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Ultimate WORD POWER

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Ultimate WORD POWER


The Readers Digest Association, Inc. Pleasantville, New York Montreal

Copyright 2006 by The Readers Digest Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction, in any manner, is prohibited. Readers Digest and Word Power are registered trademarks of The Readers Digest Association, Inc. ISBN: 0-7621-0759-6 Printed in the United States

Contents
Introduction 4

FAVORITE SUBJECTS
Romance Words 5 Food Words 7 Citizenship Words 9 Law Enforcement Words 11 Travel Words 13 Ocean Words 15 Science Words 17 Weather Words 19 Gardening Words 21 Bird Words 23 Finance Words 25

ROOTS AND BRANCHES


Words With Interesting Origins 27 Words From Ancient Greece 29 Words From Gaelic 31 Words That Start With Qu 33 Words That Contain Ten 35 Adverbs 37

FUN WITH LANGUAGE


Commonly Mispronounced Words 39 Wonderful Word Pairs 41

BIG TALKERS
Founding Father Words 53 Isaac Asimov Words 55 Broadway Musical Words 57

Small Words With Big Meanings 43 Kelsey Grammer Words 59 Phrases Drawn From the Animal Kingdom 45 Embellishment Words 47 Hip Kid Words 49 Recent Additions to the Dictionary 51 William Sare Words 61 Bob Dylan Words 63

INTRODUCTION
We use it almost every waking moment of our lives, but few of us know many details about the English language. The facts are plenty stunning, though:

> The number of English words, if you include scientic

and technical terms, totals about 1 million. That makes it by far the wordiest of the worlds languages (by comparison, French has roughly 100,000 words). 80 percent of English words are based on words from other languages. the world. Of those 350 million consider it their mother tongue. about 20,000 words.

> How did it get so big? Easyby borrowing. Roughly

> An estimated 750 million people speak English around > The average educated English-speaking person knows > The typical person uses just 2,000 of those words in a week.
Its that last statistic that is most amazing to us. For all the reading, e-mailing, writing and talking we do in a week, youd think wed be a little richer in our word usage! So while we hope you nd Ultimate Word Power to be fun and entertaining, we also hope you put it to good use. Here are 500 words that are fun to say, expressive, useful, and a notch above your everyday Hello, Whats for dinner? and Pick your clothes up off the oor! Word Power has been a particularly popular feature in Readers Digest for several decades running, and today, the National Word Power Challenge is engaging hundreds of thousands of children in expanding their vocabulary. As our name implies, Readers Digest believes strongly in the pleasures and benets of the written word. A rich vocabulary is the pathway to better ideas, a greater understanding of our world, and fuller communication with friends, family, and colleagues. So enjoy the 30 challenges on the pages ahead. And maybe, in a few weeks, your 2,000 words will suddenly be 2,500!
4

FAV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ROMANCE WORDS
They do not love that do not show their love, wrote William Shakespeare. To inspire you to use the language of romance, this quiz is dedicated to words of passion. Choose the answer you think is best and check your results on the next page. And guys, even if you get all the words right, remember romance goes beyond words. So dont forget the roses! 1 . allure n.A: fragrance. B: turnoff. C: appeal. D: appearance. 2. woo v.A: to excite. B: court. C: inspire. D: escort. 3. smitten adj.A: rejected. B: tempted. C: indifferent. D: infatuated. 4. dulcinea (dul sih NAY uh) n. A: soft murmurings. B: love letter. C: assortment of chocolates. D: sweetheart. 5. congenial adj.A: compatible. B: chatty. C: possessive. D: supportive. 6. dalliance n.A: delayed gratication. B: amorous play. C: feeling of unity. D: separation. 7. sentient (SEN shunt) adj. A: sensational. B: nonsensical. C: sensitive. D: sensible. 8. myrtle n.symbol of A: fate. B: love. C: children. D: eternity. 9. fervent adj.A: tender. B: serious. C: passionate. D: trusting. 10. blandishment n.A: attery. B: embarrassment. C: gift. D: showy display. 11 . delity n.A: forgiveness. B: broad-mindedness. C: constancy. D: determination. 12. enamored adj.A: set free. B: lled with love. C: idealistic. D: attracted. 13. tryst (trist) n.A: marital pledge. B: embrace. C: pet name. D: lovers meeting. 14. uxorious (uk SOR ee us) adj. A: jubilant. B: devoted to ones wife. C: complimentary. D: curious. 15. coquette n.A: girlfriend. B: shy person. C: irt. D: bride. 16. concord (CON cord) n.A: harmony. B: lasting relationship. C: disagreement. D: innocence. 17. indelible adj.A: subconscious. B: beyond words. C: attractive. D: permanent. 18. lothario n.A: chef. B: seducer. C: ex-husband. D: actor. 19. pine v.A: to complain. B: praise. C: compromise. D: yearn. 20. oscular adj.pertaining to A: vision. B: physical strength. C: kissing. D: your horoscope.
5

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS:

1 . allure [C] Appeal; charm; as, the


allure of her smile. Old French alurer (to attract; originally, a reference to the lure used by a falconer).

11 . delity [C] Constancy; loyalty;


as, Ive never questioned your delity. Latin delis (faithful).

12. enamored [B] Filled with love;


as, The student became enamored of the girl at the next desk. French amour (love).

2. woo [B] To court; seek the favor


or love of; as, I wooed her for years. Middle English wowe.

3. smitten [D] Strongly and suddenly infatuated or in love; as, She was smitten rst by his looks. From smite (to hit hard).

13. tryst [D] A secret meeting


arranged by lovers; as, They rendezvoused for a midnight tryst. Middle English triste (appointed station in hunting).

4. dulcinea [D] Sweetheart; ladylove; as, He had found his dulcinea. In the Cervantes novel, Don Quixote idealized the peasant girl Dulcinea.

14. uxorious [B] Exceedingly devoted to ones wife; as, My husband uxorious? Hardly! Latin uxor (wife).

15. coquette [C] Flirtatious woman;


as, At parties shes always the coquette. French, from coquet (young rooster).

5. congenial [A] Compatible in


character or nature; pleasant and agreeable. Latin con- (together) and genialis (productive, joyous).

16. concord [A] Harmony; agreement; as, a relationship marked by concord. From Latin concors (literally, hearts together).

6. dalliance [B] Amorous, irtatious play or act; as, True love is no mere dalliance. From dally (to act or talk playfully).

17 . indelible [D] Permanent; unremovable; as, You occupy an indelible place in my heart. Latin indelebilis (indestructible).

7. sentient [C] Sensitive; capable of


feeling; aware; as, For the rst time he seemed more than just sentient. Latin sentire (to feel).

18. lothario [B] Seducer or rake; deceiver; as, Dont lose your heart to that lothario. From a character in a 1703 play, The Fair Penitent.

8. myrtle [B] Symbol of love. The


fragrant evergreen plant was considered sacred to Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty.

19. pine [D] To yearn; long; as, She


pined for her absent lover. Middle English pinen (to torment).

9. fervent [C] Passionate; having


great warmth and intensity; as, fervent desires. Latin (boiling).

20. oscular [C] Pertaining to kissing;


as, Valentines Day is perfect for some oscular activity. Latin oscularum (little mouth; kiss).
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-14 Good 15-17 Excellent 18-20 Exceptional

10. blandishment [A] Flattery; word


or action that tries to coax; as, With frequent blandishments, he hoped to change her mind. Latin blandus (soothing). 6

FOOD WORDS
For many people, the holidays mean eatingand more eating. In his book, Eating Your Words: 2000 Words to Tease Your Taste Buds, William Grimes of The New York Times serves up the necessary ingredients for this hearty quiz. Please dig in. 1 . sugarplum n.A: fruit pie. B: liquor-soaked plum. C: ballshaped candy. D: mulled cider sweetener. 2. mesquite n.A: spicy sauce. B: wood used in cooking. C: barbecue restaurant. D: type of oven. 3. effervescent adj.A: zzy. B: transparent. C: overowing. D: simmering. 4. ramekin n.A: small baking dish. B: Chinese noodle. C: vegetable broth. D: large kettle. 5. gherkin n.A: bean soup. B: frilly apron. C: juicing device. D: pickle. 6. julienne v.A: to remove the pit. B: mash into pulp. C: cook vegetables on a grill. D: cut into thin strips. 7. aspic n.A: clear jelly. B: game bird. C: calculation to modify recipes. D: roasting pan. 8. stollen n.A: after-dinner drink. B: sweet bread. C: type of bean. D: meat pie. 9. braise v.to cook A: quickly. B: slowly. C: in broth. D: without adding salt. 10. orentine adj.served with A: eggs. B: rice. C: spinach. D: warm Italian bread. 11 . shirr v.A: to mix together. B: bake. C: trim the fat. D: pound at. 12. aioli n.A: type of cooking oil. B: low-fat butter. C: small whisk. D: garlicky mayonnaise. 13. macerate v.A: to slice lengthwise. B: chew carefully. C: soften. D: stir slowly. 14. viscous adj.A: thick. B: rotten. C: runny. D: overcooked. 15. latke n.A: sugar cookie. B: dough ball served in soup. C: seasoned meatball. D: potato pancake. 16. roux n.A: root vegetable. B: mixture used in making sauces. C: serving spoon. D: cup used for serving poached eggs.

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . sugarplum [C] Small candy in


the shape of a ball or disc; sweetmeat. Please dont ll up on those sugarplums before dinner is served.

9. braise [B] To cook slowly in fat


and little moisture in a closed pot. The rst step in making a successful beef stew: Braise the meat carefully.

2. mesquite [B] Wood of spiny


trees or shrubs native to the southwestern United States that is often used for grilling food. To my mind, the best barbecued ribs have that authentic mesquite aroma.

10. orentine [C] Served with


spinach. His idea of a special breakfast? An order of eggs orentine.

11 . shirr [B] To bake until set. What


makes those shirred eggs so tasty is the dollop of heavy cream he adds before putting them in the oven.

3. effervescent [A] Fizzy; giving


off bubbles. She prefers seltzer to plain bottled water because its effervescent.

12. aioli [D] Mayonnaise seasoned


with garlic. Dip those french fries in this aioli, not that boring old ketchup.

4. ramekin [A] A small baking dish


for preparing individual portions. To make the perfect popovers, use ramekins instead of mufn tins.

13. macerate [C] To soften or separate by steeping in uid. Blend the cranberries and oranges together until ne; add in sugar; then allow to macerate for two days until using.

5. gherkin [D] A small cucumber


used for pickling. Ill skip the potato chips, but a gherkin or two would go nicely with this sandwich.

6. julienne [D] To cut into thin


strips. Once youve peeled those carrots, would you please julienne them for the salad?

14. viscous [A] Resistant to owing


in a uid or semiuid; thick, sticky. The hot fudge was so viscous that she had trouble getting it out of the jar and onto her ice cream.

7. aspic [A] A clear savory jelly.


Lets leave time to prepare the traditional aspic in that odd hatshaped mold my brother gave us.

15. latke [D] Potato pancake. I always look forward to Hanukkah not for the presents, but because Ill get all the latkes I can eat.

8. stollen [B] A sweet yeast bread


of German origin containing fruit and nuts. That loaf of my mothers stollen I brought to work yesterday? I left it by the ofce coffee maker and it was gone in ve minutes.

16. roux [B] Cooked mixture of our


and fat used to thicken a soup or sauce. If you burn the roux, you better start over; otherwise, no ones going to want to eat your gumbo.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

CITIZENSHIP WORDS
Our nation, its welfare, and our relationships with other countries have been much on our minds lately. So it is an opportune time to review words that relate to citizenship, diplomacy and current events. The nal word (number 15) was new to usand its tough, but give it a try! 1 . nationalism n.A: ethnic heritage. B: political party. C: patriotism. D: pride. 2. unilateralist n.someone who A: acts alone. B: acts suspicious. C: is tenacious. D: is dogmatic. 3. preempt v.A: to claim. B: arrive early. C: select. D: oppose. 4. stateless adj.lacking a A: passport. B: nationality. C: bank statement. D: visa. 5. civitas n.A: body of people. B: body of law. C: good manners. D: characteristics of civilians. 6. mandate n.A: division of the United Nations. B: legal impediment. C: South African township. D: authorization to act. 7. enfranchise v.A: to vote. B: extend credit. C: grant citizenship. D: open a store. 8. appeasement n.A: forgiving and forgetting. B: yielding to demands. C: real estate regulation. D: obsession with ones appearance. 9. despotic adj.A: despairing. B: magical. C: extremely bombastic. D: tyrannical. 10. casus belli n.an event that A: triggers a declaration of war. B: causes confusion. C: makes church bells ring. D: is an omen of good weather. 11 . sanctions n.A: rewards. B: rooms in a church. C: punitive measures. D: terms of employment. 12. consensus n.A: implicit social contract. B: burden. C: collective opinion. D: understanding between two people. 13. accord n.A: treaty. B: diplomatic agreement. C: peace. D: letter of intent. 14. onus n.A: misrepresentation. B: body of work. C: guilt. D: obligation. 15. vexillology* n.A: the art of annoying people. B: the study of ags. C: a branch of meteorology. D: a military science.
*Give yourself an extra 5 ratings points if you know this one!

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . nationalism [C] Patriotism; loyalty to ones own nation; as, The rally in Washington was imbued with the spirit of nationalism.

9. despotic [D] Tyrannical; oppressive; as, Many Third World governments are despotic. From the Greek despotes (master).

2. unilateralist [A] Someone who


acts alone or on behalf of only one side, party or nation; as, Recent newspaper accounts have described President Bush as a unilateralist.

10. casus belli [A] An event that


triggers or justies a declaration of war; as, Pearl Harbor was a casus belli.

11 . sanctions [C] Punitive measures


usually taken by several nations together, designed to put pressure on another country; also, approvals. Latin sancto.

3. preempt [A] To claim; forestall


by acting rst. From preemption, based on Latin praeemere (buy beforehand).

4. stateless [B] Lacking a nationality; as, Those who seek political asylum are sometimes stateless. From Latin status.

12. consensus [C] Collective opinion or judgment; as, It was the consensus we should act now. Latin consentire.

5. civitas [A] Body of people constituting a politically organized community; as, Flags visually represent the civitas of a nation. Latin.

13. accord [B] Diplomatic agreement without the binding force of a treaty; as, The Camp David accords were meant to be a framework for peace in the Middle East.

6. mandate [D] Authorization to


act, given to a representative by the electorate; any authoritative order or command. From Latin mandare (give as commission).

14. onus [D] Obligation or task, especially a difcult one; as, The onus of peacekeeping around the world has often fallen to Americans. Latin (load, burden).

7. enfranchise [C] To grant or


admit to citizenship; to set free; as, Liberation movements seek to enfranchise the citizenry. From Middle French enfranchir (to free).

15. vexillology [B] Study of ags; as,


Someone with no background in vexillology may confuse the Irish and Italian ags. Latin vexill(um).

