quite so discordant as the sound of a junior high school orchestra tuning up.
/dɪ'skrɛʃ(ə)n/ n. Syn. prudence
knowing how to avoid embarrassment or distress; trait of judging wisely and objectively
The servants showed great tact and discretion.
/dɪsɪn'dʒɛnjʊəs/ a. Syn. insincere
giving a false appearance of frankness; not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating
Now that we know the mayor and his wife are engaged in a bitter divorce fight, we find their earlier remarks regretting their lack of time together remarkably disingenuous.
/dɪs'ɪntrɪstɪd/ a. Syn. indifferent
not interested; indifferent; free of self-interest; impartial
Given the judge's political ambitions and the lawyers' financial interest in the case, the only disinterested person in the courtroom may have been the court reporter.
/dɪ'spærɪdʒ/ v. Syn. belittle
belittle; speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way; reduce in esteem or rank
A doting mother, Emma was more likely to praise her son's crude attempts at art than to disparage them.
/'dɪspərət/ a. Syn. unrelated
fundamentally distinct or different in kind; entirely dissimilar
Unfortunately, Tony and Tina have disparate notions of marriage: Tony sees it as a carefree extended love affair, while Tina sees it as a solemn commitment to build a family and a home.
/dɪ'sɛmb(ə)l/ v. Syn. disguise; pretend
disguise or conceal behind a false appearance; make a false show of
Even though John tried to dissemble his motive for taking modern dance, we all knew he was there not to dance but to meet girls.
/dɪsə'lu:ʃ(ə)n/ n. Syn. decay; termination
breaking of union; decomposition into fragments or parts; extinction of life; decay
Which caused King Lear more suffering: the dissolution of his kingdom into warring factions, or of his aged, failing body?
/'dɪsənəns/ n. Syn. discord
discord; disagreeable sounds; harsh, disagreeable combination of sounds
Composer Charles Ives often used dissonance clashing or unresolved chords for special effects in his musical works.
/dɒg'mætɪk/;/dɔ:gmætɪk/ a. Syn. opinionated; doctrinal
stubbornly adhering to insufficiently proven beliefs; inflexible, rigid
We tried to discourage Doug from being so dogmatic, but never could convince him that his opinions might be wrong.
easily deceived person; duplicate of photographic image
While the gullible Watson often was made a dupe by unscrupulous parties, Sherlock Holmes was far more difficult to fool.
composed of elements from a variety of sources
His style of interior decoration was eclectic: bits and pieces of furnishings from widely divergent periods, strikingly juxtaposed to create a unique decor.
power to produce desired effect
The efficacy of this drug depends on the regularity of the dosage.
shameless or brazen boldness; insolent and shameless audacity
She had the effrontery to insult the guest.
poem or song expressing lamentation; mournful poem
The other elegy is shorter and less striking in conception, but gives a similar impression of the importance assigned to Louis de.
/'ɛləkwənt/ a. Syn. expressive; persuasive
vividly or movingly expressive; persuasive
My cousins, full of exhilaration, were so eloquent in narrative and comment, that their fluency covered him.
having softening or soothing effect, especially to skin
The nurse applied an emollient to the inflamed area.
derived from experiment and observation rather than theory
He distrusted hunches and intuitive flashes; he placed his reliance entirely on empirical data.
/'ɛmjʊleɪt/ v. Syn. imitate; rival
be a match or counterpart for; eager to equal or excel
In a brief essay, describe a person you admire, someone whose virtues you would like to emulate.
/ɛn'koʊmɪəm/ n. Syn. tribute
high praise; formal expression of praise; tribute
Uneasy with the encomium expressed by his supporters, Tolkien felt unworthy of such high praise.
prevailing among a specific group of people or in a specific area or country
This disease is endemic in this part of the world; more than 80 percent of the population are at one time or another affected by it.
/'ɛnəveɪt/ v. Syn. weaken
weaken or destroy strength or vitality of; remove a nerve or part of a nerve
She was slow to recover from her illness; even a short walk to the window would enervate her.
/ɪn'dʒɛndə(r)/ v. Syn. cause; produce
cause; bring into existence; give rise to
To receive praise for real accomplishments would engender self-confidence in a child.
