Loggerheads (phrase)

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Definitions:
(phrase) Engaged in a dispute; stalemate, to argue without conclusion or agreement

Examples:
The council was at loggerheads with the government over the grant allocation, The European Union and United States are at loggerheads over how to reduce greenhouse gases, The Senate and the House are still at loggerheads over the most crucial parts of the bill., The company’s two divisions were said to have been at loggerheads frequently.

Despair (noun, /, verb)

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Definitions:
To lose all hope; to be in a no-win situation, no way of improvement

Synonyms:
desperation, forlornness, hopelessness, despondency

Antonyms:
hope, hopefulness

Examples:
The endless drought drove the farmers to despair, The other team’s temporary lead caused some momentary despair, The refugees are full of hatred and despair., She flung up her arms in despair and wailed., He’s the despair of his parents because he shows no interest in getting a job.

Misconception (noun)

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Definitions:
(noun) A mistaken thought, idea, notion, a misunderstanding.

Synonyms:
misunderstanding

Examples:
Public misconceptions about AIDS remain high, it is a popular misconception that toilets flush in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere, We hope our work will help to change popular misconceptions about disabled people., I’d like to clear up the common misconception that American society is based on money., The plan to build the road through the forest is wholly misconceived.

Ambidextrous (adjective)

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Definitions:
Able to use both hands with equal facility; unusually skilful.

Examples:
Only a few of us are naturally ambidextrous., Mark’s dad is an ambidextrous surgeon.

Origins:
mid 17th cent: from Latin ambi- ‘on both sides’ + dexter ‘right-handed’

Barter (verb)

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Definitions:
To trade by exchanging one commodity for another, the trade of good, services without exchange of money to exchange goods for other things rather than for money.

Examples:
He bartered his stamp collection for her comics., We spent a whole hour bartering with stallholders for souvenirs., They bartered grain for salt., In the marketplace, you can barter for souvenirs by offering jeans and lipstick.

Errant (adjective)

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Definitions:
straying from the proper course, or standards, wandering outside the established limits, aimless or irregular in motion

Synonyms:
misbehaving

Examples:
An errant leaf blew onto the table in front of us., The errant child issued a shy apology to her teacher., I think my cat’s errant behavior and neurotic tendencies are funny., The errant child tried to run away from home whenever he got upset with his parents.

Tips:
Errant is derived from the Latin errare, “to wander.” The word error is also derived from this Latin root. Think, wandering off course or wandering off the right path, both literally and figuratively. An errant child is one who is either taking the wrong road home or is misbehaving and not taking the right course of action. The term knight-errant refers to a knight who wanders about looking for adventure or excitement.

Bliss (noun)

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Definitions:
complete happiness, extreme happiness, ecstasy

Synonyms:
joy, pleasure, ecstasy, happiness, delight

Antonyms:
misery

Examples:
Two weeks lying on a beach is my idea of absolute bliss., The wedded bliss of a happily married couple, We spent a blissful year together before things started to go wrong, All this time I was blissfully unaware of the situation. bliss (sb) out: to become, or to make someone, completely happy: I like to go off on my own – to sit back and bliss out in a darkened move theater. They sat two by two, blissed out in the sunshine.

Enigma (noun)

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Definitions:
Something hard to understand, explain, and inscrutable or mysterious person. It also means a very difficult problem, a brainteaser, a riddle

Synonyms:
paradox

Examples:
Her enigmatic smile made me wonder what was on her mind., How such an inept person became CEO for a major corporation, is truly an enigma., Everyone joked that it was an enigma that the perpetually late employee made it to work on time., He’s very difficult to figure out; an enigma, really.

Tips:
In the history of cryptography, the Enigma was a portable cipher machine used to encrypt and decrypt secret messages. Today, an enigma is something that’s difficult, if not impossible, to explain–something obscure and mysterious. Enigma is a good word to use for things that are rare and puzzling. Enigma is similar in meaning to paradox and anomaly. Enigma is best used to describe a mystery–either a person or something that is not easily explained or understood. A paradox is more of a puzzle or a contradiction; for example, “the famous paradox of what came first, the chicken or the egg.” Finally, an anomaly is an irregularity that seems to differ from the norm. You will often hear anomaly used in a statistical context: if statistically something is supposed to happen, but it doesn’t, it’s usually characterized as an anomaly. The related adjective is enigmatic, which means “hard to understand or interpret.”

Ascertain (verb)

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Definitions:
To make certain, exact, precise, to find out or learn with certainty

Synonyms:
substantiate, determine, discover, confirm, learn, conclude, unearth

Antonyms:
conjecture, surmise, assume, guess

Examples:
How do you plan to ascertain the accuracy of this report?, Before you begin investing in the stock market, it is important that you ascertain the amount of risk you are willing to incur., The investigators have not been able to ascertain the cause of the accident., We should ascertain that we have the right directions before heading out.

Tips:
Notice the word “certain” within the word ascertain. The words are closely related, and ascertain essentially means “to make certain.” Ascertain is a more sophisticated way of saying “confirm” or “determine.” If something is described as ascertainable, it means that it can be determined or confirmed with certainty.

Hotfoot (verb)

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Definitions:
(verb) To go in hast, walk fast, run (often used with ‘it’ (hotfoot it))

Synonyms:
bolt, dash

Examples:
She’d come hotfoot from the palace with the latest news., He walked in and I hotfooted it out the back door., You’d better hotfoot it down to the video shop before it closes., He lowered his plane hotfoot onto a pasture when the engine started to sputter Did you know: Hot foot is the practical joke of lighting a match that has been secretly inserted between the sole and upper of a victim’s shoe.