1. agency: (n) the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices; the power people have to think and act for themselves in ways that shape their experiences and life paths.

 AGENCY, as defined above, is a sociological term that can be used in reference to an individual or a collective group. An individual’s personal agency is influenced by their belief in their effectiveness.

Sample Sentence: One major challenge that adolescents face during their high school years is balancing their newfound sense of personal agency with a school system that demands absolute obedience to established rules. (etymology)


2. amplification:(n) the act of making something larger or greater (as in amount, importance, or intensity); the act of increasing the strength of something

AMPLIFICATION, as defined above, is often used in reference to political groups or individuals who attempt to increase awareness of an issue or ensure that specific perspectives are heard.

Sample Sentence: The candidate’s tweets about the water crisis were not just angry criticism against the administration, but rather an amplification of the voices of residents who needed help. (etymology)


3. apathy: (n) a lack of feeling or emotion; a lack of interest, concern, or conviction; a lack of passion

APATHY is a word that carries a negative connotation.  “Apathy” typically has a moral judgment attached to it. One can be indifferent to asparagus, for example; however, when we use “apathetic” or “apathy,” we are typically looking for a stronger expression of disdain.

Sample Sentence: Though I understand your apathy for the current political environment after a summer of numbing news cycles, it is part of our civic duty to remain engaged in the election process. Voter apathy is unacceptable. (etymology)


4. cogent: (adj) (1) compelling or convincing; appealing to reason; clear, coherent, and persuasive; (2) pertinent, relevant

Sample Sentence: The student’s cogent analysis of symbolism in The Great Gatsby earned her a literary scholarship and admission to the university of her choice. (etymology)


5. deduce: (v) to form an opinion or reach a conclusion through reasoning and information

Sample Sentence: I could deduce from the puddle on the floor that my daughter once again forgot to dry off completely before getting out of the shower. (etymology)


6. disingenuous: (adj) dishonest and deceptive; giving a false appearance of truthfulness; pretending to be unaware

Sample Sentence: It would be disingenuous to let the students thank me for the extended deadline when I had planned all along to give them the weekend to complete the assignment. (etymology)


7. emulate: (v) to imitate with the intent to equal or surpass; to mimic

Sample Sentence: She spent the summer brandishing a wand, running in robes, and emulating her Hogwarts heroes. Though, sadly, shouting “accio” while pointing at all her toys did not make them magically get up and put themselves away. (etymology)


8. entitlement: (n) the belief that one is inherently deserving of certain rights and/or privileges

Sample Sentence: I could not understand his sense of entitlement in demanding that we buy him a car just because he turned sixteen; especially since he did not yet have a job to pay for the gas or insurance. (etymology)


9. extraneous: (adj) irrelevant or unrelated; not being a vital part of or belonging to something

Sample Sentence: My teacher told me to identify and remove the extraneous details in my essay because they were distracting to readers and diminishing my main idea. (etymology)


10. hubris: (n) arrogant pride; an excessive and foolishly high belief in oneself or one's own abilities

Sample Sentence: The politician’s hubris prevented her from accepting her low poll numbers or taking help from a volunteer campaign manager. So, she lost. (etymology)


11. indoctrinate: (v) to teach a specific viewpoint; to instruct an individual or group of people to blindly accept a set of beliefs or ideas; to imbue with a usually partisan opinion or point of view

Sample Sentence: Cult leaders, political campaigners, and even supporters of local teams are often said to indoctrinate followers. (etymology)


12. pander: (v) to provide gratification for others' desires; to cater to or exploit the weaknesses or desires of others

Sample Sentence: The Purge film series panders to the audience’s base desires for violence in an effort to make big bucks at the box office. (etymology)


13. pervasive: (adj) spreading widely through a physical space or through a group of people; existing in or spreading throughout every part of something

Sample Sentence: New federal data shows just how pervasive vaping products have become in American high schools, but the statistics are not shocking to educators who have been living with that reality for a few years now. (etymology)


14. platitude: (n) a statement, typically one with moral content, that has been used so often that it lacks any impact or meaning; a banal or hackneyed statement or remark

EXAMPLES: Better late than never. Good things come to those who wait. Time heals all wounds. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families

Sample Sentence: The protestors criticized the governor’s platitudes after the latest mass shooting and demanded action, not more nice talk. (etymology)


15. pretentious: (adj) making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction; attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, culture, or knowledge than one possesses.

Sample Sentence: Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation is a loveable but pretentious character who claims to have unparalleled entrepreneurial skills when in reality he lacks business sense.



16. resilient: (adj) able to recover from hardships easily or adjust easily from misfortune or change; able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions

Sample Sentence: The Red Sox are a resilient team who have proven time and time again that they can come back from challenging seasons to win over fans and haters alike.  (etymology)


17. rife: (adj) abundant, common; prevalent, especially to an increasing degree; widespread

Sample Sentence: The news coverage of sharks this summer made it seem as though every beach was rife with great whites ready to feed on tourists. (etymology)


18. Sustainable: (adj) capable of enduring; capable of being defended from attack; capable of being proven as true or fact

Sample Sentence: The student knew that her busy summer work schedule was not sustainable during the school year so she had to quit her job to focus on her studies. (etymology)


19. ubiquitous: (adj) present, appearing, or found everywhere; constantly encountered; widespread

Sample Sentence: Even though Lizzo’s hit song was ubiquitous this summer, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of hearing it. (etymology)


20. worldview: (n) a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world

Sample Sentence: The Puritans’ worldview was characterized by a belief in divine control and complete obedience to the unchanging will of God. (etymology)