12 • Lesson 13 Word List

abut

(v) To be next to; to border on.
Because your neighbor’s property abuts yours, she must give her approval before you make these structural changes.

adjure

(v) 1. To command solemnly.
The judge adjured the jurors to examine the evidence very carefully.

2. To advise sincerely.
The guidance counselor adjured the student to submit his original essay as part of his college application.

descry

(v) To catch sight of a distant object after looking carefully; to detect or discover.
With a telescope he constructed in 1609, Galileo was able to descry Saturn’s rings.

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desecrate

(v) To misuse or violate something sacred.
Graffiti on the steps of the cathedral desecrated the old building.

desecration (n)

dilettante

(n) A person with only a superficial interest and slight knowledge of an art or other field of knowledge.
She claims to be only a dilettante at writing poetry, but actually her work is quite good.

equivocal*

(adj) 1. Having more than one meaning or interpretation, usually intended to confuse.
There are many ways to interpret the poem’s equivocal final stanza.

2. Uncertain or undecided.
The candidate’s equivocal position on the issue rankled both sides.

equivocate (v) To speak in a way that deliberately obscures one’s position.

exhume

(v) 1. To dig out of the ground.
Early in the twentieth century, archaeologists exhumed artifacts from a pharaoh’s tomb constructed around 1300 BCE.

2. To recover from neglect; to revive.
The band exhumed some old English music-hall songs and delighted modern audiences with them.

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extirpate

(v) To destroy completely; to wipe out.
Whole species unknown to us are extirpated by the destruction of the world’s rain forests.

foible

(n). A small fault or weakness in a person’s character.
Ava’s occasional short temper was a mere foible compared to her usual magnanimous spirit.

insolvent

(adj) Without the means to pay what is owed; bankrupt.
His age was the ostensible reason for his retirement, but the truth is his company is now insolvent.

jocose

(adj) Given to joking; humorous and playful.
Ms. Patel’s jocose manner in the classroom did not impede her skillful teaching.

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portal

(n) A door or entrance, especially one that is large and imposing.
The portal of the Boston Public Library was carved by Daniel Chester French.

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progenitor

(n) A direct ancestor.
The Anasazi people were the progenitors of the Hopi Native Americans.

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propitiate

(v) To overcome distrust or hostility; to appease.
The Aztecs believed that the way to propitiate their gods was with human sacrifices.

restitution*

(n) A paying back for what has been lost or damaged.
The investors in the failed enterprise made sedulous efforts to obtain restitution from its organizers.

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