One Thousand Words You Need To Know

abhor –
“I abhor the process of hiring public servants.” Senator Wayne Morse, speech, 4/17/61

abjure –
“Galileo was summoned before the inquisition where he was ordered to abjure his theory.” S. F. Mason, Science Digest, 5/98

abortive –
“His company made an abortive attempt to circle the enemy position but they fell back under fire.” Captain Ron Herbert, Keep Your Medals

abounds –
“A smart thriller that abounds with suspense and excitement!” Newspaper ad for film The General’s Daughter

abrogate –
“I decided to abrogate the agreement since General Motors was not living up to its part of the bargain.” Paul Sawyer, Seeking Justice

abstemious –
“Be more abstemious Or else, good night your vow.” William Shakespeare, The Tempest

absurd –
“Many rules in the English language are absurd because they are based on Latin rules.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

access –
“Everything was simplified, and we were gaining access to infinity: soon the moon, SOON THE MOON!” Editorial, Le Figaro (Paris), 8/14/61

accommodate –
“The awards will be given out at a place that will accommodate C-Span.” James Barron, “Public Lives,” New York Times, 6/10/99

accomplice –
“His chief accomplice was Democratic boss John Dingell, who sold out his party in the dark of night.” Maureen Dowd, “The God Squad,” New York Times, 6/20/99

Sir Toby: “You mistake, knight: accost is front her, board her, woo her, assail her.” William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

acknowledged –
“They used the Swiss routes and camp siteswhich they later acknowledgedand by the end of April were established in full strength at their fifth camp.” James Ramsey Ullman, “Victory on Everest”

acme –
“He was the acme of a political figure.” John Gunther, Inside U.S.A.

acrimonious –
“We quickly learn of the acrimonious relationship between the Montagues and the Capulets.” Playbill, Summary of Romeo & Juliet

acute –
“The candidate presented an acute problem for his party because of his independent views.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

adamant –
“The candidate was adamant in his refusal to answer an embarrassing question about his early use of drugs.” TIME, 8/12/99

adherents –
“The state employs a flag as a symbol for adherents to the government as presently organized.” U.S. Supreme Court decision, 1943

admonished –
“A little drummer boy grinned in me face whin I had admonished him wid the buckle av my belt for riotin’ all over the place.” Rudyard Kipling, “The Courting of Dinah Shadd”

adroit –
“Amazingly adroit in building model airplanes while he was in junior high, Eric moved on to an aeronautic career in his twenties.” Val Bakker, “Early Decision” [adapted]

advent –
“Industrial canning and the advent of freezing have reduced home canning to a curiosity.” Molly O’Neill, New York Times, 7/18/99

adversaries –
“Both fighters had nothing but kind words to say about their adversaries.” Hal Butler, “The Battle in the Rain”

adverse –
“Illogical as it may seem, adverse criticism can be very rewarding.” S. Andhil Fineberg, “Deflating the Professional Bigot”

advocates –
“Advocates of marriage classes contend that giving teens these tools could eventually curb the divorce rate.” Jodie Morse, “Hitched in Home Room,” TIME, 6/21/99

aegis –
“The Federal Reserve will remain under the aegis of the veteran head who was reappointed by the President yesterday.” New York Times, 1/5/00

afflicted –
“It afflicted the neighborhood with the stench of slime that was now laid bare.” Edmund Wilson, “The Man Who Shot Snapping Turtles”

affluent –
“You are affluent when you buy what you want, do what you wish and don’t give a thought to what it costs.” J. P. Morgan, quoted in Crown Treasury of Relevant Quotations

alacrity –
“When the price of A.T.&T. dropped significantly, fund managers moved with alacrity to accumulate more shares.” Ted David, CNBC Financial News

allay –
“The President’s message was an attempt to allay the fears of senior citizens.” “The Future of Medicare,” Washington Post, 3/16/98

alleged –
“I harvested the intelligence that Ricks was alleged to have laid off all that portion of the State of Florida that has been under water into town lots and sold them to innocent investors.” O’Henry, “The Man Higher Up”

alleviate –
“The report of the transportation division pointed out that the overcrowded highways required immediate attention in order to alleviate the long delays.” The Queens Courier, 1/11/00

alludes –
“Gertrude Stein’s phrase, ‘A rose, is a rose, is a rose’ alludes to nothing more or less than what she writes.” Alice B. Toklas, Time Capsule, 1933

aloof –
“Greta Garbo held herself so aloof from her co-stars, they felt they had not been introduced.” Alistair Cooke, The Great Movie Stars

altruism –
“The conflict is between selfishness and altruism.” Former Senator Estes Kefauver, campaign speech

ambiguous –
“If you disagree with a friend, be firm, not ambiguous.” Samuel Ornage, The Golden Book

ameliorate –
“Our aim should be to ameliorate human affairs.” John Stuart Mill

amicable –
“Their parting is effective Friday, and was described in their joint statement as ‘amicable’.” Bill Carter, “Lou Dobbs Quits CNN,” New York Times, 6/9/99

amnesty –
“No one is advocating wholesale amnesty for inmates solely because of advancing age.” Tamerlin Drummond, “Cellblock Seniors,” TIME, 6/21/99

amorous –
“A complete gentleman ought to dress well, dance well, have a genius for love letters, be very amorous but not overconstant.” Sir George Etherege, The Man of Mode

analogous –
“Not with the brightness natural to cheerful youth, but with uncertain, eager, doubtful flashes, analogous to the changes on a blind face groping its way.” Charles Dickens, Hard Times

anathema –
“The founding document of the American Reform movement depicted ritualas anachronistic, even anathema in an enlightened age.” Samuel G. Freedman, “The Un-Reformation,” New York, 6/21/99

annals –
“He would begin these annals with Columbus, and he would keep on with them until his hand was too palsied to hold a pen.” Catherine Drinker Bowen, Yankee from Olympus

anomaly –
“My mother was American, my ancestors were officers in Washington’s army, and I am an anomaly.” Winston Churchill, speech, 1953

anthropologist –
“Burning tobacco, anthropologists have found, was a religious practice over 2000 years ago in the Mayan culture.” Journal of Urban Health, 9/99

antipathy –
“There is no need to anticipate any antipathy from your future in-laws when you plan a wedding.” “Wedding Guide,” Courier-Life Publications, 7/99

antiquated –
“The custom of throwing rice at a newly married couple is an antiquated one, originally meaning a wish for many children.” “Wedding Guide,” Courier-Life Publications, 7/99

antithesis –
“Drunkenness is the antithesis of dignity.” Bergen Evans, “Now Everyone is Hip About Slang”

apathy –
“The younger generation exhibits apathy toward the issue of freedom of the press.” Herbert Brucker, Journalist

appalled –
“A calm and steady temperament deserted him while he stared, appalled, at the contents.” John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle

appellation –
“He went under the appellation of ‘Pretty Boy’ but to his victims he was anything but that.” Dexter Holcomb, Did the Roaring Twenties Really Roar? [adapted]

arbiter –
“Sonja Henie became the supreme arbiter of skating fashions.” Maribel Y. Vinson, “Ice Maiden”

arbitrary –
“My arbitrary decision not to run puts Massachusetts at a disadvantage and probably was a mistake.” Representative Martin Meehan in Newsday, 6/1/99

archaic –
“Many procedures of the law have long seemed archaic to laymen.” Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, quoted in San Francisco Examiner, 1/4/71

ardent –
“There is no more ardent performer than Judy Garland as she allows her emotions to shine through.” Penelope Houston, Sight and Sound, 1954

arrayed –
“She arrayed herself in what seemed unbelievably beautiful clothes.” Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

“In caves in Chile, remains of horses have been found along with human artifacts.” A. Hyatt Verrill, The Strange Story of Our Earth

artifice –
“The successful advertiser will use any artifice to get his message seen.” E. S. Turner, The Shocking History of Advertising

artless –
“Behind the naive, artless manner, there was a woman scheming for success.” John Simon, Reverse Angle

ascended –
“As he set himself to fan the fire again, his crouching shadow ascended the opposite wall.” James Joyce, “Ivy Day in the Committee Room”

ascertain –
“Scientists have been trying to ascertain why dinosaurs became extinct so suddenly.” A. Hyatt Verrill, The Strange Story of Our Earth

ascetic –
“You don’t have to be an ascetic to wonder if there isn’t something a bit manic about the pace of getting and spending intoday’s America.” Paul Krugman, “Money Can’t Buy Happiness. Er, Can It?,” New York Times, 6/1/99

asinine –
“We have developed what I believe is an asinine rating system for motion pictures.” Harold Owen, Jr., The Motion Picture

asperity –
“The path of beauty is not soft and smooth, but full of harshness and asperity.” Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life

aspirants –
“A number of playwrights, small aspirants to the big screen, must already be pricing beach houses in Malibu.” Ross Wetzsteon, Introduction to New Plays USA

aspire –
“To humility indeed it does not even aspire.” John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University

assets –
“Berkshire Hathaway is a diversified holding company with assets in manufacturing, insurance, aircraft safety training, etc.” “Warren’s Buffet’s Fabulous Fund,” Mutual Funds Magazine, 6/99

assiduously –
“Richard Greenberg is aiming here for big laughs at the expense of the generation he so assiduously chronicled in the past.” Peter Marks, “Making Mincemeat of Boomer Values”

From an astute standpoint, that’s exactly what the ballplayers should do instead of running out to mob the other guy.” Tim McCarver, Baseball for Brain Surgeons

atrophy –
“Some people thought that too much reading would atrophy a girl’s brain forever.” Ann McGovern, The Secret Soldier

attenuated –
“The players’ strike resulted in an attenuated and boring season.” Sports Illustrated, 10/96

attest –
“Thousands of satisfied users can attest to the great features such as Voicemail and Caller ID that work the same way wherever you go on our network.” Newspaper ad for Internet company, New York Times, 6/12/99

atypical –
“He is an atypical candidate, without glamour, fame or wealth.” New York Post, 8/15/99

aú courant –
“He seemed to be aú courant with everything.” Arnold Bennett, Lord Raingo

audacity –
“Boldness be my friend! Arm me, audacity, from head to foot!” William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

augmented –
“The Russian army was augmented by helicopters and rocket-launching tanks in its attack on the defenders.” Newsday, 11/27/99

austere –
“New York City was founded by austere puritan colonists who could never imagine the city as it is today.” Moses Riechin, The Promised City

automaton –
“She’s an automaton; she has every quality in the world, and I’ve often wondered why it is with all that I’m so completely indifferent to her.” W. Somerset Maugham, The Treasure

avarice –
“He could not disguise his avarice under a cloak of religion.” Ambrose Bierce

aversion –
“During the last years of his administration the mayor showed an aversion to taking political risks.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

avid –
“CUNY will have no more avid and fierce supporter for its mission than himself.” Karen Arenson, “New Vice- Chairman of CUNY,” New York Times, 6/10/99′,
‘awesome –
“Africa has some of the most awesome jungles in the world.” John Hersey, Into the Valley’,
‘badger –
“There are other do’s and don’ts: don’t threaten your children, don’t badger them.” Newspaper ad for Partnership for a Drug-Free America, New York Times, 11/4/99

bagatelle –
“He saw the benefits to his people as a mere bagatelle.” Winston Churchill, Great Contemporaries

balk –
“She rested on the staira young woman of a beauty that should balk even the justice of a poet’s imagination.” O. Henry, “Roads of Destiny”

banal –
“Mansfield Park is a bore! What might have been attractive on a TV screen proved to be uninteresting and banal on the big screen.” “Koch Goes To The Movies,” Queens Courier, 1/12/00

barometer –
“We watched carefully to see the ties that Mr. Smythe would wear as they were a sure barometer of the mood he would be in.” Loring Brewster, “Vermont’s Mr. Chips”

bedlam –
“There was bedlam as the crowd awoke to the relief of victory.” Dick Thatcher, Against All Odds

begrudge –
“Taxpayers never seem to begrudge the use of their money when spent on local projects important to them.” Newsday, 8/22/99

belated –
“When he made his belated entrance into the political campaign, he was told he had no chance.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

belittle –
“To say this is not to belittle subject matter, which is clearly essential to any proper education.” William H. Kilpatrick, “Progressive Education”

belligerence –
“North Korea’s belligerence in planning to test a long-range missile has led to a dramatic change of course for Japan and South Korea.” Howard French, “Two Wary Neighbors Unite,” New York Times, 8/4/99

benevolence –
“My relationship to this land is purely spiritual: It’s a place of absolute silence, absolute benevolence.” Stephen Trimble, Wilderness

bereft –
“The pictures of the bereft survivors searching for their loved ones are painful to see.” Newsday, 9/19/99

besiege –
“He felt unable to carry the Confederate lines and settled down to besiege their fortifications.” David Herbert Donald, Lincoln

besmirch –
“A primary attack on any witness against your client is an attempt to besmirch his or her character.” Quoted in New York Times Magazine, 9/20/70

bias –

bigot –
“For only by claiming the limelight can the bigot draw followers and an income.” S. Andhil Fineberg, “Deflating the Professional Bigot”

bizarre –
“The police claim they were responding to the bizarre behavior of the man when they were forced to shoot him.” New York Post, 9/27/99

blasé –
“When he hit the home run that broke the record, he could no longer maintain his previously blasé attitude.” Newsday, 9/8/98

blatant –
“It’s a classic blatant pyramid scheme.” Robert Hanley, “Gifting Club,” New York Times, 6/23/99

bliss –
“Is there anything to match the bliss on a teenager’s face the day she obtains her license to drive?” Car and Driver, 9/99

bluntly –
“Managers will put it bluntly: ‘You’ve got to catch the ball.’” Tim McCarver, Baseball for Brain Surgeons

bogus –
“The mayor denied his proposed change in the election law was a bogus attempt to seize more power.” New York Times, 9/25/99

bona fide –
“Milosevic, a bona fide villain, will pay for his war crimeswe can be sure of that.” Editorial, Washington Post, 5/28/99

brash –
“Baker’s brash manner quickly antagonized the other warehouse workers.” Seymour Broock, Labor Meets Its Match

brigands –
“The history of motion pictures shows that, from the earliest silent films, stories about western brigands would capture a large audience.” John Simon, Reverse Angle

bristle –
“No sooner had the dog caught sight of him, however, than it began to bristle and growl savagely.” H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man

buff –
“Grandpa was a stock market buff, hanging around the Dreyfus office most every weekday and following the yo-yo Dow Jones averages.” Eloise Ryan Abernethy, One Family’s Finances [adapted]

bulwark –
“That England, hedged in with the main, That water-walled bulwark, still secure And confidant from foreign purposes.” William Shakespeare, King John

burgeoned –
“In recent years programs on AM, FM, shortwave and low-powered stations have burgeoned.” Carlos Johnston, “Intelligence Report” Summer 1998

cache –
“Fagin drew from his cache the box which he had unintentionally disclosed to Oliver.” Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

cacophony –
“At his side he had a battery run radio blasting forth a sickening cacophony of noise.” Freeman Tilden, The National Parks

cajole –
“We had to cajole tonight’s guest to come on the program because he’s something of a hermit.” Larry King on his CNN TV program, 8/25/99

callous –
“The movie industry was callous in the way it treated writers who came from New York.” Alex Ross, New Yorker, 2/23/98

callow –
“A group of newly arrived callow students followed nervously at the director’s heels.” Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow
calumny –
“Overwhelmed by the calumny heaped upon him for his prejudice, he quickly resigned.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

canard –
“It’s a canard to say I want to be a millionaire: I just want to live like one.” Toots Shor, quoted in Life Magazine, 10/12/69

candid –
“Sweepstakes companies must be more candid about the chances of winning a prize.” AARP Bulletin, 9/99

candor –
“He was struck by the candor and self-reliance of the women in these islands.” “Pacific Paradise,” New York Times, 8/9/99

