Ten Words from Today's NY Times - Dec. 12, 2012

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. ostensible
    appearing as such but not necessarily so
    ¶ North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said the rocket succeeded in the ostensible goal of putting an earth-observation satellite named Kwangmyongsong-3, or Shining Star-3, into orbit, and celebrations by members of the North Korean media were reported.
  2. contravene
    go against, as of rules and laws
    A statement from the White House by Tommy Vietor, the National Security Council spokesman, called the launch a “a highly provocative act that threatens regional security, directly violates United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874, contravenes North Korea’s international obligations, and undermines the global nonproliferation regime.”
  3. opaque
    not clearly understood or expressed
    ¶ The missile capabilities of a country as opaque as North Korea are notoriously hard to assess.
  4. rotunda
    a large circular room
    As thousands of incensed union members filled the Capitol rotunda and poured out onto its lawn chanting “shame, shame,” labor leaders and Democrats said they would immediately mount an intense, unceasing campaign to regain control of the Legislature and the governor’s office by 2015.
  5. laud
    praise, glorify, or honor
    But advocates of the legislation, which outlaws requirements that workers pay fees to unions as a condition of employment, lauded the day as a historic turning point for economic health in Michigan, and some Republicans predicted that their victory here would embolden other states to enact similar measures.
  6. denounce
    speak out against
    Many opponents expressed fury over the process here as well, one that Democrats denounced as rushed, sneaky and “under cover of darkness.”
  7. dubious
    fraught with uncertainty or doubt
    Her sentence reflected a revolution in public policy, often called mass incarceration, that appears increasingly dubious to both conservative and liberal social scientists.
  8. Draconian
    imposing a harsh code of laws
    “The punishment is supposed to fit the crime, but when a legislative body says this is going to be the sentence no matter what other factors there are, that’s draconian in every sense of the word.
  9. unconscionable
    greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
    “It is unconscionable that we routinely sentence people like Stephanie George to die in our prisons,” said Mary Price, the general counsel of the advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
  10. deterrent
    tending to prevent
    Studies have failed to find consistent evidence that the prospect of a longer sentence acts as a significantly greater deterrent than a shorter sentence.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.