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400 ESL GRE Vocabulary 3

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inundate:
/'ɪnʌndeɪt/ v. Syn. overwhelm; flood; submerge
overwhelm; cover with water, especially floodwaters
Until the great dam was built, the waters of the Nile used to inundate the river valley like clockwork every year.

invidious:
/ɪn'vɪdɪəs/ a.
designed to create ill will or envy
We disregarded her invidious remarks because we realized how jealous she was.

irascible:
/ɪ'ræsɪb(ə)l/ a. Syn. irritable
irritable; easily angered; excited by or arising from anger
Miss Minchin's irascible temper intimidated the younger schoolgirls, who feared she'd burst into a rage at any moment.

itinerant:
/aɪ'tɪnərənt/ a. Syn. wandering; traveling
wandering; traveling place to place, especially to perform work or duty
Since the storm, the city had also been attracting a new kind of itinerant idealist.

laconic:
/lə'kɒnɪk/ a. Syn. concise
brief; effectively cut short; marked by use of few words
Many of the characters portrayed by Clint Eastwood are laconic types: strong men of few words.

lament:
/lə'mɛnt/ v. Syn. grieve
grieve; express sorrow; regret deeply
Even advocates of the war lament the loss of so many lives in combat.

lassitude:
/'læsɪtju:d/ n. Syn. languor; weariness
state or feeling of weariness, diminished energy, or listlessness
After a massage and a long soak in the hot tub, I gave in to my growing lassitude and lay down for a nap.

latent:
/'leɪtənt/ a. Syn. dormant; hidden
present or potential but not evident or active; dormant; hidden
Existing arrangements contain latent functions that can be neither seen nor replaced by the reformer.

laud:
/lɔ:d/ v. Syn. praise
give praise to; glorify; celebrate or honor
The NFL began to laud Boomer Esiason's efforts to raise money to combat cystic fibrosis.

lethargic:
/lə'θɑrdʒɪk/ a. Syn. drowsy; dull
drowsy; dull; indifferent or apathetic
The stuffy room made her lethargic: she felt as if she was about to nod off.

levity:
/'lɛvɪtɪ/ n. Syn. lightness
lack of seriousness; lightness of manner or speech, especially when inappropriate
Stop giggling and wriggling around in the pew: such levity is improper in church.

libertine:
/'lɪbəti:n/ n.
free thinker, usually used disparagingly; one without moral restraint
The libertine took pleasure in gambling away his family money.

limpid:
/'lɪmpɪd/ a. Syn. clear
clear, transparent or bright; calm, untroubled, and without worry
A limpid stream ran through his property.

loquacious:
/lɒ'kweɪʃəs/ a. Syn. talkative
talkative; given to continual talking; chattering
Though our daughter barely says a word to us these days, put a phone in her hand and see how loquacious she can be: our phone bills are out of sight!.

lucid:
/'lu:sɪd/ a. Syn. clear; intelligible
easily understood; clear; intelligible
So in lucid moments, you structure your life to serve your own best interest.

lugubrious:
/lu:'gju:brɪəs/ a. Syn. mournful
mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to exaggerated degree
The lugubrious howling of the dogs added to our sadness.

luminous:
/'lu:mɪnəs/ a. Syn. shining
shining; emitting light, especially emitting self-generated light
The sun is a luminous body.

malevolent:
/mə'lɛvələnt/ a. Syn. malicious
having or exhibiting ill will; wishing harm to others; malicious
Lago is a malevolent villain who takes pleasure in ruining Othello.

martinet:
/mɑrtɪ'nɛt/;/mɑrtn'ɛt/ n.
strict disciplinarian; one who demands absolute adherence to forms and rules
No talking at meals! No mingling with the servants! Miss Minchin was a martinet who insisted that the schoolgirls in her charge observe each regulation to the letter.

maverick:
/'mævərɪk/ n. Syn. nonconformist
one that refuses to abide or be independent; an unbranded range animal
But, a maverick is also one who cannot be identified as belonging to any specific herd.

melancholy:
/'mɛlənkɒlɪ/ a. Syn. gloomy; sad
gloomy; feeling of thoughtful sadness; affected by depression
You are not well, you have no friend to cheer you, and this melancholy is the result.

