Wordsmith – Test your wordpower

Aug 12, 2011 by

Improve and test your wordpower by matching each of the words below to one of the multiple possible definitions.

Vocabulary Ratings
20-19 correct …………………………… excellent
18-16 correct …………………………… good
15-14 correct …………………………… fair



<b>(1) epitome</b> {ep IT oh mi}<br /> <b>A:</b> centre of attention <b>B:</b> embodiment <b>C:</b> historic period <b>D:</b> theory

B: Embodiment of a quality or idea. Looking altogether an epitome of the world’s health and vigour.” Greek epi- (into) and temnein (to cut).

<b>(2) scruple</b><br /> <b>A:</b> to refuse. <b>B:</b> question. <b>C:</b> hesitate. <b>D:</b> wrangle.

C: To hesitate, from moral doubt. “He did not scruple publicly to insult Mr Clare.” Latin scrupulus (small weight).

<b>(3) mendacious</b> {men DAY shus}<br /> <b>A:</b> un-truthful. <b>B:</b> starving. <b>C:</b> unhealthy. <b>D:</b> arrogant.

A: Untruthful. “The mendacious family chronicles.” Latin mendax (speaking falsely).

<b>(4) furlough</b> {FER loh}<br /> <b>A:</b> economic depression <b>B:</b> subterfuge <b>C:</b> leave of absence <b>D:</b> uproar

C: Leave of absence, usually from military duty. “It might be Sergeant Troy home on furlough.” Dutch verlof.

<b>(5) taciturn</b> {TASS i tern}<br /> <b>A:</b> sentimental <b>B:</b> uncommunicative <b>C:</b> diplomatic <b>D:</b> calculating

B: Uncommunicative, saying little. “Elizabeth, being instructed by nods and motions from the taciturn landlord.” Latin tacere (to be silent).

<b>(6) lineal</b> {LIN i al}<br /> <b>A:</b> unconnected. <b>B:</b> isolated. <b>C:</b> directly descended. <b>D:</b> wrinkled.

C: Directly descended. “You are the lineal representative of the ancient and knightly family of the d’Urbervilles.” Latin linea (line).

<b>(7) proxy</b><br /> <b>A:</b> agent. <b>B:</b> spouse. <b>C:</b> witness. <b>D:</b> assistant.

A: Agent, someone authorized to act for another. “Bathsheba’s decision to be a farmer in her own person and by proxy no more.” Latin procurator (agent).

<b>(8) alluring</b> {al EWR ing}<br /> <b>A:</b> deceptive. <b>B:</b> contentious. <b>C:</b> sensible. <b>D:</b> enticing.

D: Enticing, tempting. “The inside of the hut… was cosy and alluring.” Old French a- (to) and lure (falconer’s bait).

<b>(9) somnambulist</b> {som NAM bew list}<br /> <b>A:</b> sleep-walker. <b>B:</b> escapologist. <b>C:</b> soothsayer. <b>D:</b> hypnotist.

A: Sleep-walker. “Bold-wood, more like a somnambulist than a wakeful man.” Latin somnus (sleep) and ambulare (to walk).

<b>(10) vituperation</b> {vi/vy tew per AY shun}<br /> <b>A:</b> derision. <b>B:</b> abuse. <b>C:</b> confusion. <b>D:</b> relief.

B: Abuse, vicious censure. The “speech brought down a torrent of vituperation… upon fair Tess’s unlucky head.” Latin vituperare (to revile).

<b>(11) legible</b> {LEJ i b'l}<br /> <b>A:</b> readable. <b>B:</b> permissible. <b>C:</b> suitable. <b>D:</b> justifiable.

A: Readable. “She inserted the words in a small though legible hand-writing.” Latin legere (to read).

<b>(12) transcend</b> {tran SEND}<br /> <b>A:</b> to elevate. <b>B:</b> remove. <b>C:</b> change. <b>D:</b> go beyond.

D: To go beyond. “She was plunged into a misery which transcended that of the child’s simple loss.” Latin trans- (across) and scandere (to climb).

<b>(13) primeval</b> {pry MEE v'l}<br /> <b>A:</b> wicked. <b>B:</b> ancient. <b>C:</b> leading. <b>D:</b> profane.

B: Ancient, of earliest times. “The primeval yews and oaks of The Chase.” Latin primus (first) and aevum (age).

<b>(14) preternatural</b> {pre ter NAT ew rol}<br /> <b>A:</b> unbelievable <b>B:</b> extravagant <b>C:</b> overconfident <b>D:</b> extraordinary

D: Extraordinary, outside the normal course of nature. “Elizabeth-Jane’s face being arranged to an expression of preternatural composure.” Latin praeter (beyond) and natura (nature).

<b>(15) candour</b> {KAN der}<br /> <b>A:</b> frankness. <b>B:</b> zeal. <b>C:</b> vitality. <b>D:</b> power to inspire.

A: Frankness, openness, “She had not told. Her instinct of self-preservation was stronger than her candour.” Latin candere (to shine).

<b>(16) piqued</b> {peek'd}<br /> <b>A:</b> tired. <b>B:</b> self-pitying. <b>C:</b> irritated. <b>D:</b> pessimistic.

C: Irritated. “Gabriel, perhaps a little piqued by the comely traveller’s indifference.” French piquet (to prick).

<b>(17) attenuated</b> {at EN ew ayt'd}<br /> <b>A:</b> coarse. <b>B:</b> anxious. <b>C:</b> thin. <b>D:</b> eager

C: Thin, reduced in size or strength. “The little attenuated voices of the children.” Latin tenuis (thin).

<b>(18) extraneous</b> {ex TRAY ni us}<br /> <b>A:</b> sensitive <b>B:</b> beyond reason <b>C:</b> immoderate <b>D:</b> coming from outside

D: Coming from outside, foreign. “Total absence of conversation allowed every extraneous sound to be heard.” Latin extra (outside).

<b>(19) parlance {par lunss}</b><br /> <b>A:</b> manner of speaking <b>B:</b> dialogue <b>C:</b> bargaining <b>D:</b> empty words

A: Manner of speaking. “She is not what in common parlance is called a lady.” Old French parler (to speak).

<b>(20) latent</b> {LAY t'nt}<br /> <b>A:</b> delayed <b>B:</b> wide-ranging. <b>C:</b> permanent. <b>D:</b> hidden.

D: Hidden, dormant. “There yet existed certain latent prejudices of theirs.” Latin latere (to be hidden).

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