9 • Lesson 5 Word List


(adj) Young and inexperienced; immature.
The student was too callow to know he was being fooled.


(n) A person living during the same period as another.
Martha Jane Canary, known as “Calamity Jane,” and Annie Oakley were contemporaries.

(adj) Existing or occurring at the same time.
The rise in fuel costs was contemporary with the demand for alternative fuels.


(adj) Doubtful of the sincerity of others’ motives; skeptical.
People become cynical about those who make promises but don’t keep them.

cynic (n)
Even though many clients have lied to her, the attorney, has not become a cynic.


(n) A ruler with absolute power or tyrannical control over a group of people.
Divided government makes rule by a despot less likely.

despotic (adj)
The Declaration of Independence of the United States asserts the government’s right to overthrow a despotic ruler.


(v) 1. To pronounce clearly.
In speech class we learn to enunciate our words.

2. To state; to announce.
The president enunciated her objectives for the coming year in her State of the Union address to Congress.


(n) Anything that gets in the way; an obstacle.
After the hurricane, fallen trees were impediments to traffic in our neighborhood.


(v) 1. To make poor.
Uncontrolled spending can impoverish a person.

2. To take away.
Continual overfarming impoverishes the soil.

impoverished (adj)
The Peace Corps is an agency of the United States government that sends volunteers to improve living standards in impoverished areas of the world.


(adj) Indulging in ease; avoiding exertion; lazy.
Being in the torrid heat of the tropical sun makes one feel indolent.

indolence (n)
His failure to reach his goal certainly cannot be attributed to indolence.


(adj) Showing sound judgment; wise.
My grandmother’s sagacious advice has guided me many times over the years.

sagacity (n)
I was surprised when she questioned the sagacity of my plan to climb the mountain.


(adj) Worldly; not connected with a church or religion.
The choir included a few secular songs in the memorial service.


(v) 1. To think about or make guesses.
As we waited, we speculated about whether he’d keep his promise and show up.

2. To engage in a risky business venture.
She lost a great deal of money when she speculated in the stock market last year.


(n) Conflict or struggle.
The strife between the two families has existed for a few years now.


(v) To show great respect for.
Asian cultures venerate their ancestors long after they have died.


(adj) 1. Ravenous; desiring and eating a large amount of food.
We arrived back from our hike with voracious appetites.

2. Greatly eager.
Danyal has been a voracious reader since childhood.


(v) To get smaller, dimmer, or weaker; to near an end.
When interest in sitcoms waned, the television networks switched to reality shows.


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