Fringe (noun)

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Synonyms:
edge, benefit, perk, reward

Antonyms:
middle, center

Examples:
The group existed on the fringe of society, considering themselves more enlightened than the rest., One fringe benefit of teaching is having summers off., I would say the movie was on the fringe of being obscene, but not over the line., My neighborhood is located on the western fringe of the city limit.

Tips:
Literally, fringe refers to the edge or the outer edge of something. Think of it as anything that is outside the middle or outside the norm. Figuratively, fringe is used a number of different ways. A fringe benefit is a perk outside of regular compensation. A group or person on the “fringe of society” would be on the outside of the common ground in views, ideas, behavior, or even appearance. Fringe even refers to the trim or embellishment on the edge of fabric.

Siphon (verb)

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Definitions:
(verb) draw off or convey (liquid) by means of a siphon. Figurative draw off or transfer over a period of time, esp. illegally or unfairly.

Examples:
I let the stranded motorist siphon some of my gas so he could be on his way, Investigators discovered that the so-called charitable organization was siphoning funds to a terrorist organization, Over the years, she siphoned off hundreds of thousands of dollars from various accounts., The new out-of-town supermarket has siphoned off business from the town centre.

Fluster (verb)

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Definitions:
To make (someone) agitated or confused. (noun) a state of nervous or irritated concern

Synonyms:
unsettle, unnerve, ruffle, bother, disquiet, agitate, put on edge, make nervous, upset

Antonyms:
state of anxiety, panic, state of agitation, frenzy, nervous state

Examples:
All the yelling on the bus put the driver in a fluster, There was a general fluster in the group when I asked my awkward question, A state of nervous or irritated concern, The important thing when you’re cooking for a lot of people is not to get in a fluster, If I look flustered it’s because I’m trying to do about twenty things at once., Don’t let that new tax form fluster you — it’s not as bad as it looks.

Fluke (noun)

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Definitions:
unlikely chance occurrence, esp. a surprising piece of luck.

Examples:
It was a fluke that I was able to get into his class since so many other students were vying for the last spot., He’s been studying extra hard to prove to his parents that the “A” on his last test wasn’t just a fluke., I hope our victory wasn’t just a fluke., It was a fluke that I ran into him at a party and we hit it off so well.

Tips:
The word fluke is an informal term for something good that happens by surprise or accident, rather than plan.

Rebut (verb)

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Definitions:
(verb) claim that (evidence or an accusation) is false

Examples:
She has rebutted charges that she has been involved in any financial malpractice., She issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the company’s accusations., He appeared on TV to rebut charges that he had an extramarital affair., Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe effectively rebutted any lingering notions that the earth is flat Synynyms: deny, contradict, controvert, repudiate,

Tips:
Rebut means “attempt to refute.” Refute means “defeat (countervailing arguments).” Thus one who rebuts certainly hopes to refute; it is immodest to assume, however, that one has refuted another’s arguments.

Rudimentary (adjective)

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Definitions:
(adjective) involving or limited to basic principles, of or relating to an immature, undeveloped, or basic form

Synonyms:
basic, elementary, underdeveloped

Antonyms:
advanced

Examples:
In my undergraduate chemistry course, all we learned were rudimentary theories and facts., In order to be a successful structural engineer, it is helpful to have at least a rudimentary understanding of mechanical engineering., Our plans are still rudimentary, but we feel confident that we can make this business model work., Here is a rudimentary outline for next week’s presentation; please get back to me with any comments so that I can address them in the next version

Tips:
In biology, rudimentary describes an organ that is underdeveloped or undeveloped. Rudimentary is often used to describe something that is very basic and simple, with the idea that something more complete or elaborate will come. Remember: rudimentary rhymes with elementary.

Stymie (verb)

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Definitions:
(verb) To prevent or hinder the progress of

Synonyms:
hinder, stall, impediment, block

Antonyms:
help

Examples:
The politician tried to stymie the bill in order to prevent the legislation from passing., The new legislation is likely to stymie economic growth., The elderly woman somehow stymied her attacker., The turbulent waters were a stymie in the effort to rescue the drowning victim.

Tips:
Stymie refers to both the physical and intellectual hindering of actions or progress. Stymie is also a specialized golf term and refers to the situation where a player’s golf ball blocks the line between another player’s ball and the hole.

Ulterior (adjective)

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Definitions:
(adjective) existing beyond what is obvious or admitted; intentionally hidden, beyond what is immediate or present; coming in the future

Antonyms:
uncovered, present

Examples:
Jane told me she married the millionaire because she loved him, but I think she also had an ulterior motive., The politician says he will raise taxes to help the needy, but his opponents claim he has an ulterior agenda., After presenting their proposal at the meeting, the city council listened to the ulterior views of citizens., His idea was ulterior to the present topic of discussion, so I asked to hear about it at a later time.

Tips:
Ulterior is derived from the Latin ulterior, which means “distant, further.””Ulterior motives” is a common phrase in Modern English. It refers to the hidden motives behind a person’s actions or statements.

Condescend (verb)

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Definitions:
do something in a haughty way, as though it is below one’s dignity or level of importance, show feelings of superiority; patronize

Synonyms:
patronize, stoop

Examples:
I wonder if the big celebrity will condescend to attend the local charity event., Her condescending tone irritated me, since we are, in fact, equals., Don’t condescend yourself and lower your standards for employment; there are other jobs out there., The arrogant professor was known for speaking to his students in a condescending manner.

Tips:
To condescend someone is to talk down to that person, to patronize. To condescend also means to “lower yourself” and associate yourself with people or activities that you believe to be beneath you. Condescending is the adjective form of condescend. It describes acting in a snobbish, haughty, or superior manner. If you are being condescending, you are talking down to someone. Condescend is synonymous with patronize. See patronizing for additional analysis.

Flunky (noun)

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Definitions:
a person who performs relatively menial tasks for someone else, esp. obsequiously.

Synonyms:
attendant, butler

Examples:
Since I’m just the flunky who files his papers, I’ve no idea where he is, A rock star who saw through the phonies and the flunkies, He could snap his fingers and get his flunky to do it., A flunky brought us drinks, Government flunkies searched his offices

Origins:
The word flunky has come into Standard English from Scots, in which the word meant “liveried manservant, footman,” coming at least by the 19th century to be a term of contempt. The word is first recorded and defined in a work about Scots published in 1782. The definition states that a flunky is “literally a sidesman or attendant at your flank,” which gives support to the suggestion that flunky is a derivative and alteration of flanker, “one who stands at a person’s flank.”