Abashed (adj) – Ashamed or embarrassed
Antonyms: Courageous, Bold, Daring
Helpful Hints: maybe it will help to see that the same root gives us both abashed and bashful, and both words deal with low self-confidence
Sample Sentence: When they broke the garage window by mistake, the two children came into the house looking abashed, their heads lowered, their pace slow.
Arbitrate (v) – To mediate between two disagreeing sides, to serve as an unbiased judge
Helpful Hints: You sometimes hear about athletes and celebrities who are in arbitration over a contract. That is because the two sides cannot decide how much the person should get paid, and they have to bring in an arbitrator who decides for them.
Sample Sentence: Sometimes, when his kids were quarreling over a disputed toy, Dean had to arbitrate between the two girls.
Belabor (v) – To explain something in excess, to continue more than is needed
Sample Sentence: The coach never belabored his points in his speeches; he gave his criticism quickly and then moved on to the next point.
Capricious (adj) – Subject to unpredictable, fanciful change
Synonyms: Whimsical, Erratic, Random
Antonyms: Steady, Predictable
Helpful Hints: Capri pants cannot decide if they want to be shorts or regular pants – they just do what they want
Sample Sentence: When he was younger, Mike was much more capricious, but nowadays, he always acts more deliberately, after much consideration.
Collaborate (v) – To work together on project or idea
Helpful Hints: Collab, the BHS literary magazine, gets its name for this word, as it is a collaboration between the school’s artists and writers. Support your peers. Buy a Collab.
Sample Sentence: The members of the police force collaborated to come up with possible ways of subduing the criminal before entering the house.
Deterrent (n) Something that discourages an action or thought
Synonyms: Hindrance, Obstacle
Sample Sentence: Claudia’s laced up her skates; her sister’s bruises that she acquired during her hockey practices were no deterrent to her own tryouts.
Dubious (adj) – 1) Inspiring doubt 2) Of doubtful quality
Synonyms: Unclear, Uncertain
Antonyms: Definite, Absolute
Helpful Hints: You sometimes hear the phrase “dubious distinction” or “dubious honor” – this means that it’s doubtful whether or not the accomplishment is something to be proud of.
Sample Sentence: Ryan didn’t lie all that often, but still, people thought his story was dubious when he said that he could read minds.
Enervate (v) – To drain the strength of
Synonyms: Weaken, Sap
Antonyms: Energize, Strengthen
Helpful Hints: Notice the first antonym. Many, many people mistakenly think that enervate and energize mean the same thing. But these words do not spring from the same root.
Sample Sentence: Three straight weeks of heavy gunfire on the frontlines enervated the troops, who became sluggish and unresponsive.
Facetious (adj) – Not meant to be taken seriously, cheeky
Synonyms: Joking, Foolish
Antonyms: Serious, Literal
Helpful Hints: When people say, “I’m just being facetious,” they are telling you not to take them seriously.
Sample Sentence: Most of the voting was taken seriously, but some people cast facetious votes for Mighty Mouse and Joan of Arc.
Frugal (adj) – Sparing in expenditure; not wasteful in spending money
Synonyms: Stingy, Thrifty
Antonyms: Lavish, Extravagant
Helpful Hints: It is not as bad as being stingy, but frugal carries a slightly negative connotation
Sample Sentence: Marcus thought his brother was being too frugal when he would buy generic corn flakes and used running shoes.
Idealize (v) – To treat someone or something as a perfect example or a model
Helpful Hints: An ideal is an idea that aims for perfection
Sample Sentence: People often idealize the past, looking at all of the ways that the good old days were better, while overlooking all of the flaws.
Intrepid (adj) – Fearless, Brave
Synonyms: Dauntless, Bold
Antonyms: Cowardly, Fearful
Sample Sentence: Only the most intrepid children would enter the creaky, abandoned house after midnight.
Lobby (v) – To try to persuade, usually used in regards to politics (n) – A group of people who work to promote a political cause
Synonym: (v) Influence
Helpful Hints: As a noun, a lobby is also the entryway to a building. Supposedly, the word became a verb when people would try to catch politicians in the lobby of their hotels and try to convince them to change their beliefs on a position.
Sample Sentence: After the third accident in a single summer, the parents lobbied for a greater staff of lifeguards at the pool.
Mundane (adj) – Dull, ordinary
Synonyms: Run-of-the-mill, Normal
Antonyms: Bizarre, Extraordinary
Helpful Hints: This word comes from Latin word for “the world,” so something mundane is something really common, or found all over the world.
Sample Sentence: Even though it was thrilling at first, after fifteen straight seasons with season tickets, Taylor began to find going to Fenway Park mundane.
Pastoral (adj) – (1) Concerned with the countryside (2) Having the peace of mind normally associated with rural life
Synonyms: Rural, Idyllic
Antonyms: Urban, Berserk
Sample Sentence: The bed & breakfast tried to increase its pastoral charm by putting up quaint paintings of farmlands
Prolific (adj) – Producing in abundance, Fruitful
Synonyms: Fecund, Bountiful
Antonyms: Lifeless, Stagnant
Sample Sentence: The prolific musician put out five hit albums in only three years
Reprieve (n) (1) A delay in punishment (2) Any temporary relief (v) To temporarily delay
Synonyms: (n) Respite, pardon
Sample Sentence: (n) The checks that he received for his birthday were a financial reprieve, but Neal still had to worry about paying off his debts. (v) Considering his personal troubles, the boss reprieved John of his duties for a few days.
Sedulous (adj) – Diligent and thorough
Synonyms: Hard-working, Tireless
Antonyms: Haphazard, Slapdash
Sample Sentence: When it came to cleaning his kitchen, Henry was sedulous, polishing the faucet and cleaning the gaps between the tiles every time.
Stipulate (v) – To make a demand as a part of a larger agreement
Helpful Hints: You might be more familiar with the noun form, stipulation
Sample Sentence: He let me pet his dog, but stipulated that I not touch its tail.
Validate (v) – To confirm
Helpful Hints: When you validate your parking, you are confirming that you were at the location that is providing the discount
Sample Sentence: When the stock’s price fell by 60%, it validated Sandra’s concerns that the company was struggling.