Accolade (n) – An award, honor or praise
Synonyms: Prize, Recognition
Sample Sentence: The Pulitzer Prize is one of the highest accolades that a writer can receive.
Atrophy (n) – A decline or decrease in function from lack of use
Sample Sentence: The doctor is concerned about possible atrophy of the shoulder muscles.
Cherish (v) – To care for; To firmly hold dear
Antonyms: Neglect, Relinquish
Helpful Hints: Cherish people close to you
Sample Sentence: Abigail cherishes the necklace that her grandmother gave her right before she died.
Comely (adj) – Having a pleasing appearance, attractive
Synonyms: Good looking, Easy on the eyes
Helpful Hints: A homely appearance (the antonym) is unattractive. The closeness of the spelling of comely and homely might help you with remembering the definition, but the words do not rhyme. Comely sounds like dumbly.
Sample Sentence: The comely girl is very photogenic in her senior portraits.
Decimate (v) – To destroy a great number of; To extensively destroy
Synonyms: Annihilate, Ruin
Sample Sentence: After the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb, the city of Hiroshima was decimated.
Disarming (adj) Unthreatening; Charming enough to remove suspicion
Synonyms: Winning, Engaging
Helpful Hints: Something disarming would make you put away your weapons, or your arms, because you know there’s no reason to be worried or afraid.
Sample Sentence: The student flashed the teacher his disarming smile and she let him into the classroom without a late pass.
Emulate (v) – To imitate with enough effort to equal or surpass the original
Synonyms: Copy, Replicate
Sample Sentence: The twin sisters sometimes emulate one another’s behavior in order to pretend to be the other.
Exacerbate (v) – To increase the seriousness of a situation or feeling; To irritate, aggravate
Synonyms: Intensify, Worsen
Antonyms: Relieve, Soothe, Alleviate
Sample Sentence: One student acting up in class is disruptive. When another student joins in with disruptive behavior, it exacerbates the situation.
Flagrant (adj) – Shockingly noticeable; Obviously bad, Glaring
Synonyms: Disgraceful, Egregious
Helpful Hints: Remember – something flagrant is horribly bad, while something blatant is horrible because it is so bad. Claiming that you missed school because of a death in the family, when no such tragedy occurred, is a flagrant lie. Claiming that you missed school because you were on Jupiter is a blatant lie.
Sample Sentence: The crowd could not believe that the referee did not make the call for the flagrant foul against the Bruins.
Hedonist (n) – A person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.
Synonym: Pleasure seeker
Sample Sentence: She felt like a hedonist as she pushed aside her work and booked her fifth vacation that year.
Innocuous (adj) – Harmless; Not likely to offend; Insignificant or uninteresting
Antonyms: Harmful, Malicious
Sample Sentence: The group of friends knew their jokes were innocuous and not meant to offend.
Jaded (adj) – Tired of somethig or bored with something due to overuse or indulgence
Sample Sentence: The prince was so used to having whatever he wants that his attitude towards gifts became jaded.
Mercenary (adj) – Working or acting solely for money or a reward
Synonyms: Grasping, Acquisitive
Antonyms: Altruistic, Idealistic, Unselfish
Sample Sentence: The mercenary dentist had a greedy gleam in his eyes as he told the oblivious patient she had six cavities.
Opt (v) – To make a choice; To choose
Synonyms: Select, Pick, Elect
Helpful Hints: Think of option, which has the same root.
Sample Sentence: The committee member decided to opt out of voting since she could not make up her mind.
Predilection (n) – A tendency to think in favor of something specific; Partiality; Preference
Synonyms: Bias, Inclination
Sample Sentence: She has a predilection for the Red Sox, since both of her parents have always been Red Sox fans.
Querulous (adj) – Full of complaints; Complaining; Peevish
Synonyms: Petulant, Testy
Helpful Hints: This word is pretty close to meaning the same as “whining” – People are often querulous when posting reviews of products online.
Sample Sentence: The students became querulous after the teacher gave out the 10 page research paper assignment.
Rudimentary (adj) – Elementary; Basic; Undeveloped; Primitive
Synonyms: Fundamental, Initial
Antonyms: Advanced, Mature
Sample Sentence: Since she had not attended school when she was younger, her writing skills were extremely rudimentary.
Succinct (adj) – Expressed in few words; Concise
Synonyms: Terse, Brief
Antonyms: Wordy, Verbose
Sample Sentence: She kept her speech succinct but meaningful.
Tactful (adj) – Having a sense of what is appropriate to avoid offense
Sample Sentence: The politician was tactful in his speech so both sides would approve of his ideas.
Wrath (n) – Immense anger; Deep indignation
Synonyms: Rage, Resentment, Fury
Antonyms: Happiness, Jubilation
Sample Sentence: After the teenager got arrested, she was terrified to face the wrath of her mother.