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Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder Second Edition Mary Wood Cornog Merriam-Webster, Incorporated Springfield, Massachusetts A GENUINE MERRIAM-WEBSTER The name Webster alone is no guarantee of excellence. It is used by a number of publishers and may serve mainly to mislead an unwary buyer. Merriam-Webster™ is the name you should look for when you consider the purchase of dictionaries or other fine reference books. It carries the reputation of a company that has been publishing since 1831 and is your assurance of quality and authority. Copyright © 2010 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder, Second Edition. ISBN 978-0-87779-795-1 All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means—graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems—without written permission of the publisher. CONTENTS → Copyright → Introduction → Pronunciation Symbols → Unit 1 → Unit 2 → Unit 3 → Unit 4 → Unit 5 → Unit 6 → Unit 7 → Unit 8 → Unit 9 → Unit 10 → Unit 11 → Unit 12 → Unit 13 → Unit 14 → Unit 15 → Unit 16 → Unit 17 → Unit 18 → Unit 19 → Unit 20 → Unit 21 → Unit 22 → Unit 23 → Unit 24 → Unit 25 → Unit 26 → Unit 27 → Unit 28 → Unit 29 → Unit 30 → Answers → Index INTRODUCTION to the Second Edition Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder is designed to achieve two goals: (1) to add a large number of words to your permanent working vocabulary, and (2) to teach the most useful of the classical word-building roots to help you continue expanding your vocabulary in the future. To achieve these goals, Merriam-Webster's Vocabulary Builder employs an original approach that takes into account how people learn and remember. Some vocabulary builders simply present their words in alphabetical order; some provide little or no discussion of the words and how to use them; and a few even fail t; o show the kinds of sentences in which the words usually appear. But memorizing a series of random and unrelated things can be difficult and time-consuming. The fact is that we tend to remember words easily and naturally when they appear in some meaningful context, when they've been shown to be useful and therefore worth remembering, and when they've been properly explained to us. Knowing precisely how to use a word is just as important as knowing what it means. Greek and Latin have been the sources of most of the words in the English language (the third principal source being the family of Germanic languages). All these words were added to the language long after the fall of the Roman empire, and more continue to be added to this day, with most new words—especially those in the sciences—still making use of Greek and Latin roots. A knowledge of Greek and Latin roots will not only help you remember the meanings of the words in this book but will help you guess at the meanings of new words that you run into elsewhere. Remember what a root means and you'll have at least a fighting chance of understanding a word in which it appears. The roots in this book are only a fraction of those that exist, but they include almost all the roots that have produced the largest number of common English words. All these roots (sometimes called stems) formed parts of Greek and Latin words. Some are shown in more than one form (for example, CRAC/CRAT), which means that they changed form in the original language, just as buy and bought are forms of the same English word. Each of the more than 250 roots in this book is followed by four words based on the root. Each group of eight words (two roots) is followed by two quizzes. Every fifth group of words is a special eight-word section which may contain words based on classical mythology or history, words borrowed directly from Greek or Latin, or other special categories of terms. Each set of 40 words makes up a unit. Thus, the 30 units in the book discuss in detail a total of 1,200 words. In addition, the brief paragraphs discussing each word include in italics many words closely related to the main words. So mastering a single word (for example, compel) can increase your vocabulary by several words (in this case, compelling, compulsion, and compulsive). The words presented here aren't all on the same level of difficulty—some are quite simple and some are truly challenging—but the great majority are words that could be encountered on the SAT and similar standardized tests. Most of them are in the vocabularies of well-educated Americans, including professionals such as scientists, lawyers, professors, and doctors. Even the words you feel familiar with may only have a place in your recognition vocabulary—that is, the words you recognize when you see or hear them but don't actually use in your own speech and writing. Each main word is followed by its most common pronunciation. Any pronunciation symbols unfamiliar to you can be learned easily by referring to the Pronunciation Symbols table on page vii. The definition comes next. We've tried to provide only the most common senses or meanings of each word, in simple and straightforward language, and no more than two definitions of any word are given. (A more complete range of definitions can be found in a college dictionary such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.) An example sentence marked with a bullet (•) follows the definition. This sentence by itself can indicate a great deal about the word, including the kind of sentence in which it often appears. It can also serve as a memory aid; when you meet the word in the future, you may recall the example sentence more easily than the definition. An explanatory paragraph rounds out each entry. The paragraph may do a number of things: It may tell you what else you need to know in order to use the word intelligently and correctly, when the definition and example sentence aren't enough. It may tell you more about the word's roots and its history. It may discuss additional meanings or provide additional example sentences. It may demonstrate the use of closely related words. And it may provide an informative or entertaining glimpse into a subject related to the word. The intention is to make you as comfortable as possible with each word in turn and to enable you to start using it immediately, without fear of embarrassment. The quizzes following each eight-word group, along with the review quizzes at the end of each unit, will test your memory. Many of them ask you to fill in a blank in a sentence. Others require you to identify synonyms (words with the same or very similar meaning) or antonyms (words with the opposite meaning). Perhaps most difficult are the analogies, which ask that you choose the word that will make the relationship between the last two words the same as the relationship between the first two. Thus, you may be asked to complete the analogy “calculate : count :: expend : ___” (which can be read as “Calculate is to count as expend is to ___”) by choosing one of four words: stretch, speculate, pay, and explode. Since calculate and count are nearly synonyms, you will choose a near synonym for expend, so the correct answer is pay. Studies have shown that the only way a new word will remain alive in your vocabulary is if it's regularly reinforced through use and through reading. Learn the word here and look and listen for it elsewhere; you'll probably find yourself running into it frequently, just as when you've bought a new car you soon realize how many other people own the same model. Carry this book in your shoulder bag or leave it on your night table. Whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to spare, open it to the beginning of a brief root group. (There's no real need to read the units in any particular order, since each unit is entirely self-contained. However, studying the book straight through from the beginning will ensure that you make maximum use of it.) Pick a single word or a four-word group or an eight-word section; study it, test yourself, and then try making up new sentences for each word. Be sure to pronounce every new word aloud at least once, along with its definition. Start using the words immediately. As soon as you feel confident with a word, start trying to work it into your writing wherever appropriate—your papers and reports, your diary and your poetry. An old saying goes, “Use it three times and it's yours.” That may be, but don't stop at three. Make the words part of your working vocabulary, the words that you can not only recognize when you see or hear them but that you can comfortably call on whenever you need them. Astonish your friends, amaze your relatives, astound yourself (while trying not to be too much of a show-off)—and have fun! * * * Acknowledgments: The first edition of this book, written by Mary Wood Cornog, also benefited from the contributions of numerous members of the Merriam-Webster staff, including Michael G. Belanger, Brett P. Palmer, Stephen J. Perrault, and Mark A. Stevens. This new edition was edited by Mark A. Stevens, with assistance from C. Roger Davis and with the support and encouragement of Merriam-Webster's president and publisher, John M. Morse. Pronunciation Symbols banana, collide, abut humdrum, abut immediately preceding , , , , as in battle, mitten, eaten, and sometimes open , lock and key further, merger, bird mat, map, mad, gag, snap, patch day, fade, date, aorta, drape, cape bother, cot car, heart, bazaar, bizarre now, loud, out baby, rib chin, nature did, adder bet, bed, peck bare, fair, wear, millionaire easy, mealy fifty, cuff go, big, gift hat, ahead tip, banish, active near, deer, mere, pier site, side, buy, tripe job, gem, edge, join, judge kin, cook, ache lily, pool murmur, dim, nymph no, own sing , singer , finger , ink bone, know, beau saw, all, gnaw, caught coin, destroy boar, port, door, shore pepper, lip red, rarity source, less as in shy, mission, machine, special tie, attack, late, later, latter as in thin, ether th then, either, this rule, youth, union , few pull, wood, book boor, tour, insure vivid, give we, away yard, young, cue , mute , union zone, raise as in vision, azure slash used in pairs to mark the beginning and end of a transcription: mark preceding a syllable with primary (strongest) stress: mark preceding a syllable with secondary (medium) stress: mark of syllable division Unit 1 BENE AM BELL PAC CRIM PROB GRAV LEV Words from Mythology and History Quiz 1-1 Quiz 1-2 Quiz 1-3 Quiz 1-4 Quiz 1-5 Review Quizzes 1 * * * BENE is Latin for “well.” A benefit is a good result or effect. Something beneficial produces good results or effects. The Latin root can be heard in other languages as well: “Good!” or “Fine!” in Spanish is “Bueno!”; in French, it's “Bon!”; and in Italian, just say “Bene!” * * * benediction A prayer that asks for God's blessing, especially a prayer that concludes a worship service. • The moment the bishop had finished his benediction, she squeezed quickly out of her row and darted out the cathedral's side entrance. In benediction, the bene root is joined by another Latin root, dictio, “speaking” (see DICT), so the word's meaning becomes something like “well-wishing.” Perhaps the best-known benediction is the so-called Aaronic Benediction from the Bible, which begins, “May the Lord bless you and keep you.” An important section of the Catholic Mass was traditionally known as the Benedictus, after its first word (meaning “blessed”). It was St. Benedict who organized the first Christian monasteries; many Christians have been baptized Benedict in his honor, and 16 popes have taken it as their papal name. benefactor Someone who helps another person or group, especially by giving money. • An anonymous benefactor had given $15 million to establish an ecological institute at the university. A benefactor may be involved in almost any field. One may endow a scholarship fund; another may give money to expand a library; still another may leave a generous sum to a hospital in her will. The famous benefactions of John D. Rockefeller included the gifts that established the University of Chicago, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Rockefeller University. Many benefactors have reported that giving away their money turned out to be the most rewarding thing they ever did. beneficiary A person or organization that benefits or is expected to benefit from something, especially one that receives money or property when someone dies. • Living in a trailer in near-poverty, she received word in the mail that her father had