11 • Lesson 17 Word List


(adj) Exercising sole or complete control; dictatorial.
Critics accused the prosecutor of running the department in such an autocratic way that everyone was afraid to say anything.

autocrat (n) One who exercises total control; a domineering person.
The queen ruled as an autocrat after abolishing Parliament.

autocracy (n) Absolute rule by a single person; a state ruled by one person with unlimited power.
Critics argue that while socialist in some ways, Cuba became more of an autocracy under Fidel Castro’s firm hand.


(adj) 1. Capable of destroying tissue by chemical action; corrosive.
Lye, used in soap making, is caustic enough to burn one’s skin.

2. Very sarcastic; sharp or biting.
Ahmed tried to make his caustic remarks milder, but even his friends thought he was incorrigible.


(v) To impair the strength of; to enfeeble.
My aunt’s long illness had so debilitated her that she was confined to bed.


(adj) Marked by deception.
A double agent cannot lead a simple and open life, but must always be duplicitous.

duplicity (n) Deceit in speech or actions; deliberate deception.
The scam artist’s duplicity was discovered before he made off with the money.


(n) A representative sent on a special errand.
Emissaries from eight Asian countries convened in Tokyo to plan the economic summit.


(adj) 1. Happily suited to an occasion or situation; appropriate and graceful.
Though I was afraid Marcela would bungle the delicate matter, she dealt with it in a felicitous way.

2. Marked by happiness or good fortune; pleasant; charming.
Happily ensconced in their home in the country, the Robesons led a felicitous life.


(adj) Direct; straightforward; frank.
Their classmates preferred Jermain’s forthright manner to Rebecca’s deceitful style.


(adj) Being habitually without money; poor.
Impecunious artists were sometimes willing to sell paintings for the price of a good meal.


(adj) 1. Of an unhealthy yellow appearance.
Adam’s jaundiced skin may indicate hepatitis.

2. Affected by jealousy, resentment, or hostility.
Relegated to a small cubicle, Rayanne cast a jaundiced eye on her friend’s commodious corner office.


(adj) Serving merely for money or gain; greedy.
In their mercenary concern for profits above community service, the shop owners raised their prices so that few local residents could afford them.

(n) A soldier who fights for whoever pays him.
The aggrieved foreign mercenaries in the sultan’s army threatened to switch sides unless they were paid promptly.


(adj) Well known for a particular quality or trait, often an unfavorable one.
Bilal is notorious for his dilatory payment of bills.

notoriety (n)
Some criminals seem to enjoy the notoriety associated with their lifestyle.


(v) To eject from a position or place; to drive out of use.
No one demurred when a board member suggested that they oust the school principal and replace her with a new one.

ouster (n) Dismissal from a position.
The hapless president’s incompetence resulted in his ouster from the club.


(adj) Excessively sparing or frugal; penurious.
Caleb’s character was so parsimonious that he never spent his allowance.

parsimony (n)
Though Shantal had once made a habit of squandering money, she now lived a life of extreme parsimony.


(adj) Having negative or unpleasant associations; belittling.
“Philistine” is admittedly a pejorative term, but I think it fits Yasmin perfectly.


(n) A general principle or rule of action.
Guided by the precept “Less is more,” she designed her house in a spare but striking style.


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