toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books

100 Words Encountered in

Architecture

(click/touch triangles for details)
Other Interests
buttress
as in:
a flying buttress
The buttress wall supports the main wall while preserving an open feel in the house.
buttress = an architectural feature that supports the wall of a building
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
flying buttress
At that time, the English used the flying buttress more elegantly.†
flying buttress = an arch or half-arch that transfers the thrust of a vault or roof from an upper part of a wall to a lower support
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
truss
The same trusses carry the weight of the roof and the ceiling.†
trusses = a structural form (rigid, web-like assembly of smaller — usually triangular members) that supports a roof, bridge or other structure
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
computer-aided design (CAD)
AutoCAD is a popular computer-aided design software package.†
computer-aided design = the use of computer software in designing products — especially involving graphic display of the product being designed
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
masonry
Falling masonry is dangerous in an earthquake.
masonry = stone or brick parts of a structure such as a building or wall; or the craft of building with such materials
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
cornice
It is inscribed on the school building's cornice.†
cornice = a decorative border along the top of a building's exterior wall

or:

a decorative molding between the ceiling and the top of a wall
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
facade
Beneath the facade of ideology was an individual who wanted absolute power.†
facade = face or visible appearance
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
cupola
Possibly the most famous cupola is that at Saint Peter's Cathedral at the Vatican.
cupola = an architectural feature at the top of a roof, usually dome-shaped and opened by windows or columns
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
cantilevered
Frank Lloyd Wright liked to cantilever his buildings.†
cantilever = of a projecting horizontal beam fixed at one end only
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
landmark
It was a landmark Supreme Court decision.
landmark = very important
DefinitionGenerally landmark means:
something very important

or:

something easily recognized (such as a monument, building, or geographic feature) — especially one that helps one to know where she is; or that is a tourist destination
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
symmetry
The building has multiple local symmetries.
symmetries = balance among the parts of something
DefinitionGenerally symmetry means:
balance among the parts of something

or more specifically:

having an exact reflection of form on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Bauhaus
Bauhaus had a major influence on modern design.†
Bauhaus = German style of architecture begun by Walter Gropius in 1918 and a strong influence on modern architecture
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
partition
a movable partition can divide the ballroom into two smaller rooms†
partition = something that divides space, the act of dividing into parts, or a divided part
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
transverse
About one in 300 pregnancies have a transverse fetus at delivery.†
transverse = in a crosswise direction (at a right angle to the long axis)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
piazza
They filmed it at the Piazza Navona in Rome.
piazza = Italian term for a plaza (large open square created or defined by several buildings forming a perimeter enclosure)
DefinitionGenerally piazza means:
architecture:  Italian term for a plaza (large open square created or defined by several buildings forming a perimeter enclosure)
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
anteroom
He was searched again in the anteroom before entering her office.
anteroom = a room leading to a larger or more important room
DefinitionGenerally anteroom means:
a room leading to a larger or more important room — especially a waiting room
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
postmodernism

with regard to architecture
Postmodern architects may consider many modern buildings to be soulless.
postmodern = aims to please, surprise or amuse by dismissing the logic, simplicity, and order inherent in modernist architecture and by combining different styles or shapes in unexpected ways
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture flourished during the mid and late medieval period.†
Gothic architecture = a style of architecture characterized by slender vertical piers and counterbalancing buttresses and by vaulting and pointed arches — famously popularized in European cathedrals built between the 12th and 16th centuries
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
neoclassicism
She experimented with neoclassicism.†
neoclassicism = revival of a classical style (in art or literature or architecture or music) but from a new perspective or with a new motivation
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
acoustic
as in:
acoustic guitar
She plays an acoustic guitar.
acoustic = not using electricity to amplify sound
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acoustic means:
of a guitar or other musical instrument:  not using electricity to amplify sound
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
insulate
as in:
insulate the attic
We had his bedroom insulated before winter came.
insulated = to cover something with a material to prevent passage of something such as heat, cold, noise, or electricity
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
insolation
Tall windows facing the equator increase insolation in the winter relative to the summer because the sun is lower in the sky during the winter.†
insolation = exposure to sunlight — especially for a therapeutic purpose

