100 SAT words Beginning with "C"

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definitions & notes only words
  1. cacophonous
    having an unpleasant sound
    Shoppers mingle, traders peddle their wares and children play in the street, all to a cacophonous backdrop of roaring motorbikes and honking cars.
  2. cadaverous
    of or relating to a corpse
    These dreary, cadaverous corpses are supported in the positions which they are made to assume by means of steel wires hidden beneath their scanty robes.Ballou, Maturin Murray
  3. calamity
    an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
    In that memorable calamity seventeen lives were lost and forty persons seriously injured.Hungerford, Edward
  4. callow
    young and inexperienced
    “Marston,” he began, “drifted into the Paris ateliers from your country, callow, morbid, painfully young and totally inexperienced.Buck, Charles Neville
  5. candid
    openly straightforward and direct without secretiveness
    Mr. Obama, in an unusually candid public discussion of the Central Intelligence Agency’s covert program, said the drone strikes had not inflicted huge civilian casualties.New York Times (Jan 31, 2012)
  6. capitulate
    surrender under agreed conditions
    "Alas, no," said Bergfeld, mournfully, "the day after the battle our brave soldiers were surrounded by overwhelming forces and obliged to capitulate."Meding, Johann Ferdinand Martin Oskar
  7. capricious
    determined by chance or impulse rather than by necessity
    She remained remote and wild, suddenly breaking off our talks and displaying, where I was concerned, the most capricious and inexplicable moods.Leblanc, Maurice
  8. caricature
    represent a person with comic exaggeration
    Mrs. Strong subsequently caricatured our progress by representing me very tall with an extremely tight waistband, and Stevenson looking upward from his diminutive steed.Child-Villiers, Margaret Elizabeth Leigh
  9. cartographer
    a person who makes maps
    This monk was an excellent cartographer, or map-maker, and Christopher wished to talk with him about the western lands.Byne, Mildred Stapley
  10. castigate
    censure severely
    In particular, Kucinich castigated Obama for pursuing military intervention in Libya without congressional authorization: President Obama moved forward without Congress approving.
  11. catharsis
    purging of emotional tensions
    Not enough people use evenings out as an opportunity for catharsis.
  12. caustic
    capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action
    Though the mud only came up to ankle height, its caustic ingredients continue to eat away the foundations.
  13. cease
    put an end to a state or an activity
    The firing ceased; the smoke slowly cleared away, revealing the two fleets commingled, shattered, and torn, and strewed with dead.Headley, Joel Tyler
  14. cede
    relinquish possession or control over
    He ceded some of his powers to elected officials, while keeping the final say on issues of defense, national security and religion.
  15. chagrin
    strong feelings of embarrassment
    He watched his chance, and, at length, escaped, much to his enemies’ chagrin.Stratemeyer, Edward
  16. charisma
    personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others
    Egypt's al-Zawahri likely to succeed bin Laden For years, Osama bin Laden's charisma kept al-Qaida's ranks filled with zealous recruits.
  17. charlatan
    a flamboyant deceiver
    Like most charlatans who find it necessary to deceive the world, the physician tried to cover up his shortcomings by noisy bluster.Hornblow, Arthur
  18. chastise
    censure severely
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently chastised China in a speech she gave in which she decried Internet censorship.New York Times (Feb 2, 2010)
  19. chimerical
    produced by a wildly fanciful imagination
    Indeed during his wild and chimerical attempts for finding out a golden country, it is not improbable that this brave adventurer visited many different places.Hewatt, Alexander
  20. chronic
    long-lasting or characterized by long suffering
    Howard is expected to remain out until at least June, while Utley, battling chronic knee injuries, may not return until May.Washington Post (Apr 3, 2012)
  21. circuitous
    deviating from a straight course
    It has taken five hours to get here from Cairo via a circuitous route to avoid the Egyptian police checkpoints.
  22. circumlocution
    an indirect way of expressing something
    He got his message out bunglingly, with embarrassed circumlocution and repetition; but this was what it came to in the end.Howells, William Dean
  23. circumspect
    careful to consider potential consequences and avoid risk
    As Kaufman writes: On the strategy front, some of these groups are becoming more circumspect in campaigning against global warming, mindful of mixed public sentiment.