8. appeasement [B] Yielding to


often unreasonable demands; pacication; as, Allowing a dictator free rein is appeasement of the worst sort. Middle English apesen.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-11 Good 12-13 Excellent 14-15 Exceptional

10

LAW ENFORCEMENT WORDS


Back in a simpler time, the only cop lingo you had to know was Book em, Danno. Its a lot tougher to follow the dialogue between the detectives and the DAs on Law and Order and the many other police shows that seem to dominate television these days. Here are some words to help you talk the talk. 1 . Mirandize v.A: to frisk. B: advise of legal rights. C: question. D: coerce a confession from. 2. appellant n.someone who A: makes a plea. B: les a police report. C: falsies his name. D: recruits. 3. expedite v.A: to turn over. B: issue a warning. C: walk the beat. D: do quickly. 4. skell n.A: tainted physical evidence. B: vagrant. C: con man. D: police informant. 5. recidivism n.A: withholding information. B: racial proling. C: ngerprint analysis. D: relapse into crime. 6. arraign v.A: to postpone. B: bring before a court to answer charges. C: testify. D: award a favorable verdict. 7. backlog n.A: intentional delay. B: low-priority incident. C: unnished cases. D: cop hangout. 8. adjudicate v.A: to do paperwork. B: treat equally. C: determine. D: bribe. 9. bailiff n.A: court ofcer. B: bondsman. C: fugitive. D: judicial assistant. 10. recognizance n.A: lineup. B: disguise. C: obligation. D: increased patrols. 11 . remand v.A: to set free. B: bring to trial again. C: send back. D: handcuff. 12. bench warrant n.A: security guard. B: order to arrest. C: superior court judge. D: permission to speak. 13. perpetrator n.A: snitch. B: crime-doer. C: suspect. D: repeat offender. 14. depose v.A: to afrm under oath. B: corroborate. C: speculate. D: slouch. 15. due process n.A: just punishment. B: waiting period. C: bureaucratic red tape. D: course of laws and procedures. 16. exculpatory adj.relating to A: opening trial arguments. B: disavowal. C: criminal behavior. D: exoneration.

11

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . Mirandize [B] To advise someone being arrested of his rights, under the Miranda rule, to remain silent and have an attorney present during questioning. From the U.S. Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona.

9. bailiff [A] An ofcer, similar to a


sheriff, who keeps order in the court. Old French (porter).

10. recognizance [C] A legal obligation or bond binding a person to appear for trial. Middle English.

2. appellant [A] A person who


makes a plea for judgment from a higher authority; as, The appellant hoped a technicality would void his verdict. Latin appellare (accost).

11 . remand [C] To send a prisoner


or accused person back into custody to await trial or further investigation; as, He was remanded to the county jail while the grand jury was selected. Old French remander (to send word back).

3. expedite [D] To complete


quickly or in a timely fashion; as, Defense motions made it impossible to expedite the trial. From Latin ex- (out) and pedis (foot), meaning to free feet from fetters.

12. bench warrant [B] Order issued


by a judge or court for an arrest; as, Worried the suspect might ee, the DA requested a bench warrant.

4. skell [B] Vagrant; police term for


someone who looks like a drug user or seems down-and-out. Shortened form of skeleton.

13. perpetrator [B] A person who


commits a crime; as, A SWAT team searched the abandoned building for the perpetrator. (In cop talk, shortened to perp.)

5. recidivism [D] Relapse into a


former behavior, especially criminal activities. From Latin re- (back) and cadere (to fall).

14. depose [A] To afrm or testify


under oath, often in writing; as, The witness was deposed beforehand. Old French deposer (to put down).

6. arraign [B] To bring before a


court to hear and answer charges. Latin ad- (to) and ratio (reason).

15. due process [D] The course of


legal proceedings that protect an individuals rights and liberties; as, In democracies, citizens are entitled to due process of the law.

7. backlog [C] An accumulation of


cases that the legal system is incapable of dealing with in a timely manner; as, Busy municipal courts often have a backlog of months.

16. exculpatory [D] Relating to vindication; tending to clear from guilt. Latin ex- and culpare (to blame).

8. adjudicate [C] To determine or


judge; as, His claim will be adjudicated. Latin ad- and judicare (judge).

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

12

TRAVEL WORDS
It may be two weeks at the shore, or perhaps a grand tour of Europe, or something as simple as a long weekend with the grandparents. Whatever we choose, most of us sure love our vacations. Before you hit the road or y the friendly skies, take our quiz of words you might need on holiday. 1 . agoraphobia n.fear of A: ying. B: getting lost. C: public places. D: furry animals. 2. cay (key) n.A: passageway. B: reef. C: monetary unit. D: valley. 3. amenities n.A: useful features. B: formal introductions. C: taxes. D: young pickpockets. 4. halcyon adj.A: foreign. B: tiring. C: happy. D: mazelike. 5. traipse v.A: to rush. B: walk aimlessly. C: violate. D: crush. 6. red-eye n.A: complicated form. B: poorly lit room. C: bar. D: overnight ight. 7. brasserie n.A: lingerie shop. B: airplane crew. C: restaurant. D: souvenir stand. 8. queue n.A: question. B: side road. C: gate. D: waiting line. 9. concierge n.A: wine specialist. B: headwaiter. C: service representative. D: busboy. 10. baksheesh n.A: tip. B: hallucinogenic drug. C: babble. D: head covering. 11 . sultry adj.A: unhappy. B: sweltering. C: assorted. D: colorful. 12. antipodean adj.A: on foot. B: opposite. C: unhealthful. D: cleansing. 13. turista n.A: tour bus. B: illness. C: visa stamp. D: foot pain. 14. contraband n.A: money belt. B: Latin musical group. C: customs inspector. D: illegal goods. 15. tarn n.A: tall tale. B: mountain lake. C: meadow. D: runway. 16. ambiance n.A: hostility. B: temporary camp. C: atmosphere. D: medical vehicle. 17. incidentals n.A: short encounters. B: minor expenses. C: forbidden carry-ons. D: mementos. 18. estivate v.A: to change clothes. B: guess at. C: exert oneself. D: pass the summer.

13

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . agoraphobia [C] Extreme fear of


public places or crowds; as, My agoraphobia kept me housebound. Greek agora (marketplace).

11 . sultry [B] Sweltering; hot and


humid; as, sultry August days. From Middle English swelten (to swoon away).

2. cay [B] Reef or low bank of coral


or sand; as, We went snorkeling to explore the cay. Spanish cayo.

12. antipodean [B] Directly opposite, especially in reference to sides of the earth; as, The antipodean day is the day gained when crossing the International Dateline. Greek antipodes (having the feet opposite).

3. amenities [A] Useful or desirable features of a place; as, a resort with impressive amenities. Latin amoenus (pleasant).

13. turista [B] Gastrointestinal illness aficting travelers; as, A street snack gave me turista. Spanish (tourist).

4. halcyon [C] Idyllically happy;


peaceful; as, the halcyon summers on Cape Cod. From Greek alkyon (kingsher), in legend a bird that could calm the seas.

14. contraband [D] Goods that have


been imported or exported illegally. From Italian contra (against) and bando (ban).

5. traipse [B] To walk aimlessly or


wearily; wander; as, We traipsed all over town looking for an ATM. Of uncertain 16th-century origin.

15. tarn [B] Mountain lake; as, This


trail through the woods leads to the tarn. Old Norse tjrn (literally, a hole lled with water).

6. red-eye [D] Overnight ight; as,


I took the red-eye to be at work on Monday morning.

16. ambiance [C] Atmosphere; character; as, the hotels luxurious ambiance. French (surroundings).

7. brasserie [C] Informal restaurant, usually with a selection of drinks. French, from brasser (to brew).

17 . incidentals [B] Minor expenses


or items; as, Make sure you have cash for incidentals. From Latin incidere (to fall upon, happen to).

8. queue [D] Waiting line; as, a


queue that stretched for blocks. French, from Latin cauda (tail).

18. estivate [D] To pass or spend the


summer in a certain activity, especially (like some animals) in a dormant state; as, Snails estivate, but children shouldnt. From Latin aestivatus (resided during summer).

9. concierge [C] Hotel service representative who assists guests with special arrangements. French (originally, warden of a castle or prison).

10. baksheesh [A] In Egypt, a form


of tip or bribe; as, A little baksheesh might get you in the museum a lot quicker. From Persian bakhshidan (to give).

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-15 Excellent 16-18 Exceptional

14

OCEAN WORDS
When life gets too fast and crazy, nothing puts things in perspective better than standing along the oceans edge, watching the waves, listening to the gulls, feeling the sand and rocks beneath our feet. If only the words of oceanography were as calming! The Cousteau Society website (cousteau.org) helped us create this quiz by, um, deepening our ocean knowledge. 1 . atoll n.A: coral reef encircling a lagoon. B: steep cliff. C: sound of a ships bell. D: shing net. 2. tack v.A: to harvest. B: alter direction. C: drift. D: lose speed. 3. corolla n.A: reddish coral. B: undersea cave. C: tidal wave. D: ower petals. 4. littoral adj.relating to A: a shs diet. B: breathing apparatus. C: ship cargo. D: the seashore. 5. gestate v.A: to grow. B: carry during pregnancy. C: approach. D: swim in formation. 6. estuary n.A: where ocean meets river. B: deep-sea predator. C: ocean bed. D: lighthouse. 7. oe n.A: unit of tidal measure. B: type of whale. C: oating ice sheet. D: air-tank mouthpiece. 8. pelagic adj.relating to A: ancient sea creatures. B: big waves. C: the open sea. D: seaweed. 9. scuttle v.A: to oat. B: sink. C: cut precisely. D: dive. 10. frond n.A: microscopic ocean plant. B: large tidal pool. C: endangered shellsh. D: large leaf. 11 . halyard n.A: rope that raises sail. B: ships kitchen. C: anchor chain. D: veteran sailor. 12. mutate v.A: to relocate. B: turn suddenly. C: change. D: eat indiscriminately. 13. piscatory adj.relating to A: plant life. B: sh or shing. C: scuba gear. D: beach sand. 14. regenerate v.A: to add new traits. B: use twice. C: produce anew. D: eat ones own young. 15. osmosis n.A: prehistoric sh. B: how coral reproduces. C: movement of water molecules. D: steady loss of appetite. 16. kelp n.A: tiniest shark. B: dolphin sound. C: knot used by sailors. D: type of seaweed.

15

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . atoll [A] Coral island consisting


of a reef surrounding a lagoon. Who wouldnt love to chuck it all and escape to an atoll in the Pacic?

9. scuttle [B] Sink or wreck, especially by making holes. They decided to scuttle the old ship to create an articial reef.

2. tack [B] Alter direction when


sailing. If you see clouds on the horizon, its time to tack toward shorein a hurry.

10. frond [D] Large leaf, usually on a


palm or fern. On days when the heat gets unbearable, I like to fan myself with a palm frond.

3. corolla [D] Flower petals; inner


whorl of oral leaves. The corolla of each sea-grass ower was visible from the surface through the crystalclear water.

11 . halyard [A] Rope used to hoist a


sail. The captain ordered me to pull hard on the halyard as we prepared to leave the harbor for the open sea.

12. mutate [C] Change. Pollution


can cause harmless plants to mutate into toxic killers.

4. littoral [D] Relating toor growing on or neara shore, especially of the sea. What kind of strategies can we come up with to stop the further erosion of our littoral habitats?

13. piscatory [B] Relating to sh or


shing. That seafood chowder Frank whipped up last night was a piscatory delight.

5. gestate [B] Carry in the uterus


during pregnancy. Whales gestate for up to two years before giving birth.

14. regenerate [C] Produce anew.


Some experts believe our ocean shing stocks are becoming too depleted to regenerate.

6. estuary [A] A water passage


where the tide meets a river current. A Pacic salmon must pass through a coastal estuary before making its way upriver to spawn.

15. osmosis [C] Movement of water


molecules, via a membrane, from an area of low-salt concentration to one of high-salt concentration. While it may sound like a harmless process, osmosis can actually kill a freshwater sh placed in salt water.

7. oe [C] Floating ice formed in a


large sheet on the surface of a body of water. During harsh winters, the ice oes drifting south on the Hudson River can be immense.

16. kelp [D] Large brown seaweed


found in cold waters. Im used to having kelp tangled around my legs when Im swimming, not having it served to me in a salad.

8. pelagic [C] Of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea. The pelican is among the bestknown pelagic birds.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

16

SCIENCE WORDS
We created this quiz using words from the new American Heritage Science Dictionary. We took it easy tootheres nothing like a science dictionary for words as long as a sentence! Instead, we chose words that show up in everyday conversation but that arent quite common. 1 . bayou n.A: wooded area. B: narrow bay. C: rotten stump. D: marshy stream. 2. ssure n.A: crack. B: crease. C: dip. D: seam. 3. concave adj.A: curved outward. B: completely at. C: curved inward. D: linked together in a series. 4. hexagon n.A: six-sided shape. B: nine-sided shape. C: manmade ber. D: twelve-sided shape. 5. secrete v.A: to steal. B: eliminate. C: stretch out. D: produce and discharge. 6. absorption n.act of A: expanding. B: removing. C: assimilating. D: purifying. 7. proboscis n.A: microscopic creature. B: testing device. C: sound theory. D: nose. 8. inoculate v.A: to eliminate entirely. B: increase slowly. C: create as new. D: introduce for purposes of protection. 9. deciduous adj.A: shedding, as with leaves. B: inconclusive. C: divisible by units of ten. D: related to sound, as in volume. 10. tundra n.A: arid plain. B: shootlike plant leaf. C: cold, treeless area. D: extremely ammable substance. 11 . slough v.A: to separate. B: shed. C: wash. D: mix. 12 . simian adj.A: resembling a monkey. B: chemically volatile. C: polished. D: raw. 13. malleable adj.A: erroneous. B: precise. C: unable to be shaped. D: able to be shaped. 14. berm n.A: type of beaker. B: celestial body. C: narrow ledge. D: iceberg. 15. indigenous adj.A: marked by a reddish blue tint. B: native to a particular region. C: made via volcanic action. D: in a xed migratory pattern.

17

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . bayou [D] Sluggish, marshy


stream linked to a river, lake or gulf. Lets take my old boat out on the bayou.

10. tundra [C] Cold, treeless, usually


lowland area of far northern regions. Im not sure that planning a picnic out on the tundra is a good idea.

2. ssure [A] Narrow crack in a


rocks face. Clawing at the nearest ssure, I tried to pull myself up.

11 . slough [B] To shed, as with an


outer layer of skin. The kids got a kick out of watching that king cobra slough its skin.

3. concave [C] Curved inward, like


the inside of a circle or sphere. My binoculars could use new concave lenses.

12. simian [A] Resembling or characteristic of apes or monkeys. I dont know how the boss tolerates all of his scratching and other simian antics.

4. hexagon [A] A polygon with six


sides. His drawing of hexagons looks like a honeycomb.

5. secrete [D] To produce and discharge a substance. There are cells in the pancreas that secrete the hormone insulin.

13. malleable [D] Capable of being


shaped when subject to pressure. Sculpting with iron, I was surprised to nd out what a malleable substance it is when its hot.

6. absorption [C] Process by which


one substance, such as a solid, takes up or assimilates another substance, such as a liquid, through tiny pores or spaces between molecules. A paper towel will pick up that spilled milk by absorption.

14. berm [C] Narrow, man-made


shelf or ledge, typically at the top or bottom of a slope; man-made mound or wall of earth. If you must walk along the berm at the top of the dike, please be careful.

7. proboscis [D] Long snout or


trunk; nose. We stared at the elephants proboscis as it swayed to and fro.

15. indigenous [B] Native to a particular region or environment. I never thought black bears were indigenous to this area, but Ive come across three of them rooting around in my trash cans in the past year.

8. inoculate [D] To introduce a vaccine or other agent into a body to create or hike immunity to a disease. The soldiers were inoculated against typhoid.