cant –
“Although we hear much cant about loving one’s neighbor, life provides endless examples of just the opposite.” Paula Love, The Will Rogers Book

capitulate –
“The embattled leader refused to capitulate to demands for his resignation.” Newsweek, 8/19/99

capricious –
“The snow removal equipment is always ready to face the capricious weather changes during the winter.” Newsday, 12/24/98

carnage –
“Amid the carnage resulting from the earthquake, many acts of courage can be seen.” New York Times, 9/20/99

castigates –
“Here is Holofernes commenting upon Armando, a mad wordman who castigates another while himself vocalizes into a fine frenzy.” Harold Bloom, Shakespeare

catastrophic –
“Romeo changes enormously under Juliet’s influence, remains subject to anger and despair, and is as responsible as Mercutio and Tybalt for the catastrophic event.” Harold Bloom, Shakespeare

caustic –
“His habitual sullenness, stern disposition and caustic tongue produced a deep impression upon our young minds.” Aleksandr Pushkin, “The Shot”

celerity –
“The human mind acts at times with amazing celerity.” Benjamin Cardozo, The Growth of the Law

cessation –
“The evolutions of the waltzers were quieted, there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before.” Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”

chagrin –
“He spent great energy and achieved, to our chagrin, no small amount of success in keeping us away from the people who surrounded us.” James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

charisma –
“Yali radiated charisma and energy as he led his people.” Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel

charlatan –
“Many of my friends believe in fortune tellers; I think they are charlatans.” Letter to “Dear Abby,” New York Daily News, 5/16/99

chicanery –
“As a profession, lawyers have become associated with chicanery and confusion.” People, 2/4/99

chimerical –
“His utopia is not a chimerical commonwealth but a practicable improvement on what already exists.” George Santayana, The Sense of Beauty

clandestine –
“Mr. DeLay’s plan for another ‘independent’ group is nothing less than a proposal to create a clandestine and corrupt slush fund.” Editorial, New York Times, 6/1/99

cliché –
“The cliché ‘Politics makes strange bedfellows’ certainly applies in this situation.” Newsweek, 9/20/99

cliques –
“The tragic event points out the danger of forming cliques in school that shut out many.” Newsday, 5/15/99

coerce –
“The loan sharks sometimes have to coerce people in order to collect the debt.” Peter Kilborn, “Lenders Thrive on Workers in Need,” New York Times, 6/18/99

cogent –
“This article paints a clear and cogent picture of how to handle blowouts.” Car and Travel, 9/99
cognizant –
“I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states.” Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter From Birmingham Jail”

comely –
“An island peopled by the most comely women to be seen anywhere, Bora Bora is a must.” Travel, 11/99

commodious –
“The new baseball stadium offered a more commodious arena for the fans and players.” Sports Illustrated, 5/11/99

compassionate –
“In addition to professional skills, patients want a physician who is compassionate.” Advertisement for Maimonides Medical Center, 9/25/95

compatible –
“The policies of the party are not compatible with his conservative beliefs.” U.S. News and World Report, 8/25/99

compensatory –
“The compensatory factor was a new arrival; Anukul had a son born to him.” Rabindramath Tagore, “My Lord, the Baby”

complacent –
“Weather experts warn not to be complacent about the possibility of a dangerous hurricane.” New York, 9/18/95

complicity –
“After 1945, Hitler’s Germans replaced complicity with denial.” Lance Morrow, “Done in the Name of Evil,” TIME, 6/14/99

component –
“The F.B.I. did, in fact, develop a racial component, the profile of serial killers as predominantly white, male loners.” Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Color of Suspicion,” New York Times, 6/20/99

compounded –
“The match between England and Argentina, always a blood feud, was compounded by the memory of the Falklands crisis.” Henry Kissinger, “Pele,” TIME, 6/14/99

comprehensive –
“Lecter was built up as a superman, embodying absolute yet comprehensive evil.” Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, “Hannibal Lecter Returns,” New York Times Book Review, 6/10/99

concocting –
“I am concocting a seduction; I do not require a pastry chef.” Ben Brantley, New York Times, 6/15/99

concomitant –
“The doses of the drug were increased with the concomitant result that he quickly became an addict.” Otto Friedrich, Before the Deluge

concur –
“Dr. Fishbein did not concur with his colleague’s diagnosis and urged the Harper family to seek an opinion from the head of the Urology Department at Columbia Presbyterian.” “Prostate Update,” Prostate Digest, 9/99

condescending –
“The reviewer treated this important book in the most condescending and dismissing manner.” Letter to New York Times Book Review, 7/25/99

condolence –
“Words of condolence seem very poor things and yet they are all one can use to tell of one’s sympathy.” Maisie Ward, Father Maturin

condone –
“He does not condone the actions of any of the participants in the impeachment hearings.” New York Times Book Review, 9/26/99

conducive –
“The quiet calm of this garden is conducive to romance or repose.” “The Sophisticated Traveler,” 9/26/99

confidant –
“Lecter rents a lavish house not terribly far from the modest duplex of FBI agent Starling, his antagonist/confidant during the period seven years earlier.” Paul Gray, “Dessert Anyone?,” TIME, 6/21/99

conflagration –
“Did the firing of incendiary tear gas canisters cause or contribute to the conflagration?” New York Times, 9/3/99

confronts –
“When we gaze into a seeming infinity of tomorrows, we face the challenge that any generation confronts when it looks ahead.” Editorial, “2000 and Beyond,” New York Times, 1/1/00

congenial –
“Susan’s congenial manner made her a favorite in the rodeo.” Lacey Fosburgh, “All-Girls Rodeos,” New York Times, 8/17/99

conjecture –
“We read to understand how to take care of ourselves, to prepare for the unexpected, to conjecture what we would do in similar situations.” Annie Proulx, “They Lived to Tell the Tale”

conjugal –
“Hillary is Our Lady of Perpetual Conjugal Suffering; the patron saint of every woman who’s every been wronged.” Maureen Dowd, “Rudy in Reverse,” New York Times, 6/6/99

connoisseur –
“This is the car for the connoisseur who doesn’t have to think about cost.” Car and Driver, 10/99

connubial –
“I never could imagine connubial bliss until after tea.” W. Somerset Maugham, Cakes and Ale

consternation –
“Father and son stared at each other in consternation and neither knew what to do.” Pearl Buck, The Good Earth

constricted –
“He grew up in slightly less constricted circumstances than his teammates.” Darcy Frey, The Last Shot

construed –
“Hemingway’s simple approach was construed as mysticism.” Robert Ruark, “Ernest Was Very Simple”

consummate –
“Arnold Zweig, a writer of consummate artistry, presents a picture of delicacy and charm that hovers on the brink of disaster.” Roger Goodman, World-Wide Stories

contemptuous –
“It is not difficult to feel contemptuous when studying the ugly behavior of some of the powerful figures of motion pictures.” Pauline Kael, I Lost It at the Movies

contort –
“He is an actor who can contort his face into any number of shapes.” People, 4/15/99

controversial –
“His three-year tenure was controversial and contained charges of racism.” Monte Williams, “Roosevelt Island Chief,” New York Times, 6/10/99

cope –
“Every single muscle in the body was strained to the uttermost throughout the watch to cope with the steering.” Thor Heyerdahl, Kon Tiki

copious –
“The wedding reception featured copious amounts of food, drink, and music.” New York Times, 9/26/99

corpulent –
“When he squeezed his corpulent body into a chair he seemed to be stuck there forever.” Charles W. Thompson, Presidents I Have Known

corroborated –
“Bill corroborated the captain’s statement, hurried back down the glistening ladders to his duty.” Hanson W. Baldwin, “R.M.S. Titanic”

coterie –
“The aristocratic coterie finally got the upper hand.” Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way

countenance –
“Behind a most pleasant countenance, this dictator has maintained a most brutal regime.” Newsweek, 2/21/98

coup –
“Newt Gingrich was nearly toppled in a coup attempt in the House.” Michael Duffy, “Who Chose George?,” TIME,6/21/99

covert –
“In a covert manner, Knute traveled abroad that night.” Sinclair Lewis, “Young Man Axelbrod”

coveted –
“The moment has arrived for our annual coveted ‘Bloopie’ Awards.” William Safire, New York Times, 7/18/99

crave –
“It’s the perfect way for the Clintons to hang on to the power, glamour and excitement they both crave.” Bob Herbert, “It Could Happen,” New York Times, 6/6/99

criterion –
“This new product is useful, but the major criterion is its safety.” Car and Travel, 10/99

cryptic –
“Ms. Bogart, an iconoclastic director known for her cryptic reworkings of everything, turns out to be an ideal interpreter for Gertrude Stein.” Ben Brantley, “Gertrude and Alice,” New York Times, 6/14/99

culminated –
“The years of physical and mental training culminated in the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.” Vim & Vigor, Summer 1998

culpable –
“When the jury found Stacy culpable, she collapsed in a state of shock.” Eloise R. Baxter, “Judgment Day”

culprit –
“We pointed out the tender age and physical slightness of the little culprit.” Thomas Mann, “Mario and the Magician”

cumbersome –
“Grizzly bears may look cumbersome and awkward, but don’t be deceived.” Nature, 2/97

cumulative –
“There can be an extraordinary cumulative strength in Mr. Foote’s plays.” Ben Brantley, New York Times, 6/18/99

cupidity –
“There is little real humor in this picture of cunning and cupidity as revealed by a petty contest for a paltry sum.” Liam O’Flaherty, “A Shilling”

curry –
“The candidates are visiting many senior centers in an attempt to curry support among the elderly.” AARP Bulletin, 9/99

cursory –
“Even a cursory glance at the text of the peace agreement shows that the Yugoslav leader has accepted NATO’s demands in full.” Tim Judah, “What Do We Do With Serbia Now?,” New York Times, 6/4/99

curtail –
“A court decision to a freeze on regulations to curtail cross-state pollution was unpopular.” “EPA’s Reduced Standards,” Newsday, 6/15/99

cynical –
“A cynical view of phone calls or mail offering free merchandise or membership is the safest approach.” Newsweek, 6/7/98

dearth –
“There was no dearth of criticism of his work.” H. L. Mencken, “The Case of Dreiser”

debacle –
“After leading the league for most of the season, September brought the debacle that ruined their hopes.” Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer

debilitating –
“Exercise can help people overcome debilitating illnesses.” Vim & Vigor, Summer 1998

debris –
“They continued their support for earthquake victims in the debris of collapsed houses.” New York Daily News, 8/7/99
decade –
“Clearly, the first decade of the 21st century will be the ‘e-decade,’ as all forms of e-commerce and e-ways of life continue to grow.” Letter to the editor, New York Times, 1/1/00

decadence –
“I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable.” George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

decapitate –
“The FBI hoped that the arrest of the drug lord would decapitate the illegal organization.” David Denby, Beyond Rangoon

declaimed –
“Some of the province’s most illustrious men visited the courthouse and declaimed within its four walls.” Hazel Grinnell, Travel Journal

decorum –
“My father’s sense of decorum was shattered by his son’s bad behavior in the restaurant.” Peter Balakian, Black Dog of Fate

decrepit –
“Some schools are in such decrepit condition that students will be transferred to safer schools until repairs can be made.” NYC Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew, Newsday, 7/6/99

deem –
“You shall stay here as long as the proper authorities deem necessary.” Bernard Malamud, The Fixer

defamatory –
“His defamatory remarks about minorities are transmitted on the Internet.” TIME, 8/30/99

degraded –
“The world is weary of statesmen who have become degraded into politicians.” Benjamin Disraeli

deleterious –
“These statutes will have a deleterious effect on the public interest.” Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, speech, 1960

delineation –
“There is no need for an exact delineation of a standard for a permit to hold a street meeting.” Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, decision, 1951

deluded –
“Mrs. Barrows had deluded herself that you visited her last evening and behaved in an unseemly manner.” James Thurber, “The Catbird Seat”

deluge –
“The art exhibit brought a deluge of criticism because of its subject matter.” New York Daily News, 9/28/99

delve –
“We can help you delve deeper into your destination and take you places most travel companies miss.” Grand Circle Travel Booklet

demeanor –
“You could tell by her demeanor that she was more than a bit upset by the unexpected news.” New York Times, 9/7/99

demur –
“At first the Crown Prince would demur, but after being prodded, he would generally choose dictation, which he liked least.” Elizabeth Gray Vining, Windows for the Crown Prince

denote –
“The origins of the letters ‘O.K.’ to denote ‘all right’ are not clear.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

depict –
“How can one depict the beauty and impact of Grand Canyon in words or pictures?” Freeman Tilden, The National Parks

deplorable –
“The troops were amazed at the deplorable conditions in the refugee camp.” Newsweek, 5/12/97

deploy –
“Eisenhower expressed the hope that the United States would not be the first to deploy a weapon so horrible.” David McCullough, Truman

deprecate –
“Why do they always deprecate the efforts of a woman press secretary, but rarely a man doing the same job?” New York, 9/25/95

derided –
“He made his living in a vocation so derided it has become a gag phrase: wedding singer.” Joyce Wadler, “Public Lives,” New York Times, 6/15/99

derived –
“His political success is derived mainly from the public awareness of his prominent family.” TIME, 2/16/98

derogatory –
“When a communist father noticed a religious program on TV, he uttered a derogatory statement and turned off the program.” J. Edgar Hoover, “Why Do People Become Communists?”

desist –
“My husband kicked me under the table and warned me to desist.” Phyllis Krasilovsky, “Pumpernickel in My Purse,” New York Times, 6/12/99

destitute –
“Our Supreme Court has said that any citizen has a Constitutional right to have counsel, and that the court must appoint a lawyer to defend the destitute.” Joseph Welch, “Should a Lawyer Defend a Guilty Man?”