died, naming her as the sole beneficiary of his life-insurance policy. Beneficiary is often used in connection with life insurance, but it shows up in many other contexts as well. A college may be the beneficiary of a private donation. Your uncle's will may make a church his sole beneficiary, in which case all his money and property will go to it when he dies. A “third-party beneficiary” of a contract is a person (often a child) who the people signing the contract (which is usually an insurance policy or an employee-benefit plan) want to benefit from it. In a more general way, a small business may be a beneficiary of changes to the tax code, or a restaurant may be the beneficiary when the one across the street closes down and its whole lunch crowd starts coming in. benevolence Kindness, generosity. • In those financially desperate years, the young couple was saved only by the benevolence of her elderly great-uncle. Part of benevolence comes from the Latin root meaning “wish.” The novels of Charles Dickens often include a benevolent figure who rescues the main characters at some point—Mr. Brownlow in Oliver Twist, Abel Magwitch in David Copperfield, Mr. Jarndyce in Bleak House, Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. To be benevolent, it helps to have money, but it's not necessary; kind assistance of a nonfinancial sort may turn out to be lifesaving benevolence as well. * * * AM comes from the Latin amare, “to love.” The Roman god of love was known by two different names, Cupid and Amor. Amiable means “friendly or good-natured,” and amigo is Spanish for “friend.” * * * amicable Friendly, peaceful. • Their relations with their in-laws were generally amicable, despite some bickering during the holidays. Amicable often describes relations between two groups, or especially two nations—for example, the United States and Canada, which are proud of sharing the longest unguarded border in the world. So we often speak of an amicable meeting or an amicable settlement. When amicable describes more personal relations, it may indicate a rather formal friendliness. But it's always nice when two friends who've been quarreling manage to have an amicable conversation and to say amicable good-byes at the end. enamored Charmed or fascinated; inflamed with love. • Rebecca quickly became enamored of the town's rustic surroundings, its slow pace, and its eccentric characters. Computer hackers are always enamored of their new programs and games. Millions of readers have found themselves enamored with Jane Austen's novels. And Romeo and Juliet were, of course, utterly enamored of each other. But we also often use the word in negative contexts: A friend at work may complain that she's not enamored of the new boss, and when you start talking about how you're not enamored with the neighbors it may be time to move. (Note that both of and with are commonly used after enamored.) amorous Having or showing strong feelings of attraction or love. • It turned out that the amorous Congressman had gotten his girlfriend a good job and was paying for her apartment. A couple smooching on a park bench could be called amorous, or a young married couple who are always hugging and kissing. But the word is often used a bit sarcastically, as when a tabloid newspaper gets hold of some scandalous photos and calls the participants “the amorous pair.” In such cases, we may be encouraged to think the attraction is more physical than emotional. paramour A lover, often secret, not allowed by law or custom. • He had been coming to the house for two years before her brothers realized that he was actually the paramour of their shy and withdrawn sister. Paramour came to English from French (a language based on Latin), though the modern French don't use the word. Since par amour meant “through love,” it implies a relationship based solely on love, often physical love, rather than on social custom or ceremony. So today it tends to refer to the lover of a married man or woman, but may be used for any lover who isn't obeying the social rules. Quiz 1-1 A. Choose the closest synonym: 1. beneficiary a. benefit b. prayer c. recipient d. contributor 2. amorous a. friendly b. sympathetic c. loving d. kind 3. benediction a. blessing b. gift c. saint d. favor 4. amicable a. difficult b. friendly c. curious d. lazy 5. enamored a. strengthened b. engaged c. fond d. free 6. benefactor a. supporter b. priest c. donation d. kindness 7. paramour a. lover b. husband c. heaven d. affection 8. benevolence a. value b. kindness c. luck d. approval Answers B. Complete the analogy: 1. charming : enchanting :: amorous : ___ a. sublime b. pleasant c. likeable d. passionate 2. greeting : farewell :: benediction : ___ a. motto b. speech c. curse d. saying 3. lender : borrower :: benefactor : ___ a. giver b. beneficiary c. participant d. partner 4. gentle : tender :: enamored : ___ a. lively b. charmed c. cozy d. enraged 5. liking : appreciation :: benevolence : ___ a. opinion b. sentimentality c. interest d. generosity 6. frozen : boiling :: amicable : ___ a. calm b. comfortable c. shy d. unfriendly 7. patient : doctor :: beneficiary : ___ a. tycoon b. investor c. lover d. benefactor 8. friend : companion :: paramour : ___ a. lover b. theater c. mother d. wife Answers * * * BELL comes from the Latin word meaning “war.” Bellona was the little-known Roman goddess of war; her husband, Mars, was the god of war. * * * antebellum Existing before a war, especially before the American Civil War (1861–65). • When World War I was over, the French nobility found it impossible to return to their extravagant antebellum way of life. Even countries that win a war often end up worse off than they had been before, and the losers almost always do. So antebellum often summons up images of ease, elegance, and entertainment that disappeared in the postwar years. In the American South, the antebellum way of life depended on a social structure, based on slavery, that collapsed after the Civil War; Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind shows the nostalgia and bitterness felt by wealthy Southerners after the war more than the relief and anticipation experienced by those released from slavery. In Europe, World War I shattered the grand life of the upper classes, even in victorious France and Britain, and changed society hugely in the space of just four years. bellicose Warlike, aggressive, quarrelsome. • The more bellicose party always got elected whenever there was tension along the border and the public believed that military action would lead to security. Since bellicose describes an attitude that hopes for actual war, the word is generally applied to nations and their leaders. In the 20th century, it was commonly used to describe such figures as Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm, Italy's Benito Mussolini, and Japan's General Tojo, leaders who believed their countries had everything to gain by starting wars. The international relations of a nation with a bellicose foreign policy tend to be stormy and difficult, and bellicosity usually makes the rest of the world very uneasy. belligerence Aggressiveness, combativeness. • The belligerence in Turner's voice told them that the warning was a serious threat. Unlike bellicose and bellicosity, the word belligerence can be used at every level from the personal to the global. The belligerence of Marlon Brando's performances as the violent Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire electrified the country in the 1940s and '50s. At the same time, belligerent speeches by leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States throughout the Cold War were keeping the world on edge. Belligerent is even a noun; the terrible war in the Congo in recent years, for example, has involved seven nations as belligerents. rebellion Open defiance and opposition, sometimes armed, to a person or thing in authority. • A student rebellion that afternoon in Room 13 resulted in the new substitute teacher racing out of the building in tears. Plenty of teenagers rebel against their parents in all kinds of ways. But a rebellion usually involves a group. Armed rebellions are usually put down by a country's armed forces, or at least kept from expanding beyond a small area. The American War of Independence was first viewed by the British as a minor rebellion that would soon run its course, but this particular rebellion led to a full-fledged revolution—that is, the overthrow of a government. Rebellion, armed or otherwise, has often alerted those in power that those they control are very unhappy. * * * PAC is related to the Latin words for “agree” and “peace.” The Pacific Ocean—that is, the “Peaceful Ocean”—was named by Ferdinand Magellan because it seemed so calm after he had sailed through the storms near Cape Horn. (Magellan obviously had never witnessed a Pacific typhoon.) * * * pacify (1) To soothe anger or agitation. (2) To subdue by armed action. • It took the police hours to pacify the angry demonstrators. Someone stirred up by a strong emotion can usually be pacified by some kind words and the removal of its causes. Unhappy babies are often given a rubber pacifier for sucking to make them stop crying. During the Vietnam War, pacification of an area meant using armed force to drive out the enemy, which might be followed by bringing the local people over to our side by building schools and providing social services. But an army can often bring “peace” by pure force, without soothing anyone's emotions. pacifist A person opposed to war or violence, especially someone who refuses to bear arms or to fight, on moral or religious grounds. • Her grandfather had fought in the Marines in World War II, but in his later years he had become almost a pacifist, opposing every war for one reason or another. The Quakers and the Jehovah's Witnesses are pacifist religious groups, and Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King are probably the most famous American pacifists. Like these groups and individuals, pacifists haven't always met with sympathy or understanding. Refusing to fight ever, for any reason, calls for strong faith in one's own moral or religious convictions, since pacifism during wartime has often gotten people persecuted and even thrown in prison. pact An agreement between two or more people or groups; a treaty or formal agreement between nations to deal with a problem or to resolve a dispute. • The girls made a pact never to reveal what had happened on that terrifying night in the abandoned house. Pact has “peace” at its root because a pact often ends a period of unfriendly relations. The word is generally used in the field of international relations, where diplomats may speak of an “arms pact,” a “trade pact,” or a “fishing-rights pact.” But it may also be used for any solemn agreement or promise between two people; after all, whenever two parties shake hands on a deal, they're not about to go to war with each other. pace Contrary to the opinion of. • She had only three husbands, pace some Hollywood historians who claim she had as many as six. This word looks like another that is much more familiar, but notice how it's pronounced. It is used only by intellectuals, and often printed in italics so that the reader doesn't mistake it for the other word. Writers use it when correcting an opinion that many people believe; for example, “The costs of the program, pace some commentators, will not be significant.” So what does pace have to do with peace? Because it says “Peace to them (that is, to the people I'm mentioning)—I don't want to start an argument; I just want to correct the facts.” Quiz 1-2 A. Match the word on the left to the correct definition on the right: 1. antebellum a. quarrelsome 2. pace b. solemn agreement 3. rebellion c. to make peaceful 4. pacify d. before the war 5. pacifist e. aggressiveness 6. belligerence f. opposition to authority 7. pact g. contrary to the opinion of 8. bellicose h. one who opposes war Answers B. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. antebellum b. pacifist c. pact d. pace e. rebellion f. bellicose g. pacify h. belligerence 1. The native ___ began at midnight, when a gang of youths massacred the Newton family and set the house afire. 2. The grand ___ mansion has hardly been altered since it was built in 1841. 3. The Senate Republicans, outraged by their treatment, were in a ___ mood. 4. ___ some of the younger scholars, no good evidence has been found that Japan was involved in the incident . 