8 • Lesson 11 Word List


(v) To increase in size, amount, or degree.
In order to buy a new bike before summer, Iris augmented her savings by babysitting the twins next door.


(adj) 1. Kind; gracious; gentle.
Friendly nurses were a benign presence in the hospital.

2. Favorable; not threatening.
Although the weather had been benign in the morning when Juan and Ana started out on their bikes, by noon the sky was dark, and they heard thunder in the distance.


(n) A person with extensive knowledge, especially of the fine arts; a person of refined taste.
A connoisseur of rare stamps would recognize the famous English “penny black” at once.


(v) 1. To detect with the eyes.
About forty-five minutes after the ferry left Block Island, the passengers could discern the coast of Rhode Island before them.

2. To understand or comprehend.
Not until she finished the novel did Janice discern the significance of the title.

3. To recognize as separate or different.
Unfortunately for Laura, her teacher was able to discern Laura’s handwriting from her mother’s handwriting.

discerning (adj) Having good judgment; perceptive.
The coach’s discerning comments about Rudi’s jump shot helped him improve his game.


(v) 1. To make beautiful by adding decorative elements.
The entire surface of the black cloth had been embellished with colored threads stitched in elaborate patterns.

2. To add fictitious details to.
Mark Twain often embellished his stories to make them more interesting.


(v) 1. To carry out; to perform.
The karate instructor told me to execute a front snap kick.

2. To create, as a work of art.
The sculptor Maya Lin often uses unusual materials, such as pieces of wood or shards of glass, to execute her pieces.

3. To put to death as a legal penalty.
Executing criminals condemned to death is a controversial practice.


(v) To illustrate by being an example of.
The poetry of Langston Hughes exemplifies some of the best work of the writers of the Harlem Renaissance.


(adj) So distorted or strange as to appear bizarre or comical.
The grotesque masks worn by the dancers frightened the children.


(adj) Greatly respected; holy; sacred.
Arlington National Cemetery is hallowed ground because it is the burial place for soldiers who have died in war.


(v) 1. To assume the character or appearance of.
The solution to the mystery became clear to the detective when he learned that one woman had impersonated another when renting the apartment.

2. To mimic.
I tried to impersonate my mother when I answered the phone.


(adj) Showing ill will or hatred; producing harm or evil.
The bully’s malevolent plan was to frighten the younger students on the bus so they would give him their lunch money.

malevolence (n) A feeling or expression of ill will.
The look of malevolence in his eyes sent shudders down our spines.


(adj) Heavily and elaborately decorated.
The tour guide pointed out the ornate carving over the arched doorway.


(adj) 1. Having to do with shepherds and herders.
The Industrial Revolution contributed to the disappearance of a pastoral way of life.

2. Relating to country life, and often presented as charmingly simple.
Some of my sister’s college friends plan to move together to a pastoral place where they will herd goats and grow their own vegetables.


(adj) Not safe or secure; dangerously uncertain.
Having cut through the thick vines to get a better view of the waterfall, the hikers did not understand how precarious their situation was until they tried to return to the trail and could not find it.


(n) Fame; honor.
By 1964, the Beatles had achieved worldwide renown for their rock-and-roll music.

renowned (adj) Famous; honored.
Isabelle Allende is a renowned writer, lecturer, translator, and journalist who has lived in many places around the world.

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