or:

sunstroke (collapsing from excessive exposure to the sun or to heat)

or:

engineering & astronomy:  the rate of solar radiation on a surface
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
seismic
They are reviewing old seismic surveys with new software.†
seismic = subject to or caused by an earthquake or earth vibration
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
annex
as in:
annex of the main building
The YMCA added an annex where younger children can play.
annex = an addition that extends a main building
DefinitionGenerally this sense of annex means:
an addition that extends a main building

or:

to attach something — especially to something larger or more important
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
keystone
the keystone of campaign reform was the ban on soft money
keystone = something of importance upon which other things depend
DefinitionGenerally keystone means:
something of importance upon which other things depend

or:

architecture or masonry:  the central building block at the top of an arch or vault (providing pressure to lock the other blocks into place)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
fresco
I love Michelangelo's ceiling fresco in the Sistine Chapel.†
fresco = a method of artistic painting on a wall by using watercolors on wet plaster; or the painting made in such a manner
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
alcove
a beautiful room with an alcove window
alcove = a recessed or secluded space — such as in a room or garden
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ratio
There is much interesting study on the predictive value of the ratio of the length of the index finger to the ring finger within a given gender and race.
ratio = relative lengths
DefinitionGenerally ratio means:
the relative magnitudes of two quantities — often expressed as a:b (which could also be expressed as the fraction a/b)
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
coefficient
as in:
coefficient of thermal expansion
Determine the coefficient of friction between the two objects.
coefficient = physics:  a constant number that serves as a measure of some property or characteristic (such as the coefficient of thermal expansion)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
prominent
She is a prominent member of our community.
prominent = well-known
DefinitionGenerally prominent means:
well-known — especially of a person who is respected

or:

conspicuous (easily noticed) because of position or importance
Word Statistics
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
colonnade
It was raining, so they stayed under the colonnade as they walked along the rose garden.†
colonnade = a series of regularly spaced columns
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
peristyle
The peristyle is paved with white marble.†
peristyle = a colonnade (series of regularly spaced columns) surrounding a building or enclosing a courtyard
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
compliant
as in:
compliant with the law
The company was fined for not being regulation 4.3 compliant.
compliant = conforming to rules
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
pavilion
We're meeting for a picnic under the pavilion at the park.
pavilion = large roofed structure without walls
DefinitionGenerally pavilion means:
a large structure separate from a main structure
in various senses, including:
  • a large roofed structure without walls — often found in parks
  • a temporary structure — such as a large tent to house exhibits at a fair, to provide sports facilities, or to put on a show
  • a section of a large hospital or office complex adjacent to other parts
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
auxiliary
We have an auxiliary power system in case of a blackout.†
auxiliary = functioning in a subsidiary or supporting capacity
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
basilica
We visited St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
basilica = in Roman architecture, a public building for assemblies

or:

a Roman Catholic church or cathedral given certain privileges (typically architecturally similar to earlier Roman public buildings of the same name)
DefinitionGenerally basilica means:
in Roman architecture, a public building for assemblies

or:

a Roman Catholic church or cathedral accorded certain privileges (typically architecturally similar to earlier Roman basilica)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
rule of thumb
As a rule of thumb, we estimate that employees cost 150% of their hourly wage.†
rule of thumb = a simple procedure used to approximating a value or make a good decision
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
condemn
as in:
condemned the building
The building was condemned by the inspector.
condemned = found a building not suitable to be occupied
DefinitionGenerally this sense of condemn means:
an official government finding that a building is not suitable to be occupied
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
render
as in:
rendered with, or rendered from
The pianist rendered the Beethoven sonata beautifully.
rendered = played (portrayed or gave her interpretation of)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of render means:
to portray or create something in a particular way; or to interpret, translate, or extract from
The exact meaning of this sense of render depends upon its context. For example:
  • "Each artist will render a different interpretation when painting a portrait." — create in a particular way
  • "A Supreme Court judge may render his own interpretation of the Constitution." — interpret in a particular way
  • "The computer you are using, rendered this page from software instructions." — created through interpretation
  • "A graph is rendered from the underlying data." — made
  • "Fat can be rendered (extracted) by cooking meat slowly." — extracted from
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
corrosion
The bridge is painted each year to protect the steel from salt air corrosion.†
corrosion = a state of deterioration — especially in metals
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
protrude
Metal spikes protrude from the dog's collar.
protrude = stick out
DefinitionGenerally protrude means:
to stick out from
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
conduit
Building codes requires the wires be run in a conduit.†
conduit = passageway
DefinitionGenerally conduit means:
a passageway
in various senses, including:
  • a pipe or channel for water
  • a protective pipe through which electrical wires are run
  • someone or something that conveys information or goods
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
foreman
She complained to the shop foreman.
foreman = a person who is in charge of other workers