/ɛnɪg'mætɪk/ a. Syn. obscure; puzzling
obscure; puzzling; not easily explained or accounted for
Many have sought to fathom the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa.
short-lived; enduring a very short time
The mayfly is an ephemeral creature: its adult life lasts little more than a day.
/ɪ'kwɪvəkeɪt/ v. Syn. lie; mislead
lie; mislead; attempt to conceal the truth
The audience saw through his attempts to equivocate on the subject under discussion and ridiculed his remarks.
/'ɛru:daɪt/ a. Syn. learned; scholarly
learned; scholarly, with emphasis on knowledge gained from books
Though his fellow students thought him erudite, Paul knew he would have to spend many years in serious study before he could consider himself a scholar.
/i:soʊ'tɛrɪk/ a. Syn. mysterious
hard to understand; known only in a particular group
The New Yorker short stories often include esoteric allusions to obscure people and events.
expression of praise, often on the occasion of someone's death
Instead of delivering a spoken eulogy at Genny's memorial service, Jeff sang a song he had written in her honor.
/ɛk'sæsəbeɪt/ v. Syn. worsen; embitter
increase severity, violence, or bitterness of; aggravate
The latest bombing would exacerbate England's already existing bitterness against the IRA, causing the prime minister to break off the peace talks abruptly.
scold with biting harshness; strip skin off; abrade
Seeing the holes in Bill's new pants, his mother furiously began to excoriate him for ruining his good clothes.
pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
The court will exculpate him of the crime after the real criminal confesses.
urge on or encourage, especially by shouts; make urgent appeal
He was using the phrase to exhort his compatriots to prepare for war, to engage in the struggle for freedom.
/ɪg'zɒnəreɪt/ v. Syn. acquit; exculpate
acquit; free from blame; discharge from duty
The testing can also connect evidence from apparently unrelated crimes, corroborate the victim's account, and exonerate innocent suspects.
/'ɛkspɪeɪt/ v. Syn. atone
make amends or pay the penalty for; relieve or cleanse of guilt
He tried to expiate his crimes by a full confession to the authorities.
still in existence; not destroyed, lost, or extinct
Although the book is out of print, some copies are still extant. Unfortunately, all of them are in libraries or private collections; none are for sale.
/fə'si:ʃəs/ a. Syn. humorous
joking ,often inappropriately; humorous
Instead, the crowd began sarcastically to cheer him on and showered him with facetious advice.
/fə'leɪʃəs/ a. Syn. false; deceptive
false; tending to mislead; deceptive
Paradoxically, fallacious reasoning does not always yield erroneous results: even though your logic may be faulty, the answer you get may nevertheless be correct.
/'fætjʊəs/ a. Syn. foolish
foolish or silly, especially in self-satisfied way
He is far too intelligent to utter such fatuous remarks.
young deer; buck or doe of the first year; young of an animal
A fawn behind the tree looked at us curiously.
/feɪn/ v. Syn. pretend; disguise; conceal
make false appearance of; disguise; conceal; invent or imagine
Lady Macbeth decided to feign illness although she was actually healthy.
/fə'lɪsɪtəs/ a. Syn. apt
apt; suitably expressed; well chosen
He was famous for his felicitous remarks and was called upon to serve as master-of-ceremonies at many a banquet.
/fɛl/ a. Syn. cruel; deadly
capable of destroying; lethal
The newspapers told of the tragic spread of the fell disease.
extremely hot; sincerely or intensely felt
She felt that the fervent praise was excessive and somewhat undeserved.
extremely hot; eager; impassioned; burning
Her fervid enthusiasm inspired all of us to undertake the dangerous mission.
/'fɛtɪd/ a. Syn. stinking
unpleasant-smelling; having offensive smell; stinking
These dogs are housed in fetid, dark sheds and barns or left outside in cages exposed to the cold, the heat, the rain and the snow.
/'fɛtə(r)/ v. Syn. impede; hamper
restrain with U-shaped bar for ankles or feet; impede; hamper
They fetter the prisoner to the wall.
having or assuming relationship of child or offspring to parent
Many children forget their filial obligations and disregard the wishes of their parents.