desultory –
“Mortimer enters and, distracted by what his aunts are doing, plants a desultory kiss upon Elaine’s cheek.” Joseph Kesselring, Arsenic and Old Lace

deter –
“Concern for his job did not deter him from making public the dangers of smoking.” “Brave Politician,” New York Times, 4/12/99

detriment –
“The New York City Board of Education voted not to renew the chancellor’s contract as the majority viewed him as a detriment to improvements in education.” New York Newsday, 1/4/00

devout –
“This author has a devout following among young readers.” New York Times Book Review, 7/25/98

dexterity –
“Ali built his career based on his dexterity, both in the ring and in the use of colorful language.” Boxing, 3/95

diatribe –
“Rebecca Gilman’s new play could easily have been an easy diatribe against racism.” TIME, 6/7/99

dilettante –
“This art exhibit is not for the dilettante; the subject matter is too shocking.” New York Daily News, 10/3/99

diminutive –
“A giant of a chef, he is a diminutive, modest man.” New York Post, 10/10/99

discern –
“He could not see that the Justice’s face was kindly nor discern that his voice was troubled.” William Faulkner, “Barn Burning”

disciples –
“Rick and his disciples dominated the entire summer scene, making it unpleasant for those who were not part of the inner circle.” Ellis R. Sloane, Catskill Idyll [adapted]

discreet –
“When questioned about her husband’s illegal activities, she kept a discreet silence.” Newsday, 5/16/99

disdain –
“Hillary shows disdain for the idea that matters other than policy are anyone’s business.” Margaret Carlson, “Uh- Oh, the Real First Lady Shows Up,” TIME, 6/7/99

disgruntled –
“The police believe the damage was done by a disgruntled ex-employee.” Newsday, 5/16/99

disheveled –
“The wind tugged at and disheveled her hair.” William Cowper, The Task

dismantle –
“Wayne Huizenga’s move to dismantle the World Series Marlin squad has hurt the Florida team at the box office.” Ralph Kiner, baseball announcer, Fox Sports [adapted]

disparage –
“It (government control) has been called crackpot, but that doesn’t disparage it for me.” E. B. White, One Man’s Meat

disparate –
“At the moment standardized tests have a disparate racial and ethnic impact.” Abigail Thernstrom, “Testing, the Easy Target,” New York Times, 6/10/99

dispersed –
“The police waded in and dispersed the protesting crowd.” New York Post, 10/23/99

disseminate –
“In the history of the world, no other tool has allowed us to disseminate more information than the Internet.” Computer World, 5/99

dissent –
“In the totalitarian state that utopianism produced, dissent could not be tolerated.” Anthony Lewis, “Abroad at Home,” New York Times, 12/31/99

distraught –
“On the veranda of Banker White’s house Helen was restless and distraught.” Sherwood Anderson, “Sophistication”

diversity –
“Mr. Oates said this rare document belonged in Queens because it is the center of ethnic diversity for this country.” New York Times, 1/5/00

divulged –
“The DNA tests divulged enough evidence to free him from death row.” Newsweek, 2/17/98

docile –
“How long can they remain docile, living under such terrible oppression?” Business Week, 6/16/98

doddering –
“The image of the aged as suffering from memory loss and doddering mobility is far from accurate.” AARP Magazine, 9/99

doleful –
“The patients were left in doleful plight, as the whole country resounded with the consequent cry of ‘hard times’.” Washington Irving, “The Devil and Tom Walker”

domicile –
“At night he returned peaceably enough to his lonesome domicile.” Theodore Dreiser, “The Lost Phoebe”

dormant –
“The disease may lie dormant for years before becoming active and dangerous.” Johns Hopkins Health Letter, 5/97

dregs –
“Some certain dregs of conscience are yet within me.” William Shakespeare, Richard III

drudgery –
“And then she came to find the paralytic aunthouseworkjanitor’s drudgery.” Anzia Yezierska, “Hunger”

dubious –
“Many scientists say its experimental merits are dubious.” Margaret Wente, “Fifth Column,” Globe and Mail, Toronto, 5/27/99

dulcet –
“Her dulcet tones and intelligent reading of the story captivated the hearers.” “Our Town,” New York Times, 10/7/99

duped –
“Barnum knew the American public loved to be duped.” W. L. Phelps, American Entrepreneurs

duplicity –
“The duplicity of which he had been guilty weighed on his spirit.” H. C. Bunner, “Our Aromatic Uncle”

duress –
“Under duress she was forced to admit having lied during a 1994 deposition in her breach of contract law suit.” Associated Press report, Newsday, 6/24/99

edifice –
“My love was like a fair house built on another man’s ground so that I have lost my edifice by mistaking the place where I erected it.” William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor

efficacy –
“He runs his office with the greatest efficacy.” Sally Quinn, Chicago Sun Times, 12/9/79

effigy –
“ANGRY SERBS HANG UNCLE SAM IN EFFIGY” Headline over Associated Press photo, New York Times, 8/23/99

effrontery –
“In view of his personal background, we were astonished at his effrontery in attacking the morals of the candidate.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

egotist –
“It takes an egotist to believe that nature has provided these beauties as a special act on his behalf.” Freeman Tilden, The National Parks

egregious –
“It is mystifying why some women still stick with Bill through so many egregious episodes.” Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 6/2/99

elapsed –
“True, a decent time had elapsed, and it was not even suggested that Waythorn had supplanted his predecessor.” Edith Wharton, The Descent of Man [adapted]

elicit –
“The experimental animal obviously hoped to elicit a reproduction of the pleasurable sensations he had experienced under laboratory conditions.” Loren Eiseley, “Man and Porpoise”

elucidate –
“The Secretary of State tried to elucidate the government’s policies in the troubled Middle East.” New York Times, 5/7/98

elusive –
“In his appearance there was something attractive and elusive which allured women and disposed them in his favour.” Anton Chekhov, “The Lady with the Dog”

emaciated –
“Twiggy, whose fame was related to her emaciated look, is now better known for her singing and dramatic talent.” Play review, New Jersey Star Ledger, 5/12/99

embellished –
“The prioress may not have told the correct story in all its details and she may even have embellished the story a little bit to make it more attractive.” Lin Yutang, “The Jade Goddess”

eminent –
“It was unbelievable that a man so eminent would actually sit in our dining room and eat our food.” V.S. Pritchett, “The Saint”

emissary –
“The mayor sent an emissary to the striking teachers in the hope of starting negotiations.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

emitted –
“The smoke that was emitted when the bomb went off made some think it was a firecracker but I thought it was a revolver shot.” Journal of Andre Gide, Vol. I

emulate –
“Her companions she loved and admired but could not emulate for they knew things she did not.” Rose Macaulay, The World My Wilderness

encomiums –
“Isn’t it sad that we receive our highest encomiums after we are gone and unable to enjoy them?” James Farley, quoted in Ruffles and Flourishes

encumbrance –
“Maxim decided to dispose of the encumbrance of a whining wife and three disrespectful teenagers by leaving silently in the dead of the night.” Everett Dodds, Greener Pastures [adapted]

engrossed –
“The wasp was engrossed utterly in her task.” Alan Devoe, “The Mad Dauber”

enhance –
“Her breadth of experience and determination to enhance her knowledge have increased her value to Con Edison.” Con Edison Report, Producing Excellence, 1998

enigma –
“He was an enigma by this I mean that he did not look soldierly nor financial nor artistic nor anything definite at all.” Max Beerbohm, “A.V. Laider” –
ennui –
“The ennui and utter emptiness of a life of pleasure is fast urging fashionable women to something better.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Newport Convention

entourage –
“Sinatra was the greatest but I was never a part of his entourage, his rat pack.” Comedian Buddy Hackett to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, New York Daily News, 7/14/99

entreaty –
“The police captain made one more entreaty for the unruly crowd to leave.” New York Post, 10/23/99

enunciated –
“At his press conference, Jerry Springer enunciated his qualifications for a Senate seat in Ohio.” Francis X. Clines, “Springer Considers Race for Senate,” New York Times, 8/4/99

epithets –
“Four scowling men sat in the dinghy and surpassed records in the invention of epithets.” Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat”

epitome –
“My community considers a man in uniform to be the living epitome of heroism.” Lucius Garvin, Collected Essays

equanimity –
“We have to call upon our whole people to stand up with equanimity to the fire of the enemy.” Winston Churchill, speech, 1942

eradicate –
“The urologist said that prostate cancer patients shouldn’t hang their hopes on having the vaccine eradicate the disease in the near future.” Associated Press, “Vaccine Fights Prostate Cancer,” Newsday, 10/21/99

erudite –
“The erudite historian, Prof. Garrett Clark, will speak on ‘Evaluating Democracy’ at our April meeting.” Lancaster Library Bulletin, Spring 2000

eruption –
“We have learned about this ancient city, frozen in time by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.” Grand Circle Travel Booklet, 1999

escalation –
“There is a dangerous escalation in Kashmir as India and Pakistan are engaged in the worst fighting in decades.” Editorial, New York Times, 6/22/99

eschew –
“When in Rome, we decided to eschew Arithmetic.” Ruth McKinney, “Proof in Nine”

ethics –
“The vast majority of employees perform in a highly satisfactory manner because good work ethics exist in their kitchens.” Manual for School Food Service Managers in N.Y.C. Public Schools [adapted]

euphemism –
“But now he was merely an elder statesman, the euphemism for a politician who no longer has any influence.” Robert Wallace, “Not Him”

evaluate –
“Mr. Gooding hopes to find the answer if his mentor gives him the chance to evaluate the prisoner.” Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times, 6/4/99

evanescent –
“The incidents which give excellence to biography are of a volatile and evanescent kind.” Samuel Johnson, “The Rambler” No. 30

eventuated –
“Her illness following the chemotherapy eventuated in death.” Terrence Foy, St. Louis Blues

evince –
“The vote on Roe vs. Wade will show whether enough senators evince an interest in overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision.” Elaine Povich, “Abortion Politics,” Newsday, 10/22/99

exacerbated –
“Jason Isringhausen’s injuries were exacerbated by his immaturity.” Howie Rose, Mets Baseball Announcer, Fox Sports, 6/8/99 [adapted]

excoriate –
“Senator Bradley refused to excoriate his opponent, preferring to take the high road in the campaign.” ABC Eyewitness T.V. News, 10/21/99

excruciating –
“An almost excruciating agitation results when a leaf falls into still water.” Jack London, “To Build a Fire”

exhort –
“There was no reason for me to exhort the guys to play hard because they were already giving me 110%.” Mets Baseball Manager Bobby Valentine on Radio Talk Show WFAN, 10/21/99

exonerate –
“There is no reason to exonerate him from the ordinary duties of a citizen.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Collected Legal Papers

expatriate –
“For months she lived the nocturnal life of an expatriate American tango bum.” Jimmy Scott, “Flirting with the Tango,” New York Times, 6/11/99

expedient –
“There exists the age old choice between a moral action and an expedient one.” Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

expedite –
“There was a pressing need to expedite assistance to those suffering after the earthquake.” Newsday, 8/15/99

exploit –
“He has not wanted to exploit his fame as a basketball star for political advantage.” Boston Globe, 7/27/99

expunge –
“If the offender made it to adulthood without further problems, everything would be expunged.” James Kilpatrick, “Boy Learns Constitution the Hard Way,” Burlington Vermont Free Press, 6/12/99

expurgate –
“Lenny resisted any attempt by the law to expurgate his language dealing with personal and private behavior.” “Lenny Bruce, Voice of Shock,” Atlantic Monthly, 5/86

extant –
“Rumours are extant that the Federal Reserve members are greatly concerned about the irrational exuberance of investors.” Bloomberg Financial News, 4/12/98

extinct –
“There are many warnings that loss of habitat will make many species extinct in the near future.” “The Rotunda,” Publication of the American Museum of Natural History, 5/5/98

extol –
“They extol the largely nonexistent virtues of bygone eras.” Artemus Abruzzi, Commonsense

extortion –
“To the prince who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage and extortion, this open-handedness is necessary.” Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

extraneous –
“The ballet struck me as extraneous and out of keeping with the rest of the play.” Wolcott Gibbs, More in Sorrow

extrinsic –
“Disdaining contributions from extrinsic lobbying groups, the candidate won my admiration and my vote.” Lawrence Burton, “Inside the Polls”

exult –
“YANKEES EXULT OVER PETTITTE’S PERFORMANCE” Headline, Sports Section, Newsday, 6/19/99

exultation –
“We face the year 2000 with a combination of concern and exultation.” Newsweek, 12/15/99

fabricate –
“Perhaps the dialogues that you fabricate are nothing more than monologues.” Miguel Unamuno, “Mist”

façade –
“He hid behind the façade of public servant to work at a private agenda.” H. L. Woods

facet –
“As soon as one becomes computer-literate, a new technical facet is introduced that challenges us once again.” New York Times, 10/25/99

facetious –
“Politicians must be careful about any facetious comment that can be turned into an opponent’s advantage.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

facile –
“We are usually more facile with words we read than with words we use to write or speak.” Charlton Laird, The Miracle of Language

factitious –
“The opposition was challenged by a factitious outpouring of what appeared to be popular support for the government.” Robert Kaplan, Balkan Tragedy

fallacious –
“The demand was plausible, but the more I thought about it, the more fallacious it seemed.” A. D. White, Scams and Schemes [adapted]

falter –
“Should we falter in our determination to pursue an honourable solution to the problems of the Middle-East, and face unthinkable consequences?” I. F. Stone, “The Weekly Reader”

fastidious –
“A single small elephant tusk took no less than two months of fastidious work to excavate.” Brian Fagan, Time Detectives

fatal –
“What caused him to lose the election was his fatal mistake of not raising sufficient funds to publicize himself.” Jewell Bellush and Dick Netzer, Urban Politics

fatuous –
“After only a few seconds of silence, speakers of English seem obligated to say something, even making a fatuous comment about the weather.” Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue

feasible –
“Everyone who has looked at the smart guns said there is no quick, feasible way of doing this.” Leslie Wayne, “Smart Guns,” New York Times, 6/15/99

feint –
“Young as Oliver was, he had sense enough to make a feint of feeling great regret at going away.” Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

felicitous –
“The evening of hypnotism was not a felicitous one; we were frightened that we would lose our will or enter into unpleasant acts.” Diary of Anais Nin

felon –
“I was surprised to see this notorious felon become a regular at our bible discussion classes.” Rabbi Myron David, A Chaplain’s Jail Tales [adapted]

ferment –
“She herself yearned for calm, but lived in a neighbourhood of ferment and daily chaos.” Alan Lelchuk, American Mischief

fervid –
“I’m a mixture of my mother’s determination and my father’s fervid optimism.” Gwen Robyns, Light of A Star

fetish –
“Today the automobile has become a fetish for one’s standing and accomplishments.” Mark Twain, Autobiography

fetters –
“The cruel fetters of the galley slaves were wet with blood.” Alex Haley, Roots

fiasco –
“Your $25 contribution to our fund will bring you an hilarious tape of the fiasco of an elementary school’s production of ‘Peter Pan.’” Public Broadcasting Announcement, 12/25/98

fiat –
“Pitching Coach Bob Apodaca’s fiat to Met hurlers was simple: pitch fast, change speeds, throw strikes.” Howie Rose, baseball announcer, Fox Sports, 7/8/99

flabbergasted –
“The President was flabbergasted when his private office recorded conversations were made public.” Herbert Brucker, Journalist

“Gene Savoy’s flagrant name dropping doesn’t seem to bother any of the visitors on board.” Brad Wetzler, “Crazy for Adventure,” New York Times, 6/6/99

flamboyant –
“Dame Judi Dench is not as flamboyant as the other British theatrical Dames such as Vanessa Redgrave or Maggie Smith.” Playbill, Vol. 9, No. 55

flay –
“There is no shortage of critics who flay the journalists for being sensation seekers rather than news gatherers.” Herbert Brucker, Journalist

fledgling –
“Women’s professional basketball, recently a fledgling sport, has taken root and grown into a major spectator event.” Sports, 9/14/99

flout –
“His ideas frightened the farmers, for he would flout and ridicule their traditional beliefs with a mocking logic that they could not answer.” S. Raja Ratnam, “Drought”

fluctuated –
“He fluctuated between mindless talk and endless silence.” Alix Shulman, “Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen”

foist –
“Eventually, advertisements began to foist off the use of perfume as a way to snare a man.” E. S. Turner, The Shocking History of Advertising [adapted]

foment –
“The petitioners were not attempting to foment violence by their peaceful actions.” Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, decision, 1960

forthwith –
“Get down to your Toyota dealer forthwith and take advantage of our holiday saleabration.” Toyota advertisement, CBS TV

fortuitous –
“Representative Foley resumed a corridor interview, making a point about the fortuitous beauty of bipartisanship.” Francis X. Clines, “Gun Control Debate,” New York Times, 6/18/99

fracas –
“Once the will was read, there followed a fracas that involved numerous law suits and lasted years.” Fortune, 2/16/91

fractious –
“The fractious couple received a tongue lashing from Judge Judy.” Arnold Feigenbaum, “Television Justice?”

