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|100 Words Encountered in|
Click word for detail
She studied theology at Yale Divinity School.
abstractof a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
or more rarely:
describing someone as distracted — thinking about something outside of the immediate conversation or circumstances
other common meaning(s) — as in: abstract thought
We all agree that we want what’s "best for the country", but that is an abstract concept and we cannot agree on which specific laws should be passed.
She challenges accepted doctrine.
socialisman economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
She believes that more socialism would be more fair.
phenomenonsomething that exists — especially something that can be seen or sensed and is of special interest
other common meaning(s) — as in: The phenomenon was observed...
It is a growing social phenomenon on high school campuses.
Is her theory supported by empirical data?
aestheticrelated to beauty or good taste — often referring to one’s appreciation of beauty or one’s sense of what is beautiful
beautiful or tasteful
It was not aesthetically pleasing.
temporalconcerned with the material (in contrast to the spiritual) world
other common meaning(s) — as in: temporal world
She focuses more on the spiritual while his main concern is with temporal existence.
inconsistentnot the same in different parts or at different times
not in agreement [with something else]
Her play is inconsistent. Sometimes she’s unbeatable and other times she beats herself.
To make things better, to enjoy each other’s company, and to empathize are essence of humanity.
conventionsomething regarded as normal or typical
other common meaning(s) — as in: conventional behavior
It was once conventional wisdom that the earth was flat.
hypothesisa seemingly reasonable, but unproven, idea based upon known facts — often an idea to be tested
other common meaning(s) — as in: a study to test her hypothesis
The study will test the hypothesis that a good marriage is more important than a higher income when measuring happiness.
hypothesissomething that may not be true, but that is temporarily treated as true to advance a discussion or to further investigation
other common meaning(s) — as in: Let’s assume hypothetically that
For the purpose of discussion, let’s accept that the hypothesis that she is guilty is true. What would we have expected her to do after the incident?
utilitariandesigned for usefulness rather than beauty or style — as in: utilitarian furniture
She likes plain utilitarian kitchenware.
objectivefact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences — as in: an objective viewpoint
By any objective analysis, you would have to agree that...
insighta clear understanding of some aspect of a complex situation; or a tendency to have such understandings
The book is full of insight on human nature.
profoundof greatest intensity or emotional depth
other common meaning(s) — as in: profound sadness
Her apology was heartfelt—expressing profound sorrow and regret.
Which of the following facts can you infer from the first paragraph?
rhetoricthe use of words to make a point
or more rarely:
study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially to persuade)
She uses convincing rhetoric, but makes bad decisions.
Nietzscheinfluential German philosopher remembered for his concept of the superman and for his rejection of Christian values; considered, along with Kierkegaard, to be a founder of existentialism (1844-1900) — as in: Friedrich Nietzsche
Nietzsche famously said, "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."
sageprofound wisdom; or one known for being wise
other common meaning(s) — as in: sage advice
Some call Warren Buffett the "Sage of Omaha".
postmodernisma worldview that denies the possibility of empirical or valid universal explanations and emphasizes the existence of different worldviews and concepts of reality
other common meaning(s) — with regard to philosophy
My grandmother complains that the postmodern worldview too often leaves us without a shared sense of what is right and wrong.
Where facts failed her, she used sophistry.
premisesomething assumed to be true that can be used to build a logical argument
other common meaning(s) — as in: the premise of the argument
Her logic is fine except that it assumes a false premise.
It is an ethical dilemma.
Marxismbelief in the economic and political theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that hold that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical change and that capitalism will ultimately be replaced by communism
As a child, he adopted a Castro-inspired Marxism.
We thought we could create a utopia, but we failed because we overestimated human nature.
tautologyuseless repetition in different words (such as "unmarried bachelor")
other common meaning(s) — a linguistic tautology
It is an intentional tautology as when Gertrude Stein said "A rose is a rose is a rose."
existentialrelating to existentialism; a philosophical movement that assumes each person is free to determine what is essential in his/her existence rather than that being determined by a god and/or authority figures
other common meaning(s) — as in: existential philosophy
It was a moment of existential angst when nothing made sense any more.
She trusts only what she can measure or can deduce from measurement.
Ph.Da research doctorate usually based on at least 3 years graduate study and a dissertation; the highest degree awarded in universities in many fields of study
She is a research scientist who earned her Ph.D in physics.
abnegateto renounce or reject in various senses, such as:
The monk practices self-abnegation.
abstracta summary; or to summarize — especially academic writing
other common meaning(s) — as in: read the abstract
The abstract is free, but there is a fee to see the entire article.
