10 • Lesson 16 Word List

aura

(n) A distinctive atmosphere or feeling that seems to surround someone or something; a distinctive appearance or impression.
There was an aura of serenity about the woman sitting quietly in the corner.

banal

(adj) Lacking freshness; trite.
The plot of that movie was so banal, I predicted the ending within the first half hour.

bemuse

(v) To confuse or bewilder.
The noise and hubbub of Times Square bemused the tourists, who had come from a rural area for their first trip to New York City.

cognizant

(adj) Fully aware; taking notice.
The toddler was so mesmerized by the clown at the fair that she was not cognizant of her surroundings.

cognizance (n)
He did not take cognizance of the fact that the store had closed, even though he passed by it every day.

conundrum

(n) 1. A riddle whose answer is a play on words.
Answer this conundrum: “What’s the difference between an engineer and a professor?” “One minds trains and the other trains minds.”

2. A puzzle or problem that is difficult or impossible to solve.
How Giovanna would be able to live in Turkey for three months without knowing a word of the language was a conundrum we could not solve.

compete
evanescent

(adj) Short-lived; staying temporarily.
Evening rain showers are an evanescent phenomenon in the tropics.

factotum

(n) A helper or assistant with a wide range of duties and responsibilities.
The studio head made the decisions, and his factotum handled the details.

compete
grandiose

(adj) 1. Impressive because of large size or scope.
Gothic cathedrals are grandiose structures that continue to attract tourists.

2. Characterized by the pretense of grandeur or absurd exaggeration.
He made the grandiose claim that he was the only person in the world who could do the job.

compete
induce*

(v) 1. To influence or persuade.
We finally induced my grandmother to use the air conditioner we put in her bedroom.

2. To bring about; to cause.
That medication induces drowsiness, so it’s unwise to drive after taking it.

intransigent

(adj) Refusing to compromise or change one’s position on an issue.
The new committee’s intransigent attitude made it impossible to work out any sort of compromise with the veteran employees.

intransigence (n)
Because of her intransigence, her friends gave up trying to persuade her to apply to more than one college.

laudatory

(adj) Full of praise.
A laudatory review in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch guaranteed a successful run for the new play.

panache

(n) Dash or flamboyance in style or action.
The chef chopped and diced the vegetables with awe-inspiring panache.

picayune

(adj) Petty or insignificant; concerned with trifling matters.
When evaluating the house, the inspector looked at the most picayune details, practically checking every nail and splinter.

predilection

(n) An inclination; preference.
I have a predilection for Thai food and eat it at least once a week.

promontory

(n) A high point of land that juts out into water.
We had a beautiful view of the whole surrounding bay from the rocky promontory.

compete

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