Abstract (adj) – Differing from concrete realities; Difficult to understand
Synonyms: Unclear, Indirect
Antonyms: Concrete, Understandable
Sample Sentence: The art was so abstract that it was difficult for me to understand what it even was supposed to be.
Arduous (adj) – Hard and difficult; Requiring great effort
Synonyms: Onerous, Backbreaking
Antonyms: Simple, Easy
Sample Sentence: The manual labor was so arduous that he already had injuries by the end of his second week.
Bucolic (adj) – Referencing or belonging to the countryside and farming; Rural
Synonyms: Pastoral, Rustic
Sample Sentence: They decided the bucolic house was too far out of the city for them to move to.
Conception (n) – 1. idea, concept; view. 2. beginning of pregnancy
Synonym: 1. Creation
Sample Sentence: The conception for their idea came out of the problem that they were having.
Debunk (v) – To prove something false or exaggerated
Synonyms: Disprove, Refute
Sample Sentence: We had to use Google to debunk his ridiculous theory.
Didactic (adj) Intending to teach or give instructions; Instructive
Synonyms: Pedagogic, Educational
Helpful Hints: Many childrens’ stories are didactic because they teach lessons.
Sample Sentence: Although movies are usually just for fun, sometimes didactic films ask us to reassess why we think the way we do.
Empirical (adj) – Found by experiment, practice or experience
Sample Sentence: A wealth of empirical evidence has been found to support his hypothesis.
Evasive (adj) – Trying to avoid or escape something
Synonyms: Elusive, Slippery
Sample Sentence: The teenager gave her mother an evasive answer when she asked him where he was going.
Foil (v) – To prevent the success of; Frustrate
Synonyms: Thwart, Hamper
Sample Sentence: Her plan to go to the concert was foiled when she could not get the day off of work.
Hodgepodge (n) – A mixture of various things; Jumble
Synonyms: Conglomeration, Mess, Muddle
Sample Sentence: We decided to have a hodgepodge of items for dinner including cake, steak, fruit, pizza, and fried chicken.
Ineptitude (n) – The condition of lacking skill; Awkwardness, clumsiness, incompetence
Antonyms: Adroitness, Skill
Sample Sentence: Her athletic ineptitude kept her from playing sports in high school.
Judicious (adj) – Fair and equal; Wise; Sensible
Synonyms: Practical, Moderate, Reasonable
Antonyms: Unreasonable, Impractical
Helpful Hints: Think about a judge, whose job it is to be reasonable. Both judge and judicious come from the same root.
Sample Sentence: The judicious teacher listened to both sides of the story before making a decision.
Mercurial (adj) – Rapidly changing; Flighty, erratic
Synonyms: Inconstant, Indecisive
Antonyms: Constant, Steady
Helpful Hints: Mercury in a thermometer goes up and down with temperature.
Sample Sentence: Her mercurial nature made it difficult for her to keep her mood consistent.
Paramount (adj) – Chief in importance or impact; Supreme
Synonym: Critical, Dominant
Antonyms: Unimportant, Trivial
Helpful Hints: Paramount Pictures named their company that because they believe they are the best.
Sample Sentence: It is paramount that you complete your research paper in order to graduate.
Pragmatism (n) – Character or conduct that emphasizes practicality (usefulness)
Synonyms: Realism, Practicality
Sample Sentence: Her pragmatism keeps her from spending her money frivolously.
Quandary (n) – A state of uncertainty, especially in terms of what to do; Dilemma
Synonyms: Predicament, Conundrum
Sample Sentence: When the babysitter canceled on her, she was in a serious quandary because she could not miss her meeting.
Rousing (adj) – Exciting, stirring
Synonyms: Lively, Stimulating
Antonyms: Boring, Pedestrian
Sample Sentence: A rousing game of charades left the family at odds as to which team was the winner.
Stoic (adj) – Being indifferent to pleasure or pain; unmoved by joy or grief
Sample Sentence: The guards at Buckingham Palace remain stoic no matter what is said to them or done in front of them.
Taunt (v) – To tease or insult; Mock
Synonyms: Upbraid, Jeer, Deride
Sample Sentence: The referee who made the egregious calls was taunted by the crowd.
Wary (adj) – Cautious; Being on guard
Synonyms: Alert, Vigilant, Guarded
Antonyms: Trusting, Unguarded
Sample Sentence: The detective is always wary of what is going on around him.