mendacious:
/mɛn'deɪʃəs/ a. Syn. lying
lying; habitually dishonest; speaking falsely
Distrusting Huck from the start, Miss Watson assumed he was mendacious and refused to believe a word he said.

mercurial:
/mɜrkjʊərɪəl/ a. Syn. capricious
capricious; liable to sudden unpredictable change; quick and changeable in temperament
Quick as quicksilver to change, he was mercurial in nature and therefore unreliable.

meticulous:
/mɪ'tɪkjʊləs/ a. Syn. scrupulous; cautious
excessively careful; marked by extreme care in treatment of details
One neighbor, who usually uses the truck to haul away lawn debris, always returns the truck in meticulous condition.

misanthrope:
/'mɪsənθroʊp/ n.
one who hates or mistrusts mankind
In Gulliver's Travels, Swift portrays an image of humanity as vile, degraded beasts; for this reason, various critics consider him a misanthrope.

mitigate:
/'mɪtɪgeɪt/ v. Syn. moderate
make less severe or harsh; moderate
Nothing Jason did could mitigate Medea's anger; she refused to forgive him for betraying her.

mollify:
/'mɒlɪfaɪ/ v.
make less rigid or softer; calm in temper or feeling
The airline customer service representative tried to mollify the angry passenger by offering her a seat in first class.

mordant:
/'mɔ:dənt/ a.
bitingly painful; harshly ironic or sinister; serving to fix colors in dyeing
Roald Dahl's stories are mordant alternatives to blank stories intended for kids.

morose:
/mə'roʊs/ a. Syn. sullen; gloomy
ill humored; sullen; depressingly dark; gloomy; persistent
Though we feel sad at someone's pain and sorrow, feeling morose is difficult while actively wishing the person to be happy.

multifaceted:
/mʌltɪ'fæsɪtɪd/ a.
having many facets or aspects
A multifaceted composer, Roger Davidson has recorded original pieces that range from ragtime tangos to choral masses.

mundane:
/'mʌndeɪn/ a. Syn. worldly; earthly; secular
belonging to this earth or world; not ideal or heavenly; concerned with commonplaces; ordinary
Unlike other players, the CEO and Secretariat are less interested in mundane benefits than in value.

munificent:
/mju:'nɪfɪs(ə)nt/ a. Syn. generous
very liberal in giving; showing great generosity
Shamelessly fawning over a particularly generous donor, the dean kept on referring to her as "our munificent benefactor.".

nascent:
/'næsənt/ a. Syn. incipient
incipient; coming into existence; emerging
If we could identify these revolutionary movements in their nascent state, we would be able to eliminate serious trouble in later years.

neophyte:
/'ni:oʊfaɪt/ n. Syn. beginner
recent convert to a belief; one newly initiated
This mountain slope contains slides that will challenge anyone, either expert or neophyte.

noisome:
/'nɔɪsəm/ a.
foul-smelling; offensive by arousing disgust; harmful or dangerous
The noisome atmosphere downwind of the oil refinery not only stank, it damaged the lungs of everyone living in the area.

noxious:
/'nɒkʃəs/ a. Syn. harmful
harmful to living things; injurious to health
We must trace the source of these noxious gases before they asphyxiate us.

obdurate:
/'ɒbdjʊrɪt/;/'ɑbdərɪt/ a. Syn. stubborn; inflexible
hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; not giving in to persuasion
He was obdurate in his refusal to listen to our complaints.

obsequious:
/əb'si:kwɪəs/ a.
slavishly attentive; attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
Helen liked to be served by people who behaved as if they respected themselves; nothing irritated her more than an excessively obsequious waiter or a fawning salesclerk.

obstinate:
/'ɒbstɪnət/ a. Syn. stubborn
stubbornly adhering to an attitude or opinion; hard to control or treat
We tried to persuade him to give up smoking, but he was obstinate and refused to change.

obviate:
/'ɒbvɪeɪt/ v.
bypass requirement or make it unnecessary; get rid of
I hope this contribution will obviate any need for further collections of funds.

odious:
/'oʊdɪəs/ a. Syn. hateful; vile
hateful; arousing strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure
Cinderella's ugly stepsisters had the odious habit of popping their zits in public.

