8 • Lesson 14 Word List

congenial

(adj) 1. Getting along well with others; affable.
The people in the small town were very congenial when the tourist asked many questions.

2. Suited to one’s needs or tastes; agreeable.
We found a congenial little neighborhood on the south side.

decipher

(v) 1. To convert from a code or secret writing into ordinary language; to decode.
You decipher the coded message by replacing numbers with the corresponding letters.

2. To interpret the meaning of something puzzling; to solve.
The writing in these old letters is so faded that it is almost impossible to decipher the words.

compete
dissect

(v) 1. To cut into in order to study.
Students taking the biology course dissect a dead frog to learn about the internal organs.

2. To study closely; to analyze.
After Coach Willard and the team members had watched the video of last week’s game, they dissected the plays that had gone wrong.

compete
enigma

(n) Anything that is puzzling, mysterious, or hard to figure out.
Even after many studies, the purpose of the huge, complex designs formed in the dirt of the Peruvian desert remains an enigma.

enigmatic (adj) Puzzling; mysterious.
After I heard Lucia’s enigmatic phone message, I called her immediately to find out what was going on.

ineffectual

(adj) Not bringing about the desired result; futile.
My attempt to grow tomato plants from seed has been ineffectual, with most withering before they sprout leaves.

infallible

(adj) 1. Incapable of making an error; never wrong.
The dictionary is an infallible resource for checking word spellings and meanings.

2. Unlikely to fail or go wrong.
Baking a big batch of brownies was Grandmother’s infallible method of cheering us up.

irrepressible

(adj) Incapable of being controlled or held back.
Charlie’s irrepressible sense of humor helps make history class fun.

luminous

(adj) 1. Giving off light.
Do you have a watch with a luminous face that you can bring on our camping trip?

2. Clear; easy to understand.
Jennie’s history teacher praised her luminous prose in her research paper.

compete
millennium

(n) A period of one thousand years.
A millennium is ten times as long as the one-hundred-year period of a century.

mire

(n) An area of wet, swampy ground; deep mud.
Last night’s heavy rains have turned the field into a mire, delaying the soccer match for several days.

(v) To get stuck as if in a mire; unable to make progress.
The organizers of the race became mired in a bewildering set of rules and regulations.

pestilence

(n) A rapidly spreading and usually fatal disease.
The pestilence that swept through Europe in the 1300s killed three-quarters of the population.

stagnate

(v) To fail to develop, change, or move.
Students’ minds may stagnate if they are not challenged.

stagnant (adj) Not moving, changing, or developing.
As we approached the edge of the lake, we found stagnant, muddy water instead of the cold clear ripples we had expected.

compete
sublime

(adj) Great or noble in expression, thought, or manner; splendid.
Standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon at dawn, we had a sublime panorama of the canyon walls changing color in the morning light.

compete
vie

(v) To compete for, as in a contest.
By January, the top eight schools in the state vied for the debate championship.

voluminous*

(adj) Having great bulk or volume; ample.
The museum will exhibit a select group of bowls and jugs from its voluminous collection of Pueblo pottery.

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