Joke (noun and verb )

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Definitions:
1. Noun: A thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline. 2. Verb: make jokes; talk humorously or flippantly.

Synonyms:
jest, quip, gag, pun, laugh

Antonyms:
tragedy, doom, end, error

Examples:
“I regarded his campaign for major as a joke”. “What a wasted joke, on an unappreciative audience”.

Origins:
Late 17th century (originally slang): perhaps from Latin jocus ‘jest, wordplay’

Uncouth (adjective)

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Definitions:
rude and without refinement.

Synonyms:
crude, unrefined, unpolished, crass, ill-mannered, rude, boorish

Antonyms:
refined, polite, sophisticated

Examples:
– My uncouth uncle uses his shirt for a napkin. – At the wedding, it would be uncouth to talk about how much you liked the groom’s first wife more than his new one. – Mary’s new boyfriend seems like an uncouth, opinionated boor. – It was really uncouth of you to make that comment about how much more money you make than your coworker.

Tips:
Uncouth is derived from the Old English uncuo, which means “unfamiliar, unknown.” Picture someone unfamiliar with good manners. Uncouth is generally used to describe actions or people who are ill-mannered or unrefined. Uncouth is synonymous with boorish. Both words describe ill-mannered behavior. Uncouth is ill-mannered and unrefined, while boorish is ill-mannered and crass (vulgar). Boorish also has a noun form, boor.

Paltry (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. not worthy of consideration; 2. so small as to be contemptible.

Synonyms:
tiny, meager, negligible, pathetic, despicable, scant, pitiful

Antonyms:
significant, grand, substantial

Examples:
My paltry salary is barely enough to cover my rent. I’m tired of your paltry excuses. They served a paltry meal, leaving everyone hungry and irritable. I took it as an insult when I was offered a paltry sum of money for my painting.

Tips:
Paltry is a good word to use to describe something that is “laughably small.”

Tractable (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. easily managed, controlled, or dealt with; 2. easily influenced

Synonyms:
submissive, compliant, workable, controllable, amenable

Antonyms:
intractable, inflexible, stubborn

Examples:
– My car problems were not as tractable as I had originally thought, and instead of trying to have them fixed, I sold the car and bought a new one. – The loud and outspoken secretary was replaced by a more tractable one. – If I don’t blow dry my hair in the morning, it’s anything but tractable. – It can be easy for marketers to influence tractable young minds.

Tips:
Tractable is derived from the Latin tractabilis, which means “manageable.” The word treaty also has the same source. Tractable is most often used when describing things that are easily molded or controlled. See also intractable, which has the opposite meaning.

Pittance (noun)

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Definitions:
A very small amount of money, especially money received as payment, income or a present.

Synonyms:
rationing, insufficiency, trifle, inadequacy

Antonyms:
abundance, plenty

Examples:
– It’s a pity that you work for such a pitiful pittance. – I didn’t accept her apology because it didn’t show even a pittance of sincerity. – After taxes and attorney’s fees, she only received a pittance of the original settlement. – Fresh out of college, many young people work for a pittance just to gain some experience.

Tips:
Think of the related word pitiful, which means “unfortunate.” A pittance is a pitiful amount.

Rapacious (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. greedy and using force to take things; 2. needing and consuming large quantities of food; 3. existing by catching and devouring live prey.

Synonyms:
greedy, voracious, carnivorous, ravenous, predatory, demanding

Antonyms:
giving, vegetarian, sharing

Examples:
– During the riots, rapacious looters stole merchandise from the stores. – The rapacious tiger bit down on its trainer’s arm. – The children weren’t taught good table manners, so they ate in a rapacious way. – He had a rapacious appetite and usually ate most of the food in my refrigerator whenever he came to visit.

Tips:
Like the related word rape, rapacious comes from the Latin word rapere, which means “to seize.” A bird of prey, one who hunts and eats small animals, is called a raptor. Rapacious describes someone or something that seizes what it wants in a greedy, forceful way, like a raptor.

Omniscient (adjective )

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Definitions:
having or seeming to have unlimited knowledge: God is omniscient

Synonyms:
all-seeing

Examples:
– If God is omniscient, then He knows everything that will ever happen to me in my life. – Since he believes God to be omniscient, he accepts the idea that God can hear many prayers at once. – This novel is written from the third-person, omniscient perspective; that is, the audience gets to see things from all the characters’ perspectives. – He seemed to know everything about me, but surely, he couldn’t be omniscient.

Tips:
Omniscient is derived from the Latin omni, “all” and scire, “to know.” It is most often used to describe God. Omniscience has the same origins and refers to all-encompassing knowledge. Omnipotent is a related word from the same root of omni, “all” and potent, “powerful” and refers to something that is “all powerful,” like God.

Sumptuous (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. of superior quality; 2. magnificent, grand, and lavish, especially when created at great expense.

Synonyms:
luxurious, magnificent, extravagant, impressive, lavish, grand, deluxe, expensive

Antonyms:
cheap, poor, humble, inferior, simple, low-key

Examples:
– They enjoyed a sumptuous dinner each night of the cruise. – She splurged on a sumptuous dress for her daughter’s wedding. – He decided to buy a sumptuous luxury car. – Our suite at the hotel in Hawaii was sumptuous and perfect for our honeymoon.

Tips:
Sumptuous is derived from the Latin sumptuosus, which means “expensive.” Sumptuous refers to things that are luxurious or expensive. Sumptuous is synonymous with extravagant and lavish and is a great word to describe things that are luxurious and expensive. Use extravagant and lavish to describe something that is abundant and excessive–lavish and extravagant are characterized by excess.

Minutiae (noun)

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Definitions:
The small, precise, or trivial details of something.

Synonyms:
trivia, details, particulars, minor detail

Antonyms:
key factor, gist, generality, hot potato

Examples:
The minutiae of everyday life. – The captain cannot be concerned with the minutiae of shipboard life

Arduous (adjective)

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Definitions:
1. requiring great physical endurance or exertion; 2. requiring great mental effort; 3.steep or demanding

Synonyms:
difficult, laborious

Antonyms:
easy, effortless, simple

Examples:
– J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings details an arduous journey made by an unlikely hero. – The athlete’s success can be attributed to a combination of natural ability and arduous training. – He was given the arduous task of managing the global product launch in 20 countries and in 12 different languages. – Only a few volunteered for the arduous military mission.

Tips:
The original meaning of arduous was “steep.” Because anything steep is typically difficult to climb and overcome, the word eventually took on the more general meaning of “difficult.” Arduous is a more sophisticated way of describing something difficult or laborious.