frail –
“This frail woman has the strength to work where the strong turn away.” “Mother Teresa,” New Republic, 10/16/97

fraught –
“Ev’ry sigh comes forth so fraught with sweets, ‘Tis incense to be offered to a god.” Nathaniel Lee, The Rival Queens

fray –
“To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast, Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest.” William Shakespeare, Henry IV

frenetic –
“There is no place more frenetic than a newspaper office when a major story is breaking.” Herbert Brucker, Journalist

frenzy –
“They had a sense of the wildest adventure, which mounted to frenzy, when some men rose on the shore and shouted to them, ‘Hello, there! What are you doing with that boat?’ ” William Dean Howells, A Boy’s Town

fretful –
“When Mike Nichols directed ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ Warner Bros. was fretful, worrying about the Legion of Decency.” Liz Smith, “Century’s Choice,” New York Post, 6/23/99

frugal –
“He was famously frugal ‘so tight he damn near squeaked’ says a colleague.” Eric Pooley, “How George Got His Groove,” TIME, 6/21/99

fruitless –
“Since launching a diplomatic shuttle, the Russian envoy had spent dozens of fruitless hours with the Yugoslav dictator.” Johanna McGeary, “Why He Blinked,” TIME, 6/14/99
frustrated –
“I will not be frustrated by reality.” Ray Bradbury, Forever and the Earth

fulsome –
“I was appreciative of his sincere and fulsome praise.” Ruth McKinney, “A Loud Sneer for Our Feathered Friends”

furtive –
“Hogan directed a furtive glance up and down the alley.” John Steinbeck, “How Mr. Hogan Robbed a Bank”

futility –
“Resistance to changes in English language rules often ends in futility.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

galvanize –
“While he could not galvanize an audience, he could make them think.” George Jean Nathan, House of Satan

gamut –
“At one end of the gamut of slang’s humour is what Oliver Wendell Holmes called ‘the blank checks of a bankrupt mind.’” Bergen Evans, “Now Everyone is Hip About Slang”

garbled –
“A garbled account of the matter that had reached his colleagues led to some gentle ribbing.” H. G. Wells, “The Man Who Could Work Miracles”

garrulous –
“The more he drank, the more garrulous he became, until he suddenly seemed to fade out.” Lawrence O’Brien, W. C. Fields

gaudy –
“This computer drawing program permits children to express themselves in the most gaudy art they can imagine.” Working Mother, 5/96

gaunt –
“Her gaunt expression was mistaken for weakness of spirit, whereas it told the sad story of her life.” George Eliot, Middle March

genocide –
“Accounts of the destruction of masses of people recall that genocide is an ancient practice.” Otto Friedrich, Before the Deluge

genre –
“There is a certain difference between a work called a romance and the genre known as the novel.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

germane –
“In assigning ratings to films, is it not germane to consider the nature and extent of violence shown?” The Hollywood Reporter, 5/19/97

gesticulating –
“‘Three times’ was still all he could say, in his thick, angry voice, gesticulating at the commissaire and glaring at me.” Francis Steegmuller, “The Foreigner”

gist –
“The gist of it is . . . love is a great beautifier.” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

gleaned –
“I gleaned what I could from college, but independent reading soon broadened my horizons.” I. F. Stone, Weekly Reader

glib –
“It is not glib to maintain that truth can never be contained in one creed.” Mary Augusta Ward, Robert Elsmere

gratuity –
“What form of gratuity would compensate his informer’s key bit of information?” Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest

gregariousness –
“We will take with us one thing alone that exists among porpoises as among men; an ingrained gregariousness.” Loren Eiseley, “Man and Porpoise”

grimace –
“When informed of the death of his best friend, he was unemotional, not a grimace marred his face.” James Jones, The Thin Red Line

grotesque –
“Nowadays, men have to work, and women to marry for money; it’s a dreadfully grotesque world.” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
guise –
“Freedom is not worth fighting for, if, under its guise, one tries to get as much as he can for himself.” Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Seasoned Timber

gullible –
“‘Charles the horse was wonderful!’ cried a gullible goose.” James Thurber, “What Happened to Charles”

gusto –
“Ali faced each fight with supreme confidence and challenged his opponents with wit and gusto.” “His Greatest Challenge,” Sports Illustrated, 5/5/97

habitat –
“Billy begins to be happy about life only in an artificial but cozy habitat on another planet.” William Bly, Barron’s Book Notes, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

halcyon –
“The halcyon days we recall with pleasure had many clouded moments.” Wolcott Gibbs, New Yorker, 4/8/49

hapless –
“Parents, too, have an almost irresistible impulse to mold their children in their own image or at least graft a few of their own ambitions onto their hapless off-spring.” Arthur Gordon, “The Neglected Art of Being Different”

harassing –
“Over the next weeks came more amendments and harassing tactics including a motion to postpone selection of a new capital.” Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

harbingers –
“It is easy enough to find harbingers of the episode in the early coverage of Mrs. Dole’s candidacy.” TIME, 5/24/99

haven –
“The desire to escape the city has filtered down into every other economic group, and as a result of the suburb’s popularity, that haven of refuge is itself filling up.” Lewis Mumford, “The Roaring Traffic’s Boom”

havoc –
“Excessive sensitiveness plays havoc with children’s nerves.” Guy De Maupassant, “Looking Back”

heinous –
“All crimes against a whole people are measured by the heinous ones carried out by Hitler.” Civilization, 12/99

heresy –
“Calvin had written that heresy was not an evil, deserving death.” Herbert Brucker, Journalist

heterogeneous –
“The family is heterogeneous enough to make quite a good party in itself.” Rose Macauley, The World My Wilderness

hirsute –
“The difference between this rock concert and one 10 years earlier is the marked decrease in hirsute young men.” TIME, 8/8/99

histrionics –
“Bobby Valentine’s histrionics will be irrelevant, because Rule 51 states that any manager who is ejected must remain in the clubhouse until the game is over.” Jack Curry, “Valentine is Suspended and Fined,” New York Times, 6/11/99

hoard –
“Many people give freely of their affections while you hoard yours.” Joseph Conrad, Victory

hoax –
“Frank Spencer, an anthropologist who rummaged through the bones of controversy to theorize about the identity of the mastermind behind the Piltdown Man hoax of 1912, died on Sunday.” Obituary notice, New York Times, 6/12/99

homogeneous –
“Archaeologists have unearthed evidence showing that the people of ancient Egypt were far from a homogeneous civilization.” Brian Fagan, Time Detective

hostile –
“He might commit some hostile act, attempt to strike me or choke me.” Jack London, White Fang

humility –
“Early in life I had to choose between arrogance and humility; I chose arrogance.” Frank Lloyd Wright

hyperbole –
“It is not hyperbole to state that, most terribly, justice and judgment lie often a world apart.” Emmeline Pankhurst, My Own Story

iconoclast –
“He was an iconoclast about everything, except his love of money.” Garry Wills, syndicated newspaper column, 3/8/79

idyllic –
“The brilliant Hawaiian sunrise beckons you to a great breakfast as your tour of the idyllic islands begins.” Brochure for Perillo Tours

ignominious –
“Henry Clay had ambition to become president, but he faced an ignominious series of setbacks.” H. Foner, Failed Candidates

ilk –
“‘That’s the standard line,’ Ron said, ‘as promoted by some Japanese businessmen and American spokesmen of their ilk.’” Michael Crichton, Rising Sun

imbibe –
“I got up and went downstairs and into the kitchen to imbibe my first cup of coffee before going to the barn.” Glenway Wescott, The Breath of Bulls

imminent –
“I admired the easy confidence with which my chief loped from side to side of his wheel and trimmed the ship so closely that disaster seemed ceaselessly imminent.” Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

impeccable –
“That is why the so-called ‘better’ juvenile books, skillfully constructed, morally sanitary, psychologically impeccable don’t really make much of a dent on the child’s consciousness.” Clifton Fadiman, “My Life is an Open Book”

impede –
“Judge Jones has become known for her anger at defense lawyers who try to impede executions through legal maneuvers.” David Firestone, “Death Penalty Conference,” New York Times, 8/19/99

imperative –
“But unlike the others, Mrs. Hassan had yet another imperative: her son Huseyin has leukaemia and needs blood.” Edmund L. Andrews, “I Cannot Die,” New York Times, 8/19/99

imperceptibly –
“In the two decades since W. Ugams had come to Boston, his status had imperceptibly shifted.” John Updike, New Yorker, 10/22/60

imperturbable –
“The Prince de Ligne had given the Empress Catherine the name of imperturbable, or immoveable.” Walter Tooke, The Life of Catherine

impetuous –
“He displayed the impetuous vivacity of youth.” Samuel Johnson, “The Rambler” No. 27

impious –
“The Sunis regard the Shias as impious heretics.” Matthew Arnold, Essays in Criticism

implacable –
“It seemed folly for this young man to hope to create a self-supporting farm in such an implacable environment.” Leland Stowe, Crusoe of Lonesome Lake

implored –
“No beggars implored Scrooge to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock.” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

importuned –
“Many businessmen were importuned to come to Washington.” John McDonald, On Capitol Hill

impresario –
“He was an egregious impresario of letters who kept a squad of writers churning out copy marketed under his signature.” C. J. Rolo, No Business Like Show Business [adapted]

impromptu –
“At an impromptu airport news conference, Gov. Bush declined to respond directly to questions about his experience with drugs.” Associated Press Report, “Next Question, Please,” 6/5/99

imprudent –
“We are not so imprudent as to destroy the bees that work for us.” Robert Tanner, Principles of Agriculture
impunity –
“Swaraj means that not a single Hindu or Mussulman shall for a moment crush with impunity meek Hindus or Mussulmans.” Mohandas K. Gandhi, “The Untouchables”

inadvertently –
“In our report on NASCAR RACING, we inadvertently attributed a quote to Doris O’Bryant.” Correction made by TIME editors, 6/21/99

inane –
“When left with nothing to talk about, people resort to inane remarks about the weather.” Lawrence Kaminer, “A World of Strangers”

inanimate –
“We assumed that the inanimate body in the rubble was dead but the dog, trained to distinguish between live and dead bodies, knew better.” Stephen Kinzer, “Turkish Earthquake Relief,” New York Times, 8/21/99

incapacitated –
“His searing empathy for the parents of incapacitated clients is a product of the still-raw pain over the 1980 suicide of his younger brother.” Jan Hoffman, “Public Lives,” New York Times, 6/18/99

inchoate –
“The general plan is inchoate and incoherent and the particular treatments disconnected.” Hillary Corke, Global Economy

incipient –
“As columnist Jack Anderson was about to write about the Secretary of State’s incipient departure, Al Haig panicked.” William Safire, “On Language,” New York Times, 6/20/99

incisive –
“Your hands are keen, your mind incisive, your sensitivity deep, your vision well honed.” Thomas A. Dooley, “To a Young Doctor”

inclement –
“The inclement weather that has given us fits recently is over, and I’m looking for blue skies for all of next week.” Weather forecast from ABC’s Sam Champion, Eyewitness News, 6/23/99

incoherent –
“So seldom do editors get what they think they want that they tend to become incoherent in their insistent repetition of their needs.” Jerome Weidman, “Back Talk”

incompatible –
“Once men tried to reach heaven by building a tower, and I made their formats incompatible.” Garrison Keillor, “Faith at the Speed of Light,” TIME, 6/14/99

incongruous –
“He was clothed with tatters of old ship’s canvas: and this extraordinary patchwork was held together by a system of various and incongruous fastenings.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

incontrovertible –
“The Wilsons lived in a universe of words linked into an incontrovertible firmament by two centuries of Calvinist divines.” John Dos Passos, U.S.A.

incredulous –
“The Nazi war on cancer?other readers may be as incredulous as I was when this book came to my attention.” Michael Sherry, New York Times, 5/23/99

incumbent –
“As a Muslim, the Director of Interfaith Affairs for the Islamic Center said that it is incumbent on him to actively engage others in the service of Allah.” Jioni Palmer, “Vigil to Address Growing Violence,” Newsday, 10/10/99

indict –
“You can’t indict a whole nation, particularly on such vague grounds as these were.” Robert M. Coates, “The Law”

indifference –
“David sees Ham who, although now shows indifference to life, swims out to save people from a shipwreck.” Holly Hughes, Barron’s Book Notes, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

indigenous –
“A MacArthur Foundation grant was given to Dennis A. Moore for helping to preserve the language and culture of indigenous groups in Brazil.” Announcement of MacArthur Grants, 6/23/99
indigent –
“The bill would make modest improvements in the way that counsel is provided for indigent defendants.” Bob Herbert, “Defending the Status Quo,” New York Times, 6/17/99

indiscriminate –
“The indiscriminate spraying of pesticides add a new chapter, a new kind of havoc.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

indoctrinated –
“Teachers have indoctrinated students in practical subjects like Home Ec.” Jodie Morse, “Hitched in Home Room,” TIME, 6/21/99

indolent –
“This indolent weather turns a student’s thoughts toward last-minute truancy.” Darcy Frey, “The Last Shot”

inebriated –
“Red Skelton’s inebriated clown who was guzzling Smuggler’s Gin is one of the all-time great comedy sketches.” Paul De Simone, “They Made Us Laugh” [adapted]

ineffectual –
“Medicare officials told the White House that the proposed drug plan is unrealistic and would be ineffectual.” Robert Pear, “Drug Plan Worries Democrats,” New York Times, 6/25/99

inert –
“The Japanese drifted inert in his life jacket watching 449 approach until the bow crossed in front of him.” Robert J. Donovan, PT 109

inevitable –
“The ‘High Occupancy Vehicle’ lanes were an attempt to avoid the otherwise inevitable traffic delays on the Expressway.” Newsday, 9/23/99

inexorably –
“Note that it is all in one long sentence, developing inexorably like the slow decay of our lives.” Clifton Fadiman, “They Have Their Exits and Their Entrances”

infallible –
“He had an infallible ear for the way people spoke, and he imitated them in his writing.” Reader’s Encyclopedia

infamous –
“The unsubstantiated computer rumours for which the Internet is infamous began flowing within hours of the arrival of Jan. 1 in Asia.” Barnaby Feder, “Internet’s Cheering Squad Nervously Watches Clock,” New York Times, 1/1/00

infraction –
“Order cannot be secured through fear of punishment for an infraction against a political entity.” Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, decision, 10/64

ingratiate –
“This tax was abolished by Richard III to ingratiate himself with the people.” Sir Francis Bacon, Henry VII

inherent –
“Harvey lacked graduate degrees but his inherent knowledge of human nature enabled him to be successful as a personnel manager.” “Rungs on the Corporate Ladder,” American Management Association brochure

inhibition –
“With all this ‘inhibition’ stuff and Freudian approach and ‘group play,’ you get the distinct impression that people are actually afraid of their kids.” William Michelfelder, The Fun of Doing Nothing

iniquity –
“I lack iniquity Sometime to do me service.” William Shakespeare, Othello

initiate –
“The Russian army seems ready to initiate a new offensive against the defenders of the capital of Chechnya.” New York Post, 1/10/00

innate –
“Nothing makes the weak strong or the fearful brave as much as our bodies’ innate drive to stay alive.” William Safire, “Why Die?,” New York Times, 1/1/00
innocuous –
“Howell’s seemingly innocuous remark about Tanya’s footwear led to a torrent of curses from the petite brunette.” George Sokolsky, “Very Thin Ice”

inordinate –
“Was it, perhaps, because his back had broken under his inordinate burden?” I. L. Peretz, “Buntcheh the Silent”

insatiable –
“One needs an insatiable curiosity to succeed in the new technical worldwide spread of information.” Jared Diamond, “Guns, Germs, and Steel”

insidious –
“For them, civilization is an insidious but no less sure and deadly poison.” Hernando Bates, Central America
integral –
“Let Office 2000 be an integral part of your productivity tools.” Newspaper ad for Microsoft Office 2000

interjected –
“The accountant interjected, saying that you can buy a better house in New Jersey than on Long Island for the same money.” Ken Moritsugu, “Nowhere to Build,” Newsday, 6/25/99

interlopers –
“Indeed, the magazine managers are treated as foreign interlopers.” Michael Woolf, “Tribune and Tribulation,” New York, 7/5/99

interminably –
“In his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box, he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.” Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery”

internecine –
“Eight thousand zealots stabbed each other in internecine massacre.” L. H. Farrar, Early Christians

interrogate –
“The District Attorney of Nassau County is set to interrogate a Malverne police officer who was arrested on shoplifting charges.” Associated Press report, New York Times, 8/20/99

intimidate –
“New language could target loiterers with no apparent purpose other than to intimidate others from entering those areas.” Margaret Hornblower, “Ending the Roundups,” TIME, 6/21/99

intrepid –
“Scientists and support staff began celebrating the new year along with a planeload of tourists and seven intrepid skiers.” Malcolm Browne, “Absence of Midnight Doesn’t Darken Spirits,” New York Times, 1/1/00

intrinsic –
“We appear to have lost the belief that honesty is an intrinsic aspect of political leadership.” Editorial, Christian Science Monitor, 5/17/98

introspective –
“All had the thin, narrow faces and large, wide-open introspective eyes.” Ivan Cankar, “Children and Old Folk”

inundated –
“We do know that the moon’s surface has not been eroded by wind or rain or ice or snow and has not been inundated by oceans, lakes or rivers.” Lee A. DuBridge, “Sense and Nonsense About Space”

invalidate –
“Some Reagan and Bush appointees have proved far too willing to invalidate decisions made by Congress and the Executive branch.” Cass R. Sunstein, New York Times, 6/2/99

invective –
“I watched him walk into the clubhouse, kick a bench and break a toe, never once stopping the flow of invective.” Jack Altshul, “Why Should the Other Guy Beat Me?”

