12 • Lesson 16 Word List


(adj) Involving or predicting disastrous, uncontrollable events.
Cyberpunk literature, a form of science fiction, suggests an apocalyptic future of an impersonal world saturated with complex technology.


(n) A joining or linking together of elements.
A concatenation of serendipitous happenings resulted in my best vacation ever.


(v) To shake or cause to shake suddenly and violently.
Audiences convulsed with laughter at the entertainer’s unique mixture of comedy and magic.

convulsion (n) 1. An abnormal, strong, and uncontrollable muscle seizure.
The convulsions she once experienced because of epilepsy are now controlled by medication.

2. A violent disturbance.
The convulsions that the stock market had experienced for three days were brought under control by closing it early.


(n) An order or decision which, according to its author, must be obeyed.
The city council’s decree imposing a 10 p.m. curfew is being challenged in court.

decree (v)


(n) One who leaves his or her country to live elsewhere.
Seattle’s Saigon restaurants are popular with Vietnamese expatriates.

expatriate (v)


(adj) Smelling very bad; stinking.
We discovered that the fetid smell was coming from eggs we had forgotten to refrigerate.


(n) 1. A catastrophic event resulting in widespread loss of life.
Many people feared that the world was on the brink of a nuclear holocaust during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

2. Widespread destruction caused by fire.
Each day, we were dismayed at the news of the holocaust caused by the forest fires of the West.


(n) A violation or breaking of a rule.
Police officers normally issue a warning for minor traffic infractions.


(n) Freedom from concern; lighthearted lack of awareness.
His insouciance toward criticism was due to his overweening narcissism.

insouciant (adj)


(n) A slavish follower, attendant, or supporter.
None of the mayor’s minions were willing to tell him of the secret investigation into his campaign finances.


(adj) 1. Involving much bloodshed or killing.
Gettysburg was the most sanguinary of all the Civil War battles.

2. Bloodthirsty; cruel.
When India was partitioned at independence, both Hindus and Muslims carried out sanguinary attacks on the other.


(adj) Broken up into short, sharp bursts.
The staccato tapping of the woodpecker awakened me this morning.


(adj) Marked by extravagant pleasure and luxury.
Photographs of the sybaritic lifestyles of the rich and famous are hallmarks of this glossy magazine.


(n) An actor or actress.
Her compelling desire to become an accomplished thespian led her to apply to the prestigious drama school.


(n) The quality of appearing true; depicting realism.
The book’s verisimilitude cannot be questioned by anyone familiar with the events it describes.


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