9. deciduous [A] Shedding leaves at


the end of a growing season and regrowing them at the beginning of the next season. When fall arrives and the rakes come out, I often wish I had fewer deciduous trees in my backyard. 18

VOCABULARY RATINGS
7-9 Good 10-12 Excellent 13-15 Exceptional

WEATHER WORDS
In the days before 24-hour weather reporting, hey, there was always the window. But back then we didnt have Al Roker, esteemed forecaster and Quiz Master of RDs National Word Power Challenge. We predict youll breeze through his weather-ese. 1 . barometer n.instrument used to measure A: wind speed. B: atmospheric pressure. C: cloud cover. D: thunderstorm activity. 2. convection n.A: transport of heat and moisture. B: overheating. C: mold. D: cold snap. 3. dew point n.temperature to which air must be cooled to be A: comfortable to humans. B: saturated. C: moderately moist. D: able to form ice crystals. 4. cirrus adj.of clouds that are A: high and delicate. B: dense. C: low and thick. D: towering. 5. UV index n.indicator of A: sunburn. B: heat. C: radiation. D: cloud cover. 6. Doppler radar n.equipment to measure A: wind velocity. B: radial velocity. C: downdrafts. D: squall severity. 7. cell n.A: air current. B: weather forecasting room. C: isolated storm. D: vortex. 8. Fujita scale n.measure of A: earthquake severity. B: wind damage intensity. C: ood potential. D: tornado activity. 9. cumulus adj.of clouds with A: sharp outlines. B: wispy trails. C: blobby shapes. D: gray tops. 10. jet stream n.A: horizontal air stream. B: westerly ow. C: inuence on weather patterns. D: high-altitude winds. 11 . trough n.area of A: precipitation. B: heat. C: low atmospheric pressure. D: cold. 12. blizzard n.storm with A: wet, heavy snow. B: thunder and lightning. C: dry, driving snow. D: sleet and snow. 13. cold front n.A: transition zone. B: approaching storm. C: Arctic weather pattern. D: wind gust. 14. wind chill n.A: chance of frost. B: perceived cold. C: gusts higher than 50 m.p.h. D: storm warning. 15. meteorology n.science of A: weather. B: atmosphere. C: climate. D: informed predictions.

19

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . barometer [B] Instrument used


to measure atmospheric pressure. Low barometric pressure likely means clouds and rain. When pressure is high, air is forced closer to the ground, preventing clouds.

the fact, based on damage. A very violent tornado might be an F3 (158206 m.p.h.).

9. cumulus [A] Of clouds with


sharp outlines. They develop vertically as domes or towers and have rounded tops and horizontal bases. The top often looks like a cauliower.

2. convection [A] Transport of heat


and moisture, especially by updrafts and downdrafts in an unstable atmosphere. Thunderstorms are one form of convection.

10. jet stream [A, B, C & D] The jet


stream is a horizontal, westerly ow of air thats normally found at high altitudes. Our weather is closely related to the position and strength of the jet stream.

3. dew point [B] Temperature to


which air must be cooled to be saturated. In laymans terms, how much water is in the air compared with what it can hold. The dew point can indicate the likelihood of fog and thunderstorms.

11 . trough [C] Elongated area of low


atmospheric pressure, also known as an upper-level low. Preceded by stormy weather and colder air at the surface.

4. cirrus [A] Of clouds that are high


(16,000 feet and more), delicate and wispy.

12. blizzard [C] Storm with dry,


wind-driven snow. Commonly lots of storms are called blizzards, but technically they need to last at least 3 hours and reduce visibility to under 1 km to qualify.

5. UV index [C] Indicator of radiation, or exposure to ultraviolet rays. Its measured at noon, ranked from 0 to 15, and is highest on a clear summer day. Without sunscreen, youll burn.

13. cold front [A] Transition zone


between cold air thats advancing to replace warmer air. Also, the leading edge of a cold air mass.

6. Doppler radar [B] Equipment to


measure radial velocity (motion) toward or away from the radar. The latest high-resolution Doppler is NEXRAD. It shows where precipitation is occurring, where its going and how fast its going there.

14. wind chill [B] Perceived cold.


The difference between the actual temperature and how it feels when the wind is factored in. So if its 17 out with a 10 m.p.h. wind, it feels like 5.

7. cell [A] Air current; a single updraft, downdraft or couplet of both. Its often seen as a vertical dome, as in a towering cumulus cloud.

15. meteorology [A, B, C & D] All of


these are part of the meteorologists profession.
VOCABULARY RATINGS
8-10 Mild 11-12 Warm 13-15 Hot, Hot, Hot!

8. Fujita scale (F scale) [B] Measure of wind damage intensity from F0 to F5. It ranks wind speed after 20

GARDENING WORDS
While not everyone enjoys the work it takes to have a beautiful yard, there are few who dont appreciate beautiful flowers, soft, weed-free grass, and a bountiful garden. Savor, too, these wordsall related to gardening and plants. 1 . herbaceous adj.A: edible. B: green and leaike. C: tasty. D: vinelike. 2. leggy adj.A: invasive. B: with many roots. C: long and thin. D: covered with aphids. 3. hybrid n.A: fake. B: pure variety. C: producer. D: composite. 4. biennial n.Plant that A: takes two years to grow. B: blooms twice a year. C: has two stems. D: blossoms in pairs. 5. leach v.A: to cling to. B: add lime. C: dissolve out. D: discolor. 6. drip line n.A: watering device. B: perimeter of tree. C: erosion. D: mark left by condensation. 7. thatch n.A: dead grass. B: cluster of fruit. C: rake. D: disease. 8. loam n.A: sand. B: acid. C: alkaline deposit. D: rich soil. 9. variegated adj.A: in rows. B: having different colors. C: genetically altered. D: well watered. 10. heirloom n.A: squash. B: antique vegetable. C: trellis. D: protective netting. 11 . sucker n.A: melon. B: caterpillar. C: weed. D: unwanted shoot. 12. blanch v.A: to exclude light. B: trim. C: overwater. D: sun-dry. 13. cultivar n.A: wildower. B: gardeners tool. C: cultivated variety. D: expert gardener. 14. dieback n.Deterioration A: from the root. B: from tips. C: across a crop. D: inside fruit. 15. bolt v.A: to secure with stakes. B: produce seeds early. C: pinch back. D: grow underground. 16. humus n.A: dry dirt. B: bright color. C: organic residue. D: rock. 17. perennial n.Plant that A: lasts a year. B: owers. C: grows from bulbs. D: returns year after year. 18. deadhead v.A: to remove owers. B: pull weeds. C: stunt growth. D: squish bugs. 19. trug n.A: lawn pest. B: old root. C: basket. D: climber. 20. rhizome n.A: underground stem. B: cornstalk. C: pesticide. D: rose petal.

21

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . herbaceous [B] Green and


leaike, with soft, nonwoody tissues; as, Herbaceous plants die back to the roots at the end of the growing season. Latin herbaceus (grassy).

11 . sucker [D] Unwanted shoot from


the stem or root that draws nutrients from the ower or fruit; as, Remove suckers from staked tomato plants.

12. blanch [A] To exclude light by


covering; as, Blanch endive to make the leaves more tender. Old French blanchir (to whiten).

2. leggy [C] Long and thin; straggly;


as, Inadequate light can cause plants to grow tall and leggy.

3. hybrid [D] Composite of two different species or varieties, especially when bred for a desirable trait. Latin hybrida (offspring of a tame sow and a wild boar).

13. cultivar [C] Plant variety that


has been produced and maintained by cultivation, rather than grown in the wild.

14. dieback [B] Deterioration from


the tips of branches or shoots caused by disease or pests, leading to the death of the plant.

4. biennial [A] A plant that takes


two years to complete its growth cycle; as, Flowering biennials usually bloom in the second season.

15. bolt [B] To produce seeds prematurely; as, Lettuce tends to bolt in midsummer heat. Old English (arrow).

5. leach [C] To dissolve out; as,


Heavy rains have leached minerals from the soil. Old English leccan (to water).

16. humus [C] Organic residue in


soil; as, Topsoil is rich in humus. Latin (earth, ground).

6. drip line [B] Perimeter of a tree


where water drips from overhanging leaves; as, Fertilize a tree along the drip line.

17 . perennial [D] Plant that grows


back year after year for three seasons or more. Latin perennis (through the year).

7. thatch [A] Buildup of dead grass


between soil and lawn; as, Remove thatch so nutrients can reach the soil. Old English theccan (to cover).

18. deadhead [A] To remove faded


or dead owers; as, Deadhead plants to encourage further blooming.

8. loam [D] Rich, balanced, fertile


soil; as, Loam holds moisture well. Middle English lam (clay).

19. trug [C] Basket made of wood


strips for carrying owers or vegetables. British, of uncertain origin.

9. variegated [B] Having streaks or


spots of different colors; as, variegated ivy.

20. rhizome [A] Underground, horizontal stem that produces shoots and roots; as, Most common irises grow from rhizomes. Greek rhiza (root).
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-14 Good 15-17 Excellent 18-20 Exceptional

10. heirloom [B] Vegetable variety


from the 19th century, preserved by the passing of seeds from one generation to the next; as, Heirlooms are known for their robust avor. 22

BIRD WORDS
We listen to their songs, watch them soar, and marvel at their lives, but only a small percentage of us know many details about birds. Thats changing, thoughbackyard bird watching is one of Americas fastest-growing hobbies. These words will help your knowledge of birds take ight. 1 . plumage n.A: downward swoop. B: feathers. C: dense forest. D: edible seeds. 2. forage v.A: to move forward. B: y in circles. C: search for food. D: destroy crops. 3. edgling n.A: distinctive marking. B: tightened claw. C: hawk trainer. D: young bird. 4. granivorous adj.feeding A: on greens. B: rarely. C: on grains. D: in ocks. 5. clutch n.A: nest of eggs. B: spot for bird-watching. C: trained hawk. D: eld mouse. 6. aquiline adj.related to A: waterfowl. B: eagles. C: small birds. D: tropical breeds. 7. carrion n.A: type of buzzard. B: decaying esh. C: mud nest. D: bird-watching tool. 8. molt v.A: to shed. B: build a nest. C: migrate to the south. D: migrate to the north. 9. keratin n.A: birds eye. B: type of egret. C: substance in a birds bill. D: kind of enclosure. 10. chaparral n.A: shrubby habitat. B: windstorm. C: desert environment. D: marsh. 11 . frugivorous adj.feeding A: on small mammals. B: frequently. C: on fruit. D: on sh. 12. predation n.act of A: nesting. B: migration. C: plundering. D: reproduction. 13. savanna n.A: stream. B: migratory pattern. C: group of swans. D: grassland. 14. diurnal adj.A: eating twice daily. B: active during daytime. C: in constant motion. D: prone to sleeping for long periods of time. 15. taxonomy n.A: preservation of an animal group. B: studying and tracking of species. C: classication of organisms. D: stuffing of animals. 16. crest n.A: breast markings. B: perch. C: tail feather. D: tuft.

23

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . plumage [B] Feathers. You can


always tell the cardinal by its distinctive red plumage.

10. chaparral [A] Habitat composed


of shrubby plants adapted to dry summers and moist winters. As cities along Californias coast grow, chaparral is disappearing and some birds are struggling to survive.

2. forage [C] To wander in search


of food. Birds that dont y south for the winter must forage intensely once the snow comes.

11 . frugivorous [C] Feeding on fruit.


I put some apple slices in the feeder for the frugivorous birds.

3. edgling [D] Young bird; immature, inexperienced person. We were so happy to see the edgling make his way back to the nest.

12. predation [C] Act of plundering


or preying. There are few displays of predation as dramatic as a peregrine falcon swooping in for the kill.

4. granivorous [C] Feeding on


grains or seeds. Would a granivorous bird like a handful of Cheerios?

5. clutch [A] Nest of eggs; bunch or


group. My sons class was surprised to come across a clutch of robins eggs during their nature walk today.

13. savanna [D] Mixture of grasslands and scattered trees. You can expect to see nches living in savannas throughout the world.

6. aquiline [B] Of, relating to, resembling an eagle; curving like an eagles beak. From this angle, she appears to have an extremely aquiline prole.

14. diurnal [B] Active chiey in the


daytime; recurring daily. She wakes up each morning to sounds of the diurnal birds in her backyard trees.

15. taxonomy [C] Classication, esp.


orderly classication of plants and animals according to their natural relationships. If you studied taxonomy, youd know that blackbirds and orioles are closely related.

7. carrion [B] Dead, decaying esh.


Id rather not wind up as carrion for the buzzards.

8. molt [A] To shed, as with feathers, hair, shell, horns; to cast off. I am guessing that the bird will molt when it gets a bit older.

16. crest [D] Tuft on the head of a


bird or other animal; something suggesting an upper edge or limit. That kingsher has a particularly shaggy crest, dont you think?

9. keratin [C] Fibrous protein that


serves as the outer layer of a birds bill. Beneath the keratin cover, the parrots beak has a bony frame.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

24

FINANCE WORDS
Many people only focus on their nancial condition around tax time. Still, you can dazzle your accountant with your command of high-nance jargon by learning these words of nance. Then drone on about your investment savvy until his eyes glaze over. Hell be putty in your hands. 1 . zombie n.A: inept stockbroker. B: insolvent company. C: littletraded security. D: write-off. 2. default v.A: to fail to pay on time. B: foreclose. C: engage in short-selling. D: forgive a loan. 3. insider n.a person who A: reports illegal practices. B: has privileged information. C: predicts market changes. D: gossips. 4. teenie n.A: penny stock. B: undervalued fund. C: inexperienced trader. D: 1/16 of a point. 5. duciary n.one who A: holds assets for another. B: gives nancial advice. C: keeps stocks long-term. D: offers credit. 6. contrarian adj.an investment style that is A: deceptive. B: not protable. C: cautious. D: against market trends. 7. prospectus n.A: positive outlook. B: banking agreement. C: prot-and-loss statement. D: formal business document. 8. syndicate n.A: nancial consortium. B: banking agreement. C: oil cartel. D: underwriter. 9. bellwether n.A: omen of a bear market. B: name of the opening bell on the NYSE. C: indicator of trends. D: blue-chip stock. 10. annuity n.A: canceled loan. B: investment instrument. C: insurance policy. D: secret partner. 11 . hedge v.to invest in order to A: reduce risk. B: exclude certain industries. C: seem contrarian. D: support green causes. 12. shelter v.A: to launder money. B: reduce taxes. C: trick investors. D: protect assets. 13. arbitrage n.A: portfolio diversication. B: earnings projection. C: illegal trading. D: simultaneous buying and selling. 14. margin n.A: use of borrowed funds to buy securities. B: prot. C: difference between opening/ closing price. D: loss. 15. OTC adj.of A: small transactions. B: unlisted stocks. C: P/E ratios. D: brokers licenses.

25

WORD POWER

F AV O R I T E S U B J E C T S

ANSWERS

1 . zombie [B] Insolvent company


that is still doing business. You know ... the living dead. Zombies are an unwise investment.

9. bellwether [C] A leading indicator of trends. A bellwether stock can help traders gauge the direction of the market.

2. default [A] Fail to pay interest or


principal when due. The IRS takes a dim view of taxpayers who default.

10. annuity [B] In its xed form, its


an investment instrument that makes predetermined payments over a specic time period. A variable annuity has a minimum guarantee, but payments uctuate.

3. insider [B] A person who has


privileged, nonpublic information about a company. Corporate directors and ofcers are insiders.

11 . hedge [A] Invest to reduce the


risk of adverse changes in the price of an asset. Investors often hedge when theyre unsure where the markets going.

4. teenie [D] A measure of value (in


the stock market) representing 1/16 (.0625) of a point. The difference between the opening and closing price of a stock is often just a teenie.

12. shelter [B] Reduce taxes by


choosing investments offering favorable tax treatment. The IRS closely watches those who shelter their income.

5. duciary [A] A person or institution legally authorized to hold assets in trust for another and to manage them for the others benet.

6. contrarian [D] An investment


style that bucks market trends and popular opinion. David Denbys book American Sucker is a tale of contrarian investing.

13. arbitrage [D] Simultaneous sale


and purchase of a security or commodity to prot from a price differential, often on different exchanges.