inveighed –
“The County Executive inveighed against scofflaws who owe a total of $60 million.” Television news broadcast, CBS, 6/23/99

inveterate –
“The inveterate Boston Red Sox fan faces seemingly endless disappointment.” Peter Balakian, “Black Dogs of Fate”

inviolable –
“The coach broke an inviolable rule by striking one of his players.” Don DeLillo, End Zone

irascible –
“He became so irascible that within six months he lost his wife and half of his office staff.” Herman Wouk, Don’t Stop the Carnival

irate –
“I got irate because people have been yelling at me my whole life.” Olivia Winslow, “Cop Tells of a Confession,” Newsday, 6/23/99

irrational –
“He became irrational and threatened to commit suicide.” Darcy Frey, “The Last Shot”

irrelevant –
“What has existed in the past seems to him not only not authoritative, but irrelevant, inferior, and outworn.” George Santayana, Character and Opinion in the United States

itinerant –
“Hamlet greeted the group of itinerant actors and made them part of a plan to trap Claudius.” Barron’s Educational Series, Book Notes

jaunty –
“The cadet was very trim in his red breeches and blue tunic, his white gloves spotless, his white cockade jaunty, his heart in his mouth.” Alexander Woolcott, “Entrance Fee”

jeopardized –
“Cancellation of the event would have jeopardized the financial survival of the organization.” Nat Hentoff, “Picket Lines are Labor’s Free Speech,” Village Voice, 6/15/99

jettison –
“He refused to jettison any of the manners and behavior that made him seem so odd.” William Connor, Daily Mirror, London, 1956

jocose –
“He caught the sound of jocose talk and ringing laughter from behind the hedges.” George Eliot, Adam Bede

jostled –
“When the squeege man jostled him, the police officer said that he feared for his life.” Kit Roane, “Squeege Man Scared Him,” New York Times, 6/25/99

jubilant –
“When he finally reached Boston, he received a jubilant welcome.” Keith Ayling, “Race Around the World”

jurisdiction –
“Lee’s jurisdiction included the monitoring of boxing within New Jersey.” Timothy Smith, “A Sport’s Credibility,” New York Times, 6/20/99

juxtaposed –
“Theatrical vignettes are juxtaposed through alternating verses in clever boy-girl counterpoint.” “Hot ‘N Cole,” Newsday, 6/4/99

labyrinth –
“He himself was so lost in the labyrinth of his own unquiet thoughts that I did not exist.” Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

lacerations –
“He pressed only the already tired horse at such speed that his spurs made lacerations in its sides, and at last the poor animal died.” Honore De Balzac, A Passion in the Desert

lackluster –
“The major reason for the lackluster look in their eyes was their discovery it is now possible to drive across the face of the nation without feeling you’ve been anywhere or that you’ve done anything.” John Keats, “The Call of the Open Road”

“The dialogue is clipped, laconic, understated to convey simmering underneath.” John Simon, “The Worst Noël,” New York, 6/21/99

lampoon –
“Many new TV shows succeed because they lampoon the behavior of teenagers.” John Leonard, New York, 10/15/97

landmarks –
“The remarkable trees formed good landmarks by which the place might easily be found again.” Washington Irving, “The Devil and Tom Walker”

largess –
“A largess universal like the sun, His liberal eye doth give to every one.” William Shakespeare, Henry IV

lassitude –
“To poets it’s vernal lassitude but to us it’s simply spring fever.” Brochure, Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce

latent –
“All our latent strength was now alive.” Winston Churchill, Their Finest Hour

laudable –
“American historians, in their eagerness to present facts and their laudable anxiety to tell the truth, have neglected the literary aspects of their craft.” Samuel Eliot Morrison, By Land and by Sea

lax –
“The fact that his employer was lax on this score was one of many things that he had to condone.” Henry James, “Brooksmith”

legerdemain –
“Federal investigators pursuing money-laundering schemes are concerned with alleged acts of legerdemain by Russian banks.” Tim L. O’Brien, “Bank in Laundering Inquiry,” New York Times, 8/20/99

legion –
“Though not Hollywood handsome, Tommy’s success with the fair sex was legion.” Janet Murphy, “Babylon on the Hudson”

lethal –
“By evening we couldn’t even get any more people indoors where they would have had some protection from the lethal fallout.” Florence Moog, “The Bombing of St. Louis”

lethargic –
“Ricky Henderson’s lethargic stroll toward second base led the sports reporters to blast him in yesterday’s papers.” Ralph Kiner, baseball announcer, Fox Sports News, 10/4/99

levity –
“There was something about the company’s president that made levity seem out of place.” Lloyd Sperling, A Boiler Room Operation

libel –
“Issues such as freedom of speech and libel are going to have to be rethought as the Internet makes everyone a potential publisher in cyberspace.” Thomas L. Friedman, “Boston E-Party,” New York Times, 1/1/00

liquidation –
“Hiding the forty-six comrades who were scheduled for liquidation became much easier.” David Hackett, The Buchenwald Report

lithe –
“Tasteless headlines screamed ‘Newtie’s Cutie’ to describe the lithe hymn-singing young staff member who inexplicably fell for her portly Newt.” Robert Reno, “Political Garbage,” Newsday, 8/19/99

livid –
“Livid with anger, the poster boy for road rage jumped out of his red convertible and came running toward us.” Letter to the Editor, “Big Road Hazard,” Newsday, 8/19/99

loath –
“Still I am loath simply to join the conspiracy.” “The Happy-Parents Conspiracy,” New York Times, 5/23/99

loathing –
“He had braced himself not to become entangled in her loathing for him.” Phillip Roth, American Pastoral

longevity –
“The longevity of metal parts is increased by this new process.” Report, General Motors Corporation

lucrative –
“Very quickly it became a surprisingly lucrative property.” David McCullough, The Great Bridge

lugubrious –
“Lugubrious notices on the passing of old friends were a feature of the local paper.” TIME, 8/20/99

lurid –
“We thought the rookie’s tale was too lurid to be believed, but it turned out to be true.” Chuck Cavanna, Life in the Minors

lush –
“Can one run for political office without the promise of lush campaign contributions from many sources?” “Steve Forbes; In His Own Debt,” Parade, 9/15/99

Machiavellian –
“Is there any clearer example of Machiavellian plotting than that of Iago in ‘Othello’?” John Simon, Reverse Angle

magnanimous –
“There was no way he was going to be magnanimous and share this prized baseball with anyone who claimed a share of the glory.” Don DeLillo, Underworld

maimed –
“Films in which characters are maimed or destroyed seem to be most popular with today’s youngsters.” Harold Owen, Jr., “The Motion Picture”

maladjusted –
“The natural assumption is that the teenage killers at Columbine H.S. were maladjusted youngsters but some neighbors denied that.” Letters to the Editor, Washington Post, 7/14/99

malady –
“Homesickness can be a disease as trivial as a slight cold or it can be a deadly malady.” Z. Libin, “A Sign of Summer”

malevolent –
“Our military action against the malevolent head of the Serbian government has finally ended.” Newsweek, 4/8/99

malign –
“His chosen weapon is the verbal hand grenade by which he can outrage and malign.” Kenneth Tynan, “On Don Rickles,” New Yorker, 2/20/78

malignant –
“The wailing chorus turned into a malignant clamor that swirled into my ears like an icy breeze.” Kenneth Roberts, Oliver Wiswell

malleable –
“Is the mayor able to change from an apparently rigid personality to one more malleable to differences?” Alec Kuczynski, “The Mayor’s Makeover,” New York Times Magazine, 8/1/99

malnutrition –
“The children of the Albanian refugees are suffering from malnutrition, and they need our help.” Red Cross Appeal for Funds

mammoth –
“She began to repair the ravages made by generosity added to lovea tremendous task, dear friendsa mammoth task.” O. Henry, “The Gift of the Magi”

mandate –
“With a federal mandate to convert to digital broadcasting by 2003, public TV stations are facing large capital expenditures,” Ellis Bromberg, “Federal Money Vital to Progress of PBS,” The News Gazette, Champaign-Urbana, 10/21/99

manifest –
“English is one of the great borrowing languages, more manifest in the origin of so many of our words.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

manifold –
“China’s Xinhua News Agency treated manifold claims of procedural error with disbelief.” “Trying to Build Bridges in China,” TIME, 6/28/99

martinet –
“The prospect of having to talk to Sheila’s principal, a real martinet, made him nervous, but he steeled himself to do it.” John Yount, “The Trapper’s Last Shot”

masticate –
“Trying to masticate a huge hamburger with an open mouth is a no-no.” Advice from Ms. Manners, syndicated columnist, 6/4/98
mastiffs –
“That island of England breeds very valiant creatures; their mastiffs are of unmatchable courage.” William Shakespeare, Henry V

materialism –
“Democracy always makes for materialism, because the only kind of equality that you can guarantee to a whole people is physical.” Katherine F. Gerould, Modes and Morals

matrons –
“For ladies they had the family of the American consul and a nice bevy of English girls and matrons, perhaps Lady Hamilton herself.” Edward Everett Hale, The Man Without a Country

maudlin –
“Uncle Billy passed rapidly into a state of stupor, the Duchess became maudlin, and Mother Shipton snored.” Bret Harte, “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”

megalomania –
“Charlie desperately wanted Armaxco to lease space in what so far was the worst mistake of his career, the soaring monster that his megalomania led him to call Croker Concourse.” Tom Wolfe, A Man in Full

mendacious –
“Hillary joined in efforts to dismiss as mendacious tarts all the women who claimed to have been involved with her husband.” Maureen Dowd, “The Boy Can’t Help It,” New York Times, 8/4/99

menial –
“It is difficult to visualize the numbers of menial laborers required to build the famous Egyptian pyramids.” E. A. Wallis Budge, The Mummy

mentor –
“To break into the political life of South Africa, one needed a highly placed mentor.” Nadine Gordimer, Face to Face

mercenary –
“We all like money . . . but Dickens surpassed most in a mercenary approach to his writings.” G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens

metamorphosis –
“For nearly a year, the dauber, undergoing metamorphosis, inhabits its silken dung-stoppered cocoon inside the mud cell.” Alan Devoe, “The Mad Dauber”

meticulous –
“Even later, in 1992, Barnstead’s meticulous records allowed researchers to put names on six previously unidentified Titanic survivors.” “Titanic and Halifax,” The Nova Scotia Museum

mien –
“He had the mien of a man who has been everywhere and through everything.” Arnold Bennett, The Old Wives Tale

milieu –
“In the milieu of a heated baseball championship contest, tickets are being sold at highly inflated prices.” New York Post, 10/10/99

modified –
“Some schools claimed that the standard test was a lot harder than a modified version.” Ching-Cheng Ni, “Fewer Rumbles on Earth Test,” Newsday, 6/23/99

mollify –
“The mayor attempted to mollify his critics by pointing to the increased safety in the city.” New York Daily News, 8/15/99

monolithic –
“Gertrude Stein was a stolid, heavy presence, monolithic, unladylike.” Liz Smith, “When Love Was the Adventure,” TIME, 6/14/99

moribund –
“After being moribund for years, interest in electric automobiles has revived.” Car and Driver, 6/97

mortality –
“Socrates loves talk of fundamental things, of justice and virtue and wisdom and love and mortality.” Hermann Hagedorn, SocratesHis Life

mortify –
“The comparisons between her sister’s beauty and her own no longer would mortify her.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

motivate –
“The loss of our star quarterback seemed to motivate the team to play even harder.” Bill Parcells quoted in Sports Illustrated, 9/12/98

mundane –
“Why bother with mundane musings when you can sit on the lawn and build cities out of grass clippings?” Enid Nemy, “The World is Her Cloister,” New York Times, 6/20/99

munificent –
“His munificent gift will enable us to place computers in all the elementary schools.” Newsday, 6/20/98

murky –
“Mud dumping from the bottom of Long Island has created a murky picture.” “Fishermen’s Woes,” Newsday, 6/22/99

myriad –
“Genius is not born with sight, but blind: it is influenced by a myriad of stimulating exterior circumstances.” Mark Twain, “Saint Joan of Arc”

nadir –
“He knew he had reached the nadir of his baseball career when they sent him to a minor league team.” Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer

naïve –
“Woodrow Wilson was naïve to believe Yugoslavia could be formed after World War I.” Letter to the Editor, New Yorker, 6/26/99

nascent –
“The once nascent Women’s National Basketball Association has arrived and is healthy and prosperous.” New York Times, 7/17/99

nebulous –
“There is a nebulous line between confidence and over-confidence.” Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 4/8/99

nefarious –
“A nefarious employee can still download secret weapons information to a tape, put it in his pocket and walk out the door.” William Safire, “Culture of Arrogance,” New York Times, 6/17/99

negligible –
“These politicians have voted themselves a big pay raise for the negligible amount of work they do.” The Queens Tribune, 8/6/98

nepotism –
“Political allies and family members filled government jobs as nepotism flourished.” Paul Alter, This Windy City

nettled –
“He was pretty well nettled by this time, and he stood in front of a bureau mirror, brushing his hair with a pair of military brushes.” James Thurber, “More Alarms at Night”

neurotic –
“We shall lose all our power to cope with our problem if we allow ourselves to become a stagnant, neurotic, frightened and suspicious people.” Walter Lippmann, “The Nuclear Age”

neutralize –
“The quinine that can neutralize his venom is called courage.” Elmer Davis, But We Were Born Free

nirvana –
“Nirvana is in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.” Kahlil Gilbran, Sand and Foam

noisome –
“The noisome conditions in the refugee camps were a disgrace and a danger.” Newsday, 8/7/99

nomadic –
“After buying the big trailer, they spent a nomadic year visiting national parks out west.” “On the Road Again,” Travel Ideas International

nominal –
“As the nominal head of his party, the governor was courted by all the Sunday morning talk shows.” Archer Karnes, “Politics and Poker”

nondescript –
“Jane Austen can picture ordinary, commonplace and nondescript characters in ways denied to me.” Walter Scott, Journal, 1826

nonentity –
“With sufficient financial backing, almost any political nonentity could become a national contender.” Washington Post, 6/15/98

nostalgia –
“The various objects one picks up just before leaving a foreign country are apt to acquire an extraordinary souvenir-value, giving one a foretaste of distance and nostalgia.” Corrado Alvaro, “The Ruby”

nuance –
“With Minnie Driver adroitly mining each nuance of social primness, Jane is the first Disney cartoon heroine to provide her own comic relief.” Richard Corliss, “Him Tarzan, Him Great,” TIME, 6/14/99

nullify –
“Allowing our parks to decay is a sure way to nullify the beauty given to us by nature.” Freeman Tilden, The National Parks

nurtured –
“The Telecommunications Act of 1996 introduced competition that has nurtured demand for communications generally and for Internet service specifically.” Seth Schessel, “A Chance to Become Really Big,” New York Times, 6/15/99

