Vocabulary quizzes here.


thesis (noun)

  a) A proposition stated or put forward for consideration, esp. one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections: He vigorously defended his thesis on the causes of war.
b) A subject for a composition or essay.
c) A dissertation on a particular subject in which one has done original research, as one presented by a candidate for a diploma or degree.
2 syntax (noun)

The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.

3 diction (noun)
  • The choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing.
  • The style of enunciation in speaking or singing
4 figurative language

Words used in a way that is different from the usual, literal meaning in order to create a particular mental image.
5 elucidate (verb)

To make something clear; explain.

  • elucidation (noun)
6 satire ( noun)

The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices.

7 idiom (noun)

A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words
i.e. Raining cats and dogs, kick the bucket

8. anecdote (noun)

a short account of a particular incident or event of an interesting or amusing nature, often biographical.

    ambiguity (noun)

uncertain or inexact meaning.

    • ambiguous (adjective)

Open to more than one interpretation. Doubtfulness or uncertainty in interpretation.

10 terse (adjective)
  • Brief and to the point; effectively concise
11 boon (noun)
  • A thing that is useful and beneficial: the new navigation system will be a boon to both military and civilian users.
12 precedent (noun & adjective)

(noun) An earlier occurrence of something similar.
Law: A legal decision or form of proceeding that serves as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar cases.

(adjective) prior in time, order arrangement or significance.

13 precarious (adjective)

dependent on chance circumstances, unknown conditions, or uncertain developments.

characterized by a lack of security or stability that threatens with danger.

14. irreverent (adjective)

Lacking proper respect and seriousness.

    articulate (verb & adjective)

    (verb) To pronounce distinctly and carefully; enunciate.

    (verb) To express in coherent verbal form; give words to: couldn't articulate my fears.

    (adjective) Endowed with the power of speech.

    (adjective) Expressing oneself easily in clear and effective language: an articulate speaker.

    dilemma (noun)

A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavourable.

A problem that seems to defy a satisfactory solution.

Logic. An argument that presents two alternatives, each of which has the same consequence.

17 incredulous (adjective)

Not willing to admit or accept what is offered as true; sceptical.

    incredulity (noun)

    paradox (noun)

A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true.

19 vilify (verb)
  • To lower in estimation or importance

  • To utter slanderous and abusive statements against: defame.

20 aloof (adverb & adjective)

(adverb) At a distance, esp. in feeling or interest; apart: They always stood aloof from their classmates.

(adjective ) Reserved or reticent; indifferent; disinterested: Because of his shyness, he had the reputation of being aloof.

    implacable (adjective)

Not to be appeased, mollified, or pacified; inexorable: an implacable enemy.

22 penchant (noun)

A strong inclination, taste, or liking for something: a penchant for outdoor sports.

    amity (noun)

friendship; peaceful harmony.

mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, esp. between nations; peace; accord.

    ebb and flow

A decline and increase, constant fluctuations. For example, He was fascinated by the ebb and flow of the Church's influence over the centuries.

This expression alludes to the inward and outward movement of ocean tides. [Late 1500s]

    alacrity (noun)

cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness: We accepted the invitation with alacrity.

liveliness; briskness.

    deus ex machina (noun)

    (in ancient Greek and Roman drama) A god introduced into a play to resolve the entanglements of the plot.

    Any artificial or improbable device resolving the difficulties of a plot.

    Latin – “god from a machine” (referring to mechanical rigging used in a theatre to lower god-like statues or actors in a play.)

    banal (adjective)

Commonplace; tired or petty.

    filial (adjective)

of, pertaining to, or befitting a son or daughter: filial obedience.

noting or having the relation of a child to a parent.

Genetics. pertaining to the sequence of generations following the parental generation, each generation being designated by an F followed by a subscript number indicating its place in the sequence.

29 euphemism (noun)
  • The substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

    • The expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”

    ominous (adjective)
  • portending evil or harm; foreboding; threatening; inauspicious: an ominous bank of dark clouds.
  • having the significance of an omen.

    fraught (adjective)
    • (fraught with): (of a situation or course of action) filled with or destined to result in (something undesirable).
    • Marked by or causing distress; emotional:
    fourth wall
  • The space separating the audience from the action of a theatrical performance, traditionally conceived of as an imaginary wall completing the enclosure of the stage.
  • The boundary between the fiction and the audience.
    streel (verb)
    • To trail along; to saunter or be drawn along, carelessly, swaying in a kind of zigzag motion.
    dexterity (noun)
    • readiness and grace in physical activity, esp: skill and ease in using the hands (manual dexterity)
    • mental skill or quickness.
    voracious (adjective)
  • craving or consuming large quantities of food: a voracious appetite.
  • exceedingly eager or avid: voracious readers; a voracious collector.

tragedy (noun)