5. The cease-fire ___ that had been reached with such effort was shattered by the news of the slaughter. 6. Their relations during the divorce proceedings had been mostly friendly, so his ___ in the judge's chambers surprised her. 7. The world watched in amazement as the gentle ___ Gandhi won India its independence with almost no bloodshed. 8. Her soft lullabies could always ___ the unhappy infant. Answers * * * CRIM comes from the Latin words for “fault or crime” or “accusation.” It's obvious where the root shows up most commonly in English. A crime is an act forbidden by the government, which the government itself will punish you for, and for which you may be branded a criminal. A crime is usually more serious than a tort (see TORT), a “civil wrong” for which the wronged person must himself sue if he wants to get repaid in some way. * * * criminology The study of crime, criminals, law enforcement, and punishment. • His growing interest in criminology led him to become a probation officer. Criminology includes the study of all aspects of crime and law enforcement—criminal psychology, the social setting of crime, prohibition and prevention, investigation and detection, capture and punishment. Thus, many of the people involved—legislators, social workers, probation officers, judges, etc.—could possibly be considered criminologists, though the word usually refers only to scholars and researchers. decriminalize To remove or reduce the criminal status of. • An angry debate over decriminalizing doctor-assisted suicide raged all day in the statehouse. Decriminalization of various “victimless crimes”—crimes that don't directly harm others, such as private gambling and drug-taking—has been recommended by conservatives as well as liberals, who often claim that it would ease the burden on the legal system, decrease the amount of money flowing to criminals, and increase personal liberty. Decriminalization is not the same as legalization; decriminalization may still call for a small fine (like a traffic ticket), and may apply only to use or possession of something, leaving the actual sale of goods or services illegal. incriminate To show evidence of involvement in a crime or a fault. • The muddy tracks leading to and from the cookie jar were enough to incriminate them. Testimony may incriminate a suspect by placing him at the scene of a crime, and incriminating evidence is the kind that strongly links him to it. But the word doesn't always refer to an actual crime. We can say, for instance, that a virus has been incriminated as the cause of a type of cancer, or that video games have been incriminated in the decline in study skills among young people. recrimination (1) An accusation in answer to an accusation made against oneself. (2) The making of such an accusation. • Their failure to find help led to endless and pointless recriminations over responsibility for the accident. Defending oneself from a verbal attack by means of a counterattack is as natural as physical self-defense. So a disaster often brings recriminations among those connected with it, and divorces and child-custody battles usually involve recriminations between husband and wife. An actual crime isn't generally involved, but it may be; when two suspects start exchanging angry recriminations after they've been picked up, it often leads to one of them turning against the other in court. * * * PROB comes from the Latin words for “prove or proof” and “honesty or integrity.” A probe, whether it's a little object for testing electrical circuits or a spacecraft headed for Mars, is basically something that's looking for evidence or proof. And probable originally described something that wasn't certain but might be “provable.” * * * approbation A formal or official act of approving; praise, usually given with pleasure or enthusiasm. • The senate signaled its approbation of the new plan by voting for it unanimously. Approbation is a noun form of approve, but approbation is usually stronger than mere approval. An official commendation for bravery is an example of approbation; getting reelected to office by a wide margin indicates public approbation; and the social approbation received by a star quarterback in high school usually makes all the pain worthwhile. probate The process of proving in court that the will of someone who has died is valid, and of administering the estate of a dead person. • When her father died, she thought she would be able to avoid probate, but she wasn't that lucky. Ever since people have written wills, those wills have had to be proven genuine by a judge. Without a probate process, greedy acquaintances or relatives could write up a fake will stating that all the person's wealth belonged to them. To establish a will as genuine, it must generally be witnessed and stamped by someone officially licensed to do so (though wills have sometimes been approved even when they were just written on a piece of scrap paper, with no witnesses). Today we use probate more broadly to mean everything that's handled in probate court, a special court that oversees the handling of estates (the money and property left when someone dies), making sure that everyone eventually receives what is properly theirs. probity Absolute honesty and uprightness. • Her unquestioned probity helped win her the respect of her fellow judges. Probity is a quality the public generally hopes for in its elected officials but doesn't always get. Bankers, for example, have traditionally been careful to project an air of probity, even though banking scandals and bailouts have made this harder than ever. An aura of probity surrounds such public figures as Warren Buffett and Bill Moyers, men to whom many Americans would entrust their children and their finances. reprobate A person of thoroughly bad character. • His wife finally left him, claiming he was a reprobate who would disappear for weeks at a time, gambling and drinking away all his money. The related verb of reprobate is reprove, which originally, as the opposite of approve, meant “to condemn.” Thus, a reprobate, as the word was used in Biblical translations, was someone condemned to hell. But for many years reprobate has been said in a tone of joshing affection, usually to describe someone of doubtful morals but good humor. Shakespeare's great character Falstaff—a lazy, lying, boastful, sponging drunkard—is the model of a reprobate, but still everyone's favorite Shakespeare character. Quiz 1-3 A. Indicate whether the following pairs of words have the same or different meanings: 1. decriminalize / tolerate same ___ / different ___ 2. probity / fraud same ___ / different ___ 3. criminology / murder same ___ / different ___ 4. incriminate / acquit same ___ / different ___ 5. probate / trial same ___ / different ___ 6. recrimination / faultfinding same ___ / different ___ 7. reprobate / scoundrel same ___ / different ___ 8. approbation / criticism same ___ / different ___ Answers B. Match the definition on the left to the correct word on the right: 1. utter honesty a. approbation 2. approval b. reprobate 3. rascal c. recrimination 4. legal process for wills d. criminology 5. study of illegal behavior e. probity 6. accuse f. probate 7. reduce penalty for g. decriminalize 8. counterattack h. incriminate Answers * * * GRAV comes from the Latin word meaning “heavy, weighty, serious.” Gravity is, of course, what makes things heavy, and without it there wouldn't be any life on earth, since nothing would stay on earth at all. This doesn't stop us from yelling in outrage when the familiar laws of gravity cause something to drop to the floor and break. * * * grave (1) Requiring serious thought or concern. (2) Serious and formal in appearance or manner. • We realized that the situation was grave and that the slightest incident could spark all-out war. Gravity has a familiar physical meaning but also a nonphysical meaning—basically “seriousness.” Thus, something grave possesses gravity. You can refer to the gravity of a person's manner, though public figures today seem to have a lot less gravity than they used to have. Or you can talk about a grave situation, as in the example sentence. But even though Shakespeare makes a pun on grave when a dying character talks about being buried the next day (“Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man”), the word meaning “hole for burying a body” isn't actually related. gravitas Great or very dignified seriousness. • The head of the committee never failed to carry herself with the gravitas she felt was appropriate to her office. This word comes to us straight from Latin. Among the Romans, gravitas was thought to be essential to the character and functions of any adult (male) in authority. Even the head of a household or a low-level official would strive for this important quality. We use gravitas today to identify the same solemn dignity in men and women, but it seems to come easier in those who are over 60, slow-moving—and a bit overweight. gravitate To move or be drawn toward something, especially by natural tendency or as if by an invisible force. • On hot evenings, the town's social life gravitated toward the lakefront, where you could stroll the long piers eating ice cream or dance at the old Casino. To gravitate is to respond, almost unconsciously, to a force that works like gravity to draw things steadily to it as if by their own weight. Thus, young people gravitate toward a role model, moths gravitate to a flame, a conversation might gravitate toward politics, and everyone at a party often gravitates to the bar. aggravate (1) To make (an injury, problem, etc.) more serious or severe. (2) To annoy or bother. • She went back to the soccer team before the knee was completely healed, which naturally aggravated the injury. Since the grav- root means basically “weighty or serious,” the original meaning of aggravate was “to make more serious.” A bad relationship with your parents can be aggravated by marrying someone who nobody likes, for example, or a touchy trade relationship between two countries can be aggravated by their inability to agree on climate-change issues. Depression can be aggravated by insomnia—and insomnia can be aggravated by depression. But when most people use aggravate today, they employ its “annoy” sense, as in “What really aggravates my dad is having to listen to that TV all day long.” * * * LEV comes from the Latin adjective levis, meaning “light,” and the verb levare, meaning “to raise or lighten.” So a lever is a bar used to lift something, by means of leverage. And levitation is the magician's trick in which a body seems to rise into the air by itself. * * * alleviate To lighten, lessen, or relieve, especially physical or mental suffering. • Cold compresses alleviated the pain of the physical injury, but only time could alleviate the effect of the insult. Physical pain or emotional anguish, or a water shortage or traffic congestion, can all be alleviated by providing the appropriate remedy. But some pain or anguish or shortage or congestion will remain: to alleviate is not to cure. elevation (1) The height of a place. (2) The act or result of lifting or raising someone or something. • Her doctor is concerned about the elevation of her blood pressure since her last visit. When you're hiking, you may be interested in knowing the highest elevation you'll be reaching. Psychologists use the term “mood elevation” to mean improvement in a patient's depression, and some leg ailments require elevation of the limb, usually so that it's higher than the heart for part of each day. Elevation can also mean “promotion”; thus, a vice president may be elevated to president, or a captain may be elevated to admiral. cantilever A long piece of wood, metal, etc., that sticks out from a wall to support something above it. • The house's deck, supported by cantilevers, jutted out dramatically over the rocky slope, and looking over the edge made him dizzy. Cantilevers hold up a surface or room without themselves being supported at their outer end. Many outdoor balconies are cantilevered, and theater balconies may be as well. A cantilevered bridge may have a huge span (as long as 1,800 feet) built out on either side of a single large foundation pier. Architects sometimes use cantilevered construction to produce dramatic effects; Frank Lloyd Wright's “Fallingwater” house, which extends out over a rocky river, is a famous example. But the Grand Canyon's “Skywalk” has become perhaps the best-known piece of cantilevered construction in America. levity Lack of appropriate seriousness. • The Puritan elders tried to ban levity of all sorts from the community's meetings, but found it increasingly difficult to control the younger generation. Levity originally was thought to be a physical force exactly like gravity but pulling in the opposite direction, like the helium in a balloon. As recently as the 19th century, scientists were still arguing about its existence. Today levity refers only to lightness in manner. To stern believers of some religious faiths, levity is often regarded as almost sinful. But the word, like its synonym frivolity, now has an old-fashioned ring to it and is usually used only half-seriously. Quiz 1-4 A. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. grave b. gravitate c. gravitas d. aggravate e. alleviate f. cantilever g. levity h. elevation 1. Even the smallest motion would ___ the pain in his shoulder. 2. She hesitated to step onto the balcony, which was supported by a single ___. 3. At their father's funeral they showed the same solemn ___ at which they had often laughed during his lifetime. 4. To relieve the swelling, the doctor recommended ___ of her legs several times a day. 5. Attracted magically by the music, all animals and natural objects would ___ toward the sound of Orpheus's lyre. 6. With the two armies moving toward the border, they knew the situation was ___. 7. The neighboring nations organized an airlift of supplies to ___ the suffering caused by the drought. 8. The board meeting ended in an unusual mood of ___ when a man in a gorilla suit burst in. Answers B. Match the word on the left to the correct definition on the right: 1. levity a. solemn dignity 2. gravitas b. relieve 3. grave c. raising 4. alleviate d. support beam 5. elevation e. move toward as if drawn 6. aggravate f. lack of seriousness 7. cantilever g. serious 8. gravitate h. worsen Answers Words from Mythology and History cicerone A guide, especially one who takes tourists to museums, monuments, or architectural sites and explains what is being seen. • On Crete they sought out a highly recommended cicerone, hoping to receive the best possible introduction to the noteworthy historical sites. The Roman statesman and orator Cicero was renowned for his elegant style and great knowledge (and occasional long-windedness). So 18th-century Italians seem to have given the name cicerone to the guides who would show well-educated foreigners around the great cultural sites of the ancient Roman empire—guides who sought to be as eloquent and informed as Cicero in explaining the world in which he lived. hector To bully or harass by bluster or personal pressure. • He would swagger around the apartment entrance with his friends and hector the terrified inhabitants going in and out. In Homer's great Iliad, Hector was the leader of the Trojan forces, and the very model of nobility and honor. In the Greek war against Troy, he killed several great warriors before being slain by Achilles. His name began to take on its current meaning only after gangs of bullying young rowdies, many of them armed soldiers recently released from service following the end of the English Civil War, began terrorizing the residents of late-17th-century London. The gangs took such names as the Roysters, the Blades, the Bucks, and the Bloods, but the best-known of them was called the Hectors. The names Blades and Hectors may have seemed appropriate because, like Hector and Achilles, they often fought with swords. hedonism An attitude or way of life based on the idea that pleasure or happiness should be the chief goal. • In her new spirit of hedonism, she went out for a massage, picked up champagne and chocolate truffles, and made a date that evening with an old boyfriend. Derived from the Greek word for “pleasure,” hedonism over the ages has provided the basis for several philosophies. The ancient Epicureans and the 19th-century Utilitarians both taught and pursued hedonistic principles. But although we generally use the word today when talking about immediate pleasures for the senses, philosophers who talk about hedonism are usually talking about quiet pleasures that aren't pursued in a selfish way. nestor A senior figure or leader in one's field. • The guest of honor was a nestor among journalists, and after dinner he shared some of his wisdom with the audience. Nestor was another character from the Iliad, the eldest of the Greek leaders in the Trojan War. A great warrior as a young man, he was now noted for his wisdom and his talkativeness, both of which increased as he aged. These days, a nestor is not necessarily long-winded, but merely wise and generous with his advice. spartan Marked by simplicity, avoidance of luxury, and often strict self-discipline or self-denial. • When he was single, he had lived a spartan life in a tiny, undecorated apartment with one chair, a table, and a bed. In ancient times, the Greek city-state of Sparta had a reputation for the severe and highly disciplined way of life it enforced among its citizens, so as to keep them ready for war at any time. Physical training was required for both men and women. A boy would begin his military training at 7 and would live in army barracks for much of his life, even after he was married. Today, when a cargo ship or a remote beach resort offers “spartan accommodations,” some tourists jump at the chance for a refreshing change from the luxuries they've been used to—and no one worries that they'll be forced out of bed at dawn to participate in war games. stentorian Extremely loud, often with especially deep richness of sound. • Even without a microphone, his stentorian voice was clearly audible in the last rows of the auditorium. Stentor, like Hector, was a warrior in the Iliad, but on the Greek side. His unusually powerful voice (Homer calls him “brazen-voiced”—that is, with a voice like a brass instrument) made him the natural choice for delivering announcements and proclamations to the assembled Greek army, in an era when there was no way of artificially increasing the volume of a voice. stoic Seemingly indifferent to pleasure or pain. • She bore the pain of her broken leg with such stoic patience that most of us had no idea she was suffering. The Stoics were members of a philosophical movement that first appeared in ancient Greece and lasted well into the Roman era. Stoicism taught that humans should seek to free themselves from joy, grief, and passions of all kinds in order to attain wisdom; its teachings thus have much in common with Buddhism. The great Stoics include the statesman Cicero, the playwright Seneca, and the emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose Meditations is the most famous book of Stoic philosophy. Today we admire the kind of stoicism that enables some people (who may never have even heard of Marcus Aurelius) to endure both mental and physical pain without complaint. sybaritic Marked by a luxurious or sensual way of life. • When I knew them they were living a sybaritic existence—hopping from resort to resort, each more splendid than the last—but a year later the money ran out. The ancient city of Sybaris (near modern Terranova di Sibari), founded by the Greeks on the toe of Italy's “boot,” was famous for the wealth and luxury of its citizens in the 6th century B.C. But the Sybarites' wealth made them overconfident, and when they went to war with a nearby city, they were defeated by a much smaller army. After the victory, their enemies diverted the course of the river running through Sybaris so that it destroyed the whole city forever. Quiz 1-5 Choose the closest definition: 1. hedonism a. preference for males b. habit of gift-giving c. tendency to conceal feelings d. love of pleasure 2. hector a. encourage b. harass c. deceive d. swear 3. cicerone a. guide b. cartoon character c. orator d. lawyer 4. spartan a. cheap b. Greek c. severe d. luxurious 5. nestor a. journalist b. long-winded elder c. domestic hen d. judge 6. stoic a. pleasure-seeking b. bullying c. repressed d. unaffected by pain 7. sybaritic a. pleasure-seeking b. free of luxury c. sisterly d. ice-cold 8. stentorian a. obnoxious b. muffled c. loud d. dictated Answers Review Quizzes 1 A. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. bellicose b. stentorian c. pace d. sybaritic e. grave f. alleviate g. belligerence h. benevolence i. incriminate j. gravitate k. hector l. enamored m. stoic n. pacify 1. Her grandfather had a ___ manner, moved slowly, and never laughed. 2. The mood at the resort was ___, and the drinking and dancing continued long into the night. 3. To rattle the other team, they usually ___ them constantly. 4. The judge was known for issuing all his rulings in a ___ voice. 5. He wouldn't even have a place to live if it weren't for the ___ of his wealthy godfather. 6. Thoroughly ___ of the splendid Victorian house, they began to plan their move. 7. She attempted to ___ his anxiety by convincing him he wasn't to blame. 8. Whenever she entered a bar alone, the lonely men would always ___ toward her. 9. Their refusal to cease work on nuclear weapons was seen as a ___ act by the neighboring countries. 10. ___ my many critics, I have never had reason to change my views on the subject. 11. Unable to calm the growing crowd, he finally ordered the police to ___ the area by force. 12. Whenever her boyfriend saw anyone looking at her, his ___ was alarming. 13. He bore all his financial losses with the same ___ calm. 14. Who would have guessed that it would take the killer's own daughter to ___ him. Answers B. Choose the closest definition: 1. hedonism a. fear of heights b. hatred of crowds c. liking for children d. love of pleasure 2. levity a. lightness b. policy c. leverage d. literacy 3. aggravate a. lessen b. decorate c. intensify d. lighten 4. reprobate a. researcher b. commissioner c. scoundrel d. reformer 5. bellicose a. fun-loving b. warlike c. impatient d. jolly 6. decriminalize a. discriminate b. legalize c. legislate d. decree 7. antebellum a. preventive b. unlikely c. impossible d. prewar 8. benediction a. slogan b. prayer c. greeting d. expression 9. pact a. bundle b. form c. agreement d. presentation 10. amicable a. technical b. sensitive c. friendly d. scenic 11. criminology a. crime history b. crime book c. crime study d. crime story 12. approbation a. approval b. resolution c. reputation d. substitution Answers C. Match the definition on the left to the correct word on the right: 1. secret lover a. elevation 2. estate process b. gravitas 3. accusation c. probate 4. integrity d. probity 5. gift receiver e. recrimination 6. giver f. paramour 7. peace lover g. benefactor 8. promotion h. beneficiary 9. dignity i. rebellion 10. revolt j. pacifist Answers Unit 2 MANIA PSYCH CEPT FIN JECT TRACT DUC/DUCT SEQU Words from Mythology Quiz 2-1 Quiz 2-2 Quiz 2-3 Quiz 2-4 Quiz 2-5 Review Quizzes 2 * * * MANIA in Latin means “madness,” and the meaning passed over into English unchanged. Our word mania can mean a mental illness, or at least an excessive enthusiasm. We might call someone a maniac who was wild, violent, and mentally ill—or maybe just really enthusiastic about something. Too much caffeine might make you a bit manic. But the intense mood swings once known as manic-depressive illness are now usually called bipolar disorder instead. * * * kleptomania A mental illness in which a person has a strong desire to steal things. • Kleptomania leads its sufferers to steal items of little value that they don't need anyway. Klepto- comes from the Greek word kleptein, “to steal.” Even though kleptomania is often the butt of jokes, it's actually a serious mental illness, often associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Klepotomaniacs tend to be depressed, and many live lives of secret shame because they're afraid to seek treatment. dipsomaniac A person with an extreme and uncontrollable desire for alcohol. • She didn't like the word alcoholic being applied to her, and liked dipsomaniac even less. Dipsomaniac comes from the Greek noun dipsa, “thirst,” but thirst usually has nothing to do with it. Some experts distinguish between an alcoholic and a dipsomaniac, reserving dipsomaniac for someone involved in frequent episodes of binge drinking and blackouts. In any case, there are plenty of less respectful words for a person of similar habits: sot, lush, wino, souse, boozer, guzzler, tippler, tosspot, drunkard, boozehound--the list goes on and on and on. megalomaniac A mental disorder marked by feelings of great personal power and importance. • When the governor started calling for arming his National Guard with nuclear weapons, the voters finally realized they had elected a megalomaniac. Since the Greek root megalo- means “large,” someone who is megalomaniacal has a mental disorder marked by feelings of personal grandeur. Megalomania has probably afflicted many rulers throughout history: The Roman emperor Caligula insisted that he be worshipped as a living god. Joseph Stalin suffered from the paranoia that often accompanies megalomania, and had thousands of his countrymen executed as a result. J.