/flæg/ v. Syn. decline; weaken; fade
become less intense; sink, or settle from pressure
When the opposing hockey team scored its third goal only minutes into the first quarter, the home team's spirits seemed to flag.
young and inexperienced; having just acquired its flight feathers
While it is necessary to provide these fledgling poets with an opportunity to present their work, it is not essential that we admire everything they write.
/'flɪpənt/ a. Syn. talkative
lacking proper seriousness; speaking freely; talkative; communicative
When Mark told Mona he loved her, she dismissed his earnest declaration with a flippant "Oh, you say that to all the girls!".
/'flɒrɪd/;/'flɔ:rɪd/ a. Syn. ruddy; reddish
reddish; elaborately or excessively ornamented
If you go to beach and get a sunburn, your complexion will look florid.
/flaʊt/ v. Syn. reject; mock
reject; mock; express contempt for rules by word or action; behave with contempt
The headstrong youth used to flout all authority; he refused to be curbed.
try to stir up public opinion; promote growth of; apply warm lotion to
These examples, and there are many others, reveal how fear is being used to foment anger and political zealotry.
/fɔ:'stɔ:l/ v. Syn. prevent
prevent by taking action in advance
The prospective bride and groom hoped to forestall any potential arguments about money in the event of a divorce.
/fɔ:'tju:ɪtəs/;/-'tu:-/ a. Syn. accidental; random
accidental; by chance; coming or occurring without any cause
Though he pretended their encounter was fortuitous, he'd actually been hanging around her usual haunts for the past two weeks, hoping she'd turn up.
/geɪn'seɪ/ v. Syn. deny
speak against; contradict; oppose in words; deny or declare not to be true
She was too honest to gainsay the truth of the report.
/'gærʊləs/ a. Syn. wordy; talkative
talking much and repetition of unimportant or trivial details
My Uncle Henry can outtalk any three people I know. He is the most garrulous person in Cayuga County.
awkward or lacking in social graces; coarse and uncouth
Compared to the sophisticated young ladies in their elegant gowns, tomboyish Jo felt gauche and out of place.
sheer, light, delicate, or tenuous
They would laugh in gossamer tones, and then move on gracefully to someone else, sometimes moving gracefully at speeds exceeding 40 mph.
/grɪ'gɛərɪəs/ a. Syn. sociable
sociable; seeking and enjoying the company of others
Natural selection in gregarious animals operates upon groups rather than upon individuals.
/gaɪl/ n. Syn. deceit; duplicity; wiliness; cunning
skillful deceit; disposition to deceive or cheat; disguise cunningly
However, never under-estimate the capacity for guile of a truly cunning and determined terrorist.
free from deceit; sincere; honest
He is naive, simple, and guileless; he cannot be guilty of fraud.
easily deceived or cheated; easily tricked because of being too trusting
This time, unlike gullible investors during the 1920s, the big losers would be taxpayers, who never had the choice of not playing.
/'hæknɪd/ a. Syn. commonplace
repeated too often; over familiar through overuse
When the reviewer criticized the movie for its hackneyed plot, we agreed; we had seen similar stories hundreds of times before.
idyllically calm and peaceful; marked by peace and prosperity
Recalling the halcyon days of early 2008, Hedgie momentarily forgot himself.
noisy speech; speech or piece of writing with strong feeling or expression
In her lengthy harangue, the principal berated the offenders.
uncontrollably forceful or fast; done with head leading; headfirst
The slave seized the unexpected chance to make a headlong dash across the border to freedom.
domination, influence, or authority over another, especially by political group or nation over others
When Germany claimed hegemony over Russia, Stalin was outraged.
/hɒmoʊ'dʒi:nɪəs/ a. Syn. uniform; similar
of the same or similar nature or kind
Because the student body at Elite Prep was so homogeneous, Sara decided to send daughter to another school that offered greater cultural diversity.
/haɪ'pɜrbəlɪ/ n. Syn. exaggeration; overstatement
figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis; overstatement
As far as I'm concerned, Apple's claims about the new computer are pure hyperbole: no machine is that good!
without feeling; revealing little emotion or sensibility; not easily aroused or excited
Refusing to let the enemy see how deeply shaken he was by his capture, the prisoner kept his face impassive.
/ɪmpɪ'kju:nɪəs/ a. Syn. poor
without money; poor; penniless
Though Scrooge claimed he was too impecunious to give alms, he easily could have afforded to be charitable.
