9 • Lesson 1 Word List

bewail

(v) To express deep regret or sorrow over.
Many football fans bewailed the replacement of real grass by AstroTurf when the new stadium was built.

destitute

(adj) 1. Without resources or possessions, especially the necessities of life.
Winter is especially painful for destitute people in the cities of the Northeast.

2. Lacking; devoid of.
Staring at the blank sheet of paper on which I was supposed to write a poem, I found myself destitute of ideas.

destitution (n)
Destitution caused by the mid-nineteenth-century potato famine forced many Irish families to seek better lives in the United States.

compete
detract

(v) To take away, especially from the value, beauty, or importance of.
The family’s loud music detracts from the peace and quiet of the beach.

detractor (n)
The plan’s detractors were especially critical of the expected cost of the new town hall.

emancipate

(v) To set free from slavery; to liberate.
Some teenagers feel emancipated when they get a driver’s license.

emancipation (n)
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation stated that all enslaved people in the Confederacy were, from then on, free.

extol

(v) To praise highly.
The scout leader extolled the virtues of truth and honor.

flamboyant

(adj) Excessively showy; unrestrained.
My conservative aunt considered her husband’s brightly colored, boldly patterned necktie too flamboyant for the governor’s reception.

flamboyance or flamboyancy (n)
With an air of flamboyance, the actor flung out her arm and pointed to the door.

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impetus

(n) 1. A driving force; anything that causes an action.
Her hope of winning an athletic scholarship provided the impetus for years of grueling training on the swim team.

2. Increased activity resulting from a driving force.
Kala’s low grades gave impetus to her increased focus on studying.

insuperable

(adj) Incapable of being overcome or defeated.
During my senior year, passing Physics seemed an insuperable obstacle to graduation.

intermittent

(adj) Not continuous; happening at intervals.
Showers were intermittent throughout the day, although the forecast had promised sunshine.

maxim

(n) A general truth or rule of conduct; a short saying.
Remember the maxim “Actions speak louder than words” when you promise not to be late all the time.

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obligatory

(adj) Required or demanded.
Physical education is obligatory unless you have a medical excuse for skipping gym class.

plumb

(v) 1. To measure the depth of water.
The lake was too deep for us to plumb.

2. To reach the deepest part of.
The bathyscaphe is a vessel designed to plumb the oceans of the world.

3. To understand by examining closely; to solve.
Her latest book of poems is a valiant attempt to plumb the human soul.

(adj) Straight up and down; vertical.
The bricklayer keeps checking to make sure that the wall being built is plumb.

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vagabond

(n) A person who wanders from place to place.
He spent a few years as a vagabond before settling in a city and getting a job in a factory.

(adj)
The vagabond life of traveling musicians suited the members of the band.

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visage*

(n) A face, especially one that expresses feelings.
The smiling visage of a young girl looked out from the portrait.

wheedle

(v) 1. To coax by using sly persuasion or insincere praise.
He tried to wheedle his father into letting him go to a movie on a school night.

2. To gain by using sly persuasion or insincere praise.
Merritt wheedled information about the test from her friend who had taken it earlier in the day.

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