or:

a juror in a court case who is selected by other jurors to head the jury
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
abut
The property is zoned for commercial use, but it abuts residential property.†
abuts = is adjacent to another (shares a boundary)
DefinitionGenerally abut means:
adjacent (share a boundary)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contiguous
Texas is the largest of the contiguous 48 states.
contiguous = sharing boundaries
DefinitionGenerally contiguous means:
with a common boundary or very close
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
proximity
They selected the offices for their proximity to D.C. political power.†
proximity = close together — in space or time
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
continuity
There was a thread of continuity in nightmares.†
continuity = consistency or lacking interruption
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
juxtaposition
Shakespeare often makes us think by juxtaposing contrasting concepts like youth and age or freedom and responsibility.
juxtaposing = positioning dissimilar things side-x-side (usually to contrast)
DefinitionGenerally juxtaposition means:
the act of positioning dissimilar things side-x-side (usually to contrast)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
lattice
The house has a decorative lattice fence in front.
lattice = a pattern made from crisscrossing two sets of lines diagonally
DefinitionGenerally lattice means:
an object or pattern made from crisscrossing two sets of lines — leaving diamond- or square-shaped spaces where they do not overlap

or:

an arrangement of points or particles or objects in a regular periodic pattern
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contract
as in:
legal contract
She signed the contract.
contract = a written agreement that is enforceable by law
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contract means:
an agreement - typically written and enforceable by law
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
apex
It was written during the apex of Roman power, wealth, and stability.
apex = the highest point
DefinitionGenerally apex means:
the highest point of something
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
perimeter
Don't go beyond the perimeter of the campgrounds.
perimeter = the outer edge
DefinitionGenerally perimeter means:
the outer edge
The exact meaning of perimeter can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "Stay inside the defensive perimeter." — the outer edges of the area that is defended
  • "It is common on the city's perimeter." — the outer edges of the city
  • "What is the perimeter of the square?" — the sum of the length of the sides of a geometric shape
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
premise
as in:
located on the premises
She was injured on the premises of the defendant.
premises = on the land or in a building
DefinitionGenerally this sense of premises means:
land and buildings together — especially of a business or organization
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
deteriorate
The situation could quickly deteriorate.
deteriorate = become worse
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
coherent
She is more coherent now than she was just after the accident an hour ago.
coherent = sensible and clear; or describing parts as fitting together in a consistent or pleasing manner
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
constraint
Both sides have demonstrated a lack of constraint in the discussions.
constraint = staying within limits (in this case restraining themselves from saying things that make it hard to work together)
DefinitionGenerally constraint means:
something that limits something's motion or someone's actions; or the state of being so limited
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
arbor
The arbor provided a shady resting place in the park.
arbor = a framework that supports climbing plants
DefinitionGenerally this sense of arbor means:
a framework that supports climbing plants; or a shady rest area made by such a framework or by trees and shrubs
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
medieval
The story takes place during medieval times.
medieval = relating to or belonging to the Middle Ages
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contemporary
as in:
contemporary design
It's easier to find outstanding books when selecting from those that have been in print for a long time, but were it not for that I would prefer modern literature with its contemporary language, issues, and ideas.
contemporary = characteristic of or belonging to the present time
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 500
Web Links
renaissance
2 meanings

