Windfall (noun)

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Definitions:
1 an apple or other fruit blown from a tree by the wind. 2 a piece of unexpected good fortune, especially a legacy.

Examples:
the inheritance from Uncle Larry was an unexpected windfall – hitting the lottery jackpot was a real windfall for the recently laid-off worker – The Belridge School, after receiving a financial windfall, purchased computers for all students and teachers. – I tend to leave the windfalls for the birds to pick at.

Retrogress (verb)

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Definitions:
go back to an earlier state, typically a worse one.

Examples:
she retrogressed to the starting point of her rehabilitation. – the current administration introduced retrogressive and disastrous policies – NASA needed to retrogress the design for the space shuttle when testing showed that some of the experimental materials wouldn’t survive reentry

Ambient (adjective)

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Definitions:
Surrounding; encircling: ambient sound; ambient air.

Examples:
the liquid is stored at below ambient temperature. – of or relating to the immediate surroundings of something: ambient conditions/lighting/noise/ Ambient music: a style of instrumental music with electronic textures and no persistent beat, used to create or enhance a mood or atmospher

Probe (verb)

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Definitions:
to search into or examine (something). 2. (noun) a careful and detailed examination.

Synonyms:
examination, inquire into, investigate, examine, look into

Antonyms:
finished

Examples:
– Investigators are probing into drug dealing in the area. – To probe something with a tool is to examine it: Using a special instrument, the doctor probed the wound for the bullet. – The probe explored allegations of corruption in the police department.

Tips:
Inchoate comes from the Latin inchoare, “to begin.” Think of something that has begun, but is far from complete.

Commensurate (adjective)

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Definitions:
corresponding in size, extend, or proportion

Synonyms:
equal, corresponding, matching, comparable, same

Antonyms:
disproportionate, mismatched

Examples:
– Lisa is finally getting a salary commensurate with her qualifications – His knowledge is not commensurate with that of someone who has been working in this field as long as he has. – We are changing our pay structure for the sales team so that pay will be commensurate with sales revenue. – I think we can all agree that pay should be commensurate with both experience and productivity.

Tips:
Commensurate comes from the Latin mensura, “to measure.” Things that can be equally measured are commensurate, or proportionate, to one another. Commensurate is often used in the context of salary, as in: “salary commensurate with experience.”

Brunt (noun)

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Definitions:
the brunt of the main force of something unpleasant. To bear/carry/get the brunt of something, esp. something unpleasant, is to suffer the main force of it.

Synonyms:
full force, weight

Examples:
The infantry have taken/borne the brunt of the missile attacks. – Small companies are feeling the full brunt of the recession. – He claimed that the middle class would bear the brunt of the tax increase.

Grapple (verb and noun)

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Definitions:
1. Verb: Engage in a close fight or struggle without weapons; wrestle. 2. archaic: seize or hold with a grappling hook. Noun: 1. An act of grappling. 2. An instrument of seizing hold of something; a grappling hook.

Synonyms:
battle, cope, struggle, wrestle

Examples:
– He grappled with his choices for several days before he finally came to a decision. – She grappled with the decision of whether or not to take the job across the country. – Weve been grappling with outdated computers for too long, and it about time we got some new equipment. – Once the extreme fighters went down and were grappling on the mat, wrestling skill became paramount to victory.

Tips:
Literally, grappling is a form of hand-to-hand combat. In business and personal life, to grapple with something is to struggle, cope, or come to terms with it.

Protract (verb)

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Definitions:
lengthen in time; cause to be or last longer

Examples:
I have no desire to protract the process. – The journalist wrote about the protracted lawsuit against the corporation – The opposition will try to protract the discussion

Adroit (adjective)

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Definitions:
displaying physical or mental skill

Synonyms:
skilled, clever, expert, inventive

Antonyms:
maladroit, unskilled, clumsy, dense

Examples:
– The repair was not difficult for the adroit handyman. – Barry’s adroit driving helped to avoid a serious accident. – The Senator has become a politically adroit advocate of long-overdue reforms, bringing several important bills before congress. – The attorney was known as an adroit litigator.

Tips:
Adroit is derived from the French adroit, by right. The meaning skillful evolved from the idea of doing something “right”–correctly, properly, or well. Adroit is related to adept and deft. See deft for additional analysis.

Scornful (noun, ,, verb)

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Definitions:
a very great lack of respect for someone or something that you think is stupid or worthless. contemptuous: feeling or expressing great contempt for somebody or something

Examples:
She has nothing but scorn for the new generation of politicians. – So does he respect the press and media, or does he secretly scorn them? – You scorned all my suggestions. – They are openly scornful of the new plans. – She feels nothing but scorn for people who sympathize more with criminals than with their victims.