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Build Your Vocabulary

Top writers have a highly developed command of the English language. To join their ranks, you should build your vocabulary and use the words they use.

In this section, we have provided short discussions of 406 words. In each, we define the word and then provide an example of its use by top writers in literature or the media.

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Click the links below to see discussions of vocabulary words.

“A - C” Words

abase abject abjure abeyance abominate
abrogate abstemious abstruse acumen adduce
aggrandize alacrity amenable anachronism anathema
anecdote, antidote antediluvian aphorism apposite approbation
apostasy, apostate arrogate ascetic askance assiduous
assuage astringent audacious augur avarice
aver averse banal belie bemoan
beset bilateral blaspheme boorish cabal
cacophony calumny cant captious caricature
castigate chagrin charlatan circumlocution circumscribe
circumspect cogent cognizant colloquialism,   colloquial complement,   compliment
comport compunction comprise condescend connote
consummate contemptible,   contemptuous continual,   continuous contravene corollary
correlate,   correlative, correlation corroboration,   corroborate credence credible,   credulous criterion
culpable cursory

 

“D -  I” Words

data, datum dauntless dearth debase decimate
decorous deduce degradation deign deleterious
delineate demagogue demonstrable,   demonstrative denizen denote
denouement deprecate despot, despotism didactic diffident
dilatory dilettante diminution discomfit disenfranchise
disingenuous disjunctive disparage dissemble disseminate
dogma,   dogmatic, dogmatize duplicity ebullient eccentric efface
effete efficacious effrontery egoism, egotism egregious
elicit, illicit elucidate elude, allude emaciate emanate
emigrate,   immigrate eminent, imminent emulate endemic enervate
enhance enigma enmity ennoble enormity,   enormousness
epiphany epithet epitome equanimity equity
equivocal erudition, erudite eschew estimable euphemism
evince evoke execrable expiate explicate
extenuate extricate fatuous fervor, fervid foible
forego, forgo fungible farther, further furtive gamut
generic germane gregarious grizzly, grisly hackney
halcyon harass harbinger heinous homogeneous
hoodwink icon, iconoclast idiosyncrasy imbroglio immutable
impalpable impecunious impervious implicate,   implicit importune
improvident impugn impute inane inanimate
inchoate incipient indolent ineffable inexorable
infer, imply infuse ingenuous,   disingenuous ingratiate inimical
insatiable inscrutable insidious insipid intrepid
intrinsic invective inveigh invidious

 

“L -  Q” Words

lackadaisical L'esprit de l'escalier liable, libel literal loquacious
macrocosm magnanimous maudlin mendacious meretricious
meticulous mettle microcosm mien militate, mitigate
misanthropic misnomer missive mitigate, militate moribund
munificent myriad nausea,   nauseate, nauseous, nauseating nefarious nihilism, nihilist
noisome, noisy nonpareil nostrum nuance obdurate
obsequious obstinate obstreperous obtuse obviate
officious omniscience,   omniscient onerous onus opprobrium
oral, verbal ostracize palpable panacea pandemic
parable paradigm paragon parlance parody
parsimonious patronize paucity pecuniary pedagogy
pedantic pejorative penultimate penurious pernicious
perquisite perspicacious,   perspicacity perusal, peruse petulant phlegmatic
pique plebeian poignant portend portent
precarious precedence,   precedent, precedential preclude precocious precursor
predilection premise prerogative prescience,   prescient presumption,   presumptuous
prevaricate principal,   principle privity, privy probity prodigious
prodigy proffer profligacy,   profligate profuse progeny
prolific prolix promulgate propitious prosaic
proscribe prostrate prototype protract proverbial
prowess prurient puerile punctilious punitive
purport pusillanimous query queue quiescent
quintessence

 

“R -  Z” Words

raillery rapacious ravenous recant recapitulate
recluse redolent redoubtable regale relegate
remiss repertory replete repute requisite
respite resplendent reticence,   reticent retroactive retrospective
revile rife ruminate sagacious salient
salutary sanctimonious sanguine sardonic satiate
schadenfreude scurrilous sibilant simile similitude
solecism somnolent sophistry spurious stolid
stultify suasion subjugate substantive subterfuge
supercilious superfluous supplant supposition surfeit
surrogate sycophant tableau tacit taciturn
tangible tantamount temerity temporize tenacious
tenet therefore,   therefor torpor tortious, tortuous, torturous tractable
transitive verb travail travesty trepidation truculent
ubiquitous umbrage unctuous unique upbraid
utilitarianism vacuous vapid vehement venal, venial
venerable vernacular vestige vicarious vicissitude
vindicate vindictive virulent visage vitiate
vituperation vociferous volition voracious wanton
waive zealot zeitgeist

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"Build Your Vocabulary." Grammar.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 24 Nov. 2017. <http://www.grammar.com/build-your-vocabulary>.

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