ORA Plead, Speak, Pray
Orator (n) – A public speaker, especially one of great eloquence
Synonyms: Lecturer, Reciter
You May Remember: You learned in Freshman Unit 7 that eloquent means having the ability to speak fluently and gracefully.
Sample Sentence: Politicians should be effective orators so they can convince people of their ideas.
Adoration (n) – deep love and respect; worship
Synonyms: Admiration, Devotion, Reverence, Veneration
Antonyms: Denunciation, Condemnation
You May Remember: As noted in Freshman unit 2, the prefix “ad-” means “toward.” To adore something is literally to speak or pray toward it, or to worship it.
Sample Sentence: Billy gazed at his mentor with adoration remembering all of the tiny ways in which she helped to shape his life for the better.
ROG Ask, Declare, Say
Derogatory (adj) – Showing a disrespectful attitude towards someone or something
Synonyms: Degrading, Demeaning, Belittling, Denigratory
Antonym: Complimentary, Commendatory, Laudatory
Helpful Hints: Derogatory is often used with “to”, “towards”, or “of.” For example, someone’s behavior might be derogatory towards an ethnic group.
You May Remember: You learned in Freshman Unit 6 that “de-” means “down, away” so to derogate someone is literally to “say” “down” or to express a low opinion of or insult someone.
Sample Sentence: Derogatory comments about my looks made me feel subconscious in high school.
Prerogative (n) – A special right or privilege granted to some
Synonyms: Privilege, Entitlement, Advantage, Birthright
You May Remember: You learned in Freshman Unit 1 that “pre-” means “before.” In ancient Rome, the group chosen to vote first on an issue (or “asked” for an opinion “before” anyone else) was know as the “Praerogativa.” Getting this first vote became seen as a privilege.
Sample Sentence: Some students consider it their prerogative to go to college.
TORS / TORT Twist
Extort (v) – To get something of value (especially money) through force, threats, or the abuse of power
Synonyms: Squeeze, Exact, Wrest, Wring
Helpful Hints: Depending on the nature of the extortion, it can be prosecuted as a crime and is a felony.
You May Remember: You learned in Freshman Unit 5 that “e- /ex-” means “out from, out of” so to extort is literally to “twist from.” It suggests wringing something from someone who tries to hold firm to it.
Sample Sentence: My brother extorted my allowance by threatening to tell my parents about my boyfriend.
Retort (v) – To reply in a sharp or biting way; to respond with a counterargument (n) – a quick, witty, or sharp reply
Synonyms: (v) Reply, Respond, Counter (n) Comeback
Antonym (v) Ask, Inquire
You May Remember: You learned in Sophomore Unit 3 that “re- (2)” means “back” so to retort is literally to “twist back”, or to come back at someone with your words.
Sample Sentence (v): Claire retorted with a quip about Bob’s mother that shut him up.
Sample Sentence (n): I always think of the perfect retort hours later.
-ILE Like, Pertaining to
Volatile (adj) – 1. Evaporates easily 2. Easily angered; Tending or threatening to break into violence
Helpful Hints: The first definition points to the original scientific meaning – a chemical that cannot maintain its liquid state is volatile. Metaphorically, a person or a situation that is volatile is one that cannot remain calm and easily erupts.
Sample Sentence: There was a volatile crowd gathered outside the courthouse yelling and throwing trash at the murderer as he was brought in.
Futile (adj) Incapable of producing any result; Ineffective; Useless; Not successful
Synonyms: Purposeless, Unproductive, Unsuccessful
Antonyms: Fruitful, Hopeful, Productive, Profitable
Sample Sentence: Arguing with stubborn people can be futile, as they will never change their minds.
RECT Right, Straight
Rectify (v) – to make right something that is wrong; correct
Synonym: Remedy, Repair, Resolve
Sample Sentence: To rectify our relationship, I apologized profusely to my sister for my rudeness.
Rectitude (n) The quality of being morally right in behavior or thinking
Synonyms: Virtue, Morality, Integrity, Righteousness
Antonyms: Immorality, Wickedness, Iniquity
Helpful Hint: Rectitude deals with the “rightness” or “straightness” of someone’s moral character. Someone who displays rectitude would be honest and forthright.
Sample Sentence: Even though she wasn’t in the classroom, the professor believed her students had the rectitude not to cheat on the exam.
SERV- Slave, Serve
Servile (adj) – Slavishly submissive; Fawning; Showing deference to others; Overly obedient
Synonyms: Subservient, Abject, Obsequious, Passive
Antonyms: Aggressive, Dominant
Helpful Hints: “Serv-” can also mean “save or keep,” as in preserve, reserve, or conserve. Servile and preserve, nonetheless, come from the same Latin root. You might, therefore, think of a servile person is someone is easily “kept” under control.
You May Remember: As noted above, “-ile” means like, or pertaining to. A servile person is “like” a “slave.”
Sample Sentence: Although Max thought he could earn A’s with his servile behavior, his teachers were not swayed by his overly helpful manner.
Servitude (n) – Slavery
Synonyms: Enslavement, Bondage
Antonyms: Freedom, Liberty
Helpful Hints: You may have learned the term indentured servitude in history class. European immigrants would move to the American colonies and were viewed as property. In exchange for seven years of servitude, their masters would pay off their debts (travel, room, board, freedom fees).
Sample Sentence: Utilizing the Underground Railroad, abolitionist Harriet Tubman made thirteen journeys to free those in southern servitude.
-SIST- Stand, Stop
Desist (v) – To stop (doing something); to cease
Synonyms: Discontinue, Halt
Antonyms: Continue, Proceed
Helpful Hints: You may have heard of a court issuing a “cease and desist order,” which basically means you need to stop whatever illegal thing you are doing immediately. For instance, a website might be issued a cease and desist order if the site displays copyrighted material that the designers do not have permission to use.
Sample Sentence: Though ordered by the National Guard to desist, rioters in Ferguson, Missouri continued to protest in the wake of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a police officer.
Subsistence (n) – 1. Continued Existence 2. The minimum (food, money, shelter, etc) needed to support life
Synonyms: 1. Continuance, Endurance, Persistence 2. Sustenance
Antonyms: 1. Discontinuance, Termination, Cessation
Helpful Hints: You may have heard of “subsistence farming” or farming that is meant mainly to provide for the needs of the farmer, not for the market.
Sample Sentence 1: The subsistence of Gina’s happiness in the face of cancer exemplified her enduring spirit.
Sample Sentence 2: During the Great Depression less than half of Americans were able to achieve adequate subsistence.
MERGE, MERS Sink, Plunge
Emergent (adj) – 1. Coming into view or existence 2. Urgent
Synonyms: 1. Budding, Developing, Dawning 2. Compelling, Imperative
Antonyms: 1. Declining 2. Nonurgent, Noncritical
Sample Sentence 1: The emergent butterfly lept from its cocoon, spreading it wings to the sun.
Sample Sentence 2: The firemen train daily for all types of emergent situations.
Immerse (v) – 1. To plunge entirely into liquid 2. To involve oneself deeply in something
Synonyms: 1. Dip, Sink, Submerge 2. Absorb, Engage, Engross, Occupy
Helpful Hints: In the second definition, you are immersed in something. For instance, I was immersed in summer reading.
Sample Sentence 1: My four-year-old immerses his fries in ketchup before eating them.
Sample Sentence 2: Sheila frequently found herself immersed in work with very little time for leisure.