Anarchy (n) – A state of society without government or law
Synonyms: Chaos, Disorder
Antonyms: Order, Lawfulness
Sample Sentence: The country was in a state of anarchy as the rebels attempted to overthrow the government.
Arid (adj) – 1. Extremely dry 2. Barren or unproductive
Antonyms: Wet, Humid
Helpful Hint: The antiperspirant called Arid chose the name because it wants you to stay dry.
Sample Sentence: The arid desert makes it difficult for plants to grow; there are only certain kinds that can survive the dry air.
Candid (adj) – Outspoken, honest, sincere; Straightforward
Synonyms: Frank, Genuine
Antonyms: Deceitful, Lying
Helpful Hints: The television show Candid Camera used hidden cameras and awkward situations to catch people being truly themselves, and not behaving for an audience.
Sample Sentence: When I asked my friend for her opinion on my prom dress, she gave me her candid response that she did not like it so I returned it.
Coddle (v) -To pamper or take care of indulgently
Synonyms: Cater to, Spoil
Helpful Hint: This word often has more of an insulting connotation – to coddle someone is to protect him or her to a foolish degree. Making a child wear a bike helmet is safe. Making him wear bubble-wrap is coddling him.
Sample Sentence: Parents tend to coddle their children more when they are feeling sick in order to help them feel better faster.
Cursory (adj) – Hasty; Going over something quickly without paying attention to detail
Sample Sentence: I got a low grade on my vocabulary quiz because of my cursory studying the night before; I only looked at my words one time.
Deride (v) To laugh at in scorn or contempt; To mock
Synonyms: Ridicule, Taunt
Antonyms: Commend, Compliment
Sample Sentence: After my group derided my first idea and said it was stupid I did not want to contribute any more to the project.
Eclectic (adj) – Formed from a variety of sources
Sample Sentence: Since I love all movies, I have an eclectic collection that includes all genres.
Eradicate (v) – To remove or destroy completely
Synonyms: Demolish, Annihilate
Helpful Hint: The words “eradicate” and “radish” both come from the same root, meaning, well, “root” – like in a plant. And the prefix here is E-/EX-, meaning “out”. So to eradicate something is to tear it out, all the way down to the roots.
Sample Sentence: After the awful trip I took I wish I could eradicate the memory completely.
Flabbergasted (adj) – Overcome with surprise; Shocked; Astounded
Sample Sentence: I was completely flabbergasted when my father told me he bought me a new car for my graduation present; I did not expect it at all!
Gullible (adj) – Easily deceived or cheated
Sample Sentence: Since my best friend is gullible, it is easy to play pranks on him.
Impute (v) – To attribute to a source or to a person
Synonym: To credit
Sample Sentence: Her family unfairly imputed her successes to dumb luck, but she knew how hard she had worked for all she had earned in life.
Irrefutable (adj) – Cannot be proved wrong
Sample Sentence: The boy’s statement was irrefutable so no one even tried to argue with him.
Malleable (adj) – Capable of being bent or shaped; Adaptable
Helpful Hint: You sometimes hear this word being used to describe metals – some, like gold, are easier to manipulate, while others, like iron, are much more resistant to change.
Sample Sentence: Because of our malleable schedule, we were able to see the 7:00 movie when the 6:00 movie was sold out.
Obscure (v/adj) – Ambiguous; Vague; Hard to understand
Sample Sentence: I found myself almost an hour out of the way after attempting to follow my aunt’s obscure directions to her house.
Philistine (n) – A person who is indifferent to culture and the arts or has no understanding of such things
Sample Sentence: While Lisa Simpson likes classical music and loves literature, her father Homer is a philistine who thinks poetry is stupid and loves beer commercials.
Protracted (adj) Lasting for a long time (v) Drawn out or lengthened
Sample Sentence: I wish my parents would just get straight to the point and tell me how long I am grounded instead of giving me this protracted lecture about why I was wrong.
Respite (n) – A temporary relief or break
Sample Sentence: After working a 12 hour day watching TV on my couch was a welcomed respite.
Skeptical (adj) – Showing doubt
Synonyms: Suspicious, Unconvinced
Sample Sentence: I was skeptical of my friend’s story that she saw a 10-foot-tall man at the mall.
Suppress (v) – 1. To stop or do away with by means of authority 2. To keep in or repress
Synonyms: Censor, Conceal
Antonyms: Encourage, Release
Sample Sentence: It was impossible to suppress my excitement when I won the lottery, so I immediately told everyone I know.
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.