  24. clandestine
    conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
    "All of this is done in a very clandestine way," said Paddick, who said he had never personally seen money being exchanged.Seattle Times (Jul 7, 2011)
  25. clemency
    leniency and compassion shown toward offenders
    Then on Tuesday, his last day in office, he granted clemency or suspended sentences to more than 200 other convicts.
  26. clique
    an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose
    This little clique, this group admired her and instinctively adopted the tone which she set.Couperus, Louis
  27. coercion
    using force to cause something to occur
    Authorities are still trying to determine whether Savannah was forced to run by physical coercion or by verbal commands.Time (Feb 23, 2012)
  28. cogent
    powerfully persuasive
    The supposition is so very probable, that nothing short of very cogent reasons could induce us to abandon it.Hengstenberg, Ernst Wilhelm
  29. cognizant
    having or showing knowledge or understanding or realization
    “You have to be cognizant of the evidence out there and learn from what has been published.New York Times (Jan 4, 2011)
  30. colloquial
    characteristic of informal spoken language or conversation
    Perhaps not elegant classical Latin, but good, everyday, useful, colloquial stuff.”Fenn, George Manville
  31. collusion
    secret agreement
    Then, unless there were collusion on the part of the sentries, he must have slipped through some window, said Davies to himself.Cox, C. B.
  32. colossal
    so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe
    In the galleries are colossal figures of dragons, gods, goddesses, and heroes, groups being often carved out of one gigantic monolith.Child-Villiers, Margaret Elizabeth Leigh
  33. commence
    set in motion, cause to start
    Reaching this just at evening, he encamped there all night, and the next morning commenced crossing.Headley, Joel Tyler
  34. commiserate
    feel or express sympathy or compassion
    We had spent countless hours together drinking wine and commiserating about child-rearing, long Wisconsin winters and interrupted sleep.New York Times (Mar 24, 2011)
  35. commodious
    large and roomy
    When done their building was quite commodious, being twenty-two feet by fourteen.Mudge, Zachariah Atwell
  36. compelling
    driving or forcing
    The South African site has some compelling advantages: construction costs are lower, and it sits at a higher altitude.Scientific American (Mar 12, 2012)
  37. compensation
    something given or received as payment or reparation
    The Home Office is understood to have paid more than £1m in compensation to 40 children wrongly held in adult detention centres while seeking asylum.
  38. complacent
    contented to a fault with oneself or one's actions
    He added: "Like being a pioneer in anything, I suppose, you get complacent...We're waking up to the fact that we are lagging behind."
  39. compliant
    disposed to act in accordance with someone's wishes
    Romar said the freshmen are "such a compliant group" and "willing learner" more than any other incoming class he's had at Washington.Seattle Times (Oct 19, 2011)
  40. composure
    steadiness of mind under stress
    His heart was beating furiously under his waistcoat, but, taken aback as he was, he maintained outward composure.Weyman, Stanley J.
  41. compulsory
    required by rule
    While military service is compulsory on all Mohammedans over eighteen years of age, there are some exemptions, and substitution is allowed.Alden, John B.
  42. concede
    admit or acknowledge, often reluctantly
    He spent months defending his televised “Decision,” before finally conceding that it might not have been the greatest idea.New York Times (Dec 31, 2011)
  43. conceited
    having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    What wonder, then, that he thought of them as conceited, vain, full of pride, without merit?Morris, Clara
  44. concentric
    having a common center
    The inner bark consists of numerous concentric layers of fibers, which interlace in all directions, and thus present a great resemblance to lace.Saunders, William
  45. conciliatory
    making or willing to make concessions
    Mr. Cox was conciliatory at other moments, but politely stood firm on the basics of the bureau’s  economic model.New York Times (Apr 9, 2011)
  46. concise
    expressing much in few words
    For some purposes, concise, exactly worded definitions are needed; for other purposes, more extended descriptions are required.Pag?, Victor Wilfred
  47. conclave
    a confidential or secret meeting
    “The door is closed now, and we’re in secret conclave.”Fenn, George Manville
  48. concord
    a harmonious state of things and of their properties
    "I take it, then, that we are working in unison,—at least, in concord?"Wells, Carolyn
  49. concurrent
    occurring or operating at the same time
    St. Croix river being the boundary line between two states, the Wisconsin authorities claimed concurrent jurisdiction.Folsom, William Henry Carman
  50. condone
    excuse, overlook, or make allowances for
    Many frown on the mixing of the sexes, refusing to shake hands with women let alone condoning any sort of political activity by them.New York Times (Dec 3, 2011)
  51. confine
    place limits on
    Work in synthetic biology is still confined to laboratories, but researchers see potential for advances in energy production, medicine and other fields.Washington Post (Mar 14, 2012)
  52. conflagration
    a very intense and uncontrolled fire
    We view Europe as covering at present a smothered fire, which may shortly burst forth and produce general conflagration.Chinard, Gilbert
  53. conflate
    mix together different elements
    Cain said his rivals were wrongly attempting to conflate his plan with existing state sales taxes, saying it was like comparing apples and oranges.
