Glossary of A-B

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abase v
To lower in position, estimation, or the like; degrade
abbess n
The lady superior of a nunnery
abbey n
The group of buildings which collectively form the dwelling-place of a society of monks or nuns
abbot n
The superior of a community of monks
abdicate v
To give up (royal power or the like)
abdomen n
In mammals, the visceral cavity between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor; the belly
abdominal n
Of, pertaining to, or situated on the abdomen
abduction n
A carrying away of a person against his will, or illegally
abed adv
In bed; on a bed
aberration n
Deviation from a right, customary, or prescribed course
abet v
To aid, promote, or encourage the commission of (an offense)
abeyance n
A state of suspension or temporary inaction
abhorrence n
The act of detesting extremely
abhorrent adj
Very repugnant; hateful
abidance n
An abiding
abject adj
Sunk to a low condition
abjure v
To recant, renounce, repudiate under oath
able-bodied adj
Competent for physical service
ablution n
A washing or cleansing, especially of the body
abnegate v
To renounce (a right or privilege)
abnormal adj
Not conformed to the ordinary rule or standard
abominable adj
Very hateful
abominate v
To hate violently
abomination n
A very detestable act or practice
aboriginal adj
Primitive; unsophisticated
aborigines n
The original of earliest known inhabitants of a country
aboveboard adv
& adj Without concealment, fraud, or trickery
abrade v
To wear away the surface or some part of by friction
abrasion n
That which is rubbed off
abridge v
To make shorter in words, keeping the essential features, leaning out minor particles
abridgment n
A condensed form as of a book or play
abrogate v
To abolish, repeal
abrupt adj
Beginning, ending, or changing suddenly or with a break
abscess n
A Collection of pus in a cavity formed within some tissue of the body
abscission n
The act of cutting off, as in a surgical operation
abscond v
To depart suddenly and secretly, as for the purpose of escaping arrest
absence n
The fact of not being present or available
absent-minded adj
Lacking in attention to immediate surroundings or business
absolution n
Forgiveness, or passing over of offenses
absolve v
To free from sin or its penalties
absorb v
To drink in or suck up, as a sponge absorbs water
absorption n
The act or process of absorbing
abstain v
To keep oneself back (from doing or using something)
abstemious adj
Characterized by self denial or abstinence, as in the use of drink, food
abstinence n
Self denial
abstruse adj
Dealing with matters difficult to be understood
absurd adj
Inconsistent with reason or common sense
abundant adj
abusive adj
Employing harsh words or ill treatment
abut v
To touch at the end or boundary line
abyss n
Bottomless gulf
academic adj
Of or pertaining to an academy, college, or university
academician n
A member of an academy of literature, art, or science
academy n
Any institution where the higher branches of learning are taught
accede v
To agree
accelerate v
To move faster
accept v
To take when offered
access n
A way of approach or entrance; passage
accessible adj
accession n
Induction or elevation, as to dignity, office, or government
accessory n
A person or thing that aids the principal agent
acclaim v
To utter with a shout
accommodate v
To furnish something as a kindness or favor
accompaniment n
A subordinate part or parts, enriching or supporting the leading part
accompanist n
One who or that which accompanies
accompany v
To go with, or be associated with, as a companion
accomplice n
An associate in wrong-doing
accomplish v
To bring to pass
accordion n
A portable free-reed musical instrument
accost v
To speak to
account n
A record or statement of receipts and expenditures, or of business transactions
accouter v
To dress
accredit v
To give credit or authority to
accumulate v
To become greater in quantity or number
accuracy n
accurate adj
Conforming exactly to truth or to a standard
accursed adj
Doomed to evil, misery, or misfortune
accusation n
A charge of crime, misdemeanor, or error
accusatory adj
Of, pertaining to, or involving an accusation
accuse v
To charge with wrong doing, misconduct, or error
accustom v
To make familiar by use
acerbity n
Sourness, with bitterness and astringency
acetate n
A salt of acetic acid
acetic adj
Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of vinegar