-B. Bokassa, dictator of a small and extremely poor African nation, proclaimed himself emperor of the country he renamed the Central African Empire. And even democratically elected leaders have often acquired huge egos as a result of public acclaim. But megalomaniac is generally thrown around as an insult and rarely refers to real mental illness. egomaniac Someone who is extremely self-centered and ignores the problems and concerns of others. • He's a completely unimpressive person, but that doesn't keep him from being an egomaniac. Ego is Latin for “I,” and in English ego usually means “sense of self-worth.” Most people's egos stay at a healthy level, but some become exaggerated. Egomaniacs may display a grandiose sense of self-importance, with fantasies about their own brilliance or beauty, intense envy of others, a lack of sympathy, and a need to be adored or feared. But, like megalomaniac, the word egomaniac is thrown around by lots of people who don't mean much more by it than blowhard or know-it-all. * * * PSYCH comes from the Greek word psyche, meaning “breath, life, soul.” Psychology is the science of mind and behavior, and a psychologist treats or studies the mental problems of individuals and groups. Psychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with mental and emotional disorders, and a psychiatrist (like any other doctor) may prescribe drugs to treat them. * * * psyche Soul, personality, mind. • Analysts are constantly trying to understand the nation's psyche and why the U.S. often behaves so differently from other countries. Sometime back in the 16th century, we borrowed the word psyche directly from Greek into English. In Greek mythology, Psyche was a beautiful princess who fell in love with Eros (Cupid), god of love, and went through terrible trials before being allowed to marry him. The story is often understood to be about the soul redeeming itself through love. (To the Greeks, psyche also meant “butterfly,” which suggests how they imagined the soul.) In English, psyche often sounds less spiritual than soul, less intellectual than mind, and more private than personality. psychedelic (1) Of or relating to a drug (such as LSD) that produces abnormal and often extreme mental effects such as hallucinations. (2) Imitating the effects of psychedelic drugs. • In her only psychedelic experience, back in 1970, she had watched with horror as the walls began crawling with bizarrely colored creatures. The most famous—or notorious—of the psychedelic drugs is LSD, a compound that can be obtained from various mushrooms and other fungi but is usually created in the lab. The other well-known psychedelics are psilocybin (likewise obtained from fungi) and mescaline (obtained from peyote cactus). How psychedelics produce their effects is still fairly mysterious, partly because research ceased for almost 20 years because of their reputation, but scientists are determined to find the answers and much research is now under way. Psychedelics are now used to treat anxiety in patients with cancer, and are being tested in the treatment of such serious conditions as severe depression, alcoholism, and drug addiction. psychosomatic Caused by mental or emotional problems rather than by physical illness. • Her doctor assumed her stomach problems were psychosomatic but gave her some harmless medication anyway. Since the Greek word soma means “body,” psychosomatic suggests the link between mind and body. Since one's mental state may have an important effect on one's physical state, research on new medicines always involves giving some patients in the experiment a placebo (fake medicine), and some who receive the sugar pills will seem to improve. You may hear someone say of someone else's symptoms, “Oh, it's probably just psychosomatic,” implying that the physical pain or illness is imaginary—maybe just an attempt to get sympathy—and that the person could will it away if he or she wanted to. But this can be harsh and unfair, since, whatever the cause is, the pain is usually real. psychotherapist One who treats mental or emotional disorder or related bodily ills by psychological means. • He's getting medication from a psychiatrist, but it's his sessions with the psychotherapist that he really values. Many psychologists offer psychological counseling, and psychological counseling can usually be called psychotherapy, so many psychologists can be called psychotherapists. The most intense form of psychotherapy, called psychoanalysis, usually requires several visits a week. A competing type of therapy known as behavior therapy focuses on changing a person's behavior (often some individual habit such as stuttering, tics, or phobias) without looking very deeply into his or her mental state. Quiz 2-1 A. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. psychedelic b. kleptomania c. psyche d. egomaniac e. megalomaniac f. psychosomatic g. dipsomaniac h. psychotherapist 1. Her boss was an ___ who always needed someone around telling him how brilliant he was. 2. Testing ___ drugs on cancer patients was difficult because of their unpredictable mental effects. 3. By now the dictator had begun to strike some observers as a possibly dangerous ___. 4. His fear of AIDS was so intense that he'd been developing ___ symptoms, which his doctor hardly bothered to check out anymore. 5. After finding several of her missing things in the other closet, she began wondering if her roommate was an ordinary thief or actually suffering from ___. 6. They'd only been together two weeks, but already she suspected there was a lot hidden in the depths of her boyfriend's ___. 7. A medical report from 1910 had identified her great-grandfather as a ___, and ten years later his alcoholism would kill him. 8. He hated the thought of drugs but knew he needed someone to talk to, so his brother recommended a local ___. Answers B. Match each word on the left to the best definition on the right: 1. psyche a. alcoholic 2. egomaniac b. caused by the mind 3. psychotherapist c. person deluded by thoughts of grandeur 4. psychosomatic d. producing hallucinations 5. dipsomaniac e. compulsive thieving 6. megalomaniac f. mind 7. kleptomania g. extremely self-centered person 8. psychedelic h. “talk” doctor Answers * * * CEPT comes from the Latin verb meaning “take, seize.” Capture, which is what a captor has done to a captive, has the same meaning. Captivate once meant literally “capture,” but now means only to capture mentally through charm or appeal. But in some other English words this root produces, such as those below, its meaning is harder to find. * * * reception (1) The act of receiving. (2) A social gathering where guests are formally welcomed. • Although the reception of her plan by the board of directors was enthusiastic, it was months before anything was done about it. Reception is the noun form of receive. So at a formal reception, guests are received or welcomed or “taken in.” A bad TV reception means the signal isn't being received well. When a new novel receives good reviews, we say it has met with a good critical reception. If it gets a poor reception, on the other hand, that's the same as saying that it wasn't well-received. intercept To stop, seize, or interrupt (something or someone) before arrival. • The explosives had been intercepted by police just before being loaded onto the jet. Since the prefix inter means “between” (see INTER), it's not hard to see how intercept was created. Arms shipments coming to a country are sometimes intercepted, but such interceptions can sometimes be understood as acts of war. In football, soccer, and basketball, players try to intercept the ball as it's being passed by the other team. In years gone by, letters and documents being carried between officers or officials were sometimes intercepted when the carrier was caught; today, when these communications are generally electronic, an intercepted e-mail isn't actually stopped, but simply read secretly by a third party. perceptible Noticeable or able to be felt by the senses. • Her change in attitude toward him was barely perceptible, and he couldn't be sure he wasn't just imagining it. Perceptible includes the prefix per-, meaning “through,” so the word refers to whatever can be taken in through the senses. A perceptive person picks up minor changes, small clues, or hints and shades of meaning that others can't perceive, so one person's perception—a tiny sound, a slight change in the weather, a different tone of voice—often won't be perceptible to another. susceptible (1) Open to some influence; responsive. (2) Able to be submitted to an action or process. • She impressed everyone immediately with her intelligence, so they're now highly susceptible to her influence and usually go along with anything she proposes. With its prefix sus-, “up,” susceptible refers to something or someone that “takes up” or absorbs like a sponge. A sickly child may be susceptible to colds, and an unlucky adult may be susceptible to back problems. A lonely elderly person may be susceptible to what a con man tells him or her on the phone. And students are usually susceptible to the teaching of an imaginative professor—that is, likely to enjoy and learn from it. * * * FIN comes from the Latin word for “end” or “boundary.” Final describes last things, and a finale or a finish is an ending. (And at the end of a French film, you may just see the word “Fin.”) But its meaning is harder to trace in some of the other English words derived from it. * * * confine (1) To keep (someone or something) within limits. (2) To hold (someone) in a location. • He had heard the bad news from the CEO, but when he spoke to his employees he confined his remarks to a few hints that sales had slipped. Confine means basically to keep someone or something within borders. Someone confined to a bedroom or a wheelchair is too ill or disabled to be anywhere else. A person under “house arrest” is confined to his or her house by the government. At a business meeting, the discussion may be confined to a single topic. A town may keep industrial development confined to one area by means of zoning. And someone confined to the state prison for 20 years has probably committed quite a serious crime. definitive (1) Authoritative and final. (2) Specifying perfectly or precisely. • The team's brilliant research provided a definitive description of the virus and its strange mutation patterns. Something definitive is complete and final. A definitive example is the perfect example. A definitive answer is usually a strong yes or no. A definitive biography contains everything we'll ever need to know about someone. Ella Fitzgerald's famous 1950s recordings of American songs have even been called definitive—but no one ever wanted them to be the last. finite Having definite limits. • Her ambitions were infinite, but her wealth was finite. It has come as a shock to many of us to realize that resources such as oil—and the atmosphere's ability to absorb greenhouse gases—are finite rather than unlimited. The debate continues as to whether the universe is finite or infinite and, if it's finite, how to think about what lies beyond it. Religion has always concerned itself with the question of the finite (that is, human life on earth) versus the infinite (God, eternity, and infinity). But finite is mostly used in scientific writing, often with the meaning “definitely measurable.” infinitesimal Extremely or immeasurably small. • Looking more closely at the research data, he now saw an odd pattern of changes so infinitesimal that they hadn't been noticed before. Just as infinite describes something immeasurable (“without limit”), infinitesimal describes something endlessly small. When Antonie van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope in the 17th century, he was able to see organisms that had been thought too infinitesimally small to exist. But today's electron microscope allows us to see infinitesimal aspects of matter that even Leeuwenhoek could not have imagined. Quiz 2-2 A. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. confine b. susceptible c. definitive d. reception e. finite f. intercept g. infinitesimal h. perceptible 1. By the fall there had been a ___ change in the mood of the students. 2. An ___ speck of dust on the lens can keep a CD player from functioning. 3. They waited weeks to hear about the board's ___ of their proposal. 4. Let's ___ this discussion to just the first part of the proposal. 5. Small children are often ___ to nightmares after hearing ghost stories in the dark. 6. He was at the post office the next morning, hoping to ___ the foolish letter he had sent yesterday. 7. We have a ___ number of choices, in fact maybe only three or four. 8. This may be the best book on the subject so far, but I wouldn't call it ___. Answers B. Match the word on the left to the correct definition on the right: 1. confine a. noticeable 2. susceptible b. ultimate 3. definitive c. seize 4. reception d. easily influenced 5. finite e. tiny 6. intercept f. limit 7. infinitesimal g. receiving 8. perceptible h. limited Answers * * * JECT comes from jacere, the Latin verb meaning “throw” or “hurl.” To reject something is to throw (or push) it back; to eject something is to throw (or drive) it out; and to inject something is to throw (or squirt) it into something else. * * * interject To interrupt a conversation with a comment or remark. • His anger was growing as he listened to the conversation, and every so often he would interject a crude comment. According to its Latin roots, interject ought to mean literally “throw between.” For most of the word's history, however, the only things that have been interjected have been comments dropped suddenly into a conversation. Interjections are often humorous, and sometimes even insulting, and the best interjections are so quick that the conversation isn't even interrupted. conjecture To guess. • He was last heard of in Bogotá, and they conjectured that he had met his end in the Andes at the hands of the guerrillas. Formed with the prefix con-, “together,” conjecture means literally “to throw together”—that is, to produce a theory by putting together a number of facts. So, for example, Columbus conjectured from his calculations that he would reach Asia if he sailed westward, and his later conjecture that there was a “Northwest Passage” by sea from the Atlantic to the Pacific over the North American continent was proved correct centuries later. projection An estimate of what might happen in the future based on what is happening now. • The president has been hearing different deficit projections all week from the members of his economic team. Projection has various meanings, but what they all have in common is that something is sent out or forward. A movie is projected onto a screen; a skilled actress projects her voice out into a large theater without seeming to shout; and something sticking out from a wall can be called a projection. But the meaning we focus on here is the one used by businesses and governments. Most projections of this kind are estimates of a company's sales or profits—or of the finances of a town, state, or country—sometime in the future. trajectory The curved path that an object makes in space, or that a thrown object follows as it rises and falls to earth. • Considering the likely range, trajectory, and accuracy of a bullet fired from a cheap handgun at 100 yards, the murder seemed incredible. Formed with part of the prefix trans-, “across,” trajectory means a “hurling across.” By calculating the effect of gravity and other forces, the trajectory of an object launched into space at a known speed can be computed precisely. Missiles stand a chance of hitting their target only if their trajectory has been plotted accurately. The word is used most often in physics and engineering, but not always; we can also say, for example, that the trajectory of a whole life may be set in a person's youth, or that a new book traces the long trajectory of the French empire. * * * TRACT comes from trahere, the Latin verb meaning “drag or draw.” Something attractive draws us toward it. Something distracting pulls your attention away. And when you extract something from behind the sofa, you drag it out. * * * traction The friction that allows a moving thing to move over a surface without slipping. • The spinning wheels were getting no traction on the ice, and we began to slip backward down the hill. A tractor is something that pulls something else. We usually use the word for a piece of farm machinery, but it's also the name of the part of a big truck that includes the engine and the cab. Tractors get terrific traction, because of their powerful engines and the deep ridges on their huge wheels. A cross-country skier needs traction to kick herself forward, but doesn't want it to slow her down when she's gliding, so the bottom of the skis may have a “fish-scale” surface that permits both of these at the same time. retract (1) To pull back (something) into something larger. (2) To take back (something said or written). • She was forced to retract her comment about her opponent after it was condemned in the press. The prefix re- (“back”) gives retract the meaning of “draw back.” Just as a cat retracts its claws into its paws when they aren't being used, a public figure may issue a retraction in order to say that he or she no longer wants to say something that has just been said. But it's sometimes hard to know what a retraction means: Was the original statement an error or an outright lie? Sometimes a politician even has to retract something that everyone actually assumes is the truth. Thousands of citizens were forced to publicly retract their “wrong” ideas by the Soviet government in the 1930s and the Chinese government in the 1960s. Someone wrongly accused may demand a retraction from his accuser—though today it seems more likely that he'll just go ahead and sue. protracted Drawn out, continued, or extended. • No one was looking forward to a protracted struggle for custody of the baby. With its prefix pro-, “forward,” protracted usually applies to something drawn out forward in time. A protracted strike may cripple a company; a protracted rainy spell may rot the roots of vegetables; and a protracted lawsuit occasionally outlives the parties involved. Before the invention of the polio vaccines, polio's many victims had no choice but to suffer a protracted illness and its aftereffects. intractable Not easily handled, led, taught, or controlled. • Corruption in the army was the country's intractable problem, and for many years all foreign aid had ended up in the colonels' pockets. Intractable simply means “untreatable,” and even comes from the same root. The word may describe both people and conditions. A cancer patient may suffer intractable pain that doctors are unable to treat. An intractable alcoholic goes back to the bottle immediately after “drying out.” Homelessness, though it hardly existed thirty years ago, is now sometimes regarded as an intractable problem. Quiz 2-3 A. Choose the odd word: 1. conjecture a. suppose b. assume c. guess d. know 2. protracted a. lengthened b. continued c. circular d. extended 3. projection a. survey b. forecast c. report d. history 4. traction a. grip b. drive c. pulling force d. steering 5. trajectory a. curve b. path c. arc d. target 6. retract a. unsay b. withdraw c. force d. take back 7. interject a. insert b. grab c. add d. stick in 8. unbelievable a. impossible b. uncontrollable c. stubborn d. difficult Answers B. Match each definition on the left to the correct word on the right: 1. pulling force a. protracted 2. assume b. interject 3. expectation c. trajectory 4. difficult d. traction 5. unsay e. conjecture 6. drawn out f. intractable 7. curved path g. retract 8. interrupt with h. projection Answers * * * DUC/DUCT, from the Latin verb ducere, “to lead,” shows up regularly in English. Duke means basically “leader.” The Italian dictator Mussolini was known simply as Il Duce, “the leader.” But such words as produce and reduce also contain the root, even though their meanings show it less clearly. * * * conducive Tending to promote, encourage, or assist; helpful. • She found the atmosphere in the quiet café conducive to study and even to creative thinking. Something conducive “leads to” a desirable result. A cozy living room may be conducive to relaxed conversation, just as a boardroom may be conducive to more intense discussions. Particular tax policies are often conducive to savings and investment, whereas others are conducive to consumer spending. Notice that conducive is almost always followed by to. deduction (1) Subtraction. (2) The reaching of a conclusion by reasoning. • Foretelling the future by deduction based on a political or economic theory has proved to be extremely difficult. To deduct is simply to subtract. A tax deduction is a subtraction from your taxable income allowed by the government for certain expenses, which will result in your paying lower taxes. Your insurance deductible is the amount of a medical bill that the insurance company makes you subtract before it starts to pay—in other words, the amount that will come out of your own pocket. But deduction also means “reasoning,” and particularly reasoning based on general principles to produce specific findings. Mathematical reasoning is almost always deduction, for instance, since it is based on general rules. But when Dr. Watson exclaims “Brilliant deduction, my dear Holmes!” he simply means “brilliant reasoning,” since Sherlock Holmes's solutions are based on specific details he has noticed rather than on general principles. induce (1) Persuade, influence. (2) Bring about. • To induce him to make the call we had to promise we wouldn't do it again. Inducing is usually gentle persuasion; you may, for instance, induce a friend to go to a concert, or induce a child to stop crying. An inducement is something that might lure you to do something, though inducements are occasionally a bit menacing, like the Godfather's offer that you can't refuse. Induce also sometimes means “produce”; thus, doctors must at times induce labor in a pregnant woman. Notice that induct and induction are somewhat different from induce and inducement, though they come from the identical roots. seduction (1) Temptation to sin, especially temptation to sexual intercourse. (2) Attraction or charm. • The company began its campaign of seduction of the smaller firm by inviting its top management to a series of weekends at expensive resorts. Seduction, with its prefix se-, “aside,” means basically “lead aside or astray.” In Hawthorne's novel The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a large scarlet A, for “adulteress,” after it is revealed that she's been seduced by the Reverend Dimmesdale. Seduction also takes less physical forms. Advertisements constantly try to seduce us (often using sex as a temptation) into buying products we hadn't even known existed. * * * SEQU comes from the Latin verb sequi, meaning “to follow.” A sequel follows the original novel, film, or television show. * * * sequential (1) Arranged in order or in a series. (2) Following in a series. • In writing the history of the revolution, his challenge was to put all the events of those fateful days in proper sequential order. Things in sequence, or regular order, are arranged sequentially. Most novels and films move sequentially, but some use techniques such as flashbacks that interrupt the movement forward in time. Sequential courses in college must follow each other in the proper order, just like sequential tasks or steps. subsequent Following in time, order, or place; later. • Through all her subsequent love affairs, she never stopped thinking about the man who got away. The prefix sub- normally means “below,” and the sub- in subsequent seems to imply that everything after the first is somehow inferior. As the definition states, subsequent can refer to time (“All our subsequent attempts to contact her failed”), order (“The subsequent houses on the list looked even worse”), or place (“The subsequent villages on the river heading east become steadily more primitive”). But subsequently, as in “I subsequently learned the real story,” simply means “later.” consequential (1) Resulting. (2) Important. • None of our discussions thus far has been very consequential; next week's meeting will be the important one. Something consequential follows or comes along with something else. The “resulting” meaning of consequential is usually seen in legal writing. For example, “consequential losses” are losses that supposedly resulted from some improper behavior, about which the lawyer's client is suing. But normally consequential means “significant” or “important,” and it's especially used for events that will produce large consequences, or results. non sequitur A statement that does not follow logically from anything previously said. • Rattled by the question, his mind went blank, and he blurted out a non sequitur that fetched a few laughs from members of the audience. Non sequitur is actually a complete sentence in Latin, meaning “It does not follow”—that is, something said or written doesn't logically follow what came before it. It was Aristotle who identified the non sequitur as one of the basic fallacies of logic—that is, one of the ways in which a person's reasoning may go wrong. For Aristotle, the non sequitur is usually a conclusion that doesn't actually result from the reasoning and evidence presented. Sometime when you're listening to politicians answering questions, see how many non sequiturs you can spot. Quiz 2-4 A. Match the definition on the left to the correct word on the right: 1. out-of-place statement a. deduction 2. persuade b. non sequitur 3. temptation c. induce 4. subtraction d. subsequent 5. helpful e. seduction 6. ordered f. consequential 7. following g. conducive 8. significant h. sequential Answers B. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. conducive b. deduction c. induce d. seduction e. consequential f. subsequent g. non sequitur h. sequential 1. The detectives insisted on a detailed and ___ account of the evening's events. 2. She fended off all his clumsy attempts at ___. 3. Conditions on the noisy hallway were not at all ___ to sleep. 4. There were a few arguments that first day, but all the ___ meetings went smoothly. 5. He sometimes thought that missing that plane had been the most ___ event of his life. 6. They arrived at the correct conclusion by simple ___. 7. He's hopeless at conversation, since practically everything he says is a ___. 8. He had tried to ___ sleep by all his usual methods, with no success. Answers Words from Mythology Apollonian Harmonious, ordered, rational, calm. • After a century of Romantic emotion, some composers adopted a more Apollonian style, producing clearly patterned pieces that avoided extremes of all kinds. In Greek mythology, Apollo was the god of the sun, light, prophecy, and music, and the most revered of all the gods. Partly because of the writings of Nietzsche, we now often think of Apollo (in contrast to the god Dionysus) as a model of calm reason, and we may call anything with those qualities Apollonian. This isn't the whole story about Apollo, however; he had a terrible temper and could be viciously cruel when he felt like it. bacchanalian Frenzied, orgiastic. • The bacchanalian partying on graduation night resulted in three wrecked cars, two lawsuits by unamused parents, and more new experiences than most of the participants could remember the next day. The Roman god of drama, wine, and ecstasy, Bacchus was the focus of a widespread celebration, the Bacchanalia. The festivities were originally secret, and only initiated members could participate. There was wine in abundance, and participants were expected to cut loose from normal restraints and give in to all sorts of wild desires. Eventually the Bacchanalia became more public and uncontrolled, finally getting so out of hand that in 186 B.C. the Roman authorities had it banned. Much the same bacchanalian spirit fills tropical carnivals every year, including New Orleans' Mardi Gras. delphic Unclear, ambiguous, or confusing. • All she could get from the strange old woman were a few delphic comments that left her more confused than ever about the missing documents. Delphi in Greece was the site of a temple to Apollo at which there resided an oracle, a woman through whom Apollo would speak, foretelling the future. The Greeks consulted the oracle frequently on matters both private and public. The prophecies were given in difficult poetry that had to be interpreted by priests, and even the interpretations could be hard to understand. When Croesus, king of Lydia, asked what would happen if he attacked the Persians, the oracle announced that he would destroy a great empire; what she didn't say was that the empire destroyed would be his own. Modern-day descendants of the oracle include some political commentators, who utter words of delphic complexity every week. Dionysian Frenzied, delirious. • Only in the tropics did such festivals become truly Dionysian, he said, which was why he was booking his flight to Rio. Dionysus was the Greek forerunner of Bacchus. He was the inventor of wine, which he gave to the human race. For that gift and for all the wild behavior that it led to, Dionysus became immensely popular, and he appears in a great many myths. He is often shown holding a wine goblet, with his hair full of vine leaves, and attended by a band of goat-footed satyrs and wild female spirits called maenads. In the 19th century, scholars such as Nietzsche claimed that the ancient world could be understood as a continuing conflict between the attitudes represented by Apollo (see Apollonian) and Dionysus—that is, between order and disorder, between moderation and excess, between the controlled and the ecstatic. jovial Jolly, good-natured. • Their grandfather was as jovial and sociable as their grandmother was quiet and withdrawn. Jove, or Jupiter, was the Roman counterpart of the Greek's Zeus, and like Zeus was regarded as chief among the gods. When the Romans were naming the planets, they gave the name Jupiter to the one that, as they may have already known, was the largest of all (though only the second-brightest to the naked eye). When the practice of astrology reached the Roman empire from the East, astrologers declared that those “born under Jupiter” were destined to be merry and generous, and many centuries later this would result in the words jovial and joviality. mercurial Having rapid and unpredictable changes of mood. • His mother's always mercurial temper became even more unpredictable, to the point where the slightest thing would trigger a violent fit. The god Mercury, with his winged cap and sandals, was the very symbol of speed, and the planet Mercury was named for him by the Romans because it is the fastest-moving of the planets. His name was also given to the liquid silver metal that skitters around on a surface so quickly and unpredictably. And the word mercurial seems to have come from the metal, rather than directly from the god (or an astrologer's view of the planet's influence). Mercurial people are usually bright but impulsive and changeable (and sometimes a bit unstable). Olympian Lofty, superior, and detached. • Now 77, he moved slowly and spoke to the younger lawyers in Olympian tones, but his college friends could remember when he was a brash, crazy risk-taker. The Greek gods lived high atop Mt. Olympus, which allowed them to watch what went on in the human realm below and intervene as they saw fit. They insisted on being properly worshipped by humans, but otherwise tended to treat the affairs of these weak and short-lived creatures almost like a sport. So Olympian describes someone who seems “lofty” and “above it all,” as if surveying a scene in which other people appear the size of ants. The Olympic Games were first celebrated in the 8th century B.C., at the religious site called Olympia (far from Mt. Olympus), and Olympian today actually most often refers to Olympic athletes. venereal Having to do with sexual intercourse or diseases transmitted by it. • In the 19th century syphilis especially was often fatal, and venereal diseases killed some of the greatest figures of the time. Venus was the Roman goddess of love, the equivalent of the Greek Aphrodite. Since she governed all aspects of love and desire, a word derived from her name was given to the diseases acquired through sexual contact. Most of these venereal diseases have been around for many centuries, but only in the 20th century did doctors devise tests to identify them or medicines to cure them. Today the official term is sexually transmitted disease, or STD; but even this name turns out to be ambiguous, since some of these diseases can be contracted in other ways as well. Quiz 2-5 Choose the correct synonym and the correct antonym: 1. Dionysian a. frenzied b. angry c. calm d. fatal 2. apollonian a. fruity b. irrational c. single d. harmonious 3. mercurial a. stable b. changeable c. sociable d. depressed 4. jovial a. youthful b. mean-spirited c. merry d. magical 5. olympian a. involved b. lame c. detached d. everyday 6. venereal a. sensual b. intellectual c. diseased d. arthritic 7. bacchanalian a. restrained b. dynamic c. frenzied d. forthright 8. delphic a. clear b. dark c. stormy d. ambiguous Answers Review Quizzes 2 A. Choose the closest definition: 1. reprobate a. prosecution b. scoundrel c. trial d. refund 2. intercept a. throw b. seize c. arrest d. close 3. confine a. erect b. restrict c. ignore d. lock out 4. deduction a. addition b. flirtation c. total d. reasoning 5. subsequent a. unimportant b. early c. first d. later 6. sequential a. important b. noticeable c. in order d. distant 7. non sequitur a. distrust b. refusal c. odd statement d. denial 8. conjecture a. ask b. state c. guess d. exclaim 9. perceptible a. noticeable b. capable c. readable d. thinkable 10. finite a. vast b. finished c. nearby d. limited Answers B. Match the definition on the left to the correct word on the right: 1. guess a. olympian 2. soul b. perceptible 3. lengthy c. conjecture 4. godlike d. definitive 5. ordered e. protracted 6. clear-cut f. psyche 7. noticeable g. susceptible 8. sensitive h. jovial 9. significant i. sequential 10. jolly j. consequential Answers C. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. mercurial b. induce c. intractable d. amicable e. interject f. seduction g. bacchanalian h. traction i. retract j. trajectory 1. The public isn't aware of the company's ___ of Congress through its huge contributions over many years. 2. The truck was getting almost no ___ on the snowy road. 3. The prison situation is ___, and likely to get worse. 4. He tried to ___ his statement the next day, but the damage had been done. 5. Surprisingly, her first and second husbands actually have a completely ___ relationship. 6. The argument had gotten fierce, but he somehow managed to ___ a remark about how they were both wrong. 7. The disappointing ___ of his career often puzzled his friends. 8. She again told her family that nothing could ___ her to marry him. 9. By 2:00 a.m. the party was a scene of ___ frenzy. 