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U.S. at 317-572-3993 or fax 317-572-4002. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Herzog, David Alan. Webster’s New World essential vocabulary / by David A. Herzog. p. cm. ISBN 0-7645-7165-6 (pbk.) 1. Vocabulary. 2. Vocabulary—Problems, exercises, etc. 3. Vocabulary—Examinations—Study guides. I.Title: Essential vocabulary. II.Title. PE1449.H445 2005 428.1—dc22 2004022068 Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acknowledgments The author would like to thank Willis, Gizmo, Lefty, and Archie for their furry invaluable assistance.
Dedication This book is dedicated to the memories of Rose and George Herzog, Henry Smolinski, and Allan Shaw, and to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on four continents.
Introduction How’s your vocabulary? Is it okay, pretty good, or exceptional? Whatever your answer to these questions, this is the book for you. For those whose vocabulary ranges from okay to pretty good, here is the opportunity to improve it. The main content is grouped into sets of words that have been taken from the SAT and GRE examinations over the past 10 years. These approximately 1,500 words are expected by the examiners to be familiar in one form or another to college and graduate school applicants. They need to become familiar to you, too. If your vocabulary is exceptional, this is the opportunity to see whether you really understand what the words you think you know mean and whether you can correctly use them in a sentence. Each word comes complete with a label indicating its part of speech, at least one definition (often more), and usually at least two sentences using the word. Most entries also include synonyms and other forms of the word, such as past tense and gerund forms (for verbs) and adverbial and noun forms (for adjectives). Following each group of vocabulary words is a matching test so that you can check what you’ve just studied. Check Appendix A for some very useful prefixes and suffixes that often affect the meanings of words. I also recommend you check Appendix B, which lists some foreign words that have insinuated themselves into the English language. These words are commonly used by the more literate among us — in addition to everyday words like sandwich, which reminds the author that he’s getting hungry. Read on and have an enlightening and, hopefully, enjoyable experience.
PRONUNCIATION KEY I’ve never much cared for the pronunciation keys used by most dictionaries because they use a whole different alphabet and set of symbols, which one must either memorize or keep referring to just to understand the sounds being represented. The key used here makes use of standard alphabet characters used in familiar words. The following is a list of the letters that are used and the sounds they make. These pronunciations are based on phonetic sounds. You might want to put a bookmark here so that you can get back to it quickly when needed. We indicate the stressed syllable of each word by using capital (KAP i tl) letters.
Makes a Sound Like . . .
In the Word . . .
PARTS OF SPEECH Parts of speech are indicated by italicized abbreviations: adj. (adjective), adv. (adverb), conj. (conjunction), n. (noun), pn. (pronoun), pr. (preposition), vi. (intransitive verb), and vt. (transitive verb). To review a little grammar very briefly, a noun is a person, place, or thing. An adjective modifies a noun. For example, a pretty girl gets more attention than a plain girl. In the preceding sentence, both pretty and plain are adjectives modifying two separate occurrences of the noun, girl. A verb is an action word. If the verb is transitive, it carries the action to an object. Consider the following sentence: Peter ate a grape. In that sentence, the grape receives the action of the transitive verb, to eat (past tense, ate). The verb, to eat, can also be intransitive, if nothing is receiving the action. For example, when I go to dinner, I eat. An adverb modifies a verb, another adverb, or an adjective. Look at the following sentence: The boat moved quickly. Quickly is an adverb modifying the verb, moved.
Part I SAT ® WORDS Answers to Quick Review questions are found in Part III. Words followed by an asterisk (*) also have appeared as vocabulary words on the Graduate Record Examinations® (GRE® ).
A abandon (uh BAN dn) vt. 1. to give up something forever; 2. to leave in a time of danger • Abandon all hope of seeing your family again. • We must abandon the boathouse until the storm is over. [-ed, -ing, abandonment n.] [Syn. quit, desert, forsake (Each of these has a slightly different emotion attached to it.)]
abbreviate (uh BREE vee ayt) vt. to shorten something by leaving a part, or parts, out • We might abbreviate this word abbrev. • The student abbreviated most of the words in his or her class notes to keep up with the teacher’s lecture. [-d, abbreviating, abbreviation n.]
ability (uh BIL etee) n. 1. being able; having power to do something; 2. skill, expertise, power • You have the ability to succeed at what you attempt. • Einstein had exceptional mathematical ability. • An automobile lacks the ablility to pull a freight train. abridge (uh BRIJ) vt. 1. to reduce in scope; 2. to shorten while maintaining the essence • Condensed books abridge the original to appeal to a less than scholarly audience. • The 9-hour Lord of the Rings trilogy was abridged to 1 1/2 hours for its television broadcast. [-d, abridging]
abscond (ab SKAHND) vi. to run away and hide; especially to avoid capture by law enforcers • Jesse James absconded just ahead of the sheriff. • To abscond often results in a false sense of security. [-ed, -ing, absconder n.]
