11 • Lesson 16 Word List

archives

(n, pl) Public or institutional records, especially historical documents that are preserved; the place where such records are kept.
We discovered the date our house was built by searching the town archives.

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chattel

(n) 1. An item of property that can be moved, as distinct from real estate.
The family chattels put up for sale included cattle, horses, furniture, and farm implements.

2. A human being considered as property.
In 73 BCE, Spartacus, along with ninety thousand other Roman chattels, began a rebellion against their owners.

commodious

(adj) Having plenty of space to move around freely; roomy.
The commodious hotel room had space for two double beds without seeming crowded.

conflagration

(n) A large, disastrous fire.
In 1871, much of Chicago burned in a terrible conflagration.

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limbo

(n) A place or state of neglect, oblivion, or transition.
Ivelisse’s hopes of promotion were in limbo while management restructured the company.

lineage

(n) Line of descent; ancestry.
When Josh traced his lineage, he discovered that many of his ancestors had been farmers.

listless

(adj) Indifferent, spiritless; showing a lack of motivation or interest.
LeRon greeted me with a halfhearted hello and a listless handshake.

listlessness (n)
Mr. Winters suspected that his daughter’s listlessness indicated an incipient illness.

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metropolis

(n) An important city, especially one regarded as the center of a particular activity.
Washington, D.C., may have started as a small town, but it is now a thriving metropolis.

metropolitan (adj)
The metropolitan New York area includes parts of New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County.

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perfunctory

(adj) Done in a routine way, without care or particular interest.
My mother was so immersed in her work that she gave me only a perfunctory nod when I came into her office.

pristine

(adj) Like new; spotless; free of dirt and decay.
The city looked pristine under a thick blanket of freshly fallen snow.

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ramshackle

(adj) Loosely made; appearing ready to collapse; dilapidated.
The ramshackle condition of the abandoned mansion was evident from the crumbling plaster in the once-elegant dining room.

sequester

(v) 1. To set apart; to seclude.
Game-show contestants were sequestered in a soundproof booth.

2. To seize, especially by legal authority.
The police found the cache of stolen cash and sequestered it, storing it in the evidence room at headquarters.

subversive

(adj) Planning to undermine or overthrow an established order.
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 allowed the president to deport anyone he deemed a subversive influence on the U.S. government.

subvert (v) To undermine the morals, authority, or allegiance of.
Critics of rock music often claim that it subverts the morals of its listeners.

terminus*

(n) The final destination or goal of a journey or endeavor; the finishing point.
I set out from Paris for Strasburg, the terminus of my journey.

virulent

(adj) 1. Extremely harmful or poisonous; deadly.
A virulent strain of flu attacked both the very young and the very old.

2. Full of hate; bitter or spiteful.
Despite the virulent criticism of her last book, the author exuded confidence as she walked to the podium.

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