officious:
/ə'fɪʃəs/ a.
marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others
Judy wanted to look over the new computer models on her own, but the officious salesman kept on butting in with "helpful" advice until she was ready to walk out of the store.

onerous:
/'ɒnərəs, 'oʊnərəs/ a. Syn. burdensome; wearing
burdensome or oppressive; not easily borne; wearing
He asked for an assistant because his work load was too onerous.

opaque:
/oʊ'peɪk/ a. Syn. nontransparent; obscure
impenetrable by light; not transparent; not reflecting light; having no luster
The opaque window shade kept the sunlight out of the room.

oscillate:
/'ɒsɪleɪt/ v. Syn. waver
swing back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm; vibrate pendulum like; waver
It is interesting to note how public opinions oscillate between the extremes of optimism and pessimism.

ostensible:
/ɒ'stɛnsɪb(ə)l/ a. Syn. apparent
put forth or held out as real, actual, or intended; proper or intended to be shown
Although the ostensible purpose of this expedition is to discover new lands, we are really interested in finding new markets for our products.

ostentatious:
/ɒstɛn'teɪʃəs/ a. Syn. showy; pretentious
showy; pretentious; trying to attract attention
Donald Trump's latest casino in Atlantic City is the most ostentatious gambling palace in the East.

palliate:
/'pælɪeɪt/ v.
lessen violence of disease; moderate intensity; gloss over with excuses
Not content merely to palliate the patient's sores and cankers, the researcher sought a means of wiping out the disease.

panegyric:
/pænɪ'dʒɪrɪk/ n.
formal or high praise; formal eulogistic composition intended as public compliment
Blushing at all the praise heaped upon him by the speakers, the modest hero said, "I don't deserve any panegyric.".

paradigm:
/'pærədaɪm/ n. Syn. model; example; pattern
one that serves as a pattern or model; system of assumptions, concepts, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality
Pavlov's experiment in which he trains a dog to salivate on hearing a bell is a paradigm of the conditioned-response experiment in behavioral psychology.

paradox:
/'pærədɒks/ n. Syn. contradiction
something apparently contradictory in nature; statement that looks false but is actually correct
Richard presents a bit of a paradox, for he is a card-carrying member of both the National Rifle Association and the relatively pacifist American Civil Liberties Union.

paragon:
/'pærəgən/;/'pærəgɒn/ n. Syn. model
model of excellence or perfection; peerless example
Mr. Brumby's paragon is shocked at the other's inaptitude for examination.

partisan:
/pɑrtɪ'zæn/ a. Syn. prejudiced
one-sided; prejudiced; committed to a party
On certain issues of principle, she refused to take a partisan stand, but let her conscience be her guide.

paucity:
/'pɔ:sɪtɪ/ n. Syn. scarcity
scarcity; smallness of number; fewness
They closed the restaurant because the paucity of customers made it uneconomical to operate.

peccadillo:
/pɛkə'dɪloʊ/ n.
slight offense; small sin or fault
When Peter Piper picked a peck of Polly Potter's pickles, did Pete commit a major crime or just a peccadillo?.

pedestrian:
/pɪ'dɛstrɪən/ a. Syn. dull
lacking wit or imagination; ordinary
Unintentionally boring, he wrote page after page of pedestrian prose.

penchant:
/'pɒŋʃɒŋ/;/'pɛntʃənt/ n. Syn. liking
strong inclination; definite liking
There is a certain penchant in true believers to ignore input which conflicts and contradicts that belief.

penury:
/'pɛnjʊrɪ/ n. Syn. poverty; insufficiency
extreme poverty; lack of something; barrenness; insufficiency
When his pension fund failed, George feared he would end his days in penury. He became such a penny pincher that he turned into a closefisted, penurious miser.

peremptory:
/pə'rɛmptərɪ/;/'pɛrəmptɔ:rɪ/ a. Syn. imperative
offensively self-assured; dictatorial; not allowing contradiction or refusal
From Jack's peremptory knock on the door, Jill could tell he would not give up until she let him in.

perennial:
/pə'rɛnɪəl/ n.
lasting indefinitely long time; suggesting self-renewal; remaining active throughout all the time
These plants are hardy perennial and will bloom for many years.