14. margin [A] Use of borrowed


money to purchase securities. In a margin account, the stocks you own are collateral for the loan. You could be forced to sell them if the market fell and you got a margin call.

7. prospectus [D] A formal business document with legal standing, laying out a companys capitalization, sales projections and the like. Investors should study a prospectus before putting money into an IPO.

8. syndicate [A] Consortium of


bankers, insurers and others who temporarily work together on, say, an underwriting to spread the risk.

15. OTC [B] Of stocks unlisted on an


exchange (over-the-counter). The NASDAQ is an OTC marketplace.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-11 Good 12-13 Excellent 14-15 Exceptional

26

ROOTS AND BRANCHES

WORDS WITH INTERESTING ORIGINS


Ever wonder how words are born? If so, check out Word Histories and Mysteries (American Heritage Dictionaries). This book probes the roots of dozens of words we toss around every day. We tossed 16 of them into this quiz. 1 . bumpkin n.A: loudmouthed pest. B: unsophisticated person. C: poor relative. D: country road. 2. chortle v.A: to jostle. B: resist strenuously. C: snort like a horse. D: chuckle. 3. kiosk n.A: vendors small structure. B: open-air theater. C: Russian pastry. D: wooden barrel. 4. libuster v.A: to cut patterns into. B: add to. C: delay so as to prevent action. D: punch softly. 5. dervish n.A: tiny African rodent. B: root vegetable. C: one who dances wildly. D: layer of skin. 6. hobnob v.A: to avoid. B: approach warily. C: associate familiarly. D: stomp. 7. ilk n.A: sort or kind. B: Asian fabric. C: type of hardwood tree. D: opposite. 8. dirge n.A: sharp edge. B: song of grief. C: balloon-style airship. D: uncontrolled anger. 9. pariah n.A: talking bird. B: outcast. C: tropical fruit. D: manner of speaking. 10. winsome adj.A: victorious. B: cheerful. C: thoughtful. D: annoying. 11 . caprice n.A: large beetle. B: ankle-length garment. C: leap. D: impulsive notion. 12. pander v.A: to cater to others weaknesses. B: praise. C: offer solutions. D: seek help from. 13. hermetic adj.A: wandering. B. lonely, exiled. C: airtight, impervious. D: analytical. 14. lucre n.A: money. B: good fortune. C: clear in thought. D: lack of conviction. 15. internecine adj.A: marked by collaboration. B: endless. C: mutually destructive. D: infrequent. 16. zither n.A: highest point. B: owering shrub. C: arrow holder. D: stringed instrument.

27

WORD POWER

ROOTS A N D B RA N C H ES

ANSWERS

1 . bumpkin [B] Awkward, unsophisticated person.[Probably fr. Middle Dutch bommekijn, little barrel, or Flemish boomken, shrub.] What sort of bumpkin eats with his hands?

9. pariah [B] Outcast.[Fr. Tamil


paraiyan, drummer from lower class or caste.] The group may treat a new member like a pariah.

10. winsome [B] Generally pleasing;


cheerful.[Fr. Old English wynn, joy.] Your winsome expression tells me youre happy to see me.

2. chortle [D] To laugh or chuckle,


esp. in satisfaction.[Coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass, 1872.] Having aced the midterm, he chortled at the teacher.

11 . caprice [D] Impulsive notion.[Fr.


Italian capriccio, state of fright in which ones hairs stand up like those of a hedgehog.] Jetting off to Spain is the kind of caprice hes known for.

3. kiosk [A] Small structure with


one or more open sides, used for selling goods, services.[Fr. Turkish ksk, pavilion.] I get my gum at the kiosk near the bus stop.

12. pander [A] To cater to others


weaknesses.[Derived fr. Pandare in Chaucers Troilus and Criseyde, gobetween in sexual intrigues, procurer.] Dont pander to the voters.

4. libuster [C] Delay so as to prevent action, esp. in a legislative body.[Fr. Dutch vrijbuiter, freebooter, via Spanish libustero.] Dont try to libuster your way out of doing your chores.

13. hermetic [C] Airtight; impervious.[Fr. New Latin hermeticus, pertaining to alchemy, for Hermes, Greek god of alchemy.] My container has a hermetic seal.

5. dervish [C] Member of Muslim


order known to move as though entering a trance; one who dances with the same abandon.[Fr. Persian darvesh, religious mendicant.] She moved like a whirling dervish.

14. lucre [A] Money; prot.[Fr. Latin


lucrum, monetary gain.] Lets split the lucre from our lemonade stand.

6. hobnob [C] To associate familiarly; drink together.[Fr. Middle English hab or nab, give or take.] Its time to hobnob with the bosses.

15. internecine [C] Mutually destructive.[Fr. Latin internecinus, murderous.] The clash between the seniors and freshmen is the worst internecine dispute this school has seen.

7. ilk [A] Sort or kind.[Fr. Old English ilca, same.] Im afraid I dont like to read books of that ilk.

16. zither [D] Stringed


instrument.[Fr. Latin cithara.] Hes a pretty good guitar player, but Im not sure hes ever tried his hand at the zither.

8. dirge [B] Song or hymn of


grief.[Fr. Latin dirige, direct.] The sadness of the funeral dirge haunts me.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

28

WORDS FROM ANCIENT GREECE


Thanks to their rotating summer and winter schedules, we are never more than two years away from the next Olympics. Which means its always a good time to tackle words with roots in ancient Greece. Consider this quiz something of a vocabulary odysseyand let the games begin. 1 . cacophony n.A: false statement. B: sweet chocolate cake. C: ancient casket. D: harsh sound. 2. oenophile n.A: food lover. B: wine lover. C: wine hater. D: purple ower. 3. spartan adj.A: vast. B: lacking in luxury. C: combative. D: of a checked or plaid design. 4. synthesize v.A: to make from plastic. B: grow. C: combine. D: develop a theory. 5. calisthenics n.A: rubbing of rough skin. B: tong-like tool. C: form of exercise. D: changes. 6. calliope n.A: disaster. B: precise handwriting. C: organ-like instrument. D: unwelcome guest. 7. asphyxiate v.A: to clean skin. B: help breathe. C: become obsessed with. D: deny breath. 8. Arcadian adj.A: pastoral. B: birdlike. C: related to coinoperated games. D: dark green. 9. tautological adj.A: redundant. B: tight. C: illogical. D: relating to ships and sea. 10. panorama n.A: movie screen. B: all-night diner. C: arid plain. D: unobstructed view in all directions. 11 . paradigm n.A: clear example. B: brief drumroll. C: best of its kind. D: set of two coins. 12. demagogue v.A: to lead by emotional appeal. B: show. C: discuss politics. D: explain in shorthand. 13. onomatopoeic adj.related to A: words that sound like what they mean. B: dry atmosphere. C: nomadic people. D: free-verse poetry. 14. ethos n.A: upper regions of space. B: sympathy. C: guiding beliefs. D: shame. 15. euphoric adj.A: harmonious. B: elated. C: rural. D: inherited. 16. synchronize v.A: to x. B: turn repeatedly. C: share. D: make happen at the same time.

29

WORD POWER

ROOTS A N D B RA N C H ES

ANSWERS

1 . cacophony [D] Harsh or discordant sound. How am I supposed to get to sleep with that constant cacophony coming from upstairs?

9. tautological [A] Redundant;


containing needless repetition. The giant was big is a tautological statement, to say the least.

2. oenophile [B] Lover or connoisseur of wine. Youre known as such an oenophile that Id rather let you pick the wine.

10. panorama [D] Unobstructed or


complete view of an area in every direction. You cant beat the panorama from the top of the Empire State Building.

3. spartan [B] Marked by simplicity, or avoidance of luxury. Im ditching all my electronic devices and living a more spartan lifestyle.

11 . paradigm [A] Example, especially an outstandingly clear or typical one. For a literary paradigm in the area of obsession, see Captain Ahab in Moby Dick.

4. synthesize [C] To combine parts


to form a whole. Try to synthesize your skills into an exciting new career.

12. demagogue [A] To lead by using


emotional appeals and popular prejudices. Why is he trying to demagogue his way to victory if he knows its wrong?

5. calisthenics [C] Systematic,


rhythmic bodily exercises. Lets do calisthenics every day before lunch to try to improve the childrens tness.

13. onomatopoeic [A] Related to the


use of words whose sound suggest their sense. Terms like buzz and hiss give her poetry an onomatopoeic quality.

6. calliope [C] Keyboard instrument resembling an organ, consisting of whistles sounded by steam or compressed air. The carousel slowed to a stop, but the calliope played on.

14. ethos [C] Distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature or guiding beliefs. The idea of cheating in any way offends my personal ethos.

7. asphyxiate [D] To cause a lack


of oxygen in the body, usually by interruption of breathing. I know you didnt ask my opinion, but I think you should loosen that tie before you asphyxiate yourself.

15. euphoric [B] Elated. The euphoric smile on my face is there because I just found out Im getting a raise.

8. Arcadian [A] Idyllically pastoral,


innocent or simple. Taking in the Arcadian view from the farmhouse porch, I decided I needed more time off before returning to the city.

16. synchronize [D] Make happen or


exist at precisely the same time. Lets synchronize our departures so we both get to the stadium at 6:30.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
9-10 Bronze 11-13 Silver 14-16 Gold

30

WORDS FROM GAELIC


Slinte is tinte! (slawn-chuh iss tawn-chuh!) Thats an Irish toast to your health and wealth. That might be a new expression for you, but youll likely be surprised by the number of words that made their way into English from Gaelic, the parent language of Irish and Scots Gaelic. Here are 17 good ones. 1 . keen v.A: to sail. B: shout. C: giggle. D: wail. 2. smidgen n.A: smear of mud or dirt. B: short person. C: small amount. D: tiny dove. 3. bard n.one who A: is excluded. B: is angry. C: rides horses. D: writes poetry. 4. cairn n.A: alligator. B: collection of stones. C: spinning wheel. D: statue. 5. smithereens n.A: deep valleys. B: particles of dirt. C: silver pitchers. D: small pieces. 6. glom v.A: to grab. B: boast. C: indulge. D: depress. 7. galore adv.A: in excess. B: in an awkward manner. C: in plentiful amounts. D: in an elegant way. 8. dour adj.A: sullen. B: brave. C: tart. D: penniless. 9. reel v.A: to capsize. B: sway. C: catch. D: sympathize. 10. blather v.A: to annoy. B: wash. C: stutter. D: talk foolishly. 11 . brogue n.A: dishonest person. B: shoe. C: elaborate needlework. D: foreign language. 12. dun adj.A: grayish brown. B: boring. C: uneducated. D: morose. 13. kibosh n.A: bad advice. B: magic spell. C: nonsense. D: smoked sausage. 14. slew n.A: large number. B: hunters kill. C: horse-drawn carriage. D: chimney air duct. 15. glean v.A: to garden. B: polish to a bright shine. C: scowl. D: gather. 16. hooligan n.A: thug. B: tin whistle player. C: commotion. D: street gang. 17. slogan n.A: long walk. B: untidy person. C: distinctive phrase. D: rhyming song.

31

WORD POWER

ROOTS A N D B RA N C H ES

ANSWERS

1 . keen [D] To wail in lament for


the dead; as, While the bagpipes played, the keening widow was led from the church. As an adjective, keen means acute or piercing. From the Irish caoine (lament).

11 . brogue [B] Sturdy shoe (and


originally a peasants heavy shoe); also, strong Irish accent in the pronunciation of English. Irish brg (shoe).

12. dun [A] A dull grayish brown.


Also, a description of a horse of that color. From Old Irish donn (dark).

2. smidgen [C] A small amount; as,


The photographer asked the girl to move a smidgen to the left. From Gaelic smidin or smitch (small amount or insignicant person).

13. kibosh [C] Nonsense; most often


used in the phrase put the kibosh on, meaning put an end to. Perhaps from Gaelic cie bis (cap of death). Kye-bosh was used in Dickenss Sketches of Boz, 1836.

3. bard [D] Once, a person who


wrote and recited epic poetry; today, an accomplished poet. From brd (poet of a certain rank).

14. slew [A] A large number or


quantity; as, A slew of people waited for the mayor-elect to arrive. From Irish sluagh (crowd or army).

4. cairn [B] A pile of stones set up


as a monument or landmark. From crn (heap, pile).

5. smithereens [D] Small pieces;


as, The mirror was broken into smithereens. From the Irish smidirn (fragment, little bits).

15. glean [D] To gather, learn, nd


out; as, The detective tried to glean clues from the crime scene. From Old Irish do-glenn (he gathers).

6. glom [A] To catch or grab; to


steal. From glam (snatch at, grab).

16. hooligan [A] A young thug or


street hoodlum. From Irish surname Houlihan or O hUallachain. An 1890s music-hall song about the rowdy Hooligan family was popular at the same time that a street gang of that name terrorized London.

7. galore [C] In plentiful amounts;


as, The victory was celebrated with food and drink galore. Irish go leor, Gaelic gu ler (enough, plenty).

8. dour [A] Sullen; gloomy; as, The


headmaster had a dour disposition. Gaelic dr (rough and rocky land), borrowed from the Latin durus (hard and severe).

17 . slogan [C] A distinctive phrase


often associated with a product or political party; as, Eisenhower campaigners wore buttons with the slogan I Like Ike. From Irish slogorne (battle cry), Gaelic sluagh ghairm (army cry; call to the multitude).

9. reel [B] To sway from a blow or


shock, often as in dizziness; as, Her mind reeled at her husbands accusation. Also, as a noun, a Celtic dance. Gaelic righil.

10. blather [D] To talk foolishly or


babble; as, He blathered on, making feeble excuses. Gaelic blether or bladar (chatter). 32
VOCABULARY RATINGS
11-13 Good 14-15 Excellent 16-17 Exceptional

WORDS THAT START WITH QU


We wanted to think up a quirky quiz, something a little queer and quixotic, and it came to us! Here are 16 words that start with qusome common, some quite challenging. But dont quit!

1 . quisling n.A: traitor. B: young goose. C: hissing sound. D: eccentric person. 2. quiddity n.A: oddness. B: nancial security. C: ne point. D: stock transaction. 3. query v.A: to dig deep. B: question. C: accuse. D: explore. 4. quidnunc n.A: falsehood. B: snow shelter. C: busybody. D: clam from Maine. 5. querulous adj.A: ornery. B: inquisitive. C: open to criticism. D: full of complaints. 6. quizzical adj.A: comical. B: stumped. C: watchful. D: full of questions. 7. quintessence n.A: uniqueness. B: credibility. C: sweetest part. D: purest form. 8. quasar n.A: celestial object. B: laser gun. C: molecule. D: ousted dictator. 9. quandary n.A: word puzzle. B: dilemma. C: English maze of hedges. D: target.

10. quiescent adj.A: psychic. B: translucent. C: inactive. D: in turmoil. 11 . quixotic adj.A: impractical. B: mesmerizing. C: sappy. D: mood-altering. 12. quell v.A: to sound off. B: surrender. C: usurp. D: suppress. 13. quibble v.A: to bicker. B: make bets. C: dget. D: play mind games. 14. quorum n.A: Senate chamber. B: medicinal substance. C: majority. D: Arabic letter. 15. quail v.A: to cry loudly. B: shiver from the cold. C: feel under the weather. D: lose heart. 16. quantum adj.A: related to astronomy. B: signicant. C: mathematical. D: giant-sized.

33

WORD POWER

ROOTS A N D B RA N C H ES

ANSWERS

1 . quisling [A] Traitor; someone


who double-crosses his country by aiding an invading enemy. After Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian politician who betrayed his country to the Nazis and became its puppet ruler.

10. quiescent [C] Inactive, at rest; as,


A winter landscape often appears quiescent. Latin, from the present participle of quiescere (to rest).

