Possum (noun)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
(Noun) 1 pretend to be asleep or unconscious when threatened (in imitation of an opossum’s behavior). 2 feign ignorance. A possum is a tree-dwelling Australasian marsupial. Its an animal that pretends to be unconscious or dead (as an opossum does when threatened).

Examples:
I don’t think he’s really asleep. He’s playing possum.

Protagonist (noun)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
(Noun) the main figure or one of the most prominent figures in a real situation, an advocate or champion of a particular cause or idea.

Synonyms:
lead, leader, supporter, champion

Antonyms:
opponent, critic

Examples:
The story’s biggest problem is that it lacks a strong protagonist., She was a protagonist for women’s issues and championed many cultural changes., The audience did not seem happy when the protagonist of the play died at the end, and the antagonist survived, I have long been a protagonist for animal rights and have fought to keep the humane society in my neighborhood open.

Tips:
Protagonist is derived from the Greek protagonistes, “actor who plays the chief part.” It comes from protos, “first” and agonistes, “actor, competitor.” The word’s second meaning of “supporter” was derived after people misread protagonistes as meaning “for a competitor.” Therefore, a protagonist can be the champion of a cause, although the word “advocate” is probably a better choice in this context. The opposite word, antagonist is someone who opposes and fights against the protagonist, whether in fiction or real-life.

Consolidate (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
1. reinforce or strengthen (one’s position or power). 2. combine (a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole. 3.become stronger or more solid

Synonyms:
strengthen, stabilize, unite

Examples:
The board plans to consolidate several schools into one regional high school., Another win would consolidate their hold on first place in their division., The success of their major product consolidated the firm’s position in the market., The company is entering a period of consolidation (= becoming better and stronger at what it does).

Tips:
Consolidate implies a merger of distinct and separate elements, but the emphasis here is on achieving greater compactness, strength, or efficiency.

Bolster (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
To support or strengthen; prop up, provide (a seat) with padded support, to lift up.

Antonyms:
undermine, discourage

Examples:
The campaigners set out to bolster their candidate’s public image., The athlete surged ahead to win the race, bolstered by applause and cheers from the spectators., Your patience and support really bolstered my spirit during a difficult time., The doctor said that I should get a bolster to help with my back pain.

Tips:
When bolster is used as a noun, it refers to a long, supportive pillar or a load-spreading beam in a building. Thus, the verb takes on the same meaning of supporting or upholding when used figuratively. Use the verb bolster to describe situations where you are supporting, encouraging, or propping someone or something up to make them stronger. Bolster is more focused on making something stronger, often for defense. For example: you would bolster (lift up, prop up) morale.

Earsplitting (adjective)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
Distressingly loud or shrill. Marked by a high volume of sound

Synonyms:
Deafening

Examples:
The earsplitting noise coming from the jackhammers at the construction site, After the ear-splitting explosion there were ear-piercing screams, After the flash there was an ear-splitting crack of thunder.

Elucidate (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
To make (something) clear; explain

Synonyms:
clarify, illuminate, interpret, explain, explicate

Examples:
I’m a bit confused, so I am hoping that you can elucidate the meaning of these numbers for me., It wasn’t until the end of the film that the main character’s confusing course of action was elucidated., I would be happy to elucidate the matter so that you can fully understand what happened here., It would be helpful for you to elucidate your reasoning to make everything clear.

Tips:
Elucidate is related to the English word lucid or “clear.” When you elucidate something, you make it more clear and easy to understand. Both lucid and elucidate are derived from the same Latin word that means “light.” Think: when you elucidate, you shine light on something that was previously dark or unclear, so now it is clear and easily understood.

Invigorate (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
(verb) give strength or energy to, impart vigor, strength, or vitality to

Synonyms:
refresh, revive

Examples:
We were completely invigorated by the chilly autumn air, The need to invigorate the peace process in the Middle East, They argued that a cut in the tax rate would invigorate the economy., The fresh air and sunshine invigorated the children after a long day indoors

Tips:
Invigorate and vitalize both mean to fill with vigor or energy, but the former refers to physical energy (invigorated by the climb up the mountain), while the latter implies that energy has been imparted in a nonphysical sense (to vitalize an otherwise dull meeting).

Hurtle (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
(verb) move at a great speed, typically in a wildly uncontrolled manner, cause to move in such a way.

Synonyms:
speed, run, sprint, dash, charge, bolt, career, race

Examples:
The truck came hurtling towards us., The explosion sent pieces of metal and glass hurtling through the air., The truck hurtled along at breakneck speed., He hurtled his spear at the tiger as it leaped toward him, They hurtled out of the classroom and into the gymnasium

Exonerate (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
(verb) (esp. of an official body) absolve (someone) from blame for a fault or wrongdoing, esp. after due consideration of the case. To release someone from (a duty or obligation).

Synonyms:
exculpate, dismiss, free, acquit, except

Antonyms:
convict, bind, incriminate

Examples:
– Even when someone is exonerated of crimes of child abuse, the public may still harbor doubts., The mentally ill woman was on permanent disability, and therefore her debts were finally exonerated., He was exonerated of all charges against him and was free to leave the prison immediately., In court, we proved that we did not owe him any money, and we were exonerated from having to pay him.

Tips:
Exonerate is derived from the Latin ex-, “free from” with onus, “burden.” Think, to free from the burden of guilt. Exonerate is similar to exculpate and vindicate in its meaning “to absolve of guilt,” but exonerate also means “to release from an obligatory debt or duty.” Exonerate is most commonly used in the past tense, exonerated. The noun exoneration means “the lifting or erasing of charges.”

Hone (verb)

VIEW ANSWER
BACK TO WORD

Definitions:
(verb) make sharper or more focused or efficient, sharpen with a whetstone.

Synonyms:
sharpen, perfect, whet, refine

Examples:
Olympic swimmers spend hours working to hone their technique to perfection., The metal worker spends time honing steel into sharp blades suitable for fine quality knives., If you want to be a shooting guard, you are going to need to further hone your jump shot., He was able to hone his debating skills on his college debate team, which is one of the reasons the attorney is so quick on his feet.

Tips:
Hone is often misused in the expression “to hone in on something.” This is incorrect: the phrase should be “to home in.” You may have also heard the correct use of hone, as in “hone (refine, sharpen, perfect) your skills.” Think of the literal definition for hone of “sharpening a blade.”