10. Her only excuse for her behavior was her well-known ___ temper. Answers Unit 3 AMBI EPI HYP/HYPO THERM/THERMO POLY PRIM HOM/HOMO DIS Latin Borrowings Quiz 3-1 Quiz 3-2 Quiz 3-3 Quiz 3-4 Quiz 3-5 Review Quizzes 3 * * * AMBI means “on both sides” or “around”; ambi- comes from Latin. Most of us are either right-handed or left-handed, but ambidextrous people can use their right and left hand equally well. * * * ambiguous (1) Doubtful or uncertain especially from being obscure or indistinct. (2) Unclear in meaning because of being understandable in more than one way. • Successful politicians are good at giving ambiguous answers to questions on difficult issues. Ambiguous comes from the Latin verb ambigere, “to be undecided.” When we say someone's eyes are an ambiguous color, we mean we cannot decide which color they are—blue or green? The ambiguity of the Mona Lisa's smile makes us wonder what she's thinking about. An ambiguous order is one that can be taken in at least two ways; on the other hand, the order “Shut up!” may be rude but at least it's unambiguous. ambient Existing or present on all sides. • The ambient lighting in the restaurant was low, and there was a bright candle at each table. Ambient light is the light that fills an area or surrounds something that's being viewed, like a television screen or a painting. Scientists sometimes refer to the ambient temperature, the temperature of the surrounding air. “Ambient music” is the term used today for “atmospheric” background music usually intended for relaxation or meditation. The candlelit restaurant in the example sentence is probably trying for a romantic ambience, or “atmosphere.” ambivalent (1) Holding opposite feelings and attitudes at the same time toward someone or something. (2) Continually wavering between opposites or alternative courses of action. • He was ambivalent about the trip: he badly wanted to travel but hated to miss the summer activities at home. Ambivalent is a fairly new word, less than a hundred years old, and, not surprisingly, it was first used by psychologists. Since being ambivalent means simply having mixed feelings about some question or issue, some of us spend most of our lives in a state of ambivalence. We might feel ambivalence about accepting a high-paying job that requires us to work long hours, about lending money to someone we like but don't know well—or about ordering a Tutti-Frutti Chocolate Banana Sundae El Supremo after we've been starving on a strict diet for weeks. ambit The range or limit covered by something (such as a law). • The treatment of farm animals generally falls outside the ambit of animal-cruelty laws in the U.S. Ambit is a rather formal term, often used by lawyers, as in, “With this new legislation, tobacco now falls within the ambit of FDA regulation.” It almost always refers to something abstract rather than an actual physical range. So, for example, an immigrant might live completely within the ambit of her immigrant community until she started college, where she might find herself in a much broader social ambit. Most of the Latin American colonies were established by Spain, but in the 19th century, as the U.S. became stronger and Spain became weaker, they began to enter the ambit of U.S. power. * * * EPI is a Greek prefix that may mean various things, but usually “on, over” or “attached to.” So an earthquake's epicenter is the ground right over the center of the quake. And your epidermis is the outer layer of your skin, on top of the inner dermis. * * * epilogue The final section after the main part of a book or play. • Her editor told her the book really needed an epilogue, to tell where each member of the family is today. From its Greek roots, epilogue means basically “words attached (at the end).” An epilogue often somehow wraps up a story's action, as in the one for a famous Shakespeare play that ends, “For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.” In nonfiction books, we now often use the term afterword instead of epilogue, just as we now generally use foreword instead of prologue (see LOG). Movies also often have a kind of epilogue—maybe a scene after the exciting climax when the surviving lovers meet in a café to talk about their future. The epilogue of a musical composition, after all the drama is over, is called the coda (Italian for “tail”). epiphyte A plant that obtains its nutrients from the air and the rain and usually grows on another plant for support. • The strangler fig begins life as an epiphyte on a tree branch, drops its tendrils to take root in the ground around the trunk, and slowly covers and strangles the tree to death. Epiphytic plants are sometimes known as “air plants” because they seemingly survive on thin air. They rely on their host plants merely for physical support, not nourishment. Tropical epiphytes include orchids, ferns, and members of the pineapple family. To a newcomer in the tropical rain forest, the first sight of a great tree with large epiphytes hanging from every level can be eerie and astonishing. Familiar epiphytes of the temperate zone include lichens, mosses, and algae, which may grow on rocks or water without touching the soil. epitaph An inscription on a grave or tomb in memory of the one buried there. • The great architect Christopher Wren designed London's majestic St. Paul's Cathedral, the site of his tomb and epitaph: “Si monumentum requiris, circumspice” (“If you seek my monument, look around you”). Epitaph includes the root from the Greek word taphos, “tomb” or “funeral.” Traditionally, epitaph refers to a tombstone inscription, but it can also refer to brief memorial statements that resemble such inscriptions. One of the most famous is Henry Lee's epitaph for George Washington: “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.” epithet (1) A descriptive word or phrase occurring with or in place of the name of a person or thing. (2) An insulting or demeaning word or phrase. • King Richard I of England earned the epithet “Lionhearted,” while his brother, King John, was given the epithet “Lackland.” From its Greek roots, epithet would mean something “put on,” or added. Sometimes the added name follows a given name, as in Erik the Red or Billy the Kid. In other cases, the epithet precedes the personal name, as in Mahatma (“Great-souled”) Gandhi. In still others, it's used in place of the actual name, as in El Greco (“The Greek”) or El Cid (“The Lord”). In its other common meaning, an epithet is a mocking or insulting name (like “Lackland” in the example sentence). When enemies are said to be “hurling epithets” at each other, it means they're exchanging angry insults. Quiz 3-1 A. Fill in each blank with the correct letter: a. ambiguous b. epiphyte c. ambient d. epitaph e. epithet f. ambivalent g. epilogue h. ambit 1. An ___ seems to live on air and water alone. 2. When the ___ light is low, photographers use a flash. 3. She felt ___ about the invitation, and couldn't decide whether to accept or decline. 4. Is any ___ inscribed on Grant's Tomb? 5. Andrew Jackson's ___, describing his lean toughness, was “Old Hickory.” 6. Lord Raglan's ___ order confused the commander of the Light Brigade and led to its disastrous charge. 7. Her visit in the spring was a kind of ___ to our relationship, which had really ended two months earlier. 8. The subject really falls within the ___ of economics rather than sociology. Answers B. Match each word on the left with its correct definition on the right: 1. ambivalent a. having more than one meaning 2. epithet b. surrounding 3. ambit c. wavering 4. epiphyte d. grave inscription 5. ambiguous e. range 6. epitaph f. descriptive nickname 7. ambient g. ending 8. epilogue h. non-parasitic plant growing on another Answers * * * HYP/HYPO is a Greek prefix meaning “below, under.” Many hypo- words are medical. A hypodermic needle injects medication under the skin. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, can be just as unhealthy as the better-known hypertension, or high blood pressure. * * * hypochondriac A person overly concerned with his or her own health who often suffers from delusions of physical disease. • Hercule Poirot, the detective hero of the Agatha Christie mysteries, is a notorious hypochondriac, always trying to protect himself from drafts. One disease a hypochondriac really does suffer from is hypochondria, the anxiety and depression that come from worrying too much about one's own health. Even though it's easy to joke about hypochondriacs, hypochondria is no joking matter for the sufferer. Somewhat surprisingly, the second part of hypochondria derives from chondros, the Greek word for “cartilage.” The cartilage in question is that of the sternum, or breastbone. From ancient times, doctors believed that certain internal organs or regions were the seat of various diseases, both physical and mental, and the area under the breastbone was thought to be the source of hypochondria. hypoglycemia Abnormal decrease of sugar in the blood. • She had been controlling her hypoglycemia through diet and vitamins, but she now realized she needed to add daily exercise as well. The root glyk- means “sweet” in Greek, so glyc shows up in the names of various terms referring to a sugar as a chemical ingredient, such as glycerine and monoglyceride. People with diabetes have difficulty controlling the sugar in their blood. Too little can be dangerous; its early symptoms may be as minor as nervousness, shaking, and sweating, but it can lead to seizures and unconsciousness. Luckily, it can be taken care of easily by eating or drinking something high in carbohydrates. Its opposite, hyperglycemia (see HYPER), is the main symptom of diabetes, and usually requires an injection of insulin, which the sufferer usually gives himself. Today many people—though not doctors—use hypoglycemia to mean a completely different condition, with some of the same milder symptoms, that doesn't involve low blood sugar. hypothermia Subnormal temperature of the body. • By the time rescuers were able to pull the boy from the pond's icy waters, hypothermia had reached a life-threatening stage. Hypothermia, which usually results from submersion in icy water or prolonged exposure to cold, may constitute a grave medical emergency. It begins to be a concern when body temperature dips below 95°F, and the pulse, breathing, and blood pressure start to decline. Below 90°, the point at which the normal reaction of shivering ceases, emergency treatment is called for. hypothetical (1) Involving an assumption made for the sake of argument or for further study or investigation. (2) Imagined for purposes of example. • The candidate refused to say what she would do if faced with a hypothetical military crisis. The noun hypothesis comes straight from the Greek word meaning “foundation” or “base”—that is something “put under” something else. So a hypothesis is something you assume to be true in order that you can use it as the base or basis for a line of reasoning—and any such assumption can be called hypothetical. So, for example, the theory that the dinosaurs became extinct because of a giant meteor that struck the earth near the Yucatán Peninsula involves the hypothesis that such a collision would have had such terrible effects on the earth's climate that the great reptiles would have been doomed. Once a hypothesis has been thoroughly studied and researched without being proved wrong, it generally comes to be called a theory instead. * * * THERM/THERMO comes from the Greek word meaning “warm.” A thermometer measures the amount of warmth in a body, the air, or an oven. A thermostat makes sure the temperature stays at the same level. And it's easy to see why the German manufacturers of a vacuum-insulated bottle back in 1904 gave it the name Thermos. * * * thermal (1) Of, relating to, or caused by heat. (2) Designed to insulate in order to retain body heat. • A special weave called thermal weave traps insulating air in little pockets to increase the warmth of long underwear and blankets. In days gone by, much of the male population of the northern states in the cold months would wear a garment of thermal underwear covering the entire body, called a union suit. Union suits kept sodbusters, cowboys, and townsfolk alike not only warm but also itchy and a little on the smelly side (back when bathing once a week was considered the height of cleanliness). Thermal imaging is photography that captures “heat pictures”—rather than ordinary light pictures—of objects. And thermal pollution occurs when industrial water use ends up warming a river in a damaging way. Small-plane pilots use thermal as a noun for a warm updraft, often over a plowed field or desert, that lifts their wings, just as it enables hawks to soar upward without moving their wings. thermodynamics Physics that deals with the mechanical actions or relations of heat. • With his college major in electrical engineering, he assumed it would be an easy step to a graduate-school concentration in thermodynamics. Thermodynamics (see DYNAM) is based on the fact that all forms of energy, including heat and mechanical energy, are basically the same. Thus, it deals with the ways in which one form of energy is converted into another, when one of the forms is heat. The study of thermodynamics dates from before the invention of the first practical steam engine—an engine that uses steam to produce physical power—in the 18th century. Today most of the world's electrical power is actually produced by steam engines, and the principal use of thermodynamics is in power production. thermonuclear Of or relating to the changes in the nucleus of atoms with low atomic weight, such as hydrogen, that require a very high temperature to begin. • In the 1950s and '60s, anxious American families built thousands of underground “fallout shelters” to protect themselves from the radiation of a thermonuclear blast. Nuclear is the adjective for nucleus, the main central part of an atom. The original nuclear explosives, detonated in 1945, were so-called fission bombs, since they relied on the fission, or splitting, of the nuclei of uranium atoms. But an even greater source of destructive power lay in nuclear fusion, the forcing together of