11 . quixotic [A] Impractical; foolishly


idealistic, like Don Quixote, hero of the Cervantes novel, who tries in a chivalrous but unrealistic way to rescue the oppressed and ght evil; as, Some people consider Ralph Nader to be a quixotic crusader.

2. quiddity [C] Fine point or subtle


distinction in an argument; as, The professors erudition made it difcult to grasp the quiddity of his lecture. Latin quidditas (essence of a thing).

3. query [B] To question, ask about;


as, Few people queried his absence from the ofce. Latin quaere.

12. quell [D] To suppress, silence; as,


The police were called to quell the disturbance in the neighborhood. Old English cwellan (to kill).

4. quidnunc [C] Busybody; person


eager to know the latest news and gossip; as, Our chatty barber is also the local quidnunc. Latin, literally what now?

13. quibble [A] To bicker or complain


about trivial matters; as, With all the couples quibbling, its a wonder theyre still together. From Latin quis (who) and then quibus (by what things), which gave rise to the noun form of quibble (equivocation).

5. querulous [D] Full of complaints;


given to nding fault; as, He was annoyed with all her querulous remarks. Latin queri (to complain).

14. quorum [C] A majority, in most


cases; the number of members of a group required to be present to conduct ofcial business; as, Without a quorum, the board of directors couldnt pass the resolution.

6. quizzical [A] Comical; also, puzzled. As the little girl took a bite of spinach, the quizzical look on her face made her family laugh.

7. quintessence [D] The purest


essence or form of a thing. In ancient philosophy, the fth essence was believed to compose the heavenly bodies. Latin quinta (fth) essentia (essence).

15. quail [D] To lose heart or


courage in the face of difculties or danger; as, A Doberman will not quail from an intruder. Middle Dutch quelen (suffer, be ill).

8. quasar [A] Celestial object that


emits powerful light and radio waves from beyond our galaxy. Originally an acronym coined in the 1960s from quasi-stellar object.

16. quantum [B] Signicant and sudden; as, The company experienced a quantum increase in productivity. Latin quantus (how much).

9. quandary [B] Dilemma; state of


uncertainty; as, Difcult decisions can often leave one in a quandary. Unknown origin. 34
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

WORDS THAT CONTAIN TEN


Let us honor the number ten by challenging ourselves with words that begin or end with it. Listen for the ten in everyday words: Often its shy and silent, but other times its bold, demanding your attention.

1 . tenacious adj.A: vicious. B: extremely ambitious. C: persistent. D: succulent. 2. chasten v.A: to rub raw. B: scold. C: follow closely. D: seal tightly. 3. tendentious adj.A: biased. B: risky. C: supercial. D: arrogant. 4. molten adj.A: milky. B: feathery. C: glowing. D: liqueed by heat. 5. tenor n.A: portly Italian man. B: purport. C: high point. D: wooden ute. 6. tauten v.A: to genuect. B: instruct. C: tease. D: tighten up. 7. marten n.A: cat. B: weasel. C: tropical bird. D: sh. 8. tensile adj.A: stretchable. B: shimmery. C: slender. D: on edge. 9. tenuous adj.A: rigid. B: abrupt. C: plentiful. D: imsy.

10. christen v.A: to name. B: induct. C: pray. D: sprinkle. 11 . tendril n.A: bird call. B: ballet move. C: threadlike plant organ. D: hat. 12. batten n.A: hood. B: strip of wood. C: wand. D: boat. 13. tenet n.A: small covering. B: Eastern philosophy. C: doctrine. D: lodger. 14. hearten v.A: palpitate. B: irk. C: endear. D: encourage. 15. tender v.A: to offer formally. B: count. C: marinate. D: massage. 16. heighten v.A: inform. B: salute. C: intensify. D: stimulate. 17. tenderfoot n.A: young boy. B: novice. C: hiker. D: horse trainer.

35

WORD POWER

ROOTS A N D B RA N C H ES

ANSWERS

1 . tenacious [C] Persistent in adhering to something valued or habitual; highly retentive; as, a tenacious memory. Latin tenax (holding fast).

9. tenuous [D] Flimsy; lacking a


sound basis; as, The judge dismissed the lawsuit because of tenuous evidence. Latin tenuitas (thinness).

2. chasten [B] Scold; punish with


the aim of correcting or improving; also, to purify; as, Reward humility, chasten pridefulness. Old French chastier.

10. christen [A] To name; dedicate;


baptize; as, The owner christened his yacht with a bottle of Dom Prignon. Old English cristen.

11 . tendril [C] Threadlike, often spiral part of a climbing plant used for support; as, Tendrils from a pumpkin covered the garden fence. Middle French tendron (a sprout).

3. tendentious [A] Biased; favoring


or promoting a point of view; as, Talk-show hosts often take a tendentious approach to topics. Latin tendentia (tendency).

12. batten [B] Board or strip of


wood used on sailboats and in construction to span joints or reinforce. Middle English batent (nished board).

4. molten [D] Liqueed by heat; as,


Molten lava from Hawaiis Kilauea volcano is a constant threat to nearby homes. From Greek meldein (to melt).

13. tenet [C] Any doctrine, principle


or opinion held as true by a group; as, the tenets of conservatism. From Latin tenere (to hold).

5. tenor [B] Purport; drift or general meaning; also, the second highest range of the male singing voice; as, The tenor of the Presidents speech was patriotic. Latin tenere (to hold).

14. hearten [D] Encourage; cheer


up; as, Your kind words heartened me. Middle English herte.

6. tauten [D] To tighten or pull


close together. Old English togian (to pull).

15. tender [A] To make an ofcial


offer; present formally for acceptance; as, to tender ones resignation.

7. marten [B] Member of the


weasel family, which lives in northern forests and is prized for its fur. Middle English martren.

16. heighten [C] Intensify; increase;


as, Musical scores helped heighten suspense in Hitchcock lms. From Old English hiehtho.

8. tensile [A] Capable of being


stretched or drawn out; as, Plastics are tested for tensile strength. Latin tensus.

17 . tenderfoot [B] Novice; raw, inexperienced person; also, newcomer to ranching or mining lands in the Old West.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-13 Good 14-15 Excellent 16-17 Exceptional

36

ADVERBS
Here we spotlight the most versatile modiers in the English language the adroit adverbs. They usually wear an -ly ending like an ID badge and stand ready and able to intensify verbs, amplify adjectives or even rev up other adverbs. 1 . jauntilyA: with jerky motion. B: in a lively manner. C: heavily. D: at an angle. 2. wantonlyA: drily. B: rudely. C: unjustiably. D: seriously. 3. contritelyA: pompously. B: in brief. C: humbly. D: at rest. 4. pusillanimouslyA: cordially. B: aggressively. C: with sarcasm. D: timidly. 5. manifestlyA: aptly. B: regularly. C: plainly. D: with skill. 6. ignominiouslyA: in a tasteful way. B: without grounds. C: foolishly. D: dishonorably. 7. unequivocallyA: cruelly. B: conclusively. C: harmlessly. D: uncomfortably. 8. meretriciouslyA: with merit. B: deceptively. C: neatly. D: joyfully. 9. obsequiouslyA: cruelly. B: in a stubborn way. C: proudly. D: like a servant. 10. profuselyA: in a stingy manner. B: without limitation. C: subtly. D: obscenely. 11 . inscrutablyA: solemnly. B: with great tenderness. C: mysteriously. D: without laughing. 12. eminentlyA: quietly. B: with modesty. C: very. D: religiously. 13. expeditiouslyA: selshly. B: with curiosity. C: in an efcient way. D: laboriously. 14. egregiouslyA: violently. B: extremely. C: superbly. D: eagerly. 15. indubitablyA: formally. B: in an awkward way. C: without question. D: easily. 16. decorouslyA: heavily. B: politely. C: warmly. D: vigorously. 17. blithelyA: sadly. B: hopelessly. C: with sly intent. D: cheerfully. 18. vicariouslyA: loudly. B: by substitute. C: with deliberation. D: daringly. 19. utterlyA: repeatedly. B: in no time. C: fully. D: supercially. 20. preposterouslyA: absurdly. B: boringly. C: humorously. D: unconventionally.

37

WORD POWER

ROOTS A N D B RA N C H ES

ANSWERS

1 . jauntily [B] In a lively manner;


lightly; as, The actor stepped jauntily onto the stage. From French gentil (noble, gentle).

11 . inscrutably [C] Mysteriously; in


an incomprehensible way; as, The judge gazed inscrutably at the jury.

12. eminently [C] Very; to a high degree; as, She is eminently qualied. Latin eminere (to stand out).

2. wantonly [C] Unjustiably; recklessly; as, They wantonly disregard my advice. Middle English wantowen (undisciplined).

13. expeditiously [C] In an efcient


way; speedily; as, We reached our destination expeditiously. Latin expedire (literally, to free the feet, as from a trap).

3. contritely [C] Humbly; with remorse and regret; as, She sighed contritely over her error. From Latin contritus (worn down).

14. egregiously [B] Extremely; in a


notorious or glaring fashion; as, His behavior was egregiously selsh. Latin egregius (preeminent).

4. pusillanimously [D] Timidly; in


a faint-hearted way; as, He left the room pusillanimously at the rst hint of discord. Latin pusillus (very small) and animus (spirit).

15. indubitably [C] Without question or doubt; as, indubitably true.

5. manifestly [C] Plainly; in a way


that is easily understood; as, a manifestly wise decision. Latin manufestus (literally, struck with the hand).

16. decorously [B] Politely; with


proper manners; as, The audience applauded decorously. Latin decor (grace, beauty).

6. ignominiously [D] Dishonorably;


with disgrace; as, to retreat ignominiously. Latin ignominia (literally, depriving of ones name).

17 . blithely [D] Cheerfully; in a


lighthearted, carefree way; as, Children blithely ignore our cautions.

7. unequivocally [B] Conclusively;


without conditions; as, I support him unequivocally. From un- (not) and Latin aequivocus (ambiguous).

18. vicariously [B] By substitute;


through the experience of another; as, vicariously thrilling. Latin vicarius (substituting).

8. meretriciously [B] Deceptively;


in an insincere or vulgar way; as, He argued meretriciously. Latin meretrix (prostitute).

19. utterly [C] Fully; to a total extent; as, The house was utterly ruined. Middle English utter (outward).

9. obsequiously [D] Like a servant;


obediently; as, The staff was obsequiously attendant to their bosss needs. Latin obsequi (to yield).

20. preposterously [A] Absurdly;


ridiculously; as, He was preposterously underdressed for the occasion. Latin praeposterus (literally, with the back part forward).

10. profusely [B] Without limitation;


extravagantly; as, She praised the policeman profusely. Latin profundere (to pour forth). 38
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-14 Good 15-17 Excellent 18-20 Exceptional

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

COMMONLY MISPRONOUNCED WORDS


What a difference one little letter (or two) makesbetween saying something correctly and putting your foot in your mouth! This quiz consists of commonly mispronounced words. The wrongbut popularway to say them is in parentheses next to the word. (And in a few cases, the wrong way is in the dictionary.) 1 . cardsharp (card shark) n. A: cheater. B: expert. C: magician. D: Japanese delicacy. 2. afdavit (affadavid) n.A: summons. B: statement. C: religious tract. D: court order. 3. lambaste (lambast) v.A: to shear wool. B: stitch. C: berate. D: saturate. 4. miniature (miniture) adj. A: shriveled up. B: microscopic. C: reduced. D: invisible. 5. liable (libel) adj.A: exible. B: dishonest. C: at fault. D: responsible. 6. orient (orientate) v.A: to remain still. B: adjust. C: look skyward. D: spin around. 7. peremptory (preemptory) adj. A: nal. B: interrupted. C: required. D: depleted. 8. barbiturate (barbituate) n. A: tonic. B: sharp object. C: sedative. D: cleaning agent. 9. dilate (dialate) v.A: stall. B: expand. C: swell. D: contract. 10. pernickety (persnickety) adj. A: spiteful. B: fussy. C: wholesome. D: greedy. 11 . tenterhooks (tenderhooks) n. Nails that hold: A. meat. B: ags. C: clothing. D: plants. 12. candidate (cannidate) n.A: opponent. B: seeker. C: revealing photo. D: apology. 13. founder (ounder) v.A: to swim poorly. B: stumble. C: discover. D: forget. 14. asterisk (asterik) n.A: danger. B: space rock. C: computer chip. D: starlike mark. 15. prerogative (perogative) n. A: opinion. B: wealth. C: privilege. D: knowledge. 16. relevant (revelant) adj.A: enlightening. B: boisterous. C: important. D: relating to. 17. excerpt (excerp) n.A: plagiarism. B: selection. C: bestseller. D: omission. 18. recur (reoccur) v.A: to agree. B: heal. C: happen. D: pester.

39

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

1 . cardsharp [A] Professional


cheater at cards; as, Saloons of the Old West were full of cardsharps.

11 . tenterhooks [C] Hooks or bent


nails on a framework that hold cloth taut for setting and drying. Often used to signify tension or suspense; as, The murder mystery kept him on tenterhooks. French tendre (to stretch).

2. afdavit [B] Written statement


given under oath; as, an afdavit submitted to the court. Latin dere (to trust).

3. lambaste [C] Berate; scold; also


beat or whip soundly; as, The mayor lambasted the crooked police chief. Of Scandinavian origin.

12. candidate [B] Seeker of ofce;


someone vying for a position or selected for an honor; as, the best candidate for the job. Latin candidus (white), a reference to the togas worn by ofce seekers in ancient Rome.

4. miniature [C] Reduced; on small


scale. Originally, small pictures in medieval manuscripts. Latin miniare (to color with red lead).

13. founder [B] Stumble; fail utterly;


to ll with water and sink as with ships; as, The project foundered. Old French fondrer (fall to the bottom).

5. liable [D] Responsible; legally


obligated; likely to suffer from; as, Manufacturers are liable for product defects. Old French lier (to bind).

14. asterisk [D] Small starlike symbol used in writing and printing as a reference mark, omission, etc. From the Greek aster (star).

6. orient [B] To adjust to ones circumstances or surroundings, especially in reference to the east. Latin oriens (sunrise).

15. prerogative [C] Privilege or


right by virtue of rank or position; as, womans prerogative to change her mind. Latin (voting rst).

7. peremptory [A] Final; leaving no


opportunity for debate or denial; as, her peremptory refusal to share custody. Latin perimere (to destroy).

16. relevant [D] Relating to the matter at hand; pertinent; as, information relevant to the case. Latin relevare (to lift up).

8. barbiturate [C] Sedative; hypnotic drug; as, Doctors may prescribe barbiturates to treat insomnia.

17 . excerpt [B] Small selection from


a book or document; as, The author discussed an excerpt of his novel. Latin excerpere (to pick out).

9. dilate [B] To expand; make


wider; as, Her eyes dilated with surprise. Latin dilatare (spread out).

10. pernickety [B] Fussy; hard to


please; meticulous; as, Editors are known to be pernickety about grammar. Scottish.

18. recur [C] To happen again; return to mind, as recurring thoughts of ones rst love. Latin recurrere (to run back).
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-15 Excellent 16-18 Exceptional

40

WONDERFUL WORD PAIRS


Some words have been together so long theyre like old married folks. Where would hunky be without dory? High and dry, thats where! In this quiz weve gathered the Fred and Gingers of our language.

