Foment (verb )

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Definitions:
To cause something bad or illegal to develop.

Synonyms:
evoke, instigate, promote, abet

Antonyms:
repress, quell, suppress

Examples:
– I believe that the new technology will foment our industry and create positive change. – Henry filed the law suit, not because he needed the money, but because he wanted to foment trouble for his former employer. – I was afraid that the letter might foment more tension, so I didn’t send it. – The activist hoped that her impassioned speech would foment positive change in the community.

Tips:
Foment is often used in business when speaking about promoting growth or development. In politics, foment is often used more negatively as a more sophisticated way of saying “incite,” or “cause trouble.” Both definitions and uses stem from stimulating or inducing a response, whether it is promoting growth and development or inciting outrage and trouble.

Frugal (adjective)

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Definitions:
Careful when using money or food, or (of a meal) cheap or small in amount.

Synonyms:
abet, agitate, arouse, brew, incite

Antonyms:
deter, discourage, calm, conclude, condemn

Examples:
– My frugal track record has led to a twenty-five percent decrease in frivolous spending. – Frugality may be a road to riches. – He has always been frugal with his money, and that is in part why he has never had money problems. – He is such a contradiction when it comes to money: sometimes he is frugal and watches every penny and other times he is frivolous and spends money without a care or second thought.

Tips:
Frugal is derived from the Latin frux, meaning “fruit, produce.” If you are frugal (cautious in spending) with the fruits of your labor, you spend you money carefully because you don’t want it to go to waste. Frugal is generally a good, positive word to describe someone who is careful with his or her money, although it can sometimes be used negatively to describe a “penny-pincher.” Frugality is the related noun, indicating the characteristic of being conservative in spending. Frugal is a good self-promotional term if you are interviewing for a position of money control. Frugal is similar in meaning to thrifty: If you are thrifty, you work hard and manage your money wisely, while frugal is used to describe a person who is less inclined to spend money and only spends money on what is necessary, without wasting it on lavish things.

Imminent (adjective)

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Definitions:
about to happen or likely to occur soon

Synonyms:
impending, forthcoming, close, threatening, near

Antonyms:
far-off, distant, unlikely

Examples:
– I’m sorry to tell you that with the latest threat, you and your family appear to be in imminent danger. – The closing of the community center appears imminent despite the efforts of the citizens to save it. – We were told the arrival of the storm was imminent. – Everyone knew a fight was imminent when the group of striking workers came face-to-face with their replacements.

Tips:
Imminent is used to describe something that is expected to occur at anytime; it often refers to something foreboding (bad that is about to happen). Imminent, impending, and forthcoming are all synonymous. Imminent and impending usually refer to negative and threatening events that are about to take place (e.g. imminent danger or impending lawsuit). Forthcoming is simply something that is expected to happen, without any negative connotation.

Meander (verb )

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Definitions:
If a river, stream, or road meanders, it follows a route that is not straight or direct.

Synonyms:
drift, ramble, roam, stray, stroll

Antonyms:
stay, straighten, twist, go direct

Examples:
– Both of these small creeks meander down to the lake. – I don’t have a definite plan for the afternoon in mind; I thought we might just meander around the park. – On our trip, we spent a lot of time meandering about the countryside without any particular destination in mind. – The long, meandering driveway led to a beautiful mansion.

Tips:
When meander is used in its first sense of “following a curving or twisting path,” it is mostly used to describe the course of a river. The second definition, “to wander,” is much more open, and is often used to denote wandering around slowly without a defined goal or destination. The word meandering can be used as an adjective, denoting wandering, strolling, or curving.

Palatable (adjective )

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Definitions:
1. Acceptable or agreeable to the palate or taste; savory. 2. Acceptable or agreeable to the mind or feelings.

Synonyms:
acceptable, appetizing, enjoyable, yummy, agreeable, flavorful

Antonyms:
unsavory, unpalatable, unappetizing

Examples:
– The band played smooth, palatable blues. – She added a dash of salt to help make the dish more palatable. – The idea wasn’t very palatable to the parties involved. – The turkey remained in the oven for way too long, making it dry and unpalatable.