perfidious:
/pə'fɪdɪəs/ a. Syn. treacherous; disloyal
tending to betray; disloyal; faithless
When Caesar realized that Brutus had betrayed him, he reproached his perfidious friend.

perfidy:
/'pɜrfɪdɪ/ n.
act of violating faith or allegiance; violation of a promise or vow, or of trust reposed; faithlessness; treachery
It was the strain of a forsaken lady, who, after bewailing the perfidy of her lover, calls pride to her aid.

perfunctory:
/pə'fʌŋktərɪ/ a. Syn. superficial
done routinely and with little interest or care; acting with indifference; showing little interest or care
I introduced myself, and at my name his perfunctory manner changed; I knew he heard me before.

pernicious:
/pə'nɪʃəs/ a. Syn. deadly
very destructive; tending to cause death or serious injury; deadly
Crack cocaine has had a pernicious effect on urban society: it has destroyed families, turned children into drug dealers, and increased the spread of violent crimes.

peruse:
/pə'ru:z/ v.
read or examine, typically with great care
After the conflagration that burned down her house, Joan closely began to peruse her home insurance policy to discover exactly what benefits her coverage provided her.

pervade:
/pə'veɪd/ v.
pass or flow through, as an aperture; permeate; pass or spread through the whole extent of
These challenges are global in nature, and pervade all aspects of society.

petulant:
/'pɛtjʊlənt/ a. Syn. irritable
easily irritated or annoyed; unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered
Her narrow face was fixed in petulant defiance.

phlegmatic:
/flɛg'mætɪk/ a. Syn. calm
calm; not easily disturbed; not easily excited to action or passion
The nurse was a cheerful but phlegmatic person, unexcited in the face of sudden emergencies.

pique:
/pi:k/ n.
sudden outburst of anger; state of vexation caused by a perceived slight or indignity
She showed her pique at her loss by refusing to appear with the other contestants at the end of the competition.

pithy:
/'pɪθɪ/ a. Syn. concise
precisely meaningful; forceful and brief
While other girls might have gone on and on about how un-cool Elton was, Liz summed it up in one pithy remark: "He's bogus!"

placate:
/plə'keɪt/;/'pleɪkeɪt/ v. Syn. pacify; conciliate
appease or pacify; bring peace to
The store manager tried to placate the angry customer, offering to replace the damaged merchandise or to give back her money right away.

plastic:
/'plæstɪk/ a.
capable of being molded; capable of being shaped or formed; easily influenced
So, I called my plastic surgeon, Dr. Epstein, on a Sunday at 4pm.

platitude:
/'plætɪtju:d/;/-tu:d/ n.
dullness; insipidity of thought; commonplace statement; lack of originality
In giving advice to his son, old Polonius expressed himself only in same platitude; every word out of his mouth was a commonplace.

pragmatic:
/præg'mætɪk/ a. Syn. practical
practical as opposed to idealistic; concerned with the practical worth or impact of something
AIDS advocates are now wondering whether pragmatic is just a euphemism for cheap.

precarious:
/prɪ'kɛərɪəs/ a. Syn. uncertain; risky
uncertain; risky; dangerously lacking in security or stability
But that is why NASA used test pilots, men used to handling life and death decisions in precarious situations and instantly making the right choice.

precipitate:
/prɪ'sɪpɪteɪt/ a. Syn. rash; premature; hasty
rash; moving rapidly and heedlessly; speeding headlong; occurring suddenly
Though I was angry enough to resign on the spot, I had enough sense to keep myself from quitting a job in such a precipitate fashion.

precursor:
/pri:'kɜrsə(r)/ n. Syn. forerunner
forerunner; one who precedes an event and indicates its approach
Though Gray shared many traits with the Romantic poets who followed them, most critics consider him precursor of the Romantic Movement, not true Romantics.

presumptuous:
/prɪ'zʌmptjʊəs/ a. Syn. overconfident
overconfident; going beyond what is right or proper; excessively forward
It was asked everyday of his Mid East and European trip, “Is he too presumptuous, is he trying too hard to be a rock star?"

prevaricate:
/prɪ'værɪkeɪt/ v. Syn. lie
lie; stray from or evade truth; behave in evasive way such as to delay action
Some people believe that to prevaricate in a good cause is justifiable and regard such a statement as a "white lie.".