1 . cut and run v.A: to dance. B: take a loss. C: depart. D: sail into the wind. 2. otsam and jetsam n.A: valuables. B: useless items. C: shing tackle. D: chemical by-products. 3. talk turkey v.A: to speak in code. B: speak candidly. C: haggle. D: mislead. 4. paper tiger n.A: weak nation. B: phony corporation. C: childs party game. D: fallen regime. 5. red herring n.A: sh from tropical waters. B: chess move. C: misleading clue. D: downand-out neighborhood. 6. yin and yang n.principles of A: harmony. B: Chinese medicine. C: physics. D conict resolution. 7. mumbo jumbo n.A: babble. B: seafood stew. C: excuses. D. spice mixture. 8. hammer and tongs adv.A: with proper training. B: noisily. C: willy-nilly. D: vigorously.

9. hue and cry n.A: complaints. B: struggle. C: regrets. D: public clamor. 10. dark horse n.A: long shot. B: outsider. C: guarded secret. D: Independent party candidate. 11 . nip and tuck adj.A: closely contested. B: aesthetically superior. C: stylishly dressed. D: tipsy. 12. lions share n.A: stolen goods. B: the best portion. C: surplus. D: controlling interest. 13. hem and haw v.A: to sew. B: dawdle. C: delay. D: hesitate. 14. cloud nine n.A: grave circumstance. B: freedom. C: purgatory. D: state of exaltation. 15. sticky wicket n.A: scandal. B: lewd remark. C: awkward situation. D: opponent.

41

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

1 . cut and run [C] Depart; leave


hastily; as, Hosts dont like guests who cut and run. From the days when ships had ropes of hemp. To leave a mooring quickly, a sailor could cut the vessels anchor rope.

felons were obliged to shout or cry out if they spotted the culprit. Anglo-French hu et cri.

10. dark horse [A] Long shot; an almost unknown contestant regarded by just a few as the likely winner; as, Being a dark horse candidate, the politicians odds of media coverage were slim. A horse-racing term.

2. otsam and jetsam [B] Useless


items; odds and ends. Literally, cargo thrown overboard. Old French oter (to oat) and Latin jactare (to throw).

11 . nip and tuck [A] Closely contested; equally likely to win or lose; as, The two boys were nip and tuck in the spelling bee.

3. talk turkey [B] To speak candidly, frankly. Possibly from talks between Indians and settlers about the wild turkey supply, or from hunters mimicking bird sounds.

12. lions share [B] The biggest and


best part, or the entire thing; as, According to the will, the oldest daughter gets the lions share of the inheritance. From the Aesops fable in which the lion takes all the spoils of a hunt.

4. paper tiger [A] A country or


person appearing powerful but weak in actuality. Oriental in origin.

5. red herring [C] Misleading clue;


diversion; also, a nancial prospectus issued before an IPO. From the practice of dragging a sh across a trail to mislead fox hunting dogs.

13. hem and haw [D] To hesitate


while talking; speak noncommittally; as, He hemmed and hawed to avoid answering. Originating in the 17th century, this term echoed the sound of someone clearing his throat (as in Ahem!) and then stammering to nd the right words.

6. yin and yang [A] Principles of


harmony and balance. In Chinese philosophy, yin represents the negative, dark and feminine; yang, the positive, bright and masculine. Opposite yet complementary, their interaction inuences our destiny.

14. cloud nine [D] State of exaltation


or euphoria; as, Ive been on cloud nine since hearing the good news. Supposedly a meteorological term for the cumulonimbus cloud, which stretches vertically to great heights.

7. mumbo jumbo [A] Babble; senseless language meant to confuse; also, an incantation. From a West African word for a masked gure.

8. hammer and tongs [D] Vigorously; with great energy and determination; as, He went at the project hammer and tongs. Reecting the use of a blacksmiths main tools.

15. sticky wicket [C] Awkward situation. In cricket, a wicket is the set of sticks in the ground at which the bowler aims the ball. This area becomes sticky and difcult to play in during damp weather.
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 12-13 Excellent 14-15 Exceptional

9. hue and cry [D] Public clamor or


outcry; as, a hue and cry against the war. Historically, those in pursuit of 42

SMALL WORDS WITH BIG MEANINGS


Youve likely heard the expression Big things come in little packages. For proof, consider these puny but powerful words. Despite having just three or four letters, these words add oomph to sentences like hot sauces add spark to food. 1 . mote n.A: meaningless argument. B: deep trench. C: small speck. D: brief correspondence. 2. coy adj.A. cowardly. B: modest. C: hooded. D: crude. 3. jibe v.A: to be in harmony. B: play jazz music. C: tease relentlessly. D: cast away. 4. crux n.A: calamity. B: crosspiece on a ladder. C: construction debris. D: main point. 5. mete v.A: to whine or complain. B: introduce. C: distribute. D: act submissively. 6. faux adj.A: socially embarrassing. B: alluring. C: critically awed. D: articial. 7. opus n.A: artistic composition. B: sea animal. C: visual lens. D: ornamental border. 8. noir adj.A: bleakly pessimistic. B: tightly coiled. C: offensive. D: overly harsh. 9. tic n.A: spot of color. B: bloodsucking arachnid. C: sudden spasm. D: end of a pencil. 10. ergo conj.A. however. B: nevertheless. C: unless. D: therefore. 11 . mar v.A: to damage. B: normalize. C: meet expectations. D: vibrate or shake. 12. pall v.A: to grow cloudy. B: become tiresome. C: horrify. D: conduct an opinion survey. 13. apt adj.A: off topic. B: agile. C: oash. D: likely. 14. glib adj.A: readily uent. B: sarcastic. C: ashy. D: malicious. 15. gawk v.A: to exhale deeply. B: stare stupidly. C: talk incessantly. D: wish. 16. wry adj.A: distilled. B: twisted. C: painful. D: torn up. 17. rout n., v.A: overwhelming defeat. B: heated quarrel. C: specic course. D: xed procedure. 18. boor n.someone who is A: dull. B: shy. C: rude. D: loud.

43

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

1 . mote (rhymes with moat) [C]


Small speck or particle, especially of dust; as, Oscar was a slob and Felix despised every mote of dust.

10. ergo (ur go) [D] Therefore; as, I


think, ergo I am (Cogito ergo sum). A Latin word, most commonly found in legal and scientic documents.

2. coy (rhymes with Roy) [B] Modest; affectedly shy or reserved; as, She was coy about whether she and her boyfriend planned marriage.

11 . mar [A] Damage the attractiveness or appeal of someone or something; as, The antique armoire was marred by several deep gouges.

3. jibe [A] Be in harmony or agree;


as, Reports of the housing markets decline dont jibe with the facts.

12. pall (rhymes with fall) [B] Become tiresome; make dull or distasteful; as, The novelty of my job palled after a few weeks of commuting.

4. crux [D] Main point; heart of the


matter; as, The district attorney quickly got to the crux of his closing argument.

13. apt [D] Likely, prone; suitable for


the purpose; as, an apt remark. Also, quick to learn, bright.

5. mete (rhymes with meet) [C] Distribute; apportion by measure; as, A will metes assets to heirs.

14. glib [A] Readily uent, often insincerely so; quick with a response; as, The crowd at the town meeting found the mayors assurances too glib.

6. faux (rhymes with foe) [D] Articial; fake; as, Some people wear faux fur for ideological reasons. But a faux pas is a socially embarrassing mistake.

15. gawk (rhymes with walk)


[B] Stare stupidly; gape; as, Its hard not to gawk at celebrities you see.

7. opus (oh pis) [A] Artistic composition, usually numbered in music; literary work; as, The author labored at his 1,000-page opus for 10 years.

16. wry (rhymes with rye)


[B] Twisted or lopsided; bitingly ironic or amusing; as, a wry smile.

8. noir (nu ar) [A] Bleakly pessimistic; dark; as, Grim lms are called cinema noir. French for black.

17 . rout (rhymes with doubt)


[A] Overwhelming defeat; as, The primary was a rout for the incumbent. As a verb, to beat decisively; also, to root out or nd by searching.

9. tic [C] Sudden spasm or muscular contraction; as, Facial tics are very common.

18. boor (rhymes with poor)


[C] Rude, unmannerly person; as, Only a boor would ignore a dinner invitation.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-15 Excellent 16-18 Exceptional

44

PHRASES DRAWN FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM


Take a walk on the wild side and test your knowledge of these words and phrases that all have connections to the animal kingdom. And dont be dismayedtheir bark is worse than their bite.

1 . buffalo v.A: to push down. B: bafe. C: polish. D: chuckle. 2. dogged adj.A: tired. B: shabbylooking. C: tenacious. D: full of enthusiasm. 3. white elephant n.A: classic car. B: all-cheese pizza. C: full moon. D: burdensome possession. 4. phoenix n.A: irt. B: illusion. C: survivor. D: opponent. 5. pecking order n.A: fast-food menu. B: frivolous command. C: sneak attack. D: hierarchy. 6. feral adj.A: soft. B: catlike. C: domesticated. D: wild. 7. eat crow v.A: to challenge. B: struggle. C: admit mistake. D: bow to pressure. 8. jackal n.A: comedian. B: wild card. C: leader of the pack. D: unky. 9. lupine adj.A: stretched out. B: eccentric. C: keenly aware. D: savage.

10. duck soup n.A: confused situation. B: easy task. C: weak opponent. D: dilemma. 11 . bevy n.A: large group. B: angled surface. C: shiver. D: wellworn path. 12. loaded for bear adj.A: angry. B: burdened. C: fully prepared. D: ill-equipped. 13. greenhorn n.someone who is A: overly sensitive. B: aggressive. C: loud. D: inexperienced. 14. kangaroo court n.A: mock tribunal. B: springboard. C: long trial. D: Australian racket sport. 15. lionize v.A: treat as a celebrity. B: shame. C: honor. D: eulogize. 16. brood v.A: to conspire. B: think deeply. C: insult. D: bury. 17. ferret v.A: to search. B: hide. C: store. D: disclose.

45

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

1 . buffalo [B] To bafe; overawe;


intimidate by show of power; as, The lawyer tried to buffalo the witness. From the noun; perhaps taken from the verb cow, to frighten.

10. duck soup [B] Easy task or assignment. Unfortunately, tracing the history of the phrase is not duck soup. Its origins are unclear.

11 . bevy [A] Large group; as, a bevy


of beauties on the runway. Originally, a reference to quails closely gathered on the ground.

2. dogged [C] Stubbornly tenacious; persistent in effort; as, The detective was dogged in following leads.

12. loaded for bear [C] Fully prepared, especially for confrontation; as, He went to the meeting loaded for bear. Bear hunters took maximum powder and shot for their rearms.

3. white elephant [D] Possession


that is a burden or hard to get rid of. From tales that kings of Siam gave such animals as gifts, the upkeep of which was meant to ruin the recipients.

13. greenhorn [D] Inexperienced


person; raw recruit; novice. Originally, a young ox with new, or green, horns.

4. phoenix [C] Survivor; remarkable person. In mythology, a unique bird that lived for centuries, burned on a funeral pyre and rose from the ashes to live again.

14. kangaroo court [A] Selfappointed mock tribunal that disregards normal legal procedure. Apparently so-called because justice progresses by leaps and bounds.

5. pecking order [D] Hierarchy of


authority or status; as, the managers position in the pecking order. From behavior among birds.

15. lionize [A] Treat as a celebrity or


object of interest; as, The dinner was meant to lionize the mayor.

6. feral [D] Wild; untamed; as, Feral


cats roamed the alleys. Latin ferus.

7. eat crow [C] To admit a mistake;


accept humiliating defeat; as, If Im wrong, Ill eat crow. Thought to be based on a crow-eating incident during the War of 1812.

16. brood [B] To think deeply; dwell


on; worry; as, She brooded over her growing debts. Figurative use based on the sense of birds sitting on eggs.

8. jackal [D] Flunky; accomplice,


especially in disreputable acts. From the animal, which feeds on carrion and hunts in packs.

17 . ferret [A] To search; rummage;


as, ferret around the desk. From the use of the animal in hunting rabbits.

9. lupine [D] Savage; vicious; wolflike; as, A lupine struggle to succeed the CEO ensued. Latin lupus (wolf).
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-13 Good 14-15 Excellent 16-17 Exceptional

46

EMBELLISHMENT WORDS
Its not bad advice to avoid using a $5 word when a 50 word will do. But every now and then, a big word is just the thing to embellish your correspondence or conversation. Here are 15 to try.

1 . serendipity n.A: peace and quiet. B: luck. C: joy. D: fate. 2. twee adj.A: small. B: threesided. C: shy. D: quaint. 3. ingratiate v.A: to pay back. B: pledge servitude to. C: seek favor. D: charm. 4. panache n.A: array of bright colors. B: European hat. C: amboyance. D: originality. 5. feckless adj.A: free from imperfection. B: ineffective. C: uninhibited. D: emotional. 6. quotidian adj.A: everyday. B: verbose. C: constant. D: meek. 7. hector v.A: to browbeat. B: jeer. C: impress upon. D: support. 8. donnybrook n.A: tiny stream. B: stalemate. C: rowdy brawl. D: dapper fellow.

9. sybaritic adj.A: Web-savvy. B: achy. C: self-indulgent. D: prudent. 10. ummery n.A: water park. B: head on a beer. C: cheap motel. D: nonsense. 11 . penultimate adj.A: superbly written. B: conclusive. C: next to last. D: highest. 12. lugubrious adj.A: multitalented. B: healthy. C: tighttting. D: excessively mournful. 13. preen v.A: to praise. B: primp. C: smooth over. D: take to task. 14. puckish adj.A: overly cheerful. B: disclike. C: gullible. D: mischievous. 15. chortle v.A: to chuckle gleefully. B: tease playfully. C: walk sluggishly. D: talk incessantly.

47

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

1 . serendipity [B] Luck in nding


something accidentally; as, the serendipity of getting the rst job you apply for. Coined by English author Horace Walpole after heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip (Sri Lanka), who make lucky discoveries.

after a Dublin, Ireland, suburb, which until 1855 hosted a fair constantly fraught with rowdiness.

9. sybaritic [C] Self-indulgent; desiring of luxury; as, For many, the 80s was a decade of sybaritic pleasures. From Sybaris, an ancient Greek city in southern Italy known for its wealth and extravagance.

2. twee [D] Dainty; quaint; affectedly clever; as, It was a twee room, the way it was decorated with pillows and doilies. British expression, from childrens pronunciation of sweet.

10. ummery [D] Nonsense; empty


compliment; also, any soft food, especially custard or gruel. Welsh llymru (soured oatmeal).

3. ingratiate [C] To seek favor by


getting into someones good graces; as, Youd be wise to ingratiate yourself with the new boss. Latin in gratiam (for the favor of).

11. penultimate [C] Next to last; as,


the penultimate position on the race track. Latin paene (almost) and ultimus (last).

12. lugubrious [D] Mournful or very


sad, especially to the point of being ridiculous; as, Their lugubrious conversation seemed out of place at the party. Latin lugere (to mourn).

4. panache [C] Flamboyance; grand


manner; also, a plume of feathers or tassels on a helmet; as, Liberace dressed with panache. Latin pinna (feather, wing).

13. preen [B] Primp; dress smartly;


also, of birds, to clean and trim feathers with the beak. Middle English preonen (to prick with a pin).

5. feckless [B] Ineffective; incompetent; having no sense of responsibility; as, His feckless attempts to x the roof showed his lack of interest. Of Scottish origin, from combination of effect and less.

14. puckish [D] Full of mischief;


impish; as, I wont tolerate any more of your puckish behavior! In English folklore, Puck is a troublemaking sprite. Middle English puke (devil).

6. quotidian [A] Everyday; recurring daily; as, Stockbrokers are eager for their quotidian market reports. Latin cottidi.

15. chortle [A] To chuckle or snort


gleefully; as, The comedian was a hit, drawing many chortles from the crowd. Coined by English writer Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass, probably a combination of chuckle and snort.
VOCABULARY RATINGS
9-11 Good 12-13 Excellent 14-15 Exceptional

7. hector [A] To browbeat; bully;


harass. Name of the Trojan War hero, later slain by the Greek warrior Achilles to avenge the death of his friend Patroclus.