ache v
To be in pain or distress
Achillean adj
achromatic adj
acid n
A sour substance
acidify v
To change into acid
acknowledge v
To recognize; to admit the genuineness or validity of
acknowledgment n
acme n
The highest point, or summit
acoustic adj
Pertaining to the act or sense of hearing
acquaint v
To make familiar or conversant
acquiesce v
To comply; submit
acquiescence n
Passive consent
acquire v
To get as one's own
acquisition n
Anything gained, or made one's own, usually by effort or labor
acquit v
To free or clear, as from accusation
acquittal n
A discharge from accusation by judicial action
acquaintance n
Release or discharge from indebtedness, obligation, or responsibility
acreage n
Quantity or extent of land, especially of cultivated land
acrid adj
Harshly pungent or bitter
acrimonious adj
Full of bitterness
acrimony n
Sharpness or bitterness of speech or temper
actionable adj
Affording cause for instituting an action, as trespass, slanderous words
actuality n
Any reality
actuary n
An officer, as of an insurance company, who calculates and states the risks and premiums
actuate v
To move or incite to action
acumen n
Quickness of intellectual insight, or discernment; keenness of discrimination
acute adj
Having fine and penetrating discernment
adamant n
Any substance of exceeding hardness or impenetrability
addendum n
Something added, or to be added
addle v
To make inefficient or worthless; muddle
adduce v
To bring forward or name for consideration
adhere v
To stick fast or together
adherence n
adherent adj
Clinging or sticking fast
adhesion n
The state of being attached or joined
adieu inter
Good-by; farewell
adjacency n
The state of being adjacent
adjacent n
That which is near or bordering upon
adjudge v
To award or bestow by formal decision
adjunct n
Something joined to or connected with another thing, but holding a subordinate place
adjuration n
A vehement appeal
adjutant adj
administrator n
One who manages affairs of any kind
admissible adj
Having the right or privilege of entry
admittance n
Entrance, or the right or permission to enter
admonish v
To warn of a fault
admonition n
Gentle reproof
ado n
unnecessary activity or ceremony
adoration n
Profound devotion
adroit adj
Having skill in the use of the bodily or mental powers
adulterant n
An adulterating substance
adulterate v
To make impure by the admixture of other or baser ingredients
adumbrate v
To represent beforehand in outline or by emblem
advent n
The coming or arrival, as of any important change, event, state, or personage
adverse adj
Opposing or opposed
adversity n
advert v
To refer incidentally
advertiser n
One who advertises, especially in newspapers
advisory adj
Not mandatory
advocacy n
The act of pleading a cause
advocate n
One who pleads the cause of another, as in a legal or ecclesiastical court
aerial adj
Of, pertaining to, or like the air
aeronaut n
One who navigates the air, a balloonist
aeronautics n
the art or practice of flying aircraft
aerostat n
A balloon or other apparatus floating in or sustained by the air
aerostatics n
The branch of pneumatics that treats of the equilibrium, pressure, and mechanical properties
affable adj
Easy to approach
affect v
To act upon
affectation n
A studied or ostentatious pretense or attempt
affiliate n
Some auxiliary person or thing
affirmative adj
Answering yes; to a question at issue
affix v
To fasten
affluence n
A profuse or abundant supply of riches
affront n
An open insult or indignity
afire adv
& adj On fire, literally or figuratively
afoot adv
In progress
aforesaid adj
Said in a preceding part or before
afresh adv
Once more, after rest or interval
afterthought n
A thought that comes later than its appropriate or expected time
agglomerate v
To pile or heap together
aggrandize v
To cause to appear greatly
aggravate v
To make heavier, worse, or more burdensome
aggravation n
The fact of being made heavier or more heinous, as a crime , offense, misfortune, etc
aggregate n
The entire number, sum, mass, or quantity of something
aggress v
To make the first attack
aggression n
An unprovoked attack
aggrieve v
To give grief or sorrow to
aghast adj
Struck with terror and amazement
agile adj
Able to move or act quickly, physically, or mentally
agitate v
To move or excite (the feelings or thoughts)
agrarian adj
Pertaining to land, especially agricultural land
aide-de-camp n
