11 • Lesson 10 Word List

amnesia

(n) 1. A loss of memory, usually caused by shock or injury.
The patient’s amnesia was so acute that his own children were strangers to him.

2. A gap in one’s memory.
While Uncle Jorge had bad amnesia concerning his middle school years, he remembered his high school years perfectly.

appease

(v) 1. To bring to a state of peace or quiet.
The principal’s reassurances did little to appease our concerns about the school’s future.

2. To pacify an adversary, often by making concessions.
Attempts to appease dictators frequently serve only to increase their aggression.

attrition

(n) 1. A gradual reduction in numbers or loss of strength.
The attrition of manufacturing jobs in the United States was due in part to the rise of inexpensive imports.

2. A weakening resulting from pressure or harassment.
The guerrillas hid in the jungle and conducted a war of attrition.

debacle

(n) A sudden collapse, downfall, or failure.
A long rise in stock prices ended with the Wall Street debacle of 1929, which marked the advent of the Great Depression.

defoliate

(v) To strip a plant of leaves, thereby damaging or destroying it.
Gypsy moths defoliated many of the trees in the park, leaving bare branches in their wake.

compete
equestrian

(adj) Having to do with horseback riding.
Ana’s love of horses led her to develop her equestrian skills.

(n) One who rides on horseback.
An accomplished equestrian is usually familiar with the rules of show jumping.

compete
expunge*

(v) To obliterate or erase completely.
The burglar wiped the window sills, expunging any trace of his fingerprints.

hackneyed

(adj) Commonplace; trite; lacking force or significance because of overuse.
“As cool as a cucumber” has become a hackneyed expression.

opprobrium

(n) Scornful treatment or contempt, especially as a result of disgraceful behavior.
Representative Michaels endured daily opprobrium in her district after being convicted of ethics violations.

proviso

(n) A statement that makes a condition, qualification, or restriction.
The brothers accepted our invitation to dinner with the proviso that they be allowed to reciprocate.

sully

(v) To soil, tarnish, or besmirch.
Vandals had sullied the marble headstones with spray paint.

tactile

(adj) Relating to or perceptible by the sense of touch.
Braille employs tactile symbols that enable people who are blind to read with their fingers.

compete
upbraid

(v) To scold or criticize severely; to find fault with.
Mr. Hitzman was a martinet who often upbraided his students for not working hard enough.

verdant

(adj) Green with vegetation; covered with green plants.
The Green Mountains are a fitting name for the verdant hills of Vermont.

compete
vertex

(n) The point opposite and farthest from the base; summit.
The vertex of the Great Pyramid is 450 feet above the base.

compete

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