SOLVE / SOLU Loosen, Set Free
Absolve (v) – To free from guilt or blame
Synonyms: acquit, clear, vindicate, pardon
Antonyms: convict, condemn, incriminate
Helpful Hints: This verb almost always gets followed by the person being absolved; for instance, the priest absolved him of his sins.
You May Remember: From Unit 4, AB- as a prefix means “Away From” – so to absolve someone is to “loosen them away from” their misdeeds
Sample Sentence: The priest mercifully absolved the convict of all of his sins.
Resolute (adj) – Firmly determined to do something
Synonyms: persevering, tenacious, intent
Antonyms: faltering, hesitant, wavering
Sample Sentence: Despite the torrential rain, the family was resolute in finishing their game of mini-golf and completed every single hole.
Agoraphobia (n) – An abnormal fear of crowds or of outdoor places
Helpful Hints: A person with agoraphobia would not like theme parks like Six Flags.
Sample Sentence: Her oppressive agoraphobia forced her into a life of seclusion within her home.
Claustrophobia (n) – A fear of small, enclosed spaces
Sample Sentence: He normally controlled his composure in cramped places, but when the elevator stalled, his claustrophobia overwhelmed him.
PREHEND / PREHENS Take, Seize
Apprehension (n) – A suspicion of fear of some future event
Synonyms: uneasiness, concern, trepidation
Antonyms: confidence, calmness
Helpful Hints: “He was apprehensive about going home so late because he knew he would be grounded.”
Sample Sentence: The teens crept into the abandoned and supposedly haunted home; the moonlight and creaking floorboards heightening their apprehension.
Comprehensive (adj) – 1. Of a very large scope; inclusive of everything 2. Understanding something mentally
Synonyms: broad, extensive, expansive
Antonyms: exclusive, selective
Helpful Hints: For the second definition, think of this: A person’s comprehensive ability is his ability to understand things, or his ability to comprehend.
You May Remember: From unit 5, COM- means “With” or “Together”, so a comprehensive plan takes everything together – nothing is left out
Sample Sentence: A comprehensive education includes courses in many different subjects, the teaching of real-life skills, and situations that encourage social growth.
Comport (v) – To behave in a specific way
Synonyms: conduct, act
Helpful Hints: This word is most often used in the phrase “to comport oneself” as in “He comported himself with arrogance”
You May Remember: Here again is the COM prefix, so to comport is to “carry together” – so if you think of someone “getting it together” then they are trying to comport themselves well
Sample Sentence: The teenagers comported themselves remarkably well in the interview, causing the boss to wonder if they might be, in fact, college graduates.
Opportunistic (adj) – Taking advantage of a situation for your own benefit, even if your actions are unethical or unfair
Helpful Hints: People who use ambulances to cut through traffic are being opportunistic
Sample Sentence: The mortician’s sister accused him of being opportunistic when he was passing out business cards at his own uncle’s funeral.
SANCT / SACRO Holy
Consecrate (v) – To make or declare sacred
Synonyms:devote, dedicate, ordain
Antonyms: desacralize, desanctify
You May Remember: Again, here’s the prefix CON- (with) so to consecrate something is to “fill it with holiness”
Sample Sentence: A single tombstone was erected to consecrate the field where thousands died during the Civil War battle.
Sanctimonious (adj) – Making a hypocritical show of religious devotion; Making others feel ethically or spiritually inferior
Synonyms: self-righteous, smug, pompous
Antonyms: humble, unassuming
Helpful Hints: If you’ve ever heard someone described as “holier-than-thou” – that’s another way of describing sanctimonious behavior. Also, this word is not specific only to religion. Someone who boasts about how good of a parent he is or how he never swears in public could be described as sanctimonious – he’s trying to remind us of his superiority. The key, though, is that sanctimony is a boast about superiority in character; bragging about sports ability or intelligence is not sanctimony.
Sample Sentence: The mother didn’t appreciate the stewardess’s sanctimonious criticism of her selection of drinks and snacks for her small children.
Patricide (n) – The killing of a father
Helpful Hints: Pater is the Latin word for father, which we can see in words like paternity and patriarch.
Sample Sentence: In Greek mythology, the major Olympian gods rise via Zeus’s act of patricide, when he kills his own father, the leader of the Titans.
Regicide (n) – The killing of a king
Antonyms: honor, veneration
Sample Sentence: Although the French Revolution was already in full swing, the execution of King Louis XVI was still technically an act of regicide.
PEND / POND Hang, Weigh
Impending (adj) – About to happen; imminent
Antonyms: forgone, past
You May Remember: From unit 5, the IM- prefix means “into” so an impending event is one that is now “hanging into” our lives – it’s not here yet, but it’s in view.
Sample Sentence: The town was entirely overreacting to the news of the impending snowstorm, which ended up being fairly mild.
Ponderous (adj) – 1. Heavy or massive 2. Dull and boring
Synonyms:monotonous, tedious, uninteresting
Antonyms: engaging, gripping, buoyant
Helpful Hints: Do NOT confuse this word by presuming that it has anything to do with the verb “to ponder”. Many people think this word means “thoughtful”. If you remember the meaning of the root POND, you should be able to remember that a ponderous book simply weighs a lot, and a ponderous speech is dull, and weighs down the room.
Sample Sentence: The soldiers’ legs grew tired daily under the weight of their ponderous backpacks.
Tacit (adj) – Understood without being openly spoken
Synonyms: implied, implicit
Antonyms: explicit, voiced
Helpful Hints: You often hear the phrases “tacit agreement” or “tacit rule” – these are ones that do not ever have to be said, they’re just understood
Sample Sentence: After the embarrassing incident, the friends had a tacit agreement that they would never mention it in public—not ever.
Taciturn (adj) – Using few words, laconic, terse, not talkative
Synonyms: reserved, introverted, silent
Antonyms: conversational, chatty, loquacious
Helpful Hints: Similar to “tacit” but referring to a person.
Sample Sentence: Natalia was usually taciturn, so when she won her class’s Poetry Out Loud competition, her peers and her teacher were doubly impressed.