An officer who receives and transmits the orders of the general
ailment n
Slight sickness
airy adj
Delicate, ethereal
akin adj
Of similar nature or qualities
alabaster n
A white or delicately tinted fine-grained gypsum
alacrity n
Cheerful willingness
albeit conj
Even though
albino n
A person with milky white skin and hair, and eyes with bright red pupil and usually pink iris
album n
A book whose leaves are so made to form paper frames for holding photographs or the like
alchemy n
Chemistry of the middle ages, characterized by the pursuit of changing base metals to gold
alcohol n
A volatile, inflammable, colorless liquid of a penetrating odor and burning taste
alcoholism n
A condition resulting from the inordinate or persistent use of alcoholic beverages
alcove n
A covered recess connected with or at the side of a larger room
alder n
Any shrub or small tree of the genus Alumnus, of the oak family
alderman n
A member of a municipal legislative body, who usually exercises also certain judicial functions
aldermanship n
The dignity, condition, office, or term of office of an alderman
alias n
An assumed name
alien n
One who owes allegiance to a foreign government
alienable adj
Capable of being aliened or alienated, as lands
alienate v
To cause to turn away
alienation n
aliment n
That which nourishes
alkali n
Anything that will neutralize an acid, as lime, magnesia, etc
allay v
To calm the violence or reduce the intensity of; mitigate
allege v
To assert to be true, especially in a formal manner, as in court
allegory n
The setting forth of a subject under the guise of another subject of aptly suggestive likeness
alleviate v
To make less burdensome or less hard to bear
alley n
A narrow street, garden path, walk, or the like
alliance n
Any combination or union for some common purpose
allot v
To assign a definite thing or part to a certain person
allotment n
allude v
To refer incidentally, or by suggestion
allusion n
An indirect and incidental reference to something without definite mention of it
alluvion n
ally n
A person or thing connected with another, usually in some relation of helpfulness
almanac n
A series of tables giving the days of the week together with certain astronomical information
aloof adv
Not in sympathy with or desiring to associate with others
altar n
Any raised place or structure on which sacrifices may be offered or incense burned
alter v
To make change in
alteration n
Change or modification
altercate v
To contend angrily or zealously in words
alternate n
One chosen to act in place of another, in case of the absence or incapacity of that other
alternative n
Something that may or must exist, be taken or chosen, or done instead of something else
altitude n
Vertical distance or elevation above any point or base-level, as the sea
alto n
The lowest or deepest female voice or part
altruism n
Benevolence to others on subordination to self-interest
altruist n
One who advocates or practices altruism
amalgam n
An alloy or union of mercury with another metal
amalgamate v
To mix or blend together in a homogeneous body
amateur adj
Practicing an art or occupation for the love of it, but not as a profession
amatory adj
Designed to excite love
ambidextrous adj
Having the ability of using both hands with equal skill or ease
ambiguous adj
Having a double meaning
ambitious adj
Eagerly desirous and aspiring
ambrosial adj
Divinely sweet, fragrant, or delicious
ambulance n
A vehicle fitted for conveying the sick and wounded
ambulate v
To walk about
ambush n
The act or state of lying concealed for the purpose of surprising or attacking the enemy
ameliorate v
To relieve, as from pain or hardship
amenable adj
Willing and ready to submit
Americanism n
A peculiar sense in which an English word or phrase is used in the United States
amicable adj
Done in a friendly spirit
amity n
amorous adj
Having a propensity for falling in love
amorphous adj
Without determinate shape
amour n
A love-affair, especially one of an illicit nature
ampere n
The practical unit of electric-current strength
ampersand n
The character &; and
amphibious adj
Living both on land and in water
amphitheater n
An edifice of elliptical shape, constructed about a central open space or arena
amplitude n
amply adv
amputate v
To remove by cutting, as a limb or some portion of the body
amusement n
anachronism n
Anything occurring or existing out of its proper time

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