Affable (adj) – Friendly, Pleasant
Synonyms: Polite, Warm (in personality)
Antonyms: Hostile, Standoffish
Sample Sentence: The interviewer was immediately drawn to the more affable, outgoing candidates.
Apparition (n) – A ghost, Something that appears
Synonyms: Specter, Mirage
Sample Sentence: When we were kids, we used to creep into the graveyard at night, hoping to see apparitions.
Blatant (adj) – Immediately obvious, Flagrant
Antonyms: Subtle, Stealthy
Helpful Hints: There is a slight difference between blatant and flagrant, which both carry a negative connotation. Something blatant is bad because it is so obvious (like blatant flirting, a blatant lie), while something flagrant is obviously in how bad it is (a flagrant rule violation, a flagrant foul)
Sample Sentence: She complimented my baking in a blatant attempt to kiss up to me.
Cliché (n) – An over-used word, phrase, expression or idea
Helpful Hints: Cliché is a noun. The scene when the girl gets a makeover in a teen movie is a cliché. Clichéd is an adjective, and you use it to describe something. So you might read a clichéd story, but not a cliché story
Sample Sentence: He loved this murder mystery because it avoided all of the normal, predictable clichés of the genre.
Conditional (adj) – Depending on a condition, uncertain
Sample Sentence: My uncle gave me $500 every semester during college, but it was conditional on my staying above a 3.0 GPA
Derelict (adj) – Rundown, Abandoned (n) – A person abandoned by society, a bum
Synonyms: (adj) – Deserted (n) – Hobo, Vagabond
Sample Sentence: (adj) It took the city years to figure out what to do with the massive derelict wharf that took up valuable waterfront property. (n) Abandoned by his parents and unable to maintain a job, the young man drifted toward becoming a derelict.
Dogmatic (adj) – Arrogantly opinionated, unable to see the other side of an argument
Synonyms: Dictatorial, Chauvinistic
Helpful Hints: A dogma is a set of beliefs, and carries a neutral connotation, but describing someone as dogmatic is certainly an insult.
Sample Sentence: The teacher’s classroom policies were dogmatic, including rules against black ink and slouching
Entourage (n) – A group of followers or supporters
Helpful Hints: The HBO television show Entourage focused on an actor and all of his friends who followed him around everywhere
Sample Sentence: Sarah wanted an autograph, but the actor could not see her, as he was surrounded by his entourage of interviewers and agents
Finesse (n) – Delicate skill in action or performance
Antonyms: Clumsiness, Boorishness
Sample Sentence: An amateur pool player tries to win by smashing the ball as hard as he can, but a skilled player uses finesse.
Guile (n) – Craftiness, Deception
Synonyms: Cunning, Slyness
Antonyms: Sincerity, Honesty
Sample Sentence: He was attracted to her lack of guile; she said exactly what she felt and didn’t play mind games.
Impartial (adj) – Unbiased
Synonyms: Fair, Disinterested
Antonyms: Partisan, Prejudiced
Sample Sentence: During the debate, the moderator was impartial, asking both candidates questions of similar difficulty
Insolvent (adj) – Unable to pay off debts, Bankrupt
Synonyms: Penniless, Impecunious
Helpful Hints: Try to remember that people wish to solve their debts, but “in” is a negative prefix
Sample Sentence: After eight months of declining sales, the store became insolvent and had to go under.
Meager (adj) – Small in quality or quantity
Synonyms: Scant, Scarce
Antonym: Sufficient, plentiful
Sample Sentence: Denise couldn’t buy much with her meager allowance unless she did a good job of saving it up over several weeks.
Nostalgic (adj) – Longing for the past
Sample Sentence: When they watched their kids playing in the park, the couple was nostalgic for the times when they were equally carefree
Pilfer (v) – To steal in small amounts
Sample Sentence: Fred thought he would never get caught pilfering quarters from the cash register where he worked.
Proponent (n) – A supporter of a cause
Synonyms: Advocate, Enthusiast
Antonyms: Opponent, Naysayer
Sample Sentence: Ever since losing their son in the war, the family became strong proponents of bringing soldiers home from overseas.
Reprehensible (adj) – Incredibly bad, Deserving of blame
Sample Sentence: Booing at a wedding is reprehensible behavior.
Shroud (n) A cloth used for covering, often used for a dead body (v) To cloak or hide from view
Synonyms: (v) To conceal, To hide
Antonyms: (v) To reveal, To expose
Sample Sentence: (n) Through the shroud, we could still see the outline of the woman’s face. (v) Amid the scandal, the actor tried to shroud his face from the photographers by ducking his face into his coat
Stringent (adj) – Severely strict
Antonyms: Loose, Flexible
Sample Sentence: I was always too stringent with my children, and was envious of my friends who were more laid-back in their approach.
Valor (n) – Heroic bravery
Helpful Hints: The government presents the Medal of Valor to people who bravely serve the country
Sample Sentence: Although the former general didn’t brag, his whole family knew about his valor on the battlefield, and how he his life on his line for his fellow soldiers