8. donnybrook [C] Brawl; free-forall; as, An argument can sometimes escalate into a donnybrook. Named 48

HIP KID WORDS


Do you have one-way conversations with teenagers because you have no idea what theyre saying? This quiz will give you the dope (info) on how to talk their dope (cool) talk. Yo!

1 . down adj.A: in agreement with. B: type of jacket Santa wears. C: furry. D: attractive. 2. hooptie n.A: motorized sleigh. B: merriment. C: old car. D: annual tradition. 3. tight adj.A: fantastic. B: uncomfortable. C: grumpy. D: cheap. 4. whatevs interj.A: dont worry, be happy. B: no comment. C: I see. D: who cares? 5. jet v.A: to go sledding. B: use Jet Skis. C: leave in a hurry. D: drive fast. 6. wack adj.A: difcult. B: weird or strange. C: extremely tired. D: overly excited. 7. chill v.A: to be unfriendly. B: become angry. C: stiffen. D: relax. 8. bling-bling n.A: a twinkling star. B: expensive item. C: champagne cocktail. D: hand signal.

9. my bad n.A: my bad self. B: my mistake. C: my generation. D: my problem. 10. crib n.A: furniture for a manger. B: residence. C: dead end. D: childish person. 11 . player n.a person who A: dates many at once. B: follows trends. C: goes to clubs. D: enjoys board games. 12. yo interj.A: ouch. B: hey. C: part of a secret message. D: ugh. 13. dis v.A: to gossip. B: challenge. C: struggle. D: insult. 14. peace out salutationA: happy birthday. B: see you later. C: traditional greeting at church services. D: check it out. 15. homey n.A: rustic person. B: close friend. C: feel of your house. D: singer. 16. phat adj.A: well put-together. B: irtatious. C: condition after Thanksgiving dinner. D: energetic.

49

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

1 . down [A] In agreement with;


willing; as, Im down for a road trip to Florida at spring break.

10. crib [B] A house, apartment or


any kind of residence; as, Come on over to my crib and well watch the game. In Victorian times, it was slang for ones lodgings.

2. hooptie [C] Old car thats in bad


shape; as, It may be a hooptie, but its better than nothing at all.

11 . player [A] A person who dates


many people at the same time; as, Toms such a player. He has a different girl every weekend. Also spelled playa.

3. tight [A] Fantastic; cool; interesting; as, Have you heard the new CD from Dido? It is totally tight!

4. whatevs [B] No comment; short


for whatever. Adolescent equivalent of what will be, will be. Also, whatev.

12. yo [B] Hey or hello; an attentiongetter; as, Yo, Jeremy, you coming? Can be doubled as a greeting; as, Yo, yo, Mike, whats up? Can be substituted for a name; as, Lets get some dinner, yo.

5. jet [C] Leave in a hurry; as, Id


better jet or the rents (parents) will be all bent out of shape.

6. wack [B] Weird or strange; unfair or unacceptable; as, Youre breaking up with me? Thats wack. Also wacked.

13. dis [D] To insult, dishonor or disrespect; as, My brother said hed be there, but he dissed us and never showed up.

7. chill [D] To relax or calm down;


often used with out; as, Lets just chill at my house tonight; or, Getting that C is no big deal. You need to chill out.

14. peace out [B] See you later;


goodbye; as, Gotta go to dinner. Peace out for now. Perhaps a combination of Peace, man and Over and out.

8. bling-bling [B] Something expensive; often jewelry, especially diamonds; also can be an adjective meaning ashy; as, His girlfriend is all about the bling-bling.

15. homey [B] A close friend; as, Im


going skiing with my homeys next month. Also spelled homie. Probably derived from term homeboy, a person from ones hometown or neighborhood.

9. my bad [B] My mistake or fault;


Its my bad that we havent nished shopping yet.

16. phat [A] Well put-together; excellent; great; as, That song has a really phat bass line.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

50

RECENT ADDITIONS TO THE DICTIONARY


Has your vocabulary grown old and tired? Our changing world and shifting interests have added hundreds of new words and meanings to the English language in just the last two decades. Try some of these newbies!

1 . bork v.A: to hit. B: jump over. C: attack. D: fasten. 2. netizen n.A: career counselor. B: Internet user. C: resident. D: weaver. 3. cocooning n.the practice of A: staying at home. B: oversleeping. C: knitting. D: making silk. 4. tree hugger n.A: South American frog. B. environmentalist. C: many-winged insect. D: arborists tool. 5. codependent adj.pertaining to A: relationships. B: intimidation. C: lawsuits. D: having children. 6. karaoke n.A: canoe. B: martial arts. C: singing. D: nightclub. 7. nutraceutical n.A: supplemented food. B: healthy seed. C: pharmacy. D: vitamin. 8. digerati n.people who know about A: math. B: soil. C: electronic hookups. D: computers.

9. fashionista n.someone who is A: clothing-savvy. B: a designer. C: a right-winger. D: intriguing. 10. wannabe n.one who A: takes identities. B: has aspirations. C: studies kangaroos. D: is angry. 11 . ecotourism n.traveling A: very cheaply. B: around the equator. C: to natural lands. D: in teams. 12. prioritize v.A: to organize. B: send early. C: join a monastery. D: boast. 13. pathography n.A: study of tropical diseases. B: sports medicine. C. biography. D: X rays. 14. agita n.A: fright. B: anxiety C: restlessness. D: harmony. 15. channel v.A: to inuence. B: dig. C: listen. D: get across.

51

WORD POWER

FUN WITH LANGUAGE

ANSWERS

9. fashionista [A] Someone who is


savvy about fashion trends, is stylish or works in the industry. From fashion and the Italian -ista.

1 . bork [C] To attack someone, especially in the media. From Judge Robert Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked by negative information.

10. wannabe [B] One who aspires,


often vainly, to emulate or attain the success and prominence of another person. Derivative of I wanna be.

2. netizen [B] A person who uses


the Internet. A combination of Net and citizen.

11 . ecotourism [C] Traveling to natural, unspoiled areas; as, Ecotourism has raised awareness of the fragility of rain forests.

3. cocooning [A] Spending leisure


time at home, especially watching TV or using a VCR.

4. tree hugger [B] Environmentalist; campaigner for the preservation of trees and forests, who literally hugs a tree to prevent its being cut down.

12. prioritize [A] To organize according to importance; as, One key to time management is learning to prioritize.

13. pathography [C] Biography focusing on the negative elements of a subject, popularized by U.S. writer Joyce Carol Oates; also, the study of the effects of illness on a historical persons life.

5. codependent [A] Regarding


a relationship based on addiction or unhealthy dependence; as, Psychiatrists look for codependent behavior in families with problems.

6. karaoke [C] The act of singing


along to music videos from which the vocals have been eliminated. From the Japanese kara (empty) and oke (orchestra).

14. agita [B] Anxiety or agitation;


heartburn or indigestion; as, Too much stress causes agita. From Italian agitare.

15. channel [D] To get across or convey the spirit and style of someone else; as, Her outt suggested she was channeling Liza Minnelli.

7. nutraceutical [A] A food or


other substance that has been supplemented with ingredients believed to have health benets. From the combination of nutrition and pharmaceutical.

8. digerati [D] Those with knowledge about computers; as, The publisher specialized in books for the digerati. From the combination of digital and literati.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-11 Good 12-13 Excellent 14-15 Exceptional

52

B I G TA L K E R S

FOUNDING FATHER WORDS


It seems that each political election, we are bombarded with negative ads and emotionally charged debates. Some call it extreme campaigning. But there was a time we expected better from our leaders. Our rst President, George Washington, was the epitome of humility and sincerity. These words, spoken from the heart, come from his inaugural address. 1 . vicissitudes n.A: spiteful actions. B: ups and downs. C: positive feelings. D: cowardly maneuvers. 2. aver v.A: to declare. B: avoid or prevent. C: show a dislike. D: openly oppose. 3. supplication n.A: excessive amount. B: important addition. C: earnest request. D: forced ending. 4. immutable adj.A: weakened. B: biased. C: unchangeable. D: silent. 5. predilection n.A: introduction. B: prophecy. C: harmony. D: preference. 6. transcendent adj.A: always changing. B: beyond ordinary limits. C: lost or displaced. D: written out. 7. discernment n.A: an act of defeat. B: good judgment or understanding. C: distributed funds. D: debilitating anxiety. 8. presage v.A: to separate. B: get older. C: make a prediction. D: intentionally deceive. 9. rectitude n.A: mass destruction. B: anger. C: geographical measurement. D: moral virtue. 10. magnanimous adj.A: appealing. B: high-minded. C: secretive. D: in agreement. 11 . felicity n.the state of A: feeling happy. B: being lucky. C: helping others. D: earning wealth. 12. propitious adj.A: foretelling. B: overly sarcastic. C: condent. D: favorable. 13. despondence n.A: letter writing. B: depression. C: craving. D: poverty. 14. palliate v.A: to relieve. B: carefully examine. C: respect or revere. D: apologize. 15. pecuniary adj.A: referring to money. B: acting strangely. C: educated or rened. D: being a talented cook.

53

WORD POWER

B I G TA L K E R S

ANSWERS

1 . vicissitudes [B] Ups and downs;


changing conditions; as, Washington recognized the vicissitudes affecting the evolution of America. Latin vicissim (in turn) and cessim (giving away).

9. rectitude [D] Moral virtue;


rightness of principle. Latin rectitudo (straightness).

10. magnanimous [B] High-minded


or noble; as, Washington felt that a magnanimous government would help America prosper. Latin magnus (large) and animus (soul).

2. aver [A] To declare or assert in a


positive manner. Derived from Latin verus (true).

11 . felicity [A] The state of feeling


happy; as, The people of our new nation looked forward to prosperity and felicity. Latin felicitas (happy).

3. supplication [C] An earnest,


humble request; as, He made divine supplication for the success of the new nation. Latin supplex (submissive).

12. propitious [D] Favorable; as, The


propitious smiles of Heaven, Washington believed, would be awarded only to a righteous nation.

4. immutable [C] Unchangeable;


unalterable. Latin mutare (to change).

13. despondence [B] Depression of


spirits from loss of courage; as, Our rst President confessed to feeling despondence about his qualications for ofce. Latin despondere (to give up).

5. predilection [D] Preference; as,


Though he had a predilection for life as a private citizen, Washington answered his countrys call. Latin praediligere (to prefer).

6. transcendent [B] Beyond ordinary limits; surpassing. Latin transcendere (to surmount).

14. palliate [A] To relieve without


curing; to alleviate; as, Washington hoped that any error in his judgment would be palliated by his motives. Latin palliatus (cloaked).

7. discernment [B] Good judgment


and understanding; as, Washington had faith in Congresss discernment and pursuit of the public good. Latin discernere (to separate).

15. pecuniary [A] Referring to


money; as, While President, Washington stated he would renounce every pecuniary compensation.

8. presage [C] To make a prediction; as, Washington anticipated the future blessings which the past seem to presage. Latin praesagus (having a foreboding).

VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-11 Good 12-13 Excellent 14-15 Exceptional

54

ISAAC ASIMOV WORDS


In his 72 years of life, author Isaac Asimov wrote more than 500 books, making him one of the most prolic authors of our time. What is amazing is that the quality of his work often matched the quantity. His explorations of robots, outer space, and the future potential of mankind continue to spark debate more than a decade after his passing. These words are taken from some of Asimovs stories. 1 . verbatim adj.A: talkative. B: unusual. C: exceedingly green. D: word for word. 2. chirrup n.A: leather stirrup. B: cherry-avored cough syrup. C: chirp. D: warm breeze. 3. pince-nez n.A: kind of candy. B: type of eyeglasses. C: princely robe. D: crabs claw. 4. prosaic adj.A: dull. B: prehistoric. C: legal in nature. D: rhyming. 5. deduce v.A: to trim. B: form into pairs. C: infer. D: prepare for cooking. 6. forestall v.A: to lie in front of. B: hinder. C: warn. D: abandon. 7. sluice n.A: passage for water. B: strawberry-lime soft drink. C: very thin slice. D: comfort. 8. tremulous adj.A: related to an earthquake. B: gigantic. C: high-pitched. D: affected with trembling. 9. buttress v.A: to link, as a bridge. B: strengthen. C: sit up in bed. D: increase by half. 10. crystalline adj.A: breakable. B: futuristic. C: minuscule. D: sparkling. 11 . subside v.A: to sink or fall. B: exert control. C: exist on very little. D: underestimate. 12. aberration n.A: refusal to consider. B: unsoundness. C: unwavering concentration. D: constant nagging. 13. prociency n.A: offensive slang. B: motel room with hot plate. C: unusual talent. D: advancement in skill. 14. cower v.A: to intimidate. B: shrink away. C: manipulate through attery. D: call out to. 15. thrum v.A: to make a monotonous sound. B: pull toward with ones thumb. C: drag. D: unload. 16. erratic adj.A: by design. B: in sequence. C: characterized by inconsistency. D: irrelevant.

55

WORD POWER

B I G TA L K E R S

ANSWERS

1 . verbatim [D] Word for word;


being in or following the exact words. Dont blame meIm repeating Dads instructions to you verbatim.

10. crystalline [D] Sparkling; strikingly clear; resembling crystal. Gazing at the crystalline lake, I decided it was too beautiful to swim in.

11 . subside [A] Sink or fall to the


bottom; settle; also, to become quiet; diminish. Once my initial anger subsided, I began laughing at all those pancakes stuck to the wall.

2. chirrup [C] Chirp. The morning


quiet was disturbed only by the odd chirrup of a nearby robin.

3. pince-nez [B] Eyeglasses clipped


to the nose by a spring. The librarian peered at me over the lenses of his pince-nez and said, That book is two years overdue.

12. aberration [B] Unsoundness;


that which departs signicantly from the standard. Sleeping with your pillow beneath your feet would be considered something of an aberration.

4. prosaic [A] Dull, unimaginative;


also, everyday, ordinary. Unfortunately, Ill spend the weekend doing a bunch of prosaic chores.

13 . prociency [D] Quality or state


of being advanced; highly skilled. You show real prociency in the art of making the perfect pizza.

5. deduce [C] Infer from a general


principle. When my son said he hated cereal, I deduced that I needed to x a different breakfast.

14. cower [B] Shrink away or


crouch, especially from something that menaces or dismays. Horror movies always make me cower in my seat.

6. forestall [B] Exclude or hinder;


also, to obstruct; beset. I planned to forestall his leaving by asking him to shine my shoes.

15. thrum [A] To sound with a monotonous hum. Suddenly, a loud vibration began to thrum the wall I was leaning against.

7. sluice [A] Articial passage for


water tted with a valve or gate for regulating ow. Once the sluice opened, we pretty much got soaked.

16. erratic [C] Characterized by lack


of consistency, regularity or order. His erratic behavior convinced me he wouldnt be reliable in the job.

8. tremulous [D] Characterized by


or affected with trembling or tremors, such as might be caused by nervousness or shakiness. His tremulous smile told me he wasnt as relaxed as he hoped to appear.

9. buttress [B] Strengthen; support.


