AMI / AMIC Love
Amiable (adj) – Good-natured; Friendly; Sociable
Synonyms: friendly, agreeable, amicable
Antonyms: rude, unfriendly, hostile
You May Remember: From unit 8, -ABLE (“able to”) makes this word literally mean “able to love”
Sample Sentence: When you consider how difficult his childhood was, it is remarkable that Kent has become such an amiable young man; nothing seems to bother him.
Enamor (v) – To fill or inflame with love
Synonyms: fascinate, captivate, enthrall
Antonyms: repel, disgust, disenchant
Helpful Hints: This word is usually used in the passive, followed by “of” or “with,” as in: He was enamored of cat videos on Youtube.
Sample Sentence: He was enamored with videos of crazy cat antics on YouTube.
ANTHROP Human, Man
Anthropomorphic (adj) – Ascribing human form or attributes to a deity or an animal
Synonyms: humanoid, manlike
Helpful Hints: This is NOT the same thing as personification, which metaphorically makes something inanimate seem alive. Anthropomorphism makes objects seem like humans, like seeing a smiling face in the grill of an automobile, or making a docile teddy bear that wears a shirt and tie.
You May Remember: From unit 7, MORPH means to change, and from unit 2, the suffix -IC means “Having to do with”. So this word means “Having to do with changing (something) into a man”
Sample Sentence: The family wasn’t interested in the cheap, anthropomorphic sentimentality of dressing up their pets in tiny outfits.
Misanthrope (n) – A hater of mankind
Antonyms: philanthropist, humanitarian
Helpful Hints: This word has a negative connotation.
Sample Sentence: After several lonesome years of living alone in a large house, Claude became a misanthrope and would argue with anyone who approached his front steps, including the mailman.
SCENT / SCEND Climb
Ascent (n) – An act of upward movement
Synonyms: climb, rise
Antonyms: descent, decline, lowering
Helpful Hints: This word can be literal (ascending a mountain) or metaphorical (ascending the ranks of a job)
Sample Sentence: Her co-workers both admired and envied her rapid ascent through the office ranks.
Condescend (v) – To behave as though having to come down from a superior position; to come down to another’s level
Synonyms: deign, stoop, accommodate, humble oneself, degrade oneself
Antonyms: respect, compliment
Helpful Hints: This word is used with “to”: He would not condescend to misrepresent the facts. The word “condescending” is also commonly used; someone with a “condescending” attitude believes that she is superior to others. This person might humble herself to speak to common people, but would make it very clear that she is doing them a favor in lowering herself to speak with them.
You May Remember: From unit 6, DE- means “Down” and from unit 5, CON means “With” – so to condescend is to literally “climb down with” someone
Sample Sentence: Bill hated when his older brother would condescend to him in front of their friends, calling him Billy and saying, “You’ll understand when you’re older.”
Dissonance (n) – 1. Inharmonious or unpleasant combination of sounds 2. A lack of agreement (especially between someone’s beliefs and actions)
Synonyms: 1. disharmony, discord, cacophony 2. disagreement, conflict, discord
Antonyms: 1. harmony 2. agreement
Helpful Hints: This word can refer to both disharmony in music and conflict between people.
You May Remember: From our last unit, DIS- means “Apart, or Not”. Something dissonant “sounds apart (or different from)” the surroundings.
Sample Sentence: Although the band really wanted to have a banjo player, the instrument caused too much dissonance in their songs, and they decided that they sounded better without the banjo.
Resonance (n) – 1. The quality of a deep, clear, loud sound that lasts for a long time 2. The quality of having a prolonged impact or effect
Synonyms: echo, reverberation
Helpful Hints: Resonance can refer to music or to the impact of something. A book has resonance if it has a significant effect on readers or on society. The verb form is “resonate”; a passage of text that “resonates with” readers evokes an emotional response and an argument that “resonates with” the audience is a convincing one.
You May Remember: From unit 1, RE- means “Again” so a resonance is a “sounding again”
Sample Sentence: The mother hadn’t intended for her advice to have such strong resonance with her two children, but even years later, the kids could repeat her advice word for word.
Impugn (v) – To challenge a statement as false
Synonyms: challenge, contradict, criticize
Antonyms: agree with, praise, flatter
You May Remember: From unit 5, IM- means, in this case, “In, Into” so to impugn a statement is to “Fight Into” it
Sample Sentence: The senator impugned his rival’s claim that he had once served in the military. Reporters soon found out that the claim was entirely untrue.
Pugnacious (adj) – Inclined to fight, Quarrelsome
Synonyms: aggressive, combative, antagonistic, belligerent
Antonyms: kind, peaceful, even-tempered
Sample Sentence: They had wanted a more gentle pet, but the cat that they picked up from the pound was pugnacious and would often stumble back in the kitty door with fresh injuries from fights with other neighborhood pets.
SPIR / SPER Breathe
Inspire (v) – To fill with strength of purpose; to arouse
Synonyms: influence, spark, trigger, invigorate
Antonyms: discourage, dissuade
You May Remember: From unit 5, IN- can mean “Into” so to inspire someone is to “breathe into” that person
Sample Sentence: The coach needed to inspire his team with a strong halftime speech, as they were losing by 17 points to a team that they could easily beat.
Transpire (v) – To occur
Synonyms: occur, happen, come about
You May Remember: From unit 3, TRANS- means “Across,” so when something transpires, it “breathes across” our lives, living with us for a moment
Sample Sentence: Through careful investigation and questioning, the detectives were able to discover exactly what transpired on the night of the break-in.
TANG / TACT Touch
Tactile (adj) – Pertaining to the sense of touch
Synonyms: touchable, tangible, palpable
Antonyms: intangible, abstract
Sample Sentence: No matter how good the technology, e-books can never fully match the tactile qualities of reading real books—the feel of the pages under your fingers.
Tangential (adj) – Being only slightly on-topic or related to the subject
Synonyms: straying, irrelevant, digressive, extraneous
Antonyms: relevant, pertinent, necessary
You May Remember: In unit 5, you learned “digression,” meaning the act of deviating or wandering away from the main topic or purpose in speaking or writing. Digression is synonymous with “tangent” (the noun form of tangential).
Sample Sentence: Marta’s stories were often tangential, spooling off into several amusing substories before finally getting to the main point.
-ATE To Become
Alleviate (v) – To lessen or to relieve
Synonyms: take the edge off, allay, assuage
Antonyms: worsen, intensify, aggravate
Sample Sentence: A relaxing day at the beach can alleviate the stresses of a long and difficult week.
Captivate (v) – To capture and hold the attention of; To enchant
Synonyms: attract, enamor, enthrall
Antonyms: repel, disgust, disenchant
You May Remember: Enamor, listed as a vocab word on the top of this page, is synonymous with captivate. Also, in both Captivate and Captive, you can see that “CAP / CEPT” root from chapter 8, meaning “take or seize” – someone captivated has become seized by something
Sample Sentence: Mike was impressed at how well the storyteller could captivate such a large audience of small children, who usually couldn’t focus on anything for more than a few minutes.