Aesthetic (n/adj) – (n) A set of principles guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement (adj) Pertaining to beauty
Synonym: (n) Style (adj) Artful, Beautiful
Antonym: (adj) Displeasing, Ugly
Sample Sentence: (n) The building’s aesthetic drew a lot of attention from visitors who stopped by to admire it. (adj) Even people who knew nothing about architecture noticed the building’s aesthetic qualities.
Auspicious (adj) – 1. Indicative of a successful outcome; Promising success 2. Favorable, fortunate
Antonyms: Inopportune, Foreboding
Sample Sentence: The auspicious investment earned the man millions of dollars.
Bastion (n) – 1. A fortified place 2. Anything seen as preserving or protecting something
Helpful Hints: You often hear the phrase “last bastion,” meaning, “the last defense,” as in “Many think of libraries as the last bastion against cultural illiteracy”
Sample Sentence: The bastion protected the soldiers from enemy attack.
Conciliate (v) – To pacify; To win over
Synonyms: Appease; Satisfy
Sample Sentence: To attempt to conciliate her friend after the fight, she baked her a cake.
Deliberation (n) – 1. Careful consideration before a decision 2. Formal consultation or discussion
Sample Sentence: After weeks of deliberation, the student decided which of the two colleges he would attend.
Devoid (adj) Not possessing; Entirely lacking
Sample Sentence: The girl auditioned for the musical, but as it turns out she is devoid of any musical talent.
Elliptical (adj) – 1. Egg shaped; Oval 2. Incredibly concise, using few words 3. (in writing) Difficult to understand or obscure
Helpful Hints: An elliptical training machine at a gym forces your feet to move in an elliptical, or oval-shaped, pattern. Also, the last two definitions are close cousins – elliptical writing is often difficult to understand BECAUSE it uses such brief, concise language
Sample Sentence: He took an elliptical approach at giving the unpleasant news, making it difficult for the family to understand what he was trying to tell them.
Evanescent (adj) – Vanishing; Fading away; Fleeting
Synonyms: Brief, Short-lived, Transitory
Antonyms: Long-lasting, Permanent
Sample Sentence: She wanted to hold on to the evanescent feeling of elation for as long as possible.
Formidable (adj) – 1. Causing fear or dread 2. Awe-inspiring 3. Of great strength
Synonyms: Intimidating, Significant
Antonyms: Weak, Measly
Sample Sentence: We know the team we are playing is really strong; they are our most formidable opponent of the year.
Husbandry (n) – 1. Careful management of resources 2. Farming
Helpful Hints: This word comes from the same root as “husband,” and when the word arose in the thirteenth century, a married man was almost always in charge of the family’s financial affairs, and was probably a farmer. Also, you might hear the phrase “animal husbandry,” which is just another way of saying “raising animals”.
Sample Sentence: The man’s prudence and husbandry was welcomed by the family.
Indifferent (adj) – 1. Without interest; Apathetic 2. Having no bias or prejudice
Synonym: 1. Uncaring
Antonyms: 1. Interested, Invested 2. Prejudiced, Partisan
Sample Sentence: My indifferent response to the question showed that I did not really care one or the other whether we went to dinner or the movies.
Juxtaposition (n) – The state of being side by side or close together
Helpful Hints: This word is almost always used to show a contrast between two things, not just to indicate that two things are close to one another. If you talked about the juxtaposition of two scenes in a story, you are not just pointing out that they come one after another, but that there is something radically different about the second scene.
Sample Sentence: The juxtaposition of the two genres of music in the same song was surprisingly pleasant.
Maverick (n) – Someone who takes an independent stand
Synonyms: Renegade, Non-conformist, Pioneer
Antonyms: Follower, Conformist, Sheep
Helpful Hints: This word has a positive connotation. This word originally meant a cow or a horse that was not branded with an owner’s mark, which is why the image of the Dallas Mavericks, an NBA team, shows a horse. Because of this original meaning, the word quickly evolved to mean anyone who behaves as though he has no master, or does not have to follow anyone.
Sample Sentence: The maverick stood up at the candidate’s rally and openly spoke in favor of his competitor.
Opulence (n) – 1 Luxury and wealth 2. Showy display of wealth
Helpful Hint: As you can see from the second definition, this word does not carry the same entirely positive connotation as “affluence,” which we saw in the last unit. Jay Gatsby’s over-the-top parties at his massive home were opulent affairs, meant to show off his incredible wealth.
Sample Sentence: The family’s opulence showed in the mansion they chose to purchase.
Paucity (n) – Shortage; Scarcity
Synonyms: Dearth, Lack
Antonyms: Plenty, Abundance
Sample Sentence: There is certainly no paucity of food on the table at Thanksgiving.
Rambunctious (adj) – 1. Difficult to control 2. Active and noisy
Antonyms: Quiet; Shy
Sample Sentence: The rambunctious children were difficult to baby-sit because they never sat still.
Robust (adj) – 1 Sturdy and strong 2. Healthy
Synonyms: Vigorous, Powerful
Antonyms: Unhealthy; Weak
Sample Sentence: The robust man easily lifted the 300-pound weight over his head.
Soporific (adj) – Causing sleep; Sleep-inducing
Antonyms: Stimulating; Galvanizing
Sample Sentence: The teacher’s long lecture had a soporific effect and I had to fight to keep my eyes open.
Treacly (adj) – Overly sentimental or sweet
Sample Sentence: He was surprised at how much he actually enjoyed the treacly movie, that played cheaply and obviously to the audience’s emotions.
Zeal (n) – Great passion in pursuit of a cause
Helpful Hint: While zeal has a highly positive connotation, somehow, a zealot (a person with a zeal for something) has taken on a much more negative connotation, leaning closer to a fanatic or an irrationally fixated person.
Sample Sentence: The girl’s zeal for the topic showed in the excited way she spoke about it.