nutritive –
“They searched for anything that had nutritive value, but often found nothing.” “The Irish Famine,” Harpers, 5/73 O

obese –
“The rush to lose weight by unproven methods often leads to complications for obese people.” Johns Hopkins Health Letter, Summer 1997

obliterate –
“They went out to survey the land for a possible railroad, but met with Indians on the warpath and were obliterated.” Freeman Tilden, The National Parks [adapted]

obloquy –
“Hitler and his Nazis showed how evil a conspiracy could be which was aimed at destroying a race by exposing it to contempt, derision, and obloquy.” Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, decision, 10/52

obscure –
“This book has serious purpose even if many will find that purpose obscure.” Decision of Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 11/62

obsequious –
“and the survivor bound In filial obligation for some term To do obsequious sorrow.” William Shakespeare, Hamlet

obsess –
“To obsess over acquisitions is especially damaging to human felicity.” Llewelyn Powys, Earth Memories

obsolescence –
“After five centuries of obsolescence, Roman numerals still exert a peculiar fascination over the inquiring mind.” Isaac Asimov, “Nothing Counts”

obviate –
“Modest pre-emptive acting can obviate the need for more drastic actions at a later date that could destabilize the economy.” Alan Greenspan, quoted in New Jersey Star Ledger, 5/6/99

occult –
“Somehow, horror films have changed from one main figure who threatens a town or young women, to occult spirits that take over a normal human for unknown reasons.” Pauline Kael, I Lost It at the Movies

octogenarian –
“Octogenarian film and stage director Elia Kazan received a mixed reception when he came up to collect his Lifetime Achievement Award.” Associated Press report, 4/7/98

ominous –
“There was a Sabbath lull in the air, which, in a settlement unused to Sabbath influences, looked ominous.” Bret Harte, “The Outcasts of Poker Flat”

omnipotent –
“In those comic strips there was always a cruel and omnipotent villain.” Letter, New York Times, 9/13/99

omnivorous –
“He became an omnivorous reader of the classics.” T. S. Lovering, Child Prodigies

opprobrium –
“General Sherman is still viewed with opprobrium in these parts of the South he once destroyed.” Edmund Wilson, Patriotic Gore

opulent –
“Poirot followed him, looking with appreciation at such works of art as were of an opulent and florid nature.” Agatha Christie, “The Dream”

originated –
“The early Egyptian rulers, in order to stop the practice of cannibalism, originated the method that protected the deadmummification.” E. A. Wallis Budge, The Mummy

ostensibly –
“The race was ostensibly to test the reliability of the automobiles.” Keith Ayling, The Race Around the World

ostentatious –
“He affected simplicity, partly because he was ugly, but more because being ostentatious might have irritated ?those of whom he always spoke of as ‘my fellow citizens.’” Emil Ludwig, Michelangelo

oust –
“Politics will still exist as in the Republican campaign to oust Bill Clinton.” James Pinkerton, “Mediocre Pols,” Newsday, 6/17/99

overt –
“It is peculiarly shocking that Brutus practices overt self-deception.” Harold Bloom, Shakespeare

pall –
“A pall had descended upon Mr. Timberlake, and I understood why he did not talk to me about the origin of evil.” V. S. Pritchett, “The Saint”

palliate –
“Reducing the testosterone would palliate the cancer, the oncologist believed, but it wouldn’t be a cure.” Dr. Mervyn Elliot, “Medicine in the News”

paltry –
“Marvin was baffled by the paltry amount of money the widow was asking for her husband’s elegant Rolls Royce.” Barnett Lesser, “One Man’s Will”

panaceas –
“Mrs. Clinton said that she was in Rochester to listen and learn not to offer panaceas for all civic problems.” Associated Press report, “Pre-Campaign Strategy,” 9/9/99

pandemonium –
“Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, in pandemonium, a throng of revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment.” Edgar Allan Poe, “The Masque of the Red Death”

parable –
“When I had trouble keeping the kindergarten class quiet, I found that telling them a parable (the tortoise and the hare, for example) would get their undivided attention.” Lana L. Grossberg, A Teacher’s True Confessions

paradox –
“Here was a paradox like the stellar universe that fitted one’s mental faults.” Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams

paragon –
“An angel! or, if not An earthly paragon!” William Shakespeare, Cymbeline

paramount –
“For him, winning was paramount; coming in second meant he had swum a poor race.” Len Sussman, “Born to Swim”

pariahs –
“Apart from the other castes were the outcasts: India’s untouchables, or pariahs.” Barbara Walker, Women’s Encyclopedia

paroxysms –
“The coughing did not even come out in paroxysms, but was just a feeble, dreadful welling up of the juices of organic dissolution.” Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

parsimonious –
“His parsimonious thrift was relieved by a few generous impulses.” V. L. Parrington, Main Currents in American Thought

passé –
“Everything old is new again is the theme for the designer’s adoption of passé styles and making them fashionable again.” Sophia Leguizamo, “New From Milan”

pathetic –
“He is the latest loser trying to solve his pathetic life behind a gun.” Editorial, New York Post, 7/30/99

paucity –
“In the dictator’s best-case scenario, he can hope for continuing control, thanks to a paucity of opponents.” Massimo Calabresi, “Is This the End for Milosevic?,” TIME, 6/21/99

pecuniary –
“The most unpleasant thing of all was that his pecuniary interests should enter into the question of his reconciliation with his wife.” Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

pedagogue –
“He is neither bandit nor pedagogue, but, like myself a broken soldier, retired on half pay for some years.” Stephen Vincent Benet, “The Curfew Tolls”

penance –
“I have done penance for condemning Love, Whose high imperious thoughts have punished me With bitter fasts, with penitential groans.” William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona

penchant –
“Annabel had a penchant for silver fox coats but Midge said they were common.” Dorothy Parker, “The Standard of Living”

penitent –
“When father strode into the coal and ice office, he came out, the penitent clerk with him, promising to deliver a block of ice in time for dinner.” Clarence Day, Life with Father

pensive –
“It was only when he found himself alone in his bedroom in a pensive mood that he was able to grapple seriously with his memories of the occurrence.” H. G. Wells, The Man Who Could Work Miracles

penury –
“Afflicted by penury, it appeared that Putois had joined a gang of thieves who were prowling the countryside.” Anatole France, “Putois”

perceive –
“The subjects, as you perceive, were alarming but very agreeable.” Anton Chekhov, “A Slander”

peregrination –
“Each step he took represented an inward peregrination.” Gretel Ehrlich, “On the Road With God’s Fool”

peremptory –
“Mr. Greenspan encouraged his fellow Federal Reserve Board members today to undertake a peremptory attack against inflation.” Reuters, “Financial News Letter,” 3/99

perfidious –
“Alfred E. Ricks was the perfidious toad’s designation who sold worthless shares in the Blue Gopher Mine.” O. Henry, “The Man Higher Up”

perfunctory –
“Doc Martindale made a perfunctory examination and told Eli there was nothing to worry about.” MacKinlay Kantor, “The Grave Grass Quivers”

permeated –
“The play is permeated with scriptural imagery, notably a Last Supper.” Robert Brustein, New Republic, 6/7/99

pernicious –
“This chapter exposes a pernicious obstacle to students and teachers engaging in serious work together.” Robert L. Fried, The Passionate Teacher

perpetrated –
“Thanks to Mr. DeLay, we learn that violence perpetrated by gun owners is really the product of larger forces.” Editorial, “Mr. DeLay’s Power Play,” New York Times, 6/20/99

perpetuate –
“The laws would often do no more than perpetuate a legislator’s acts of injustice.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

persevered –
“The Knicks persevered as first Patrick Ewing and then Johnson went down with injuries.” George Vecsey, “Sports of the Times,” New York Times, 6/22/99

perspicacious –
“Nobody deserves the Lifetime Achievement Award more than Army Archerd, who is not only perspicacious, but a gentleman as well.” Liz Smith, Newsday, 6/2/99

pertinent –
“What seems pertinent is to observe that jazz gravitated toward a particular kind of environment in which its existence was probable.” Arnold Sungaard, Jazz, Hot and Cold

peruse –
“Stopping to peruse her mail, Raven didn’t notice that the front door was ajar.” Dolores Kent, Instant Gratification

perverse –
“There is something contemptible in the prospect of a number of petty states with the appearance only of union, jarring, ?jealous, and perverse.” Alexander Hamilton, speech, 1782

pesky –
“Oranges down there is like a young man’s whiskers; you enjoy them at first, but they get to be a pesky nuisance.” Ring W. Lardner, “The Golden Honeymoon”

phenomenon –
“This phenomenon is characterized by a temporary reversal of the normal atmospheric conditions, in which the air near the earth is warmer than the air higher up.” Berton Roueché, “The Fog”

phlegmatic –
“Duncan had a phlegmatic fourth quarter, dooming the Spurs’ opportunity to humble the New York Knicks.” TV announcer, NBA Finals, 6/22/99

phobia –
“My phobia was such that the slightest touch produced twinges of pain.” Guy De Maupassant, “Looking Back”

pinnacle –
“Their little barber-shop quartet reached the pinnacle of their career with a first-place finish on Major Bowes’ ‘Amateur Hour.’” David and Marge Buchanan, “No Business Like You Know What”

pique –
“In a fit of pique he raised his pistol to take aim at me but Masha threw herself at his feet.” Aleksandr Pushkin, “The Shot”

pittance –
“To be paid a mere pittance and yet to be suspected of theft; never in her life had she been subjected to such an outrage.” Anton Chekhov, “An Upheaval”

placards –
“Yet a mile away at the ultra-orthodox Mea Shearim neighbourhood, wall placards now warn residents not to have Internet-linked computers in their homes.” Thomas Friedman, “All in the Family,” New York Times, 6/22/99

plaintiff –
“When the attorney for the palsied plaintiff finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom.” Rose Axelsohn, “The Defense Rests” [adapted]

platitudes –
“The topic was, ‘What Is Life?’ and the students laboured at it busily with their platitudes.” Philip Roth, American Pastoral

plethora –

plight –
“I had the sense that his loneliness was not merely the result of his personal plight.” Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome

poignant –
“Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward through every fibre of his body and limbs.” Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

pondered –
“As I made my way back, I pondered the significance of what I’d seen.” Nicholas Kristof, “1492: The Prequel”

potent –
“Those huge differences in income found in our society must have potent causes.” Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel

potentates –
“The racing season at Saratoga invited all manner of society from potentates to paupers.” Lanny Richards, “They’re Off!”

potential –
“We realized that this system had worked because the potential targets were so many that the Germans could not get a definite idea of where we would strike.” Ewen Montagu, The Man Who Never Was

potpourri –
“A potpourri of fresh fruits and cool cottage cheese make for a delicious lunch treat when the temperatures rise into the high 90s.” Martha Stewart, CBS News, 5/23/98

pragmatic –
“His conservative approach to investing has made millions of dollars for those who share Warren Buffet’s pragmatic philosophy.” “Master of Berkshire- Hathaway,” Profile of Warren Buffet, New York Times

precedent –
“One can imagine a time when the voters ignore precedent and elect a woman to the office of President of the United States.” Barbara Walker, The Women’s Encyclopedia

precipitate –
“The weight of a finger might precipitate the tragedy, hurl him at once into the dim, gray unknown.” Stephen Crane, “An Episode of War”

precluded –
“I would be avenged; this was a point definitely settled but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk.” Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado”

precocious –
“Paediatricians interviewed this week were somewhat divided on the value of TV viewing by precocious children.” Lawrie Miflin, “Tough Rules for TV,” New York Times, 8/4/99

prelude –
“Bounderby’s prelude to his main point was very well received by Mrs. Sparsit who said, ‘Very sagacious indeed, sir.’” Charles Dickens, Hard Times

premise –
“That train of reasoning has all the various parts and terms its major premise and its conclusion.” T. H. Huxley, “We Are All Scientists”

premonition –
“There seemed to be a gentle stir arising over everything a very premonition of rest and hush and night.” Mary Wilkens Freeman, “The New England Nun”

prerogative –
“Governor Pataki exercised his prerogative as titular head of the party to endorse Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.” Editorial, “Truce Among New York Republicans,” New York Times, 8/7/99

prestigious –
“He had finally reached his present prestigious position of wealth and security, and he felt he was entitled to sit back and enjoy his happiness.” Ronald Byron, “Happy Days for Harrison Gumedi”

pretext –
“Our mother had been expressly enjoined by her husband to give Madame Cornouiller some plausible pretext for refusing.” Anatole France, “Putois”

prevalent –
“On the all-news channels the most prevalent images were from a helicopter pursuing the police chase.” New York Post, 7/30/99

prevarication –
“They must honestly swear to this oath without prevarication or reservation.” Supreme Court Justice Byron White, speech, 12/1/64

privations –
“It aroused a strong response in our hearts when he told about their sufferings and privations.” Selma Lagerlöf, Harvest

procrastinated –
“Mr. Brooksmith procrastinated for several days before accepting my offer.” Henry James, “Brooksmith”

prodigious –
“He knew from the moment he left the ground that it was a prodigious jump.” Joseph N. Bell, “The Olympics Biggest Winner”

prodigy –
“I grant you CliveClive was a prodigy, a genius and met the fate of geniuses.” Stephen Vincent Benet, “The Curfew Tolls”

proffer –
“Orin came to proffer his condolences when, wonder of wonder, he fell in love with the grieving widow.” Terence Cavanaugh, “An Ill Wind”

profligate –
“Her innocent appearance had a peculiar attraction for a vicious profligate, who had hitherto admired only the coarser types of feminine beauty.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Käramazov

profound –
“So why no profound works on the need for $660 million in tax credits for companies that burn chicken droppings? ” Editorial, “Tax-Cut Favors,” New York Times, 8/7/99

profuse –
“He offered profuse apologies for his show of exasperation, and he volunteered to read to her, something in French.” Aldous Huxley, “The Giaconda Smile”

progeny –
“First, let me tell you whom you have condemn’d: Not me begotten of a shepherd swain, But issued from the progeny of kings.” William Shakespeare, Henry IV

prognostication –
“Nay, if an oily palm be not a fruitful prognostication I cannot scratch my ear.” William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

prohibition –
“The U.S. public is slowly coming around to accepting the idea that a prohibition against the easy access to hand guns is inevitable.” Roger Rosenblatt, “Get Rid of the Damned Things,” TIME, 8/9/99

prolific –
“Isaac Asimov was a truly prolific writer, seemingly able to complete a book every two weeks.” Art Nichols, Selling Your Manuscript

promulgated –
“The rules and regulations are promulgated for the guidance of administrative employees, bureau heads, and supervisors.” “Rules and Regulations for Administrative Employees,” NYC Board of Education

propagate –
“The Republican leadership planned to propagate their philosophy for a huge tax cut during the summer recess.” Wolf Blitzer, CNN Nightly News, 7/14/99

propensity –
“You had a propensity for telling simple and professional tales before the war.” Joseph Conrad, “The Tale”

propinquity –
“It occurred to him that Varick might be talking at random to relieve the strain of their propinquity.” Edith Wharton, The Desert of Man

propitious –
“Sometime later, I will find a propitious ground and bury you there in the same grave.” Shen Chunlieh, “In Memory of a Child,” 1619

propriety –
“There is a propriety and necessity of preventing interference with the course of justice.” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, decision, 10/28

proximity –
“Stryker had built a small cannery in close proximity to the house where the turtles were raised in shallow tanks.” Edmund Wilson, “The Man Who Shot Snapping Turtles”

prudent –
“Those who thought the prudent thing to do at the end of 1999 was to stay away from flying resulted in the slowest day of the year for every airline.” TIME, 1/12/00

pugnacious –
“Two pugnacious guard dogs in the railyard eliminated the nightly vandalism in a hurry.” Lewis Tumulty, “Civic Pride”

puissant –
“The combination of the drugs has become a puissant cocktail in the fight against AIDS.” Medical report, CBS News, 9/20/98