pristine:
/'prɪsti:n, 'prɪstaɪn/ a. Syn. primitive; primary
uncorrupted by civilization; primitive; remaining free from dirt or decay
He has opposed building dirty coal-fired power plants in pristine landscapes.

prodigal:
/'prɒdɪg(ə)l/ a. Syn. wasteful
wasteful; reckless with money
In his Christmas feasts Richard outdid his predecessors in prodigal hospitality.

propensity:
/prə'pɛnsɪtɪ/ n. Syn. tendency; predilection
natural inclination; tendency or preference; predilection
Convinced of his own talent, Sol has an unfortunate propensity to belittle the talents of others.

propitiate:
/prə'pɪʃɪeɪt/ v.
make peace with; appease and render favorable
The natives offered sacrifices to propitiate the gods.

propitious:
/prə'pɪʃəs/ a. Syn. favorable; fortunate; advantageous
presenting favorable circumstances; fortunate; advantageous
Chloe consulted her horoscope to see whether Tuesday would be a propitious day to dump her boyfriend.

propriety:
/prə'praiɪtɪ/ n. Syn. fitness; appropriateness
fitness; correct conduct; quality of being proper; appropriateness
Miss Manners counsels her readers so that they may behave with due propriety in any social situation and not embarrass themselves.

prosaic:
/proʊ'zeiɪk/ a. Syn. factual
dull and unimaginative; matter-of-fact; factual
Though the ad writers came up with an original way to publicize the product, the head office rejected it for a more prosaic, ordinary slogan.

proscribe:
/proʊ'skraɪb/;/proʊ-/ v. Syn. banish; outlaw
command against; banish; outlaw
Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus united to proscribe all those who had conspired against Julius Caesar.

pungent:
/'pʌndʒənt/ a. Syn. stinging; caustic
stinging; sharp in taste or smell; caustic
I'm bracing myself to be met by heat, humidity and what Kerry describes as a pungent odor.

pusillanimous:
/pju:sɪ'lænɪməs/ a. Syn. cowardly; fainthearted
cowardly; lacking strength and firmness of mind
You should be ashamed of your pusillanimous conduct during this dispute.

qualify:
/'kwɒlɪfaɪ/ v.
make such as is required; give added or requisite qualities to; make legally capable
They note that half of pupils will fail to qualify for secondary school.

querulous:
/'kwɛrʊləs/ a. Syn. fretful; whining
habitually complaining; expressing complaint or grievance
Even the most agreeable toddlers can begin to act querulous if they miss their nap.

raillery:
/'reɪlərɪ/ n.
pleasantry or slight satire; banter; jesting language; satirical merriment
Excitement instantly seized the whole party: a running fire of raillery and jests was proceeding when Sam returned.

rarefy:
/'rɛərɪfaɪ/ v.
weaken the consistency; purify or refine; lessen the density
It becomes necessary to place the terminal in a bulb and rarefy the air in the same time.

recalcitrant:
/rɪ'kælsɪtrənt/ a.
obstinately stubborn; determined to resist authority
Which animal do you think is more recalcitrant, a pig or a mule?.

recant:
/rɪ'kænt/ v. Syn. renounce
retract a previous statement; sing over again; utter repeatedly in song
She'll also be badgered to recant her 12 year affiliation with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

refractory:
/rɪ'fræktərɪ/ a. Syn. stubborn; unmanageable
stubborn; unmanageable; obstinately resistant to authority or control
The refractory horse was eliminated from the race when he refused to obey the jockey.

refute:
/rɪ'fju:t/ v. Syn. disprove
disprove; prove to be false or incorrect
The defense called several respectable witnesses who were able to refute the false testimony of the prosecution's sole witness.

relegate:
/'rɛlɪgeɪt/ v. Syn. delegate; assign
assign to obscure place, position, or condition; delegate; assign
If Ralph drops his second tray of drinks this week, the manager swiftly would relegate him to a minor post cleaning up behind the bar.

remonstrate:
/'rɛmənstreɪt/;/rɪ'mɒnstreɪt/ v.
point out; show clearly; make plain or manifest; demonstrate; present and urge reasons in opposition to
I will remonstrate with him about his rudeness.

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