Word Wizard 2019

Basic Word List

(word, part of speech, related words or phrases, example sentence)

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1. abscond 


verb
to run away with something
related words: go off with, make away with, make off with, run off with
*Harold absconded with Nancy’s new cell phone. 

2. arbitrate 


verb
to help to reach a settlement to a dispute by considering all the facts
related words: mediate, intercede
*Sally was asked to arbitrate a disagreement between her two best friends. 

3. attenuate 


verb
to weaken the effects, strength, or size of something
related words: reduce in strength, decrease in strength or size
*My doctor suggested I take aspirin to attenuate my fever.

4. bifurcate


verb
to split or divide into two parts or branches that go in separate directions
related words: branch, diverge
*The road bifurcates into two directions one mile ahead. 

5. bucolic 


adjective
relating to the countryside or the pleasant aspects of country life
related words: pastoral, provincial , rustic
*Veronica grew up in a bucolic little town filled with valleys and hills. 

6. capricious


adjective
impulsive and quickly changeable; acting on a whim, sudden changes in behavior
related words: impulsive
*Jeff’s teacher told him to settle down and stop being so capricious.

7. chicanery 


noun
the use of tricks to deceive someone (usually to get their money)
related words: shenanigans, trickery
*Some politicians use chicanery to help them win elections. 

8. credulous 


adjective
too trusting, too willing to believe something without evidence
related words: naive, too trustful, unquestioning, gullible, unwary

*Credulous individuals will believe anything they are told. 

9. diatribe 


noun
a strong or forceful verbal attack against someone or something; abusive speech
related words: harangue, (verbal) attack, tirade
*The politician’s diatribe against global warming contained no credible evidence. 

10. dissemble 


verb
to pretend or conceal one’s feelings in order to deceive
related words: feign, pretend, fake, masquerade
*Mary chose to dissemble her political beliefs to avoid an argument with Tom. 

11. draconian 


adjective
very harsh, cruel, or strict
related words: harsh; severe, strict, tough, extreme, drastic, stringent
*Too often, draconian measures are taken to win wars. 

12. endemic


adjective
native to or constantly present in a particular location or geographic area
related words: constantly present
*Malaria is endemic to many tropical countries. 

13. ethos 


noun
the distinctive spirit or principles of a culture or era in history
related words: atmosphere

*Many adventurous people live by the ethos of "YOLO” (you only live once). 

14. exacerbate 


verb
to make something worse or increase in severity
related words: aggravate, worsen

*Yelling exacerbates a heated conversation by increasing the hostility. 

15. explicit 


adjective
stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for doubt
related words: clear, plain, straightforward
*Most recipes give explicit instructions. 

16. florid 


adjective
elaborately or excessively intricate or complicated; flowery
related words: fancy, embellished, extravagant, flamboyant
*The teacher advised using simpler, less florid language when writing. 

17. fractious 


adjective
irritable and quarrelsome; hard to manage or control
related words: cranky, irritable, petulant, testy
*When the police arrived at the demonstration, the crowd became fractious

18. frugal 


adjective
careful with spending money, avoiding waste
related words: careful, prudent, restraint
*Alex was frugal with his money, but when it came to his family, he was very generous 

19. gestation


noun
the period of development of an embryo, idea or plan
related words: development, incubation, formation
*The baby was born prematurely at 28 weeks gestation

20. guile 


noun
a sly or cunning intelligence; the ability to skillfully deceive
related words: cunning, craft, wiliness, deviousness
*Her grandfather was a simple, honest man, totally lacking in guile

21. hegemony


noun
the dominance  of one country or social group over another
related words:  authority, control, supremacy, sovereignty
*The president of the company has hegemony over her employees. 

22. hubris 


noun
excessive pride
related words: arrogance, pride, haughtiness


*His hubris would be his downfall. 

23. impetuous 


adjective
impulsive; acting or done quickly and without thought or care.
related words: impulsive, hot-headed, overhasty, heedless

*It is easy to be impetuous when you want something really badly. 

24. impugn 


verb
to attack as false or wrong; to dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of something
related words: challenge, call into question, question
*The mayor leaked news of his opponent’s arrest to the media to impugn his character. 

25. ingratiate 


verb
to gain favor with someone by using flattery or trying to please them
related words: manipulate, exploit
*I am not willing to ingratiate myself by telling a bunch of lies. 

26. insurrection 


noun
a revolt or rebellion; an uprising against an authoritative body
related words: revolt, rebellion, uprising, mutiny, revolution
*During their insurrection, several convicts held the prison doctor hostage. 

27. judicious 


adjective
exercising good judgment or common sense in practical matters
related words: wise, sensible, prudent
*The students needed judicious planning to complete their science projects on time. 

28. kinetic 


adjective
associated with, relating to, or resulting from motion
related words: active, animated, energetic
*Every moving object contains kinetic energy.
.

29. lampoon 


verb
to make fun of; criticize (someone or something) by using ridicule, irony, or sarcasm
related words: mock, parody, satirize
*His cartoons mercilessly lampoon politicians. 

30. lassitude 


noun
a weakness or lack of energy
related words: lethargy, listlessness, sluggishness
*After the long race, Jack experienced a feeling of lassitude

31. levity 


noun
humor or frivolity; treating of a serious matter with humor or lack of respect
related words: vivacity, gaiety, jocularity, hilarity, frivolity, mirth, joviality
*My English teacher always uses levity in her lessons to make the class less formal. 

32. machination


noun
a plot or scheme to get one’s way
related words: intrigue, plot
*The burglars needed to devise a clever machination or else they would be caught. 

