Some Tough Words to Stump You

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. cataract
    a large waterfall; violent rush of water over a precipice
    No man had ever boated the length of the Colorado, its massive cataracts were simply considered impassable.BBC (Jan 3, 2014)
  2. convivial
    occupied with or fond of the pleasures of good company
    Only at CityWalk can we experience a New Year’s Eve countdown as frenzied and convivial as Times Square’s.”New York Times (Feb 18, 2015)
  3. frugality
    prudence in avoiding waste
    True frugality is about finding ways to make money stretch as opposed to making wasteful decisions that end up in a money losing proposition.US News (Jan 26, 2015)
  4. nonplus
    be a mystery or bewildering to
    I was nonplussed, and I blurted out that I was astounded that he could not see himself how damnably false this story was.Long Walk to Freedom
  5. parlous
    fraught with danger
    "At the extreme, uncertainty over Scotland's currency arrangements could prompt capital flight from the country, leaving its financial system in a parlous state."BBC (Aug 22, 2014)
  6. provender
    food for domestic livestock
    Hens are like other people—they like a change of provender once in awhile—especially when confined indoors.Various
  7. samovar
    a metal urn with a spigot at the base
    Two folding chairs rested against one wall and a small copper samovar sat in the opposite corner.The Kite Runner
  8. stripling
    a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity
    And if my math is correct, you met yours when you were a mere stripling of 14.New York Times (Sep 14, 2012)
  9. sybaritic
    displaying luxury and furnishing gratification to the senses
    The sybaritic amenities, meanwhile, include three restaurants, two pools, an 11,000-square-foot spa, and a private beach.Architectural Digest (Mar 12, 2014)
  10. terpsichorean
    of or relating to dancing
    We owe profuse thanks to our terpsichorean tutor, Ms. Esther Frances of the Arthur Murray Dance Center on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.Slate (Oct 8, 2014)

Sign up, it's free!

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