/ɪm'pi:d/ v. Syn. hinder; block; delay
hinder; charge with improper conduct; challenge validity of; try to discredit
A series of accidents impede the launching of the space shuttle.
/ɪm'pɪərɪəs/ a. Syn. dictatorial
urgent or pressing; able to deal authoritatively; dictatorial
Jane rather liked a man to be masterful, but Mr. Rochester seemed so bent on getting his own way that he was actually imperious!
/ɪmpə'tɜrbəb(ə)l/ a. Syn. calm; placid
unshakably calm; placid; incapable of being disturbed or disconcerted
In the midst of the battle, the Duke of Wellington remained imperturbable and in full command of the situation despite the hysteria and panic all around him.
/ɪm'pɛtjʊəs/ a. Syn. violent; hasty; rash.
marked by sudden and violent force; hasty; impulsive and passionate
I don't believe that "Leap before you look" is the motto suggested by one particularly impetuous young man.
incapable of being pacified; not to be relieved;
Madame Defarge was the implacable enemy of the Evremonde family.
/ɪm'pju:n/ v. Syn. challenge
dispute or contradict, often in insulting way; challenge
Our treasurer was furious when the finance committee's report tried to impugn the accuracy of his financial records.
/'ɪnkoʊət/ a. Syn. rudimentary; elementary
recently begun; imperfectly formed or developed; elementary
Before the Creation, the world was an inchoate mass.
/ɪn'sɪpɪənt/ a. Syn. beginning
beginning to exist or appear; in an early stage
I will go to sleep early for I want to break an incipient cold.
/'ɪndələnt/ a. Syn. lazy; inactive
lazy; slow to heal, grow, or develop; inactive
Couch potatoes lead an indolent life lying back on their Lazyboy recliners watching Tv.
/ɪ'nɜrt/ a. Syn. inactive
inactive; lacking power to move; unable to move or act
Potential intelligence, like potential, can remain inert forever.
/ɪn'dʒɛnjʊəs/ a. Syn. young; unsophisticated
naive and trusting; young; unsophisticated
The woodsman had not realized how ingenuous Little Red Riding Hood was until he heard that she had gone off for a walk in the woods with the Big Bad Wolf.
/ɪn'hɪərənt/ a. Syn. intrinsic; natural
firmly established by nature or habit
Each branch of the federal government has certain inherent powers.
/ɪn'hɪbɪt/ v. Syn. restrain; prevent
restrain; prevent or forbid; hold back
Only two things inhibit him from taking a punch at Mike Tyson: Tyson's left hook, and Tyson's right jab.
/ɪ'nɪmɪk(ə)l/ a. Syn. unfriendly; hostile; harmful; detrimental
unfriendly; hostile; harmful; detrimental
I've always been friendly to Martha. Why is she so inimical to me?.
absence of, or deviation from, just dealing; want of rectitude or uprightness; gross injustice; unrighteousness; wickedness
He thought of New York as a den of iniquity.
/ɪ'nɒkjʊəs/ a. Syn. harmless
having no adverse effect; harmless
An occasional glass of wine with dinner is relatively innocuous and should have no ill effect on you.
/ɪn'skru:təb(ə)l/ a. Syn. impenetrable; mysterious
impenetrable; not readily understood; mysterious
Experienced poker players try to keep their expressions inscrutable, hiding their reactions to the cards behind a so-called "poker face."
/ɪn'sɛnsɪb(ə)l/ a. Syn. unconscious; unresponsive
unconscious; unresponsive; very small or gradual
Sherry and I are very different; at times when I would be covered with embarrassment, she seems insensible to shame.
/ɪn'sɪpɪd/ a. Syn. dull
lacking flavor or zest; not tasty; dull
Flat prose and flat ginger ale are equally insipid: both lack sparkle.
of isolated people, especially having a narrow viewpoint
It was a shock for Kendra to go from her small high school, with her insular group of friends, to a huge college with students from all over the country.
/ɪn'træktəb(ə)l/ a. Syn. unruly; stubborn; unyielding
difficult to manage or govern; stubborn; unyielding
Charlie Brown's friend Pigpen was intractable: he absolutely refused to take a bath.
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