12 • Lesson 7 Word List

abjure

(v) To renounce or give up formally.
Galileo was forced by the Catholic Church to abjure his belief that Earth circled the sun.

amorphous*

(adj) Without a definite shape, boundary, or character.
The amoeba’s lack of a fixed structure gives it an amorphous shape.

animus

(n) 1. An attitude or spirit within a person that strongly influences him or her.
A thoughtful reader will feel the animus that motivated Charlotte Brontë to write Villette.

2. Deep-seated ill will.
The animus between Serbs and Bosnians erupted into internecine war in the 1990s.

compete
dichotomy

(n) Division into two distinct parts or groups.
She argues that moral relativism blurs the dichotomy between good and evil.

compete
exemplar

(n) An example or model, especially an ideal one.
Mahatma Gandhi was the exemplar of nonviolent resistance to injustice.

exemplary (adj)

herculean

(adj) Of extraordinary size, power, or difficulty.
Plowing the city streets after the blizzard of 2015 was a herculean task.

inchoate

(adj) Not fully formed or realized.
Writers of fiction often explain that their inchoate ideas take shape as they write their novels.

invidious

(adj) Likely to cause resentment or animosity.
The report made invidious comparisons between the company’s claims and its performance.

mélange

(n) A mixture of dissimilar materials.
The garage sale was a mélange of clothes, furniture, and household bric-a-brac.

compete
nefarious

(adj) Very wicked.
The nefarious practice of enforced child labor is rampant in many poor countries.

nihilism

(n) A viewpoint that denies any meaning or value to life.
His cynicism was so extreme that it bordered on nihilism.

nihilistic (adj)

ratify

(v) To approve, confirm, or verify.
In a citywide referendum, voters ratified the ban on smoking in restaurants.

compete
subsume

(v) To encompass in a larger or more comprehensive group; to include.
The three departments have been subsumed under one manager.

variegated

(adj) Varied as to form, type, or color.
The variegated leaves had stripes of green and white.

compete
vitiate

(v) To impair or weaken.
Questionable sincerity in her apology vitiated her appeal for a second chance.

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