  54. confluence
    a place where things merge or flow together
    Memphis is situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.Kennard, Nina H.
  55. conformity
    correspondence in form, type, or appearance
    Heretics were frightened into conformity or punished; some were driven out of the country, a few were burned to death.Sedgwick, Henry Dwight
  56. confound
    mistake one thing for another
    He is apt to denominate, however, his whole gain, profit, and thus confounds rent with profit, at least in common language.Garnier, Germain
  57. conglomerate
    a group of diverse companies under common ownership
    During his time in office, the conglomerates have added more subsidiaries and expanded into sectors usually occupied by smaller companies, like food and retail.New York Times (Feb 6, 2012)
  58. conjecture
    a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating
    He guessed how Elbel was occupied, and his conjecture was confirmed by Samba, who at once resumed his scouting work.Strang, Herbert
  59. connotation
    an idea that is implied or suggested
    “Expand” is a word with potentially positive connotations, but also virtually an infinite number of negative connotations, including violence and aggression.New York Times (Aug 9, 2010)
  60. consensus
    agreement in the judgment reached by a group as a whole
    Mr. Farmer had originally hoped to form a consensus, but later announced that he was prepared to cast the tie-breaking vote.New York Times (Dec 24, 2011)
  61. conserve
    use cautiously and frugally
    But by not making body parts they don’t need, parasites conserve energy, which they can invest in other efforts like reproduction.Scientific American (Jan 16, 2012)
  62. consolation
    the act of giving relief in affliction
    Words of consolation are but empty sounds, for to time alone it belongs to wear out the tears of affliction.Marshall, Florence A. Thomas
  63. consolidate
    bring together into a single whole or system
    The Chinese government is now trying to consolidate dozens of small rare earth mining companies into three state-owned giants.New York Times (Mar 9, 2012)
  64. conspicuous
    obvious to the eye or mind
    Their clothes are never conspicuous; they detract rather than attract attention.Bok, Edward W.
  65. consternation
    sudden shock or dismay that causes confusion
    He lifted himself up on his right elbow; to his horror and consternation, there were two or three spots of blood upon the white sheet.Jones, P.
  66. consummate
    having or revealing supreme mastery or skill
    Recipes are all thoroughly tested in consummate Cook's Illustrated style, which means you won't be wasting time with any duds.Seattle Times (Dec 18, 2010)
  67. contaminate
    make impure
    Some wells and springs are still contaminated with uranium and other toxic heavy metals, a legacy of 40 years of mining.New York Times (Apr 6, 2012)
  68. contemplate
    consider as a possibility
    He had never liked him in the old days, but he was far too good-natured to contemplate any serious bloodshed.Heyer, Georgette
  69. contemporaneous
    occurring in the same period of time
    In all cases, these materials have been introduced into the cave at some period subsequent to, or contemporaneous with, the formation of the cave.Nicholson, Henry Alleyne
  70. contrite
    feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
    At his death he was very contrite for the sins that he had committed against God before and after his baptism.Robertson, James Alexander
  71. contrived
    showing effects of planning or manipulation
    Here, team spirit feels neither corny nor contrived.New York Times (Nov 5, 2011)
  72. controversial
    marked by or capable of arousing disagreement
    Both are taking staunchly conservative positions on controversial science issues: they are against regulating carbon emissions and oppose embryonic stem-cell research.
  73. conundrum
    a difficult problem
    This could solve a conundrum for beekeepers - how to tackle the mites without damaging the bees they live so intimately with.BBC (Dec 22, 2010)
  74. converse
    carry on a discussion
    They conversed in French, but the snake made no movement.Various
  75. convivial
    occupied with or fond of the pleasures of good company
    Large family groups and neighborhood regulars fill the dining room and the long, convivial bar.New York Times (Jul 25, 2010)
  76. copious
    large in number or quantity
    During hot dry summers especially, copious waterings should be given.Weathers, John
  77. cordial
    politely warm and friendly
    My personal relations with Mr. Taft had of course always been most cordial and agreeable.Straus, Oscar S.