(with a lowercase "r")
When she was elected, she promised a renaissance in Detroit.†
renaissance = a revival of learning and culture — especially in the arts
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links

(with an uppercase "R")
We're visiting the museum to see the exhibit of Renaissance art.
Renaissance = the period of European history known for a revival of intellectual and artistic achievement (14th through mid-17th centuries)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
facilitate
After the initial answers, the moderator will facilitate an open discussion of the topic.†
facilitate = make easier
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 500
Web Links
aesthetic
It was not aesthetically pleasing.
aesthetically = in a manner that is beautiful or tasteful
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
criteria
We're considering five primary criteria as we compare job applicants.
criteria = reference points against which things can be evaluated
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
transparent
as in:
transparent shower door
The transparent shower door shows water spots.
transparent = capable of being seen through with clarity
DefinitionGenerally this sense of transparent means:
able to be seen through with clarity
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
opaque
as in:
opaque shower door
They are engineering a window that can convert from transparent to opaque with the push of a button.
opaque = not able to see through at all
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
translucent
I could see a vague form through the translucent glass.
translucent = almost transparent; allowing light to pass through diffusely
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
mosaic
The museum preserved a beautiful mosaic floor.
mosaic = art consisting of a design made of small pieces of colored stone or glass
DefinitionGenerally mosaic means:
art consisting of a design made of small pieces of colored stone or glass

or more rarely:

anything comprised of many differing parts of equal importance, but varying appearance
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
flexible
The job has flexible working hours.
flexible = adaptable to different conditions
DefinitionGenerally flexible means:
bendable or adaptable
in various senses, including:
  • easily bent without physical damage or injury — as of a hose or gymnast
  • able to adjust readily to different conditions — as of a plan
  • willing to make concessions — as of a negotiator or a boss
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
plumb
Don't assume ghosts if your door swings by itself. It is probably not plumb.
plumb = exactly vertical or straight
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
comprised
The university is comprised of six colleges.
comprised = made up of (composed of)
DefinitionGenerally comprised means:
made up of (composed of); or included
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
vertical
The architect used long vertical lines to pull the eye upward.
vertical = oriented straight up and down (90 degrees relative to the floor)
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
horizontal
Paintings in which horizontal lines dominate, tend to be relaxing.
horizontal = in line with the floor, horizon, or another flat base
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
diagonal
The artist used diagonal lines to create tension.†
diagonal = a straight line connecting opposite corners of a rectangle; or any slope that could connect the corners of an imaginary rectangle that has one side parallel to the floor
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
derivative
a highly derivative prose style
derivative = something developed from something else
DefinitionGenerally derivative means:
something developed from something else
in various senses, including:
  • a word based on another word — as in "Quickly is a derivative of quick."
  • a mathematical value from a function — as in "We can derive X from Y," or "X is a derivative of Y."
  • a type of investment whose value is based on another value — as in "We provide various derivatives that can protect against inflation."
  • a work of art such as a film or painting that lacks ideas not previously expressed in other works of art — as in "Her work is too derivative to interest me."
  • work based upon or influenced by prior work — as in "The book surveys psychological ideas derivative of, but not totally dependent on B.F. Skinner."
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
right angle
The lines intersect at right angles.†
right angles = an angle measuring 90 degrees
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
acute
as in:
an acute angle
Roofs at acute angles are common in snow country.
acute angles = sharp; or an angle measuring between 0 and 90 degrees
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
obtuse angle
He wanted a roof with a more obtuse angle, so it would be safer to walk on it.†
obtuse angle = an angle measuring between 90 and 180 degrees
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
convex
Convex mirrors make things look smaller and farther away than they are.†
convex = angled or curving outward
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
invert
We rode an inverted loop roller coaster.
inverted = turned in the opposite position — such as upside down, inside out
DefinitionGenerally invert means:
to turn something in the opposite position — such as upside down, inside out, or (of two things) in switched position
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
fabricate
as in:
fabricate metal parts
A full machine shop allows them to quickly fabricate parts and create test fixtures.
fabricate = make or manufacture
DefinitionGenerally this sense of fabricate means:
to make or manufacture something — especially by assembling components
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ostentatious
Although wealthy, the family is not ostentatious.
ostentatious = showy (trying to attract notice and impress others in a manner seen as in bad taste)
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
utilitarian
She likes plain utilitarian kitchenware.
utilitarian = designed for usefulness rather than beauty or style
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
synthetic
The couch is covered with synthetic leather.
synthetic = artificial (man-made rather than natural)
DefinitionGenerally synthetic means:
artificial (man-made rather than natural); or not genuine
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
foliage
It's difficult to spot the birds in the foliage.
foliage = plant leaves
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ingenious
It was an ingenious solution to the problem—as reliable as it was easy.
ingenious = showing inventiveness and skill
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
elegant
2 meanings
as in:
an elegant gown
She was an elegant bride.
elegant = refined and tasteful in appearance, behavior or style
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
as in:
as elegant equation
It is an elegant solution that will reduce complexity and save material.
elegant = a solution that is simpler (and often more comprehensive) than most would anticipate
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
promenade
The ladies promenaded along the beach
promenaded = walked leisurely in a public place
DefinitionGenerally promenade means:
a public pathway for leisurely walking — especially one near the ocean