I think you should try to buttress your opinion with a few small facts.
VOCABULARY RATINGS
10-12 Good 13-14 Excellent 15-16 Exceptional

56

BROADWAY MUSICAL WORDS


Wouldnt life be grand if orchestras followed us around and we could break into song whenever we wanted? A little far-fetched, but its exactly what makes Broadway musicals such a wonderful and enduring American art form. We turned to the lyrics from some popular musicals for the words used here. And now, its on with the show. 1 . heinous adj.A: following behind. B: nal. C: abominable. D: unusual. 2. accrue v.A: to accentuate. B: accelerate. C: acclimate. D: accumulate. 3. iniquity n.A: wickedness. B: uneasiness. C: unhelpfulness. D: rudeness. 4. sanitorium n.A: sacred place. B: rehabilitation facility. C: hideout. D: trash-haulers garage. 5. impetuous adj.A: impatient. B: impulsively passionate. C: unable to be moved. D: immature. 6. nagle v.A: to obtain by trickery. B: adjust carefully. C: nalize. D: scrutinize. 7. beguile v.A: to restart. B: befriend. C: charm. D: leave back. 8. aunt v.A: to whip mercilessly. B: atten. C: promote above all others. D: show off. 9. palazzo n.A: open-air market. B: large building. C: castle entrance. D: enclosed terrace. 10. inquisition n.A: harsh questioning. B: excessive penalty. C: sudden acquisition. D: formal invitation. 11 . gaudy adj.A: clumsy. B: windy. C: self-centered, egotistical. D: ashy. 12. fop n.A: vain man. B: spectacular failure. C: cleaning utensil. D: rare shellsh. 13. ennui n.A: high-heeled slipper. B: excitement. C: boredom. D: lone exit. 14. ken n.A: member of the immediate family. B: range of knowledge. C: geographic surroundings. D: ancient percussion instrument. 15. equipoise n.state of A: equality. B: readiness. C: equilibrium. D: uid movement. 16. virago n.A: passenger. B: loud woman. C: sign of the zodiac. D: mirage.

57

WORD POWER

B I G TA L K E R S

ANSWERS

1 . heinous [C] Abominable; reprehensible. If she says your behavior is heinous/Kick her right in the CoriolanusBrush Up Your Shakespeare

10. inquisition [A] Harsh or severe


questioning. Id prefer a new edition of the Spanish InquisitionIm An Ordinary Man

11 . gaudy [D] Flashy; marked by extravagance. Naughty, bawdy, gaudy, sporty/Forty-Second Street42nd Street

2. accrue [D] To accumulate or be


added periodically; to come as a result of some state or action. The hobbies you pursue together/Savings you accrue togetherLittle Things

12. fop [A] Vain man; silly person.


Its fop/Finest in the shop/And we have some shepherds pie/With actual shepherd on topA Little Priest

3. iniquity [A] Wickedness; gross


injustice. In our little den of iniquity/Our arrangement is goodDen Of Iniquity

13 . ennui [C] Boredom; feeling of


weariness. When Im out on a quiet spree/Fighting vainly the old ennui I Get A Kick Out Of You

4. sanitorium [B] An institution for


resting, recuperating. Sir Charles came from a sanitorium/And yelled for drinks in my emporiumTo Keep My Love Alive

14. ken [B] Range of knowledge.


Timid and shy and scared are you/Of things beyond your ken Sixteen Going On Seventeen

5. impetuous [B] Marked by impulsive passion or force. Yet theres that upturned chin/And the grin of impetuous youthI Believe In You

15. equipoise [C] State of equilibrium. And just a minute boys/I got the feed box noise/It says the greatgrandfather was EquipoiseFugue For Tinhorns

6. nagle [A] To obtain by trickery,


indirect means. Throw em a fake and a nagle/Theyll never know youre just a bagelRazzle Dazzle

16. virago [B] Loud, overbearing woman; woman of strength. Where is Fedora, the wild virago? Where Is The Life That Late I Led?

7. beguile [C] To charm or divert;


pass time pleasantly. Im wild again/ Beguiled again/A simpering, whimpering child againBewitched

8. aunt [D] To display ostentatiously. Ven you got it, aunt it When You Got It, Flaunt It

9. palazzo [B] Large building, especially in Italy. Could still she be drinkin in her stinkin pink palazzo? Where Is The Life That Late I Led?
VOCABULARY RATINGS
8-10 Good 11-13 Excellent 14-16 Exceptional

58

KELSEY GRAMMER WORDS


Ever since Dr. Frasier Cranes rst pompous appearance on Cheers, weve laughed at his pretensions and foibles. Kelsey Grammer dazzled us as the charm-challenged psychiatrist on Frasier, so we salute his comedic talent and his way with words. Deliver a few bons mots of your own with vocabulary from the show. 1 . empathize v.A: to experience vicariously. B: sh for sympathy. C: testify. D: build an empire. 2. patronizing adj.A: mocking. B: condescending. C: deliberately insulting. D: neighborly. 3. enigma n.A: boredom. B: puzzle. C: preoccupation. D: commitment. 4. ploy n.A: dramatic reading. B: elaborate illusion. C: heavy farm equipment. D: strategic maneuver. 5. charlatan n.A: volunteer for a nonprot organization. B: conniving fraud. C: delicate lace. D: nightclub singer. 6. hellacious* adj.A: torrid. B: sinful. C: agonizing. D: hypnotic. 7. grovel v.A: to whine. B: behave obsequiously. C: laugh ominously. D: stumble. 8. archetype n.A: original model. B: school of architecture. C: anarchy. D: ancient musical instrument. 9. lout n.A: comedian. B: noisy child. C: leader of the pack. D: boorish person. 10. al dente adj.A: robust. B: rm. C: softly, in music. D: with brio. 11 . prattle v.A: to lie through your teeth. B: tell tall tales. C: shiver with cold. D: talk meaninglessly. 12. legerdemain n.A: ear for languages. B: interference. C: incredible courage. D: artful trickery.
*Although Frasier knows this word, Websters doesnt. So it wont affect your score.

59

WORD POWER

B I G TA L K E R S

ANSWERS

1 . empathize [A] Experience vicariously or identify with the feelings of another person. Lilith is chatting with the nervous man next to her on a plane, whos turned white as a sheet. I can empathize, she says. After a late night, I cover my undereye circles with Liquid Paper.

7. grovel [B] Behave obsequiously


in seeking favor or forgiveness. Remember why you left Maris in the rst place? Frasier asks his brother. You were tired of groveling. Yes, but Im rested now, says Niles.

8. archetype [A] Original model or


type, after which similar things are patterned. Frasier, speaking of basketball: Its the archetypal malebonding ritual. Niles says, Couldnt we just go into the woods, kill something and have done with it?

2. patronizing [B] Condescending;


of behavior that implies superiority. A 13-year-old calls the show to tell Frasier his advice was patronizing. Frasier says: Kids. You cant live with em, and you cant shove em back in the womb.

9. lout [D] Boorish, insensitive person. Martin is trying to convince Frasier that its all right to lie in some circumstancesin this case, about Niless affection for Daphne. You make me sound like some sort of lout, says Frasier.

3. enigma [B] Puzzling thing or


person. As Eddie the dog stares balefully at him, Frasier asks, Is my head a large piece of kibble? Am I a canine enigma?

4. ploy [D] Maneuver or strategy to


gain advantage. The new boss at the station has announced a wage freeze. Angry employees gather at Frasiers, where he tells them: Its simply a ploy of an overly ambitious station manager. ... Time we said no to this Princess of Darkness.

10. al dente [B] Firm to the bite, especially pasta. I specically requested my macaroni and cheese al dente, complains a young Frasier.

11 . prattle [D] Talk idly or meaninglessly; babble. Frasier remarks to Niles, Youre a psychiatrist; you know what its like to listen to people prattling on about their mundane lives. Niles comes back with: And on that subject, I heard your show today.

5. charlatan [B] Fraud; quack;


someone who pretends to have knowledge or skill. Frasier thinks Martin underestimates his skill at reading people. What troubles are to pigs, so are the charlatans and pettifoggers to my mental acuity.

12. legerdemain [D] Artful trickery;


sleight of hand. Its better that our political legerdemain remain sub rosa, hmm? Frasier asks his father. Then he adds, How would a normal person say that, Dad?
VOCABULARY RATINGS
4-6 Good 7-8 Excellent 9-11 Exceptional

6. hellacious [C] Agonizing; miserable. Roz is telling Frasier about her weekend: I had the most hellacious date of my life. I pick him up from work, stop for gasand I had to pump it myself while he read the sports section. 60

WILLIAM SAFIRE WORDS


Be there at the birth of a word! Impress friends with how hip you are to contemporary idiom. Each Sunday, William Sares witty take on language appears in The New York Times Magazine. Here are usages he loved and hated in recent years. 1 . tipping point n.a state of A: being unbalanced. B: having had too much to drink. C: indecision. D: no return. 2. dead-ender n., adj.A: pointless effort. B: waste of time. C: unwillingness to accept defeat. D: one-way street. 3. diva n.a female who is A: a rock star. B: opera singer. C: model. D: glamorous, newsworthy. 4. ber- adj.a prex indicating A: superlative status. B: Slavic origin. C: diminutive size. D: latest version. 5. jonesing n.A: grooving to music. B: hankering for something. C: using street slang. D: being obsequious. 6. trash talk n., v.A: idle boasting. B: impolite cursing. C: insulting language. D: ranting and raving. 7. embed v.A: to set in concrete. B: crush with a mallet. C: get something engraved. D: place a journalist among the troops. 8. rope-a-dope adj.relating to a strategy that A: plays off someones lack of knowledge. B: is based on a frustrating defense. C: cowboys use on cattle drives. D: is taught to car salespeople. 9. tank v.A: ll up with gas. B: fail spectacularly. C: go scubadiving. D: frequent a pub. 10. props n.A: emotional support. B: costumes. C: proper respect. D: tentative proposals. 11 . shooz n.A: idiom for ip-ops. B: concerns. C: motorcycle boots. D: rare gemstone. 12. voguism n.A: fashionable word or phrase. B: indirect reference. C: trendy dress. D: opponent.

61

WORD POWER

B I G TA L K E R S

ANSWERS

1 . tipping point [D] A state of no


return by a movement or trend. Critical mass was once a popular phrase and means much the same. As, The drive to take dot-coms public had its tipping point in the late 90s.

7. embed [D] As military jargon, it


means to place a journalist with a unit of troops, where he or she lives with and follows the soldiers into combat. As a noun, emphasize em-.

8. rope-a-dope [B] Relating to a defensive strategy that frustrates and ultimately weakens an offense, making it vulnerable. First used by boxer Muhammad Ali, the term has now crossed over into diplomatic lingo (diplolingo).

2. dead-ender [C] A foolish unwillingness to accept defeat. The militarys substitute for die-hard, which implied nobly ghting on for a lost cause. In sports, dead-ender suggests a loser.

9. tank [B] Fail spectacularly; collapse; as, Bogus accounting led Enron to tank. In athletics, tank connotes failing deliberately, or throwing a game.

3. diva [A, B, C, D] Originally, a diva


meant a leading woman singer, especially in opera. Today, it refers to any glamorous and successful female personality or performer. Its also come to mean an arbiter of taste, as in cultural diva and domestic diva.

10. props [C] Proper respect; honor.


Usually used with give. Began life on the West Coast in the music industry, where shorthand speech is a way of life and giving props to your collaborators is vital.

4. ber- [A] A prex indicating superlative status; the ultimate. It seems to have more oomph than the overused super- and inadequate hyper-; as, Much of Europe now has an bercurrency, the euro.

11 . shooz [B] Concerns or issues; can


also be represented as shoes; as, A management consultant needs to wrap up an open shooz list.

5. jonesing [B] A hankering or craving; as, Sometimes only Ben & Jerrys will do when youve got a jonesing for ice cream.

12. voguism [A] A fashionable, hip


word or phrase that is picked up by politicians, intellectuals and talking heads and repeated endlessly. This term rst appeared in Sares On Language column. He admits, though, to little success in getting it adopted.

6. trash talk [C] Insulting language


intended to upset or intimidate a rival, particularly in sports; as, Ball players and rappers are masters of trash talk. Also seen as talkin trash.

VOCABULARY RATINGS
7-8 Good 9-10 Excellent 11-12 Exceptional

62

BOB DYLAN WORDS


Bob Dylan is no longer the skinny folksinger we remember from the 1960s, but to many of us he still represents youthful rebellion. Amazingly, he continues to write and perform great music well into his 60s. His skill with words also infuses his autobiographical work from 2004, entitled Chronicles, Volume One. Thats where we got the words used in this quiz. 1 . cryptic adj.A: close to death. B: sarcastic. C: causing illness. D: mysterious. 2. zeal n.A: fervor. B: high point. C: witty remark. D: closure. 3. renounce v.A: to criticize sharply. B: give up. C: restate. D: break, as in an agreement. 4. bucolic adj.A: pastoral. B: marked by constant crying. C: hard-working. D: idle. 5. rebrand n.A: dragon. B: type of small handgun. C: agitator. D: large, heavy skillet. 6. citadel n.A: house of worship. B: lighthouse. C: military university. D: stronghold. 7. gaunt adj. A: clumsy. B: very tall. C: very thin. D: very muscled. 8. transcend v.A: to rise above. B: change forms. C: send, as with a signal. D: move slowly. 9. afrmation n.A: military unit. B: legal statement. C: act of validation. D: related item. 10. vernacular n.A: type of receptacle. B: moon phase. C: local dialect. D: wart. 11 . deity n.A: person trying to lose weight. B: supreme being. C: devil. D: clue. 12. debauched adj.A: corrupted. B: unusual. C: questioned closely. D: powerful. 13. retract v.A: to assault quickly. B: review. C: redraw, as with a map. D: take back. 14. antebellum adj.A: anti-war. B: connected to the roof of a house. C: pre-Civil War. D: agricultural. 15. portico n.A: porchlike structure. B: creeping vine. C: navigators perch on a ship. D: backyard.

63

WORD POWER

B I G TA L K E R S

ANSWERS

1 . cryptic [D] Having or seeming to


have a hidden meaning; mysterious. His cryptic remarks made me think he knew something he wasnt revealing.

10. vernacular [C] Language or dialect native to a group, region or country. When writing great folk songs, use a distinctly American vernacular.

2. zeal [A] Fervor. Your zeal for exposing the truth is thrilling.

11 . deity [B] A god or goddess; a


person or thing considered supremely powerful. He scoffs at those who treat him as a deity.

3. renounce [B] To give up, refuse


or resign, usually by formal declaration; repudiate. If you must enforce those ancient rules, I must renounce my allegiance to your cause.

12. debauched [A] To be corrupted


by intemperance or sensuality; debased. Before you criticize the behavior of others, you should take a moment to consider your own debauched past.

4. bucolic [A] Relating to or typical


of rural life; pastoral. Things got tense in the city, so he ed for more bucolic surroundings up north.

13. retract [D] To draw back or in;


take back, withdraw. The problem with a lie is that once youve told it, its not so easy to retract.

5. rebrand [C] One who creates


unrest or strife; agitator. The crowd was eerily quiet, as though waiting for the rebrand to set it off.

14. antebellum [C] Existing before a


war, specically the U.S. Civil War. Driving through Natchez, Mississippi, on Highway 61, you see plenty of antebellum homes.

6. citadel [D] Fortress that commands a city; stronghold. For close to three years, she treated the tiny house as their citadel.

7. gaunt [C] Excessively thin and


angular; barren, desolate. He played up his gaunt appearance by smearing white makeup on his face.

15. portico [A] A covered structure,


usually supported by columns or piers, often at a buildings entrance. We kicked off our boots and spent the afternoon sipping lemonade inside the mansions portico.

8. transcend [A] To rise above or


go beyond the limits of; overcome. Whenever I hear the melody of that song, Im able to transcend whatever petty task Im doing.

9. afrmation [C] Act of validation, conrmation. His return to regular performing served as afrmation for the fans who knew it was inevitable.
VOCABULARY RATINGS
7-9 Good 10-12 Excellent 13-15 Exceptional

64