12 • Lesson 3 Word List

amalgam

(n) 1. An alloy of mercury and other metals.
Silver amalgam, which was commonly used for filling cavities in teeth, is being replaced by a composite of other materials.

2. A mixture of different elements.
The report is a curious amalgam of practical proposals and questionable claims of past accomplishments.

compete
antediluvian

(adj) Very old or old-fashioned.
In this age of cell phones and e-mail, picking up a pen to write a letter seems almost antediluvian.

compete
apothecary

(n) One who prepares and sells ointments, drugs, and similar items for medicinal purposes.
Romeo convinced the impoverished apothecary to sell him the deadly poison illegally.

ascetic

(adj) Refraining from self-indulgence.
Henry David Thoreau lived an ascetic life during his two years in a cabin at Walden Pond.

(n) A person who practices self-denial.
As he searched for the meaning of life, the man who became the Buddha lived for many years as an ascetic.

beneficent*

(adj) Doing or producing good.
Quitting smoking has a beneficent effect on one’s health.

charlatan

(n) One who falsely claims knowledge or ability.
Anyone whose program promises instant fame and fortune is a charlatan.

denizen

(n) An inhabitant, resident, or frequenter of a place.
In several of his novels, Marcel Pagnol vividly delineates the denizens of small rural towns of southern France.

doyen

(n) 1. A senior member of a group, especially one who is highly respected.
Anthropologist Louis Leakey was the doyen of a small group searching for evidence of human origins.

2. The oldest example of a category.
The famous General Sherman tree is a doyen of forest trees.

doyenne (n) The female equivalent of doyen.

flora

(n) Plants considered as a group in a particular area or era.
Prominent among the flora of Florida are dozens of varieties of palm trees.

compete
imbibe

(v) 1. To consume by drinking.
As the designated driver, I will not imbibe even one alcoholic drink.

2. To absorb or take in mentally.
The graphic-arts students imbibed the capabilities of the new computer with enthusiasm.

compete
nostrum

(n) A medicine or remedy whose effectiveness has not been proven.
Here is a nostrum that the makers claim reverses hair loss.

compete
obviate

(v) To prevent or make unnecessary; to get rid of.
Frequent oil changes may obviate the need for expensive engine repairs.

perennial

(adj) Lasting indefinitely or recurring.
Until they received financial counseling, incurring credit-card debt was a perennial problem for that family.

(n) A plant that lives three or more years.
Her garden includes some of my favorite perennials—irises, poppies, and peonies.

putative

(adj) Commonly accepted or supposed; assumed to exist.
Isabel Marlowe is the putative heir to the Goldstone fortune and will go to court to prove her claim.

savant

(n) A person with detailed knowledge in a specialized field.
Thomas Jefferson was a self-taught savant in several diverse areas of knowledge.

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