  78. correlation
    a statistical relation between two or more variables
    The analysis did not prove that sleeping pills cause death, critics noted, only that there may be a correlation between the two.New York Times (Mar 12, 2012)
  79. corroborate
    support with evidence or authority or make more certain
    Such resemblances can prove little or nothing unless they are corroborated by evidence based on historical grounds.Nicholson, Reynold
  80. countenance
    the appearance conveyed by a person's face
    On looking on the countenance of Mr. Barry at this moment, Mrs. Palmer was surprised to see it deadly pale.Cobbold, Richard
  81. coup
    a sudden and decisive change of government by force
    Ex-president Mohamed Nasheed says he has been forced out in a coup.
  82. covert
    secret or hidden
    Covert channels are used to transfer sensitive information outside of the enterprise without being detected by gateway security solutions.Forbes (Dec 23, 2011)
  83. coveted
    greatly desired
    Among other things of Chinese provenance earnestly coveted by us, perhaps the most desired were books.Hara, Katsuro
  84. cower
    show submission or fear
    And there, in one corner, frightened, with guilt writ plain all over her, cowered Lady.Terhune, Albert Payson
  85. craven
    lacking even the rudiments of courage; abjectly fearful
    Was it for them to follow the craven footsteps of a cowardly generation?Robinson, Victor
  86. credence
    the mental attitude that something is believable
    “I am surprised that plaintiffs’ hyperbolic allegations and inflated damage claims are given any credence,” said the bank’s top lawyer, Gary Lynch.New York Times (Aug 26, 2011)
  87. credible
    appearing to merit belief or acceptance
    So far, no credible studies have linked exposure to radio waves to cancer.Forbes (Nov 16, 2011)
  88. crestfallen
    brought low in spirit
    Week after week, he roamed the streets of New York, looking for work, and every night returned to Hoboken, crestfallen and disappointed.Gilson, Charles
  89. criterion
    the ideal in terms of which something can be judged
    Each has promised to limit child-directed advertising of its least-healthy products, focusing instead on healthier options meeting nutritional criteria that each company established independently.
  90. cryptic
    having a secret or hidden meaning
    “Lost” represented his most intricate, steadfastly cryptic mystery box, a drawn-out tease during which questions multiplied twice as fast as answers.New York Times (May 29, 2011)
  91. culminate
    end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
    Following Nevada, there are five nomination contests in February, including caucuses in Maine that started this weekend and will culminate later next week.
  92. culpable
    deserving blame or censure as being wrong or injurious
    May even the culpable be pardoned; they are punished sufficiently by remorse.Garibaldi, Giuseppe
  93. cultivate
    prepare for crops
    A farmer living in rural Ethiopia, for example, will often cultivate all of the food his family needs, selling only if there is a surplus.Scientific American (Apr 6, 2012)
  94. cultivated
    marked by refinement in taste and manners
    Dorothy admired Mrs. Faulkner's lovely gracious disposition, and her clever cultivated mind.Wells, Carolyn
  95. cumbersome
    difficult to handle or use because of size or weight
    Shabby infrastructure, cumbersome bureaucracy, a meandering tax regime and a nascent local supplier base are holding back industrial growth and more foreign investment.
  96. cumulative
    increasing by successive addition
    The unemployment rate has declined for four straight months, falling a cumulative 0.6 percentage point.
  97. cursory
    hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough
    He also said department examinations were often cursory, even though widely accepted protocols recommend detailed testing.New York Times (Jul 13, 2010)
  98. curtail
    terminate or abbreviate before its intended or proper end
    Deep-rooted corruption was curtailing justice in Pakistan, he added.New York Times (Jan 23, 2012)
  99. cyclical
    recurring in a repeated sequence of events
    “These things are cyclical, there are some years that are happier than others,” he said.New York Times (May 15, 2011)
  100. cynical
    believing the worst of human nature and motives
    He tried not to become jaded or cynical, he said, and retained hope that people who had made mistakes could turn their lives around.New York Times (Oct 7, 2011)

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