or:

walking leisurely — especially in a public place
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
obstruct
obstruct the path
obstruct = block
DefinitionGenerally obstruct means:
to block or hinder
The exact meaning of obstruct can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "obstruct the path" — block passage through
  • "obstruct justice" — hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of
  • "obstruct her view" — get in the way so as to hide from sight
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
linear
a linear measurement
linear = relating to a line
DefinitionGenerally linear means:
relating to a line
The exact meaning of linear can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "linear foot" — measured along a straight line (in one dimension)
  • "linear arrangement" — placed along a straight line
  • "linear thinking" — in a clear, straightforward sequence
  • "linear programming" — describing a proportional relationship that can be graphed with a straight line (described mathematically as an equation whose terms are of the first degree)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
bronze
She received the bronze medal at the Olympics.
bronze = a metal alloy of copper and (usually) tin (that is given at the Olympics for a third place finish)
DefinitionGenerally bronze means:
a reddish brown metal that is made of copper and (usually) tin

or:

the reddish-brown color of the metal (such as a bronze tan)

or:

something made of the alloy — such as a sculpture
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
bevel
a beveled mirror
beveled = two surfaces meeting at an angle (that isn't 90 degrees)

(editor's note:  See the Google Images link on the word detail page to see samples.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bevel means:
two surfaces meeting at an angle (that isn't 90 degrees)

See this Google Images link for beveled edge to see samples.
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
colleague
The surgeon consulted his colleagues.
colleagues = fellow workers
DefinitionGenerally colleague means:
fellow worker — especially in a respected profession such as teaching, medicine, or law
Word Statistics
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
sheer
as in:
a sheer blouse
In the kitchen, I want sheer curtains that I can see through.
sheer = so thin and delicate as to be transparent
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sheer means:
typically of fabric:  very thin and delicate — often transparent
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
optimal
It is the optimal solution.†
optimal = most desirable possible — often given the circumstances
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ornate
The hotel is decorated with ornate furniture, lots of carved designs, and gold leaf gilding.
ornate = having lots of decorative detail
DefinitionGenerally ornate means:
of a thing:  having lots of decorative detail

of speech:  more complicated than necessary because of unusual words and phrases (fans might call it flowery or finely finished, but most would call it too complicated or showy)
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 100
Web Links
concentric
Stonehenge consists of massive stones arranged into concentric circles.†
concentric = shapes having a common center, axis or origin with one inside the other
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
congregate
Planned demonstrations never materialized as a heavy presence of police and soldiers made it impossible for protesters to congregate.
congregate = gather together
DefinitionGenerally congregate means:
come together as a group
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
polyhedron
There are only five "regular" polyhedra.†
polyhedra = a solid shape made of flat faces
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™ and does not endorse this site.