pungent –
“The pungent aroma of the cream puffs told Sadie that the man from Goobers had arrived.” Katherine Mansfield, “The Garden Party”

puny –
“I have said that I am a weak and puny man, and you will have proof of that directly.” Max Beerbohm, “A. V. Laidler”

qualms –
“The manager had qualms about allowing him to continue playing with an injured hand.” Sports Illustrated, 6/16/98

quandary –
“New Year’s Eve presented a quandary for people in China, a country where the observance of non-political Western celebrations is a relatively recent phenomenon.” Elizabeth Rosenthal, “Party? What Party?,” New York Times, 1/1/00

quarry –
“The state troopers had tracked their quarry to the thickly wooded area near the crime scene.” Newsday, 4/10/98

quell –
“He also did not quell the speculation surrounding Van Gundy’s status as coach.” Mike Wise, New York Times, 5/25/99

quip –
“The audience screamed and applauded hysterically at every musical number, every quip, every little movement on the stage.” Liz Smith, Newsday, 6/2/99

rabid –
“Politicians avoid the appearance of being rabid on issues that seem to be evenly viewed by the voters.” Arthur Willner, “Taking Sides”

raconteur –
“As a popular raconteur, George Jessel was prized as a speaker at award ceremonies.” The Hollywood Reporter, 7/18/96

railed –
“He cursed and railed, and finally declared he was going to trail the raiders.” Zane Grey, Raiders of the Purple Sage

raiment –
“No matter what her raiment, Marilyn Monroe looked absolutely fabulous on the screen.” Billy Wilder quoted by Earl Wilson, Chicago Tribune, 2/28/76

rampant –
“What’s more curious about the determination to end social promotions is that the practice is far from rampant.” Romesh Ratnesar, “Held Back,” TIME, 6/14/99

rash –
“Thou art as rash as fire to say That she was false.” William Shakespeare, Othello

rationalize –
“It is the task of the scientist to rationalize the remains of extinct civilizations to discover their histories.” Brian Fagan, Time Detective

raucous –
“The 1968 Democratic nominating convention in Chicago was the scene of raucous confrontations.” I. F. Stone, Weekly Reader

razed –
“In the gorge, continually razed by the clawing wind, he would probably find his other dog.” Francisco Coloane, “Cururo . . . Sheep Dog”

realm –
“In all the churches of the realm the Blessed Sacrament is exposed night and day, and tall candles are burning for the recovery of the royal child.” Alphonse Daudet, “The Death of the Dauphin”
rebuke –
“The defeat of the charter revision was viewed as a rebuke of his policies.” Editorial, New York Times, 11/7/99

recanted –
“The government’s key witness in the case recanted her testimony, claiming she had been intimidated by prosecutors.” Rob Polner, “Set Back for Prosecutors,” New York Post, 6/23/99

recoil –
“It is a gesture of response to my remarks, and it always makes me recoil with a laugh.” Thomas Mann, “A Man and His Dog”

recondite –
“If it seems too recondite for anyone but dwellers in the groves of Academe, one must consider rhyming slang which originated in the underworld.” Bergen Evans, “Now Everyone Is Hip About Slang”

redolent –
“The scenea decrepit classroom, redolent of moldy books, and the pencil shavings of generations of boys being ground into the hardwood floor.” Jon Robin Baitz, The Film Society

redress –
“There has been much discussion about the fairest way to redress centuries of discrimination.” “A Time to Begin,” Readers Digest, 5/92

refute –
“The tobacco industry has stopped trying to refute the charge that smoking is both dangerous and addictive.” U.S. News and World Report, 2/3/98

relegated –
“They were to be relegated to the outer circle of my life.” Van Wyck Brooks, Helen Keller

remiss –
“If the mayor thought that one of his commissioners had been remiss in following instructions, he would fly into a rage and throw his glasses at him.” David Rockefeller on Mayor LaGuardia, New York Times, 10/10/99

remote –
“The pull of the remote stars is so slight as to be obliterated in the vaster moments by which the ocean yields to the moon and sun.” Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

remuneration –
“Please mail your resume along with your expected remuneration to our Director of Personnel.” Want ad, New York Times, 7/7/99

repented –
“At his court martial, the officer admitted to the charges and repented.” “General Demoted,” Washington Post, 9/2/99

repertoire –
“He led a secret life as a forger of paintings, with the most famous as part of his repertoire.” Peter Landesman, New York Times, 7/18/99

replenish –
“We’ll dip down into our farm system to replenish our stock of left-handed pitchers.” Bobby Valentine, ABC-TV Sports Interview

replete –
“When a composition is so replete with errors, I call attention to only a few, the most important ones.” Fran Weinberg, English teacher, NYC High Schools

repose –
“Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest Come to thy heart as that within my breast.” William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

reprehensible –
“She thought that the prisoners, no matter how morally reprehensible their crimes, still should have the benefit of pretrial representation.” Jimmy Breslin’s syndicated column, Newsday, 6/15/99

repressed –
“General McClellan repressed his feelings about President Lincoln but he expressed his private anger in letters to his wife.” David Herbert Donald, Lincoln

reprimand –
“The difficulty lay in the fact the man had previously received a reprimand from his employer regarding his easy- going ways with the men under him in his department.” James Thurber, “Let Your Mind Alone”

reproached –
“When reminded that he knew little history, Henry Ford reproached his critics by reminding them that history would know him.” Quoted in The Will Rogers Book, Paula Love, editor, 1961

repudiate –
“If upheld, the decision would repudiate one of the Administration’s environmental achievements.” Editorial, New York Times, 5/19/99

repugnant –
“The behavior of the few rioters at the rock concert was repugnant to the huge, peaceful crowd.” “Woodstock Revisited,” TIME, 6/7/99

repulse –
“The cannons were set up to repulse a possible invasion but none was ever attempted.” Col. F. X. Prescott, “History as Our Teacher”

reputed –
“The language of Iceland has changed so little that modern Icelanders are reputed to be able to read sagas written thousands of years ago.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

requisite –
“Secrecy is more requisite than ever during the sensitive negotiations over the release of our prisoners.” I. F. Stone, Weekly Reader

resourceful –
“The crew of the $20 million independent film had to be very resourceful to hold down costs.” Beth L. Kiel, “Allen in Hollywood,” New York, 6/21/99

respite –
“The plan enabled the oiler and the correspondent to set respite together.” Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat”

restrictive –
“Mr. el Hage said that the law was too restrictive, claiming that he had nothing to do with violent acts.” Benjamin Weiser, “Terrorism Suspect,” New York Times, 6/23/99

reticent –
“He was as inquisitive about the country as he was reticent about his business there.” Frances Gilchrist Woods, “Turkey Red”

retort –
“There is no need to retort to an employee who has written a critique of your original warning letter.” NYC Board of Education’s Food Service Division, Guide for Managers

retrospect –
“I shivered in retrospect when I thought of that afternoon meeting in the freezing hall.” Anna L. Strong, The Chinese Conquer China

reverberated –
“When that putt plunked into the hole yesterday, the 40,000 people exploded in a roar that reverberated through more than a century of U.S. Open history.” Dave Anderson, “Longest Final Putt,” New York Times, 6/21/99

revere –
“Paul McCartney and other celebrities who yet revere the name of rock-and-roll great Buddy Holly will host a tribute to him at the Roseland Ballroom.” Letta Taylor, “Tribute to Buddy,” Newsday, 9/3/99

reverts –
“She dreamily reverts to the hour when old age will throw down his frosts upon her head.” Walt Whitman, “Dreams”

reviled –
“Former Haitian President Aristede was reviled by orphanage graduates who claimed that he had lied to them about the promise of jobs.” Associated Press story, “Haiti Gunmen Confront Police,” New York Times, 6/25/99

rhetoric –
“Nothing good can come out of the rhetoric of hatred that will be heard at the rally.” New York Congressman Charles Rangel, ABC TV News, 9/2/99

rife –
“Cyberspace is rife with sweatshops but very few people realize it.” Karl Taro Greenfield, “Living the Late Shift,” TIME, 6/28/99

rift –
“The 1993 tear gas assault on the Branch Dividian cult has created a rift between the FBI and the Attorney General’s office.” Associated Press report, “FBI Video Released,” Newsday, 9/3/99

?”She was expected to win the governor’s race in a romp.” Wolf Blitzer, CNN News, 2/2/98

roster –
“The roster of stars for our gala celebration includes Cher, Meatloaf, and Lyle Lovett.” Las Vegas hotel ad

rudimentary –
“Some of them were singing, some talking, some engaged in gardening, hay-making, or other rudimentary industries.” “The Other Side of the Hedge,” E. M. Forster

rue –
“When they make a mistake they will rue it.” Randi Feigenbaum, “Realtors’ Deal Irks Lawyers,” Newsday, 9/3/99

ruminated –
“Lou Gehrig, the great N.Y. Yankee star, ruminated on his career as he left because of an incurable illness: ‘I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.’” Speech, 7/4/39

rustic –
“This week a rustic setting in the Berkshire Hills was a gathering place for a group that is dedicated to preserving the Yiddish language.” Tina Rosenberg, “Living an American Life in Yiddish,” New York Times, 9/3/99

saga –
“The saga of the Kennedy family has enthralled and saddened us.” Barbara Walters, quoted in New York Times, 7/10/99

sage –
“I am not a visionary, nor am I a sageI claim to be a practical idealist.” Mohandas Gandhi quoted by John Gunther, Procession, 1965

salient –
“The salient feature of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 is that it prohibits discrimination against the disabled.” Robert McFadden, “Court Ruling on Disabled Teacher Is Annulled,” New York Times, 6/25/99

sally –
“The next morning we decided to sally forth to try to find a site for our new home.” Stephen Leacock, “How My Wife and I Built Our Home for $4.90”

salubrious –
“For my later years there remains the salubrious effects of work: stimulation and satisfaction.” Kathe Kollwitz, Diaries and Letters, 1955

salvation –
“Maybe it is connected with some terrible sin, with the loss of eternal salvation, with some bargain with the devil.” Aleksandr Pushkin, “The Queen of Spades”

sanctimonious –
“There has never been a shortage of sanctimonious arguments for starting a war.” Peter Finley Dunne, Mr. Dooley Remembers

sanction –
“He received his father’s sanction and authority.” George Meredith, Diana of the Crossways

sanctuary –
“The identity of Rinehart may be a temporary sanctuary for the narrator, but it is another identity he must reject if he is to find himself as a person.” Anthony Abbott, Invisible Man

sanguine –
“I’m not sanguine about the Knicks’ chances to upset the San Antonio Spurs.” Telephone caller to WFAN Sports Radio Program, 6/8/99

satiety –
“One of the soldiers was given leave to be drunk six weeks, in hopes of curing him by satiety.” William Cowper, Selected Letters

saturate –
“Vanilla sweetens the air, ginger spices it; melting nose-tingling odors saturate the kitchen.” Truman Capote, “A Christmas Memory”

schism –
“The schism between the manager and his best pitcher spilled over from the locker room onto the field.” Bob Klapisch, The Worst Team That Money Could Buy

scion –
“Al Gore is the Good Son, the early achieving scion from Harvard and Tennessee who always thought he would be President.” Maureen Dowd, “Freudian Face-Off,” New York Times, 6/15/99

scoffed –
“No one was injured except the woman who had scoffed at the belief.” Leonard Fineberg, “Fire Walking in Ceylon”

scrutinized –
“The jockey waited with his back to the wall and scrutinized the room with pinched, creepy eyes.” Carson McCullers, “The Jockey”

scurrilous –
“They were infuriated by the scurrilous articles about them that started to crop up in the tabloids.” Charles Blauvelt, Edward and Wally

“Some small night-bird, flitting noiselessly near the ground on its soft wings, almost flapped against me, only to scurry away in alarm.” Ivan Turgenev, “Bezhin Meadows”

sedate –
“Few public places maintain a sedate atmosphere equal to the majestic chambers of the Supreme Court.” Milton Konvitz, editor, Bill of Rights Reader

sedentary –
“Seeger had seen him relapsing gradually into the small-town hardware merchant he had been before the war, sedentary and a little shy.” Irwin Shaw, “Act of Faith”

senile –
“Being on golf’s Senior Tour doesn’t mean that we’re senile.” Leon Jaroff, “Those Rich Old Pros,” TIME, 9/27/99

serenity –
“At the top, they planted the crucifix and gathered round, moved by the serenity.” Sontag Orme, “Solemnity and Flash in the Land of Jesus,” New York Times, 1/1/00

servile –
“Uriah Heep, so physically repulsive and hypocritically servile, fascinated David at first but later revolted him.” Holly Hughes, Barron’s Book Notes, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“Dialects are sometimes used as shibboleths to signal the ethnic or social status of the speaker.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

sinecure –
“Matthew Arnold’s job was a sinecure, allowing him plenty of time to travel and write lyrics.” Nicholas Jenkins, “A Gift Improvised,” New York Times, 6/20/99

singular –
“The fate that rules in matters of love is often singular, and its ways are inscrutable, as this story will show.” Meyer Goldschmidt, “Henrik and Rosalie”

sinister –
“The man had a cordially sinister air.” Hernando Tellez, “Ashes for the Wind”

site –
“The site of the bison herd’s destruction was a tall cliff over which they were driven.” Brian Fagan, Time Detectives

skirmish –
“They never meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them.” William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

slovenly –
“The twenty-six year old’s slovenly appearance belied the fact that he was one of the Silicon Valley’s brightest stars.” Reuben Cowan, “Today Dot-Com”

sojourn –
“He returned from a long sojourn in Europe.” Alan McCulloch, Encyclopedia of Australian Art

solace –
“He read in a Bible that he had neglected for years, but he could gain little solace from it.” Theodore Dreiser, “The Lost Phoebe”

solicited –
“The police chief said that Commissioner Safir had not yet solicited his opinion on the question.” “Police Chief Says Officers Deserve Raise,” New York Times, 6/15/99

somber –
“There was a somber and moving tribute for his last game at Yankee Stadium.” John Updike, New Yorker, 10/22/94

sophistry –
“No amount of sophistry could disguise the obvious fact that the legislation was biased against one particular office holder.” New York Times, 9/2/99

sordid –
“The workmen used revolting language; it was disgusting and sordid.” Katherine Mansfield, “The Garden Party”

spate –
“There has been a spate of tell-all memoirs, destroying the organization’s special status.” Jewish Monthly, 9/99

spew –
“It was obvious as the miles of electronic tape began to spew out the new patterns of American life that the census was to be of historic dimension.” Theodore H. White, The Making of the President

spontaneous –
“Professor Einstein burst out in spontaneous candidness.” Thomas Lee Bucky, “Einstein: An Intimate Memoir”

sporadic –

spurious –
“The only known picture, albeit a spurious one, had been printed some years earlier.” James Monaghan, Diplomat in Carpet Slippers

squeamish –
“My brother, who voted for Mr. Mbeki and who has faith in his leadership, is not squeamish.” Mark Mathabane, “South Africa’s Lost Generation”

stagnant –
“The place was small and close, and the long disuse had made the air stagnant and foul.” T. E. Lawrence, The Desert of the Stars

staunch –
“Known as a staunch supporter of the Republican agenda, the young politician astounded us all by his defection.” Monte Halperin, “Party Turncoat?”

