Circumstantial (adj) – Secondary; Incidental; Of little importance
Synonyms: coincidental, conjectural
Sample Sentence: When the prosecutor accused the defendant of lying to a police officer, it seemed circumstantial, as the man was on trial for a much more serious charge.
Circumvent (v) – 1. To go around or bypass 2. To avoid (defeat, failure, unpleasantness, etc) by deception or outwitting
Synonyms: detour, evade
Antonyms: allow, assist
Sample Sentence: Carlos circumvented the No Texting While Driving law by having his fiancée hold his phone up so he could read it while driving.
CO- / COM – / CON- With, Together
Coalition (n) – A combination or alliance, usually temporary
Sample Sentence: In World War II, Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union joined an unlikely coalition with the United States and the United Kingdom to defeat Nazi Germany.
Concur (v) – 1. To agree; To accord in opinion 2. To occur at the same time
Synonyms: 1. assent, acquiesce 2. coincide
Antonyms: 1. argue, disagree
Sample Sentence: When the citizen proposed putting in a stoplight at the dangerous intersection, the entire town committee concurred, and the light was installed within a month.
Conscience (n) – The inner sense of knowing what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives
You May Remember: From this unit, CON- means “with,” (as in “unified”) so conscience literally means, “knowing with unity” or “knowing wholly”
Sample Sentence: After taking his brother’s final slice of pizza, he went out and bought an extra one to replace it because of his guilty conscience.
Prescience (n) – Foresight, the ability to know or predict things beforehand
Synonym: farsightedness, foreknowledge
Helpful Hints: This word does not have anything to do with the supernatural or seeing the future in a literal sense. It refers to the ability to forecast the future accurately.
Sample Sentence: Yuki’s uncanny prescience in the stock market allowed him to earn a pile of money and retire early.
Dichotomy (n) – 1. Division into two parts, kinds, halves, etc. 2. Division into two mutually exclusive, contradictory groups
Synonyms: 1. split, separation 2. contrast, difference, polarity
Sample Sentence: When the group found themselves stranded on the island, they quickly established themselves into a rigid dichotomy of hunters and gatherers.
Digression (n) – 1. The act of deviating or wandering away from the main topic or purpose in speaking or writing 2. A passage or section that deviates from the central theme in speech or writing
Synonyms: straying, deflection, tangent, excusion
Sample Sentence: Some people wished his stories were more straightforward, but I enjoy my uncle’s digressions when he speaks, because sometimes his random tangents are the best parts of the story.
E- / EX- Out From, Out Of
Excise (v) – 1. to cut out from something 2. To charge a tax on something
Synonyms: 1. remove, extract 2. levy
Sample Sentence: When the family needed to straighten out their budget, the first things they excised were their nonessential purchases, like trips to fancy restaurants.
Exculpate (v) – To clear from a charge of guilt or blame
Synonyms: acquit, absolve
Antonyms: blame, condemn
Sample Sentence: When the guilty party confessed, Max was exculpated and released from prison.
Geographer (n) – A person who specializes in the science of the Earth’s surface
You May Remember: From unit 1, -ER means “one who does,” and GRAPH means “write,” so a geographer is literally “One who writes about the Earth”
Sample Sentence: The geographers from the various cities met at a conference to discuss the effects of climate change on the plant life and soil in their native countries.
Geology (n) – The science of the Earth, specifically its composition and history
Helpful Hints: The difference between a geographer and a geologist: Simply put, geographers examine the surface of the Earth, like a mapmaker. Geographers also study the people and things that inhabit the Earth. A geologist studies what the Earth is made of, such as different minerals, the way the landscape is formed, etc.
You May Remember: From unit 1, -LOGY means “Study of” – thus, Geology is “The study of the Earth”
Sample Sentence: Because of the college courses she took in geology, she could still identify more than 50 different types of rocks in her neighborhood by sight.
IM- / IN- (2) Into
Infuse (v) – To introduce, as if by pouring something new in (often followed by into) 2. To inspire (often followed by with) 3. To soak in a liquid in order to extract an ingredient
Synonyms: impart, implant
Sample Sentence: The novice novelist couldn’t help but infuse his plot lines with his own personal beliefs and issues, which made his books less enjoyable to read.
Insightful (adj) – Able to notice things well; having a very clear understanding of something
Synonyms: perceptive, astute, discerning
Antonyms: unperceptive, ignorant
Helpful Hints: An insightful analysis of literature reveals your wisdom and understanding about the deeper meaning of the text.
Sample Sentence: What made the art teacher so helpful was that her comments were so insightful, and she always knew what the students were trying to portray in their artwork.
Pacifist (n) – A person who is opposed to war or to violence of any kind
Synonyms: objector, peacemaker
Sample Sentence: After his second tour in the Korean War and the horrors he saw, my grandfather became a pacifist for the rest of his life.
Pacify (v) – To bring to a state of peace or tranquility; to quiet; to calm
Synonyms: soothe, appease, placate
Antonyms: anger, inflame, incense
Sample Sentence: Very little could pacify the distraught couple whose home had just been robbed.