The professor’s lectures were so abstruse that students tended to avoid them.
accordin keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
other common meaning(s) — as in: according to, or in accord with
She will get a fair trial in accordance with the law.
affirma firm statement that something is true
expressing emotional support or encouragement for someone
Maria affirmed that she has complete faith in the other members of the team.
agnostica person who believes they lack true knowledge about the existence of God (but believes that God might exist)
or more rarely: someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something
He’s agnostic — about the existence of God and the proof of any non-physical belief.
She is known for her kindness, compassion, and altruism.
Polling indicates the public is ambivalent on the subject. Their opinions change depending upon the latest headlines.
The printed version is an expensive anachronism from an earlier time.
It’s not the government I want, but it’s better than anarchy.
animatemake more lively (or bring to life)
in film: to create a set of gradually changing pictures to simulate movement when played in series (a cartoon)
She won an award for best animated cartoon.
The terrorist wants to annihilate a major American city.
the inherent antagonism of capitalism and socialism
She read an anthology of classic American literature.
Cooperation is fueled by a shared antipathy toward Iran.
Her theory is the antithesis of mine.
She often quotes St. Augustine’s aphorism, "Love the sinner and hate the sin."
other common meaning(s) — as in: apprehend the situation
She doesn’t yet apprehend the seriousness of the charge against her.
She is not motivated by popular approbation.
She is rude and arrogant.
assertto say that something is true — especially something disputed
other common meaning(s) — as in: asserted her opinion that...
The defense also asserts that the defendant has no previous record.
augustmajestic or greatly admired — especially due to high rank or age
more common meaning(s) — as in: august stature
I am humbled to be chosen as a steward of this august institution.
We can try both to minimize greed and avarice and to channel them into directions beneficial to society.
The movie was banal, but it led to a fascinating conversation.
They called themselves The Benevolent Association because their mission was to help others.
bombasticpompous or pretentious talk or writing
(often using difficult words in an attempt to make something sound more important than it is or to make the speaker sound more intelligent)
The media relishes her bombastic style.
I’m not sure they appreciated her speech, but I know they liked its brevity.
The sound of the waves crashing on the shore had a comforting cadence.
censorto remove or suppress anything considered obscene, immoral, or politically unacceptable
a person who does such suppression — as related to censorship
The Chinese devote enormous resources to censoring the Internet.
They censured him for bringing dishonor upon the Senate.
Her certitude has given way to doubt.
She isn’t known for circumlocution or subtlety.
I will not let their expectations circumscribe how I live my life.
She’s too circumspect to make that kind of mistake.
citeto mention a source of information — usually as proof or an example that supports an idea
other common meaning(s) — as in: references cited in the endnotes
Sources are cited in the endnotes.
It is better to convince than to coerce.
It is difficult to decide because both sides offer cogent arguments.
Many suspect the complicity of top officials.
She confounded her critics.
She has a congenial relationship with her colleagues.
conjecturea conclusion or opinion based on inconclusive evidence; or the act of forming of such a conclusion or opinion
She dismissed it as mere conjecture.
Juries can construe evidence to mean something it does not.
corporealhaving material or physical form or substance
regarding the body as opposed to the mind or spirit
Her time of corporeal suffering will soon pass.
Prosecutors said fighters raped village elders to publicly debase them.
She is a sincere but deluded idealist.
The trick is to offer constructive criticism without denigrating their efforts.
denouementthe outcome of a complex sequence of events — especially the final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work
Everyone was astonished by the denouement of the case.
It is a terrible story of an innocent who trusted a man who treated her with ruthless depravity.
He was elected as a constitutional president, but quickly became a despot.
Though John loved her lessons, George hated her didactic tone.
She always digresses when telling a story.
She is a diminutive fighter pilot.
She disavowed her assistant’s comments.
discerningshowing good judgment or good taste and/or the perception of things not easily perceived by most people
They hired her for her experience, wisdom and discernment.
The event has elevated the level of public discourse on this issue.
She spoke only of her strengths, but others on her campaign staff worked to discredit her opponent.
discursivedigressing (departing from the main point)
proceeding to a conclusion by reason rather than intuition; e.g., a discursive essay
It is a rambling discursive book.
disparageto criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
She has a reputation for disparaging the efforts of her co-workers.
A journalist should be a dispassionate reporter of fact.
The news is bad, but the company spokesperson is doing what she can to change the subject and dissemble.
The dogmatic coach is fond of saying, "My way’s the right way. Your way’s the wrong way!"
dubiousdoubtful — such as:
She was dubious, but agreed to come with us anyway.
effaceremove completely from recognition or memory — sometimes by erasing
to make oneself inconspicuous or unimportant
She always effaces herself when she is with him.
She is too egocentric to be a good leader.
Her eloquence is unquestioned even amongst those who disagree with her.
He received the Nobel Prize in medicine for elucidating electrical events in the nervous system.
She was an emancipated 20th century woman pursuing her career.
She is an eminent scholar.
She lacks empathy and is very selfish.
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