absolve (ab ZAHLV) vt. 1. to declare free from guilt; 2. to free from duty or a promise • The Lord absolved the sinner and forgave him. • The jury absolved the accused of any wrongdoing. • Dad absolved Junior of his promise to wash the car. [-d, absolving, absolver n.] [Syn. pardon, forgive, acquit]
absorb (ab ZAWRB) vt. 1. to suck up; 2. to take up the full energy or attention of; engross; 3. to take in and incorporate; 4. to assume the full cost • • • •
The sponge absorbed the entire spill. Learning fractions absorbed Hailee’s full attention. If we fail to absorb the lessons of history, we are doomed to repeat them. I’ll absorb the charge for the window replacement. [-ed, -ing, absorbant adj.]
abstain (ab STAYN) vi. to hold back (from); refrain from • I shall abstain from smoking or drinking. • Three voted for the bill, two against it, and one abstained. [-ed, -ing, abstention n.]
abstract (ab STRAKT for adj., AB strakt for n., v.) adj. 1. not concrete; thought of apart from any material object; 2. not easily understood —n. a brief statement of the content of a book, court case, article, etc.; a summary —vt. to remove or take away; to summarize • • • •
I had an abstract idea of what he meant, but nothing solid. Frankie’s ideas were too abstract to fully comprehend. We knew about the case from having read the abstract. Abstract the story, stating only the relevant facts. [-ed, -ing, abstraction n., abstractly adv.]
absurd (ab SOERD or ab ZOEHRD) adj. 1. so obviously untrue as to be laughable; 2. laughably different from what is reasonable • The story that his arms were tired because he had just flown in from Los Angeles was absurd. • The outfit that Gino wore with the red and white striped shirt and the green and yellow checked pants was absurd. [absurdly adv., absurdity n.]
accentuate (ak SEN choo ayt) vt. 1. to pronounce or mark with a stress or accent; 2. emphasize • When you tell people about your vacation, accentuate the high points and play down the low points. • Wear clothing that accentuates your youthful looks. [-d, accentuating, accentuation n.]
acceptable (ak SEPT ibl) adj. adequate; tolerable; bearable; okay • Eating peas at a restaurant using only your knife is not considered acceptable manners. • Dressing in a toga is considered acceptable at certain fraternity parties.
A: SAT Words
QUICK REVIEW #1 Match the word from column 2 with the word from column 1 that means most nearly the same thing. 1. abandon
acceptance (ak SEP tins) n. 1. being accepted; 2. an approval • Jack’s acceptance by Jill’s family made him very happy. • Ian’s acceptance of full responsibility for the telephone charges got Kira off the hook (so to speak). access (AK ses) n. 1. the act of coming near to; approach; 2. a way of approaching something; 3. the right to enter or use something —vt. to gain or have use of a database • The access to the house was through the side door. • Sebastian gained access to his car through the driver’s window. [-ed, -ing]
accommodate (uh KOM uh dayt) vt. 1. to make fit; to adapt; adjust; 2. to reconcile; 3. to do a service or favor for; 4. to have room for • • • •
An adapter is needed for your sink to accommodate the dishwasher hose. Even though I don’t want to do it, I’ll accommodate you. The hotel accommodates its guests with room service. The kitchen accommodates seating space for four. [-d, accommodating]
accommodation (uh kom uh DAY shun) n. 1. adjustment; adaptation to a certain use; 2. reconciliation of differences; 3. a convenience; 4. living or traveling space • Myles made an accommodation to staying up all night and annoying his parents by sleeping most of the day. • The employee and his former boss reached an accommodation over the matter of severance pay. • Having coffeemakers in each room was an accommodation for motel guests. • The train’s compartment had sleeping accommodations for up to four passengers. accomplice (uh KOM plis) n. a person who knowingly assists in committing a crime; partner in crime • While Bob was robbing the bank, his accomplice, Louise, was behind the wheel of the getaway car. [Syn. associate]
accomplish (uh KOM plish) vt. 1. to do or succeed in doing; 2. to perfect; to complete • Rocio accomplished her task of bathing the dog. • The human fly never failed to accomplish its mission. [-ed, -ing, accomplishment n.] [Syn. perform, reach]
accord (uk AWRD) vt. 1. to make agree; to reconcile; 2. to grant or concede —vi. mutual agreement —n. 1. an informal agreement, as between two states or countries; 2. consent; permission • Our objectives are in accord. • I intend to accord you every courtesy. • Jakob had his dad’s accord to use the family car. [-ed, -ing, (in) accordance n.]
accost (uh KAWST) vt. to approach and greet first (often in an intrusive way) • I wouldn’t be so bold as to accost someone who did not greet me first. • I was walking along, minding my own business, when I was accosted by a street peddler. [-ed, -ing]
account (uh KOWNT) vt. to tell, consider, or judge —vi. 1. to furnish a reckoning of money collected and/or payed out; 2. to make acceptable amends for; 3. to give acceptible reasons for —n. 1. a counting or calculation; 2. a record of monetary funds; 3. a bank account; 4. a record of transactions • • • • • •
The detective asked Jim to account for his time on Sunday. The cashier had to account for her daily receipts. The criminal must account for his or her evil action. Karen accounts for her funds in her checkbook register. There’s no accounting for people’s tastes. Jason keeps track of what is due to him in his accounts receivable ledger. [-ed, -ing, accountable n.]