9 • Lesson 17 Word List

blight

(n) 1. Any disease that damages plants.
The potato blight of the 1840s deprived the Irish people of their main sustenance.

2. Something that harms or destroys.
Dilapidated housing contributes to urban blight.

(v) To do harm to.
A vote of censure by the United States Senate can blight a politician’s career.

compete
cite*

(v) 1. To mention or quote as an example or authority.
My mother always cites Pride and Prejudice as a book you can read and enjoy over and over again.

2. To mention for praise.
At an assembly, the principal cited Ms. Garcia for her excellent teaching.

3. To summon before a court of law.
Since he was cited for speeding last year, my uncle has been a much more prudent driver.

clemency

(n) Mercy shown in punishing or judging someone.
When the governor granted his appeal for clemency, the ailing prisoner was released from jail.

eccentric

(adj) Departing from accepted or normal behavior; odd.
My father was convinced that my brother’s green hair was just another example of his eccentric behavior.

(n) One who behaves in an odd or peculiar way.
Hetty Green was an eccentric; although quite rich, she lived as if she were destitute.

compete
farce

(n) 1. A humorous stage play marked by improbable situations and exaggerated behavior.
Charlie Chaplin was the star of Modern Times, a hilarious farce about technology.

2. An absurd or ridiculous event or situation; a mockery.
The meeting turned into a farce when every person on the committee resigned in protest.

foray

(n) A sudden raid or advance into enemy territory.
The guerrillas left the hills for occasional forays into the town to get food.

glean

(v) To gather bit by bit.
President Nelson Mandela’s farewell speech to the South African parliament was four and a half hours long, but I could glean its major points from the newspaper the next day.

nominal

(adj) 1. In name only, not in fact.
The king or queen is the nominal head of state in England, but in reality it is the Prime Minister and the Houses of Parliament who rule.

2. Very small.
The museum charged only a nominal entrance fee of fifty cents in order to attract more visitors.

ostracize

(v) To exclude from a group; to banish.
When the newspaper columnist began writing about the Bavarian town’s Nazi past, many of its citizens ostracized her.

posthumous

(adj) Occurring after a person has died.
Former enslaved person Johnson Whittaker, expelled from West Point in 1880, was given a posthumous commission in the Army 115 years later.

quash

(v) 1. To put down by force.
British troops tried to quash the rebellion of the colonists, but they failed.

2. To put a stop to legally.
Miners rejoiced when the injunction banning their strike was quashed by an appeals court judge.

recipient

(n) One who receives.
Albert Einstein was the recipient of many academic honors.

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ribald

(adj) Funny in a crude way.
The best-selling book contains ten ribald stories.

suffrage

(n) The right to vote.
The twenty-sixth amendment to the Constitution extended suffrage to eighteen-year-olds.

compete
verve

(n) Enthusiasm; vivacity.
The prolific author wrote novels with undiminished verve for over twenty-five years.

compete

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