9 • Lesson 16 Word List


(adj) Done too late; having been delayed beyond the usual time.
Kofi’s belated birthday card arrived one month after my birthday.


(n) 1. Degree of importance or excellence.
The college faculty is of the highest caliber and includes several Nobel Prize winners.

2. The diameter of a bullet or inside of a gun barrel.
A .45-caliber bullet is 45/100 of an inch in diameter.


(n) A feeling of embarrassment or annoyance caused by having failed or being disappointed.
To my chagrin I twisted my ankle as I attempted to make a jump while skating.

(v) To cause to feel unease.
I was quite chagrined by my friend’s failure to meet me as planned.


(v) To act against or be counter to.
The personnel director reprimanded the employee for contravening the company policy of discussing confidential matters with a client.


(n) 1. Failure to do what is required by duty or law.
When her opponent failed to appear, Nora won the chess game by default.

2. An automatic selection made according to a computer program when the user does not make a choice.
The default background on the new laptop was an image of the moon.

(v) To fail to pay what or when one should.
The bank will repossess the car if you default on your car loan.


(n, pl) A condition of feeling sad, bored, or sluggish.
I was in the doldrums about my career until I received an exciting job offer in Costa Rica.


(v) To inscribe or decorate conspicuously.
The team sponsor’s name was emblazoned across the backs of the players’ jerseys.


(adj) Standing above others in worth, rank, or fame.
In the late 1700s, eminent inventor and engineer Eli Whitney constructed the cotton gin, an invention that changed the way cotton crops were harvested.

eminence (n)
Octavio Paz’s eminence as a writer of Latin American literature has led to his books’ inclusion on many college reading lists.


(v) To use up; consume.
Sedentary office workers do not expend much physical energy.


(v) 1. To come to an end.
Unless I renew it, my fishing license will expire next month.

2. To die.
The patient expired before he could be rushed to the hospital.


(n) A person who explains, interprets, or works to make something popular.
Alvin Ailey, who founded the American Dance Theatre in 1958, was an exponent of a kind of modern dance that often incorporated African elements.


(n) A person new at something; a beginner.
Although I am only a novice at skateboarding, I find the sport exhilarating.


(adj) Moving with quickness and ease; lively.
The lethargic cat lay curled up in front of the fire while the spry kitten leaped from the chair, to the table, to the top of the refrigerator.


(adj) 1. Lacking substance, flimsy.
His argument that demolishing the historic building would enhance the appearance of the street is indeed tenuous.

2. Not thick; slender.
The tenuous length of rope was rejected by the hikers in favor of a stronger piece.

3. Lacking density; thin.
At an altitude of twenty-nine thousand feet, the air is tenuous, making it necessary for mountain climbers to rely on supplementary oxygen.


(n) A truth that is so well known that it is almost unnecessary to say it.
“You only live once” is a truism.


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