    • A dramatic composition, often in verse, dealing with a serious or sombre theme, typically that of a great person destined through a flaw of character or conflict with some overpowering force, as fate or society, to downfall or destruction.
    • The branch of the drama that is concerned with this form of composition.
    • a lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster: the tragedy of war.
    • tragic (adjective)

    soliloquy (noun)
      • A dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener.
      • A specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse.
    corporal (adjective)

Of the human body: bodily : physical.

    rapt (adjective)

Deeply engrossed or absorbed
Look how our partner’s rapt
(Macbeth, I.iii.155.)

    emasculate (verb)
  • To make (a person, idea or piece of legislation) weaker or less effective.
  • Deprive a man of his male identity.
    blasé (adjective)

Unimpressed or indifferent to something because one has seen or experienced it so often before.

    chagrin (noun)

Distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated.

    assail (verb)
    • To attack vigorously or violently: assault.
    • To attack with arguments, criticism, ridicule, abuse.
44 suspension of disbelief

    (also known as willing suspension of disbelief)

    The temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. This is usually to allow an audience to appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas.

    brandish (verb)

To shake or wave, as a weapon; flourish: Brandishing his sword, he rode into battle.

    dauntless (adjective)

Fearless; intrepid; bold: a dauntless hero.

    equivocate (verb)

To use ambiguous or unclear expressions, usually to avoid commitment or in order to mislead; prevaricate or hedge: When asked directly for his position on disarmament, the candidate only equivocated.

    clamor (noun)
  • A loud uproar, as from a crowd of people: the clamor of the crowd at the gates.
  • A vehement expression of desire or dissatisfaction: the clamor of the proponents of the law.
  • Popular outcry: The senators could not ignore the clamor against higher taxation.
  • Any loud and continued noise: the clamor of traffic; the clamor of birds and animals in the zoo.
    abhor (verb)
  • To regard with extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly; loathe; abominate.
  • Abhorrent (adjective)
50 maelstrom (noun)
  • A large, powerful, or violent whirlpool.
  • A restless, disordered, or tumultuous state of affairs: the maelstrom of early morning traffic.
51 usurp (verb)
  • Take (a position of power or importance) illegally or by force.
  • Take the place of someone in a position of power illegally.
  • Encroach or infringe upon someone’s rights.
52 scruple (noun)

A feeling of doubt or hesitation with regard to the morality or propriety of a course of action.

53 unscrupulous (adjective)
  Having or showing no moral principles: not honest or fair.

palpable (adjective)

  Able to be touched or felt.
55 malevolent (adjective)
  Having or showing a wish to do evil to others.
56 nefarious (adjective)
  (typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal.
57 dissemble (verb)
  Conceal one’s true motives, feelings or beliefs
58 remiss (adjective)
  Lacking care or attention to duty.  Negligent

assiduous (adjective)

  Showing great care and perseverance.
60 weird (adjective)
  • Of, relating to, or caused by witchcraft or the supernatural.
  • Of strange or extraordinary character: odd, fantastic.
    harbinger (noun)
    • A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another.
    • A forerunner of something.
    preposterous (adjective)
    • Contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous.
    apoplectic (adjective)
  • Overcome with anger; extremely indignant
64 apoplexy (noun)
    • Unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke.
    recriminate (verb)
    • To accuse in return.
    • To counter one accusation with another
    • recrimination (noun)
    avarice (noun)
  • Extreme greed for wealth or material gain.
    glower (verb)
  • Have an angry, sullen look on one’s face.  Scowl.
    copacetic (adjective)
  • Fine; completely satisfactory, OK.
    laissez-faire (noun)
    • A policy or attitude of letting things take their own course, without interfering.
    • Economics: abstention by governments from interfering in the workings of the free market.
    minute (adjective)
    • Extremely small, as in size, extent or degree.
    • Of minor importance; insignificant.
    • Attentive or concerned with even the smallest of details.
    sedition (noun)
    • Conduct or speech inciting rebellion against the authority of a government.
    • Any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting discontent or rebellion.
    precipice (noun)
  • a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
  • a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.
73 esoteric (adjective)
  • Understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; recondite: poetry full of esoteric allusions.
    ebullient (adjective)
  • Cheerful and full of energy.
    pedantic (adjective)
  • Excessive concern with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
    allusion (noun)
  • A figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, a place, event, literary work, myth, or work of art, either directly or by implication.
    quintessential (adjective)
  • Representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.
    philistine (noun)
    • A person who is hostile or indifferent to the arts, or who has no understanding of them.
    • Not to be confused with Philistine, the group of people who settled in ancient southern Palestine and came into conflict with the Israelites in the 11th and 12th centuries. In fact, the Philistines were a rather advanced culture.
    narcissism (noun)
  • Inordinate fascination with oneself; excessive self-love; vanity.
    inordinate (adjective)
  • Not within proper or reasonable limits; immoderate; excessive.
    catch-22 (noun)
    • A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.
    • i.e. I can’t get a job because I don’t have experience, but I can’t get experience because I don’t have a job.
    inculcate (verb)
  • To teach or instill through repetition.
  • Instill (an idea, attitude or habit) by persistent instruction.
    specious (adjective)
    • Superficially plausible, but actually wrong.
    • Misleading in appearance, especially misleadingly attractive.
    myriad (noun & adjective)
  • a very great or indefinitely great number of persons or things.
    • ten thousand.

