Drawl (verb and noun)

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Definitions:
Verb 1. Speak in a slow, lazy way with prolonged vowel sounds. Noun 2. A slow, lazy way of speaking or an accent with prolonged vowel sounds.

Synonyms:
chant, drone, extend, intone, nasalize

Antonyms:
abbreviate, shorten, clip, curtail

Examples:
– The singer’s Southern drawl was evident even when he sang. – He drawled when he spoke, so that all his words ran together as one. – I find his Texas drawl to be rather charming. – I like the slow and deliberate tone of a Southern drawl; I think it can sound very sophisticated.

Tips:
Drawl comes from a Middle Dutch word, dralen, which means “linger or delay.” When you speak slowly and draw out your vowels, you drawl. You have probably heard someone refer to an accent from the American South as a “Southern Drawl.”

Vociferous (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. Crying out noisily; clamorous 2. Characterized by or uttered with vociferation. A vociferous manner of expression.

Synonyms:
loud, ranting, shrill, boisterous, shouting, noisy

Antonyms:
quiet

Examples:
– The vociferous strikers chanted and yelled at anyone who crossed the picket line. – Oddly, the most vociferous of the politician’s critics is his own daughter. – The vociferous coach yelled at the players throughout the entire game. – I finally succumbed to his vociferous demands because I was tired of hearing them day after day.

Tips:
Vociferous is derived from the Latin vocis, “voice” and ferre, “to carry.” Picture making your voice carry, as with very loud shouting. Vociferous people express themselves very loudly and repeatedly. For a memory trick, note how vociferous looks and sounds like “voice is ferocious.” Think of a loud cry, almost a roar, coming out of someone who is vociferous. Vociferous is often used to describe a loud group of protestors, as they are both loud and repetitious in their protests.

Virtuous (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. of moral and ethical integrity; 2. not having sexual intercourse with anyone except a spouse

Synonyms:
moral, scrupulous, good, chaste, principled

Antonyms:
unethical, immoral, dishonest

Examples:
– I haven’t had any alcohol for almost a month, so I’m feeling quite virtuous. – She thinks she’s more virtuous than everyone else and exhibits it in her “holier than thou” attitude. – You can’t always be so virtuous with your diet; eat a piece of chocolate every now and then. – Honesty and patience are important virtues.

Tips:
The word virtuous is related to the word virtue. Someone who is virtuous exhibits virtue, which is defined as “an admirable quality or attribute–excellence.”

Strident (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. (of a sound) loud and harsh; grating. 2. Presenting a point of view, especially a controversial one, in an excessively forceful way.

Synonyms:
blatant, jarring, loud, raucous

Antonyms:
quiet, silent, soft, subdued, mild

Examples:
He had grown portly and red-faced, and talked in a strident voice. A strident dame, this, in red stain and diamonds, insisting that she is a lady.

Pontificate (verb)

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Definitions:
Verb 1. Express one’s opinion in a pompous and dogmatic way. 2. (in The Roman Catholic Church) officiate as bishop, especially at Mass.

Synonyms:
expound, preach, expatiate

Antonyms:
ask, deliberate

Examples:
– If you don’t have kids, then you really shouldn’t pontificate about the best way to raise a child. – I get tired of listening to different economists pontificate about the future of our economy, especially since they always contradict one another and nobody ever seems to get it right. – It’s funny to watch the political pundits pontificate as if they are smartest people on the planet. – I have a feeling he’s going to get up and pontificate about the subject as if he’s the foremost authority.

Tips:
Pontificate is derived from the same Latin word that gives us pontiff, or “pope.” When people pontificate on a subject, they act like they have most expert and authoritative opinion on that subject.

Revive (verb)

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Definitions:
1. to bring back to life; 2. to give new life or energy to something; 3. to restore and renew

Examples:
– I was so tired this afternoon, but that strong coffee revived me. – I was afraid my plants would be totally dead when I came home from vacation, but they revived as soon as I gave them water. – I don’t think anything but a good night’s sleep can revive my energy. – The paramedics revived the unconscious man after several minutes.

Tips:
Revive comes from the Latin word revivere, “to make live again.” When you revive something or something is revived, it’s brought back to life, essentially renewed.

Jettison (verb and noun)

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Definitions:
Verb 1. Throw or drop (something) from an aircraft or ship. Noun 1. The action of jettisoning something. “the jettison lever”

Synonyms:
abandon, discard, unload, expel

Antonyms:
retain

Examples:
– As ratings dropped, the TV station jettisoned educational broadcasts. – Seawater filled the ship so rapidly that the sailors began to frantically jettison unnecessary items. – We had to jettison 10 slides from our presentation to meet the allotted 30 minute time limit. – We were forced to jettison some of our ideas when it became clear that our plans were too elaborate.

Tips:
Jettison is a sailing term that literally means “throw off the ship.” Jettison is used figuratively to describe discarding anything unnecessary. In business, you can state “intent to jettison plans” to somewhat dramatically emphasize rejection of them. This is a way of saying “toss out” with emphasis.

Insolent (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. disrespectful and rude; 2. unrestrained by convention.

Synonyms:
impolite, disrespectful, abusive, brassy, arrogant

Antonyms:
respectful, considerate

Examples:
– The insolent child always talked back to his mother. – His insolent behavior got him thrown out of the courtroom. – He is an insolent fool and is not welcome in my house! – That kind of insolence will not be tolerated in my classroom; you may come back when you’ve learned some respect.

Tips:
Insolent comes from the Latin word insolens, which means “unusual, arrogant.” Someone who is insolent is unusually rude and arrogant, without regard to social courtesy or propriety. The noun insolence denotes the characteristic of being aggressively and extremely rude or disrespectfully arrogant. Insolent is a very strong critique that is often used to describe children who are rude, disrespectful, and “mouthy.” Insolent is a particularly harsh critique if you use it to describe an adult. Insolent is synonymous with impudent, impertinent, and brazen.

Falter (verb)

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Definitions:
1. To lose strength or purpose and stop, or almost stop. 2. To move awkwardly as if you might fall.

Synonyms:
stumble, vacillate, stammer, hesitate, waver

Antonyms:
steady, persist

Examples:
– Her voice faltered as she tried to confess through her tears. – She was resolute, and nothing could cause her to falter from her commitment. – The speaker momentarily faltered when he realized his slides were out of order. – Try not to falter on the witness stand, because the jury may take it as a sign of guilt.

Tips:
Falter can literally mean “to stumble.” For a memory trick, note how falter sounds like “fall and alter” combined. Now, imagine a priest trips and falters (stumbles), then falls off the alter at mass. Falter can be used to describe any kind of figurative stumble. For example, if a business falters, it stumbles and no longer has success. If you falter in a speech, you lose your footing and composure for a moment. Falter can also be used as a noun, referring to the act of faltering.

Halcyon (adjective)

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Definitions:
(adj.) 1. peaceful and calm; 2. happy and carefree; (n.) 1. a mythical bird thought to have brought calm to the seas; 2. a kingfisher.

Synonyms:
quiet, still, gentle, serene

Antonyms:
agitated

Examples:
– Once they’re back at school, children usually miss the halcyon days of summer vacation. – The vacationers at the lake were greeted with the colorful sight of a young halcyon searching for breakfast. – The sea went from stormy and turbulent to calm and halcyon. – I love the lake when it is serene and halcyon.

Tips:
The word halcyon comes from Greek mythology, where it referred to a bird that had the power to bring calm to the seas during its nesting time (the winter solstice). In modern usage and as an adjective, halcyon has come to describe happy, carefree, and peaceful times. It also refers to a type of bird, otherwise known as a “kingfisher.”