Tips:
Think of the related word palate, which denotes the roof of the mouth. So, something palatable tastes good and is pleasing in the mouth. In addition to good-tasting foods, palatable is also used to describe things acceptable or desirable to one’s mind or emotions. Basically, something palatable is good or enjoyable.

Morass (noun)

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Definitions:
1. a swamp or area of low lying wetlands that make walking difficult; 2. a difficult situation that hinders or overwhelms.

Synonyms:
marsh, moor, quagmire, swamp, bog, mire

Examples:
– Sometimes I over-commit myself and end up lost in a morass of impossible deadlines. – The hikers opted to go around the morass rather than trying to cross it. – My friend was frustrated with the morass of bureaucracy that kept him waiting for a change in his visa status for several months. – The morass didn’t look very deep, but as soon I stepped down into it, I sank up to my waist.

Tips:
A morass is a marsh or swamp, both literally and figuratively. See the related word mire for additional analysis of the literal and figurative use of morass as a marsh or a swamp that bogs you down.

Mentor (noun)

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Definitions:
(n.) a well-intentioned role model, advisor, and guide to someone less experienced, knowledgeable, or mature; (v.) to serve as a counselor, teacher, or guide

Synonyms:
coach, advise, tutor

Examples:
– My boss asked me to be a mentor to one of the newer writers in our firm. – My friend Kristi mentors young, at-risk girls who need someone to look up to. – I asked the tenured professor to be my mentor and guide me on my way to becoming a professor myself. – I couldn’t have achieved the success I have today without the help of some wonderful mentors.

Tips:
The word mentor comes from the Greek character Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey. Mentor was the guide and teacher Odysseus asked to care for his son Telemachus, while he was away at war. Use the noun mentor as a more sophisticated way of referring to a teacher or someone who guides others. The verb form means “to act as a mentor to someone.”

Extort (verb)

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Definitions:
1. (Law) To wrest or wring (money, information, etc.) from a person by violence, intimidation, or abuse of authority; obtain by force, torture, threat, or the like. 2. To compel (something) of a person or thing.

Synonyms:
coerce, elicit, exact, extract, wrest, wring

Antonyms:
forfeit, give, let go, loosen, lose, offer

Examples:
– The girl decided to extort the secret from her friend by threatening to make up and spread a damaging secret of her own. – He left for Mexico after successfully extorting money from the company CEO. – He can’t expect me to pay him to be quiet; that’s extortion. – The CEO’s secretary was extorting money from him by threatening to reveal his illicit affair.

Tips:
The related word extortion is a “white collar” felony in which money is extracted from someone using threats or coercion.

Finesse (noun)

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Definitions:
1. Extreme delicacy or subtletly in action, performance, skill, discrimination, taste, etc. 2. A trick, artifice or stratagem.

Synonyms:
discretion, elegance

Antonyms:
ignorance, inability, ineptness,

Examples:
– Fred Astaire had legendary finesse on the dance floor. – The law firm’s human resources manager had such social finesse, she was able to quickly and easily solve any employee problems which arose. – They found themselves in a sticky situation and looked for a way to finesse out of it. – Let’s try to finesse our way out of this party, because I don’t want to stay, but I also don’t want to hurt the hostess’ feelings.

Tips:
Finesse denotes a deftness and grace of style, especially in a troublesome situation. James Bond could be said to have finesse in his physical agility, as well as social finesse. In the verb form, if you finesse something you are skillfully or delicately managing it.

Hasten (verb)

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Definitions:
1. to speed up the progress of an activity; 2. to go somewhere or do something quickly and without delay

Synonyms:
speed, accelerate, expedite, hustle, hurry, quicken, rush

Antonyms:
slow, delay

Examples:
– We should hasten to get to the theater so we don’t miss the beginning of the movie. – Molly hastened to hide her bad report card before her parents got home. – Is there any way to hasten this process so we don’t have to wait so long. – The loss of its largest client hastened the company’s bankruptcy.

Tips:
The verb hasten comes from the noun haste, which means “great speed.” Hasten is a somewhat formal word. It’s much more common to hear words like hurry or expedite. If you hasten something, you make it happen faster (expedite, accelerate) or you do it quickly (in a rush).