    • myriad–adjective
    • of an indefinitely great number; innumerable: the myriad stars of a summer night.
    greenwash (noun)
    • The dissemination of misleading information by an organization to conceal its abuse of the environment in order to present a positive public image.
    • The information so disseminated.
    disseminate (verb)
    • spread or disperse (especially information) widely.  To scatter.
    mollify (verb)
    • To soothe in temper: appease
    • To soften
    • To reduce in intensity.
    acerbic (adjective)

Acid in temper, mood or tone.

    poignant (adjective)
    • Profoundly moving; touching: a poignant memory.
    • Physically painful: "Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward" (Ambrose Bierce).
    • Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings: poignant anxiety.
    • Neat, skillful, and to the point: poignant illustrations supplementing the text.
    • Astute and pertinent; relevant: poignant suggestions.
    Svengali (noun)

A person who exercises a controlling or mesmeric influence on another, especially for a sinister purpose.

91 objectify (verb)
    • To express something abstract in a concrete form: good poetry objectifies emotions.
    • degrade to the status of a mere object.
    • objectification (noun)
92 contempt (noun)
  • The feeling that a person or thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving of scorn.
  • Disregard for something that should be taken into account.
93 misogyny (noun)
    • Hatred or contempt of women (by men.)
    • Misogynist (noun)
94 misandry (noun)
    • Hatred or contempt of men (by women.)
    • Misandrist (noun)
95 misanthropy (noun)
    • A dislike of humankind.
    • Misanthropist or misanthrope (nouns)
96 cacophony (noun)
    • Harsh or discordant sound
    • Harshness in the sound of words or phrases.
97 metonymy (noun)
  • a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one object or concept for that of another to which it is related, or of which it is a part.
    i.e – crown = lands belonging to the monarchy.
    The pen is mightier than the sword
    “suit” = businessman.
98 euphony (noun)
  • pleasing or sweet sound, especially the acoustic effect produced by words formed or combined to please the ear.
  • A harmonious succession of words having a pleasing sound.
    litotes (noun)
    • Ironic understatement in which the affirmative is expressed by the negative or contrary.
    • A figure of speech that intentionally understates something or implies it is lesser in significance or size than it really is.
    • (i.e) – “The troubles” – a name for decades of violence in Northern Ireland
    homage (noun)
  • Respect or reverence paid or rendered: In his speech he paid homage to Washington and Jefferson.
101 insipid (adjective) 
  • Lacking flavour.
  • Lacking vigour or interest.
102 cognition (noun)

The mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses.

  • cognitive (adjective)
103 metacognition (noun)

Awareness and understanding of one’s thought process; thinking about thinking.

104 heresy (noun)
  • Belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious beliefs
  • Opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted.
105 putative (adjective)

Commonly regarded as such; reputed; supposed: the putative boss of the mob.

106 eschew (verb)

To habitually avoid, especially on moral or practical grounds

107 prescient (adjective)
  • knowledge of things before they exist or happen; foreknowledge; foresight.
  • prescience (noun)
108 debauchery (noun)
  •  excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures; intemperance.
109 temperance (noun)

Abstinence from alcoholic drink.

110 lacerate (verb)
  • To tear roughly; mangle: The barbed wire lacerated his hands.
  • To distress or torture mentally or emotionally; wound deeply; pain greatly: His bitter criticism lacerated my heart.

strident (adjective)

  • Loud and harsh; grating.
  • Presenting a point of view, especially a controversial one, in an excessively and unpleasantly forceful way.

antithesis (noun)

  • A person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else.
  • Love is the antithesis of selfishness
113 dysphemism (noun)
  • The substitution of a harsh, disparaging, or unpleasant expression for a more neutral one
  • The expression so substituted
  • i.e – vomit – spew
114 dynamic (adjective)
  • (a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity or progress.
  • (a person) positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas.
  • (of a thing) stimulating development or progress.
115 hyperbole (noun)
  • Exaggerated claims or statements not intended to be taken literally.
  • An obvious exaggeration designed to leave an intended impression or effect.


116 alliteration (noun)
  • The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
117 connotation (noun)
  • An idea or meaning suggested by or associated with a word or thing:

Hollywood holds connotations of romance and glittering success.

  • The set of associations implied by a word in addition to its literal meaning.
118 denotation (noun)
  • The most specific or direct meaning of a word, in contrast to its associated meanings. (connotations)
119 penultimate (adjective)
  Second to last.
120 ultimate (adjective)
  • Being or happening at the end of a process; final.
  • Being the best or most extreme example of its kind
  • Physics: denoting the maximum