steeped –
“Edward Francis had steeped himself in the internal mystery of the guinea pig.” Paul De Kruif, Hunger Fighters

stentorian –
“He proclaimed the fact in stentorian tones that were easily heard throughout the auditorium.” A. A. Berle, The 20th Century Capitalist Revolution

stereotypes –
“Treating the most respected leader in the land that way confirms the worst stereotypes and that really hurts us.” Alessandra Stanley, “Asking a Favor of the Pope,” New York Times, 6/12/99

stigmatized –
“People who so much as whisper during a performance are stigmatized as barbarians.” Joseph Wechsberg, The Best Things in Life

stipulated –
“I shall come out from here five minutes before the stipulated term, and thus shall violate the agreement.” Anton Chekhov, “The Bet”

strident –
“No matter how strident or insulting he became, he was not interrupted by the police.” New York Daily News, 9/5/99

strife –
“Either there is a civil strife, Or else the world, too saucy with the gods, Incenses them to send destruction.” William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

stunted –
“Their physical and mental development became stunted during childhood.” Roger Pineles, Shame of the Cities

stupor –
“If your child watches late night television and comes home from school in a stupor, she’s not getting enough sleep.” “Getting Enough Sleep,” Working Mother, 5/98

stymied –
“The family has been stymied in its attempt to remove a dead relative from the juror rolls.” Associated Press story, “Jury Duty Summonses Don’t Stop Despite Death,” New York Times, 6/25/99

subjugated –
“The country had been bitterly divided, so ruthless in its determination to keep the black majority subjugated.” Sheryl McCarthy, “Mandela Was South Africa’s Perfect Choice,” Newsday, 6/17/99

subservient –
“From the earliest times, including the Bible, women have been counseled to be subservient to men.” Barbara G. Walker, The Women’s Encyclopedia

substantiate –
“The Queens District Attorney said that there were not enough facts to substantiate the charges against the tour operator so no prosecution would take place.” Queens Courier, 1/18/00

subterfuge –
“He was a free-will agent and he chose to do careful work, and if he failed, he took the responsibility without subterfuge.” Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, “A Mother in Mannville”

subterranean –
“Another celebrity expected during the three games at Madison Square Garden is Ed Nortonthe actor, not the subterranean sanitation professional.” Richard Sandomir, “N.B.A. Finals,” New York Times, 6/21/99

succinct –
“In clear and succinct tones, our division head proceeded to tear me to shreds in front of the entire staff.” Elleyn Falk, “They Promised Me a Rose Garden”

succulent –
“Use this coupon to get $1 off on a succulent holiday turkey.” Advertisement, Waldbaum’s Supermarket, 11/99

succumbed –
“This young gentleman was of an excellent family but had been reduced to such poverty that the energy of his character succumbed beneath it.” Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”

sullen –
“My decision to leave put her into a sullen silence, broken only by a mumble under her breath.” Alan Lelchuk, “American Mischief”

sultry –
“The sun would shine up there in the lengthening spring day and pleasant breezes blow in sultry summer.” Maurice Walsh, The Quiet Man

sumptuous –
“In the summer the table was set, and the sumptuous mealswell, it makes me cry to think of them.” Mark Twain, Autobiography

superficial –
“His teachings had only a superficial relationship to the orthodox religion he advocated.” Carl Dreyer, “The Roots of Anti-Semitism”

superfluous –
“He drove through the beautiful countryside in silence; conversation would have been superfluous.” Travel and Leisure, 10/94

supine –
“The clergy as a whole were therefore obedient and supine.” G. M. Trevelyan, Carlyle

supplication –
“The last supplication I make of you is that you will believe this of me.” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

surfeit –
“A surfeit of the sweetest things The deepest loathing to the stomach brings.” William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

surge –
“In one wild surge they stormed into a police station, where the bewildered officers tried to maintain order.” James Michener, “The Bridge at Andau”

surmised –
“The commanding officer surmised that the other ship in the cove was a coaster.” Joseph Conrad, Tales of Hearsay

surreptitiously –
“He was surreptitiously negotiating to have 70 percent of the payments turned over to himself.” David C. Johnson, “Tax Evasion Scheme,” New York Times, 1/1/00

susceptible –
“Wrestling matches are susceptible to being heavily scripted, as ardent fans know.” Edward Wyatt, “Pinning Down a Share Value,” New York Times, 8/4/99

symptomatic –
“The widespread dislocation and downsizing in hospitals is symptomatic of relentless cost pressures.” Carol Eisenberg, “Nurses Contend With System’s Ills,” Newsday, 6/22/99

taboo –
“The modern motion pictures have shown so much that once was considered taboo.” Harold H. Owen, Jr., The Motion Picture

tacit –
“There is a tacit agreement in a civil conversation that each avoid making of it a monologue.” Rebecca West, “There Is No Conversation”

tainted –
“The defense argued that poor police procedures had tainted the evidence.” Newsday, 6/19/98

tangible –
“I hated it, not because of our one overcrowded closet, but because of intrusions and discomforts of a far less tangible nature.” Mary Ellen Chase, “A Room of My Own”

tantalized –
“We were tantalized by a glimpse of a brown bear and her cubs in the wood.” Travel and Leisure, 10/97

tantamount –
“Opponents of the proposed agreement claim it is tantamount to a surrender of holy land.” USA. Today, 1/13/00

taut –
“His face grew taut as he was questioned about his use of illegal drugs in his youth.” New York Post, 8/19/99

technology –
“Mr. Greenspan noted that ‘history is strewn’ with miscalculations about technology developments.” Richard Stevenson, “Fed Chief on New-Age Economy,” New York Times, 6/15/99

temerity –
“In the first month of his service in the House, the young Congressman had the temerity to challenge his party’s Speaker; it was a mistake.” Blanche Kassell, Up on the Hill

tenable –
“He took the tenable position that lawyers should never cross examine a witness without knowing the answer before asking the question.” Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

tenacious –
“Their talent and tenacious actions on the court will at last reward them.” Darcy Frey, The Last Shot

termagant –
“This book deals with the matrimonial adventures of an extremely rich and bullying termagant.” Saturday Review, 11/99

terminate –
“A continuation of such chronic lateness may lead us to terminate your employment.” Regulations of the NYC Board of Education’s Office of School Food & Nutrition Services

terse –
“The mayor sent a terse letter to the school’s chancellor over his cancellation of a meeting.” New York Times, 8/5/99

therapy –
“He will have to undergo long-term therapy before considering playing baseball again.” The Washington Post, 7/9/99

throng –
“When the throng had mostly streamed into the porch, the sexton began to toll the bell.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Minister’s Black Veil”

thwarted –
“The man who made up the name for flies must have been thwarted in a life-long desire to have children, and at last found that outlet for his suppressed baby-talk.” Robert Benchley, “The Lure of the Road”

timorous –
“He was a timorous incompetent who was lucky to have good men under him.” W. A. Swanberg, Citizen Hearst

tinged –
“The sermon was tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper’s temperament.” Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Minister’s Black Veil”

tolerated –
“They despise anyone who hasn’t had the luck to be born Masai, but for one reason and another, they tolerated me.” Robert W. Krepps, “Pride of Seven”

tortuous –
“The tortuous descent down the mountain resulted in one additional fatality, this time a sure-footed Sherpa guide.” Winston Adair, “Everest Takes Its Toll”

tradition –
“The town had a century-old traditionan eight-hour canoe race.” Brenda Flock, “The Race”

tranquil –
“Over this house, most tranquil and complete, Where no storm ever beat, She was sole mistress.” Phyllis McGinley, “The Doll House”

transient –
“City championships and national tournaments, however thrilling, are transient moments.” Darcy Frey, The Last Shot

tremulous –
“‘Will Pa get hurt?’ asked Jane in a tremulous voice.” Jessamyn West, “Yes, We’ll Gather at the River”

trenchant –
“Mr. Salinger’s views on celebrity are often funny and trenchant.” Clyde Haberman, “A Recluse Meets His Match,” New York Times, 6/18/99

trend –
“We should make every effort to reverse the trend in popular music towards violent lyrics.” Portland Oregonian, 8/12/99

trivial –
“In the study of past civilizations, nothing is considered as a trivial discovery.” Brian Fagan, Time Detectives

truncated –
“It will be much harder if their state (Palestine) is so truncated, so cut up, that it is not viable.” Anthony Lewis, “The Irrelevance of a Palestinian State,” New York Times, 6/20/99

turbulent –
“Up to the turbulent surface came a peculiar-looking craft, risen from the calm but dangerous depth of the ocean.” Lt. Don Walsh, “Our Seven-Mile Dive to the Bottom”

turpitude –
“The government must be held responsible for these acts of moral turpitude resulting in so many civilian casualties.” TIME, 8/25/98

tussle –
“It often doesn’t pay to tussle with your child to take music lessons.” Working Mother, 5/96

tyro –
“The computer training center will soon turn a tyro into a successful user.” Senior News, 9/99

ubiquitous –
“Che Guevera has become ubiquitous; his figure stares out at us from coffee mugs and posters, pops up in rock songs and operas.” Ariel Dorfman, “Che,” TIME, 6/14/99

ultimate –
“The ultimate possibility for hero and chorus alike is stated in Father Mapple’s sermon, and it is to become a saint.” W. H. Auden, “The Christian Tragic Hero”
umbrage –
“I do not take umbrage when I’m looked over, I do when I’m overlooked.” Mae West, The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West, Joseph Weintraub, Editor

unabated –
“The summer list of auto fatalities continues unabated as three more Southampton teens are killed in a Sunday crash.” W. Mariano, “A Final Farewell,” Newsday, 6/25/99

unconscionable –
“Viewers of TV’s coverage of disasters find it unconscionable for mourning family members to be shown and interviewed so close up we can see the tears.” John Stephens, New York, 4/16/98

unctuous –
“Today’s car salesmen are a far cry from the high-pressured and unctuous ones of the past.” Car and Travel, 9/99

underwrite –
“We are pleased to feature those local businesses who help to underwrite our programs.” Patterns, monthly magazine of WILL, Champaign, Illinois

universal –
“With the approach of the new millennium we see an almost universal fear of major disruptions.” TIME, 9/19/99

unkempt –
“Budget cuts have resulted in overcrowded and unkempt camping sites in our parks.” Freeman Tilden, The National Parks

unmitigated –
“The crossword puzzle is the unmitigated sedentary hobby of Americans.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

unsavory –
“Punishing students by assigning them more work, has made education unsavory and unappealing to the average student.” H. C. McKown, “The Three R’s Today”

unwieldy –
“Today’s light weight, compact cameras are a far cry from the unwieldy ones used by early photographers.” Popular Photography, 9/96

urbane –
“Their prose is less ornate, their urbane satire more muted.” Book review, New York Times

usurp –
“There is a constant struggle as one branch of government attempts to usurp some of the powers of the other.” Milton Konvitz, editor, Bill of Rights Reader

utopia –
“I was held spellbound by the middle-class utopia, without a blot, without a tear.” William James, “What Makes Life Significant”

vacillated –
“In planning for the book I vacillated between a selective, but deeper approach or a general, more limited approach.” Milton Konvitz, editor, Bill of Rights Reader

valor –
“Thrice have the Mexicans before us fled, Their armies broken, their prince in triumph led; Both to thy valor, brave young man, we owe.” Sir Robert Howard & John Dryden, The Indian Queen

vapid –
“The new James Bond movie lacks the excitement of the many before and is a vapid copy.” Newsday, 10/25/98

vehemently –
“The President spoke vehemently against any large tax cut.” New York Times, 9/16/99

veneer –
“Since then, she has frequently tried to crack the veneer of role, surface, and pose.” Mark Stevens, “Spice Girls,” New York, 6/21/99

venerable –
“Despite their huge popularity the most venerable papers refused to accept crossword puzzles as more than a passing fad.” Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

venial –
“The coach tried to overlook the venial errors of his players and concentrated on the serious ones.” Sports Illustrated, 5/12/99
venom –
“The point envenom’d too! Then, venom, do thy work.” William Shakespeare, Hamlet

vertigo –
“Iron workers on beams, hundreds of feet above Broadway, were immune to periods of vertigo.” Architectural Digest, 1/93

vestige –
“They kept at the rescue efforts as long as there was a vestige of hope for the earthquake victims.” TIME, 8/30/99

vexatious –
“This vexatious law suit dragged on interminably, becoming a legend in the process.” Charles Dickens, Bleak House

viable –
“The organism remains viable in the soil for years.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

vicissitudes –
“Her husband was not only faithful but patient in the face of remarkable vicissitudes.” Eliza Jane Berman, Noble Minds

vigil –
“The U.N. peacekeeping troops are keeping a vigil over the disputed area.” New York Times, 9/21/99

vigilant –
“I deny not but that it is of great concernment in the church and commonwealth to have a vigilant eye how looks demean themselves.” John Milton, “Aereopagitica”

vilified –
“One who belongs to the most vilified minority in history is not likely to be unaware of the freedoms guaranteed by our constitutions.” Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, decision, October 1943

vindicated –
“His family was certain that his actions would be vindicated when all of the facts became available.” “Pilot Blamed in Crash,” New York Post, 11/26/99

virile –
“The danger to our virile economy from weaknesses in the Far East should not be overlooked.” Wall Street Journal, 5/16/98

virtuosity –
“Employing his virtuosity as an orchestrator of suspense, the author puts Lector in Florence, Italy, speaking impeccable Italian.” Paul Grey, “Dessert, Anyone?,” TIME, 6/21/99

virulently –
“Another part of my hope was for communities of people of colour that, for the most part, have been virulently homophobic.” Mark Haslam, “When Bigotry Kills,” Globe and Mail, Toronto, 3/5/99

vitiate –
“This act is an attempt to vitiate the separation of powers upon which our democracy is founded.” Justice Earl Warren, Bill of Rights Reader, 1957

vitriolic –
“The speaker’s vitriolic comments about ethnic and religious groups brought condemnation from the mayor.” New York Daily News, 9/5/98

vituperation –
“To justify his action he used vituperation, calling his enemies ‘detestable pests.’” Barbara G. Walker, The Women’s Encyclopedia

vivacious –
“The performance of this vivacious leading lady made the play a delight.” New York Post, 10/15/98

vogue –
“Examining the private lives of our political leaders is in vogue this election period.” New York, 9/4/99

volition –
“To prove her innocence, she took a lie detector test of her own volition.” New York Times, 9/21/99

voluble –
“He came to hate Ray Gribble and his voluble companions of the submerged tenth of the class.” Sinclair Lewis, “Young Man Axelbrod”

voluminous –
“The testimony in the case relating to the President’s actions has become voluminous.” Washington Post, 5/15/99

voracious –
“We spent a good number of our waking hours feeding voracious stoves.” Jean Stafford, “New England Winter”

vulnerable –
“Any vulnerable area in an otherwise strong person or structure is known as an Achilles heel.” Barbara G. Walker, The Women’s Encyclopedia

wan –
“Why so pale and wan, fond lover? Prithee, why so pale?” John Suckling, “Encouragement to a Lover” wane –
“Japan, once an economic power, has seen its influence wane.” New York Times, 8/1/99

wary –
“These figures were wary in their movements and perfectly silent afoot.” Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

wheedle –
“The first step of a politician is to wheedle the editorial backing of a newspaper.” Frederick Nebel, A Free Press

whet –
“The accepted purpose of coming attractions in movie theatres is to whet the viewers’ desire to see the film.” John Simon, Reverse Angle

whimsical –
“This is not a whimsical ideait is a serious plan.” Calvin Klein, New York Magazine, 9/15/95

wince –
“He took the cruel blow without a wince or a cry.” A. Conan Doyle, The Last Book of Sherlock Holmes

wistful –
“I am sad when I see those wistful ads placed by the lovelorn in the classified columns.” E. B. White, The Essays of E. B. White

wrest –
“Their attempt to wrest control of the company was thwarted by the Colonel and his three supporters on the board.” Edmund Ward, Jr., “Bulls and Bears” [adapted]

yen –
“She could not resist the yen to see how her classmates had progressed so she agreed to attend the class reunion.” Woman’s Home Companion, 9/94

zealous –
“James I was zealous in prosecuting Scottish sorcerers.” George Lyman Kittredge, Witchcraft in Old and New England

zenith –
“At the zenith of her fame as a musical star, she was assassinated by a crazed fan.” H. Hudson, People, 7/21/97