10 • Lesson 9 Word List

cautionary

(adj) Offering or serving as a warning.
Aesop’s fables are cautionary tales; their morals are intended to teach lessons.

constrain*

(v) To confine, inhibit, or hold back by force or necessity.
Abraham Lincoln was not constrained by his humble birth.

constraint (n) A restriction or limitation.
After the curriculum reform went into effect, teachers could select materials without constraint.

flotilla

(n) A fleet of boats or small ships.
A flotilla of tall ships sailed into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as part of the city’s celebrations.

compete
gossamer

(n) 1. Thin, sheer fabric resembling gauze.
Her veil was gossamer and revealed her radiant face.

2. A fine, filmy substance made of strands of cobweb.
The dewy grass held moist bits of gossamer.

(adj) As light and delicate as a cobweb.
The bride lifted her gossamer veil, and she and the groom embraced.

compete
ignominious

(adj) Marked by, deserving, or causing shame or disgrace.
The off-key singer made an ignominious exit from the stage, foregoing the encore he had planned.

incur

(v) To bring upon oneself something undesirable, such as a debt.
When she voted against giving out raises this year, the supervisor further incurred the hostility of her disgruntled workers.

liquidate

(v) 1. To settle the affairs of a business; to convert into cash.
They liquidated their assets by selling almost all their possessions and then used the proceeds to pay their debts.

2. To get rid of; to kill or destroy.
Tens of thousands of peasants were liquidated by the military dictatorship.

magnate

(n) An important, often wealthy, person prominent in a large industry or business.
Andrew Carnegie was the steel magnate who endowed 2,800 libraries across the country.

misnomer

(n) A name that does not fit.
“Vegetable” is sometimes considered to be a misnomer for the tomato because tomatoes are actually classified as fruits.

onerous

(adj) Burdensome; oppressive.
After working hard all day, my mother considers cleaning up after us an onerous task.

compete
pandemonium

(n) A state or place of great confusion or uproar.
A shout of “Fire!” created pandemonium in the crowded theater.

quixotic

(adj) Romantic and idealistic, but impractical.
Creating a huge public park in the middle of Manhattan must have seemed a quixotic notion when it was first proposed.

tenacious

(adj) Holding fast; persistent in adhering to something valued or habitual.
Bulldogs are known for their tenacious grip once they seize something in their jaws.

tenacity (n)
His tenacity was one of the traits that enabled him to get through night school while working full time during the day.

compete
vestige

(n) A trace of something that once was present.
These ancient bones are the vestiges of a once-mighty dinosaur.

zephyr

(n) A light, gentle breeze.
An afternoon zephyr carried the scent from the rose garden through the open window.

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