33. malinger 


verb
to pretend to be ill to avoid duties and responsibilities
related words: pretend, feign, fake
*Children will sometimes malinger in order to stay home from school. 

34. mendacious 


adjective
lying, untruthful, deceitful
related words: lying, untruthful, deceitful, false, dissembling, duplicitous, perjured
*A mendacious politician will say anything to get your vote. 

35. misanthrope 


noun
a person who dislikes people
related words: hater
*My aunt is a misanthrope who will not even talk to the members of her own family. 

36. mitigate


verb
to make less severe or harsh
related words: alleviate, diminish, lessen, weaken, lighten, ease, assuage, palliate, relieve 
*The United Nations will try to mitigate a crisis between two countries. 

37. neophyte


noun
someone who is new at something; a newcomer
related words: beginner, novice, newcomer; initiate, fledgling
*I am a neophyte when it comes to working with most software programs. 

38. obsequious


adjective
overly obedient or excessively submissive; too willing to please
related words: servile, ingratiating, sycophantic, fawning
*The salesman was obsequious and I did not feel comfortable buying a car from him. 

39. ostensible 


adjective
apparent but not certain
related words: apparent, outward, superficial, professed, supposed, alleged, purported
*His ostensible function was as an interpreter but he was really a spy. 

40. palliate 


verb
to mitigate or lessen; make less severe
related words: alleviate, ease, relieve, soothe, assuage, diminish, decrease, blunt, deaden
*This cream should palliate the itching caused by your contact with poison oak. 

41. pariah 


noun
a person who is rejected; an outcast
related words: outcast, persona non grata, leper, undesirable, informal: black sheep
*Jason’s bad temper makes him a pariah with other students. 

42. pejorative 


adjective
expressing contempt or disapproval
related words: disparaging, derogatory, denigrating, deprecatory, defamatory
*A pejorative remark usually brings about an angry response from the listener. 

43. permeate


verb
to diffuse or spread throughout
related words: pervade, spread through, fill, diffuse through, penetrate, pass through, suffuse
*Cigarette smoke permeated everywhere and made the entire house smell bad. 

44. polemic


noun
a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something
related words: diatribe, invective, rant, tirade, broadside, attack, harangue, condemnation
*The candidate wrote a polemic that mocked his rival’s lack of ethics. 

45. prevaricate 


verb
to be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information
related words: be evasive, beat around the bush, hedge, sidestep (the issue), equivocate, waffle
*When you prevaricate, you make a complicated situation worse than it already is. 

46. purloin 


verb
to take something that does not belong to you; to steal something
related words: steal, thieve, rob, take, snatch, pilfer, loot, appropriate
*Natalie’s best friend tried to purloin her favorite necklace. 

47. quixotic 


adjective
exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical
related words: idealistic, impractical, romantic, starry-eyed, unrealistic, unworldly
*Henry knew running for class president was a quixotic idea. 

48. recalcitrant


adjective
resistant; stubbornly resistant to authority or control
related words: uncooperative, intractable, insubordinate, defiant, rebellious, headstrong
*The soldiers became recalcitrant and refused to follow orders. 

49. rejoinder 


noun
a quick witty or critical reply to a question or remark
related words: answer, reply, response, retort, riposte, counter; informal: comeback
*The rapper made a rude rejoinder to the music critics 

50. repudiate 


verb
to reject as untrue, unfounded, or unjust; to refuse to support
related words: deny, contradict, controvert, rebut, dispute, dismiss, brush aside
*The company repudiated any claims of negligence despite the facts. 

51. salient 


adjective
the most important or prominent
related words: important, main, principal, major, chief, primary
*The price of the car was the most salient factor in her decision not to buy it. 

52. sublime 


adjective
awe-inspiring
related words: exalted, elevated, lofty, glorious, superb, wonderful, marvelous, splendid
*After the sublime meal, we gave the chef our compliments. 

53. syncopation 


noun
a musical rhythm (accenting a normally weak beat)
related words: accented rhythm
*Syncopation is a characteristic of jazz. 

54. tangential


adjective
hardly touching a matter; peripheral; beside the point
related words: off the point, miss the mark, barely related
*My history teacher frequently rambles off onto a tangential topic. 

55. tirade


noun
a long, angry speech of criticism or accusation
related words: diatribe, harangue, rant, denunciation, broadside, criticism, tongue-lashing
*The police arrested Jack after he refused to end his tirade outside the courthouse. 

56. upbraid 


verb
to find fault with (someone); scold; criticize
related words: reprimand, rebuke, admonish, chastise, chide, scold, berate, take to task
*Jim will often upbraid his brother for spending too much time playing video games. 

57. vituperate 


verb
to blame or insult (someone) in strong or violent language
related words: scold, revile, upbraid, criticize
*To vituperate someone can be as bad as assaulting them physically. 

58. vitriolic 


adjective
filled with bitter criticism or malice
related words: acrimonious, rancorous, bitter, caustic, spiteful, savage
*The students exchanged vitriolic words before the fight broke out. 

59. wanton 


adjective
a cruel or violent action done without concern for the rights, feelings, or safety of others
related words: deliberate, willful, malicious, spiteful, wicked, cruel 
*Jessie was accused of wanton cruelty toward his neighbor’s dog. 

60. xenophobia 


noun
a fear of foreigners or strangers from other places
related words: racism, racialism, racial hatred, ethnocentrism, ethnocentricity
*My dog’s xenophobia causes him to bark at everyone he does not know.