Good words with meaning and examples

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  1. mendicant
    a pauper who lives by begging
    In others are the broken-down mendicants who live on soup-kitchens and begging.
  2. meretricious
    tastelessly showy
    Mediocre actors are often undone by great material, but good ones can burnish even meretricious nonsense with craft and conviction.
  3. vitiate
    make imperfect
    The new blood, however, instead of redeeming the tainted stock, itself became vitiated.
  4. vapid
    lacking significance or liveliness or spirit or zest
    Tired of constantly hearing this same vapid truism, I asked him, ‘What then?
  5. ruddy
    inclined to a healthy reddish color
    The prime minister, his face ruddy with disdain, responded by calling Balls a “muttering idiot.”
  6. bourgeois
    being of the property-owning class
    Ashamed of being only a bourgeois, he was squandering his fortune at Paris under an assumed title.
  7. augur
    predict from an omen
    Republicans believe the special election augurs well for them in November.
  8. prosaic
    lacking wit or imagination
    But inside Greece, local leaders are struggling with more prosaic concerns, like trash pickups.
  9. profligate
    unrestrained by convention or morality
    German voters are even more skeptical than their leaders about financing their “slothful” and “ profligate” neighbors.
  10. hoary
    having gray or white hair as with age
    By thy glad youth, and tranquil prime Assured, I smile at hoary time!
  11. blase
    nonchalantly unconcerned
    Westwood is blase about going to next week's major as world number one or being favorite to win at Royal St George's.
  12. insular
    narrowly restricted in outlook or scope
    And yet, Japanese firms have remained largely insular, resisted change, and doubled down on existing strategies.
  13. baleful
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    There were no baleful stares at his box, only fist pumps after winning a well-played point.
  14. ostensible
    appearing as such but not necessarily so
    Google insists its data gathering practice is done for the ostensible purpose of better serving its users.
  15. odium
    hate coupled with disgust
    It is now forgotten that with one exception—Johnson—no President ever went out of office so loaded with odium as Washington.
  16. obsequious
    attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
    An obsequious servant brings me a rump steak, grilled to perfection, and so tender that it melts in the mouth.
  17. ephemeral
    anything short-lived, as an insect that lives only for a day
    With services such as Amazon’s One-Click, money and transactions are more ephemeral than ever.
  18. grandiloquent
    lofty in style
    Nothing is so distressing in an argument as to have a burst of grandiloquent sentiment set aside by a few words of common sense.
  19. chasten
    correct by punishment or discipline
    The United States is an imperial power chastened by more than 10 years of failed, heavy-footprint wars.
  20. cathartic
    emotionally purging
    A few seriously evolved jazz musicians swoop in for cathartic solos, including Mr. Sánchez and Mr. Zenón.
  21. panegyric
    formally expressing praise
    He began with panegyric verse, first on Cromwell and then on Charles, which is full of fine things and false writing.
  22. viscid
    having the sticky properties of an adhesive
    Making thin, as fluids; diluting; rendering less dense and viscid; diluent.
  23. comestible
    suitable for use as food
    And her basket contained a miscellaneous assortment of esoteric comestibles which would later appear in an astonishingly appetizing form at the table.
  24. natty
    marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners
    Alexander Garvin, natty in bowtie and jacket, watched commuters hustle through the gray, sunken concrete plaza at Citicorp Center on Lexington Avenue.
  25. facetious
    cleverly amusing in tone
    "We have a very facetious Liverpool sense of humour, laughing at things which are stupid," says Wells.
  26. minatory
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    There was a silence which, it seemed to her, could be more minatory even than accusation.
  27. pique
    call forth, as an emotion, feeling, or response
    Mr. Tillotson was a little piqued at being found so absurdly in the wrong.
  28. parry
    avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing
  29. wizened
    lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
    He's now a wizened 74-year-old, retired after serving 40 years as chief of his village.
  30. pasquinade
    a composition that humorously imitates somebody's style
    I made no doubt privately that the creature would be on hand in plenty of time to write some pasquinades about my master.Seawell, Molly Elliot
  31. ubiquitous
    being present everywhere at once
    Back then, there were no ubiquitous advertising campaigns promoting sports brands and fast food restaurants.
  32. fetter
    a shackle for the ankles or feet
    By nature his ideas were transformed and released from the fetters of inherited prejudice.
  33. anodyne
    capable of relieving pain
    A lull following the tempest seemed an anodyne for broken rest.
  34. frugality
    prudence in avoiding waste
    Frugality makes an easy chair for old age.
  35. wanton
    unprovoked or without motive or justification
    At heart as wanton as he was weak....
  36. nettle
    disturb, especially by minor irritations
  37. flout
    treat with contemptuous disregard
    Fire safety codes are routinely flouted in India both in private and government buildings.
  38. cornice
    a molding between the ceiling and the top of a wall
  39. epicurean
    displaying luxury and furnishing gratification to the senses
    All the same, the new focus on food safety has not necessarily translated into epicurean experiences at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  40. picayune
    small and of little importance
    This mystified me, but to object to the tent, of course, would have been picayune.
Created on July 25, 2012 (updated July 27, 2012)

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