Showing posts from October, 2011


feign [ feyn ]intransitive verb, transitive verb ]MEANING :1. (intr. v.) to pretend or to give a fake impression of
2. (tr. v.) to invent, fabricate or represent falsely
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :He feigned illness in order to avoid having to go to school.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :The sympathy was not feigned: most European leaders know they would struggle to win a referendum on Lisbon.


consanguinity [ kon-sang-GWIN-i-tee ] [ noun ] MEANING : 1. blood relationship or kinship 2. a close relationship, affinity or connection USAGE EXAMPLE 1 : Though the Iranians may claim a sense of consanguinity with the Germanic races, there is little similarity between them culturally. USAGE EXAMPLE 2 : Sometimes the Israelis and Palestinians are best lef alone to try to sort out their tragic consanguinity


cathartic [ kuh'-THAHR-tik ][ noun, adjective ]MEANING :1. (adj.) something that pertains to or induces catharsis
2. (n.) a purgative or laxativeUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The laxative proved to be very cathartic.
USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Music can unlock emotional problems. It is particularly helpful with grief where people can find music very cathartic.


desultory [ DES-uh' l-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ][ adjective ]MEANING :haphazard, erratic or irregularUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The desultory conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has caused a major humanitarian crisis in the region.
USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Although there were only ever a few hundred active Tuareg fighters, this desultory yet brutal conflict pinned the Malian army down over vast swathes of northern Mali, and saw 160,000 Tuareg fleeing into neighbouring countries

alter ego

alter ego [ AWL-ter EE-goh, eg-oh, AL- ]noun ]MEANING :1. another aspect of one's self; a second self
2. an inseparable friend or a constant companion
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :Sydney Sheldon used the concept of alter ego in a few of his novels.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne has apparently been killed off in the latest issue of the superhero comic.


fortuitous [ fawr-TOO-i-tuh' s, -TYOO- ]adjective ]MEANING : accidentally lucky or fortunateUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The fortitude displayed by the warriors in holding off the enemy was a sight to behold.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :It would be very difficult for us to afford to do it on our own. It this case, it's a fortuitous linkage of the commercial and the not-for-profit.


aspersion [ uh'-SPUR-zhuh' n, -shuh' n ]noun ]MEANING :1. spraying of holy water during religious practices
2. a potentially harmful remark made with the intention to defame
3. an act of defamation or derogation
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :US Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones' admission that she had taken steroids prior to the Sydney Olympics cast an aspersion on the sport of athletics.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :It is not casting an aspersion on the sport, it just shows they are living in the real world.


decrepit [ di-KREP-it ]adjective ]MEANING :weakened, worn out, impaired, or broken down by old age, illness, or long useUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The decrepit house has been termed dangerous by the housing authority.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Why did it take an hour for decrepit fire engines to reach the blazing supermarket?


chicanery [ shi-KEY-nuh'-ree, chi- ]noun ]MEANING :deceit by subterfuge or trickeryUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :He resorted to the worst form of sycophancy and chicanery to secure a ministerial position.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :The European bee-eater's life is more like an epic novel, sprawling across continents, teeming with familial intrigue, theft, danger, chicanery, and flamboyant beau


exhume [ ig-ZOOM, -ZYOOM, eks-HYOOM ]verb ]MEANING :1. to dig or recover from a grave
2. to restore from obscurity
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The body was exhumed so that another post mortem could take place.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Today, Spencer Wells says, "Phoenicians have become ghosts, a vanished civilization." Now he and Zalloua hope to use a different alphabet, the molecular letters of DNA, to exhume these ghosts.


foment [ foh-MENT  ]transitive verb ]MEANING :1. to incite or foster or instigate
2. to treat (especially the skin) with warm water or by applying ointments
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The US has made several attempts in fomenting a coup against the Fidel Castro government in Cuba.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :During his announcement Saturday, Ortega also accused Washington of trying to foment a coup against Morales.


garner [ GHAR-ner ]noun, transitive verb ]MEANING :1. (tr.v.) to collect, accumulate or hoard
2. (n.) granary or storage
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :After the potatoes were uprooted, farmers took it to a cold storage to garner.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :As host to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver is poised to garner even more international attention.


aeon [ EE-uh'n, EE-on ]noun ]MEANING :1. an indefinitely or immeasurably long period of time; an age
2. the longest division of geological time, containing to or more eras
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :Mythological stories often span aeons during which the plot thickens and evolves.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :He was the astronaut in the original Planet of the Apes (1968) who discovers that the gorilla-dominated world in which he has landed is actually Earth aeons after a nuclear holocaust.


epigram [ EP-i-gram ]noun ]MEANING :1. a paradoxical or satirical poem or sayingUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :Oscar Wilde's epigrams are timeless in their ingenuity and wit.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :This timeless epigram seems to have become a mantra for Hyderabad teens.


calumny [ KAL-uh m-nee ]noun ]MEANING :1. to disrepute or defame someone by false malicious statements
2. the act of disreputing a person with false statements
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :Varun Gandhi's speech was considered a calumny of muslims living in this country.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Acrid controversy and acid calumny have engulfed Britain's definitive tenth anniversary remembrance of Princess Diana's death.


gnaw [ naw  ]intransitive verb, transitive verb ]MEANING :1. (tr.v.) to erode or chew with the teeth
2. (tr.v.) to wear away or corrode
3. (tr.v.) to plague or afflict
4. (intr.v.) to persistently bite
5. (intr.v.) to be the cause of erosion
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :Rodents constantly gnaw on goods and property causing destruction.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :The mice gnaw to keep their teeth sharp and they can easily chew through modern plastic plumbing pipes.


obstreperous [ uh’ b-STREP-er-uh’s ]adjective ]MEANING :noisy or aggressively boisterousUSAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The teacher tried in vain to restrain the obstreperous children.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Let's start with Margaret O'Brien, an obstreperous child persona of the 1940s who is uncannily channeled by Abigail Breslin in "Definitely, Maybe."


macadam [ muh’-KAD-uh’ m ]noun ]MEANING :1. a pavement made by compact layers of small stones mixed together with asphalt or tar
2. a broken stone that is used to make such a pavement
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The macadam was filled with vendors hawking everything from clothes to electronic items.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :As he wheels the big vehicle along the winding macadam, he explains that the grounds have a nine-mile perimeter and are patrolled by a bunch of these guys.


edolent [ RED-l-uh ’nt ]adjective ]MEANING :1. having or emitting a pleasant smell; fragrant
2. (usu. followed by 'of' or 'with') having a characteristic odour; smelling (of something)
3. suggestive or remindful
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :The roses and jasmine redolent with a sweet fragrance made the walk in the garden a pleasant experience.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :It's redolent of the Scottish Highlands, where the action is set, with tartans much on display and clumps of heather growing in the woods.


quaff [ kwof, kwaf, kwawf ]noun, intransitive verb, transitive verb ]MEANING :(tr.v.) to drink heartily and in large amounts
(intr. v.) to drink hurriedly or heartily
(n.) a copious draught
USAGE EXAMPLE 1 :We spent the entire evening quaffing wine.USAGE EXAMPLE 2 :Visit the “anchors” of Atlanta’s latest downtown revitalization: the state-of-the-art Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola, where visitors and locals alike quaff the city’s trademark beverage like fine wine.

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