|TOEFL 500-Word List |
MACHIAVELLIAN: Sacrificing moral principles in order to attain power; politically cunning; crafty - a machiavellian design, wickedly contrived. Synonym: unscrupulous.
MALICIOUS (noun: MALICE): Bearing, or acting with, deliberate ill-will or spite - hurting with malicious intent. Synonyms: rancorous, malignant, malevolent, virulent, vindictive. Antonym: benign.
MASQUERADE (verb): To assume a deceptive appearance or character - a thief masquerading as an honest man. Synonyms: dissemble, feign. (noun): A disguise; a group of people in disguise or fancy costumes - a masquerade so perfect no one could guess his identity.
MAUDLIN: Sentimental to the point of tears - turned maudlin at the mention of his lost dog. Synonym: mawkish, lachrymose.
MEANDER: To walk about (or talk) aimlessly; to wind about (as a stream) - meandered through the town, looking into shop windows. Synonym: ramble.
MEDIOCRE: Average in quality - a mediocre performance, unworthy of his talents.
MERCENARY: Acting solely from a consideration of reward or profit - actuated by a mercenary motive. Synonym: venal.
MERETRICIOUS: Attracting in a false, cheap, or showy manner- a meretricious beauty that is too flashy to be real. Synonyms: tawdry, specious.
METICULOUS: Fussy about minute details - took meticulous pains with his composition. Synonyms: fastidious, punctilious, overscrupulous, finical, methodical. Antonyms: desultory, perfunctory, slovenly.
METTLE (adj.: METTLESOME: high-spirited ): Disposition; spirit; courage - His mettle was tried in battle. Idiom: to be on one's mettle (meaning, “ready to do one's best”). Synonyms: temperament, ardor.
MICROCOSM: A little world, or a universe in miniature this village, a microcosm of the great outside world. Antonym macrocosm (world on a large scale).
MIMIC: To make fun of or copy by imitating - mimicked the comedian's gestures.
MISANTHROPIC (noun: MISANTHROPE): Hating or distrusting mankind - condemned for his misanthropic views. Antonyms: philanthropic, altruistic.
MISNOMER: A name or term that describes wrongly - To call him a brave man is really a misnomer.
MONOLOGUE: A speech by one person - The actor gave his views in a dramatic monologue. Synonym: soliloquy. Antonyms: colloquy (adj. colloquial): conversation between two or more persons; dialogue: conversation between two persons.
MOROSE: Gloomy; ill-humored - shunned because of his morose temper. Synonyms: sulky, crabbed, sullen, splenetic, saturnine. Antonyms: blithe, genial.
MOTLEY: Of various colors; of mixed ingredients - a motley costume; a motley crowd. Synonyms: checkered (referring to a varied career), piebald, variegated, diverse, heterogeneous. Antonym: homogeneous.
MOTTLED: Spotted or streaked with varied colors - a mottled pony. Synonyms: blotched, dappled.
MUNDANE: Of, or pertaining to, the world, as contrasted with the spirit - mundane affairs. Synonyms: earthly, terrestrial, secular, temporal.
MURKY: Dark; cloudy - a murky cavern. Synonyms: dismal, tenebrous, fuliginous. Antonyms: resplendent, glowing, lustrous, luminous, fulgent, coruscating.
MUTABLE: Given to frequent change in nature, mood, or form - mutable in mood as a spring wind. Synonyms: vacillating, fickle, inconstant, fitful, mercurial, wavering, capricious. Antonyms: constant, steady.
MYRIAD: Innumerable - the myriad stars in the heavens.
NAUTICAL: Pertaining to ships or navigation - a nautical career. Synonyms: marine, naval, maritime.
NETTLE: To irritate or provoke - nettled by his critics. Synonyms: vex, pique, goad.
NOCTURNAL: Pertaining to, or occurring in, the night - awakened by the sounds of a nocturnal prowler. Antonym: diurnal.
NOISOME: Foul-smelling; harmful-the swamp gave off a noisome odor. Synonyms: malodorous, fetid, disgusting; noxious, deleterious. Antonym: salubrious.
NONCHALANT: Unmoved or indifferent; casual - reacted to the news in a nonchalant manner. Synonym: apathetic. Antonyms: enthusiastic, zealous.
NOSTALGIA: Homesickness - felt nostalgia for the old homestead.
NOTORIOUS: Widely known (in a bad sense) - a notorious gambler.
NOVICE: A beginner - conducted himself in politics like a novice. Synonyms: tyro, neophyte. Antonym: virtuoso.
OBDURATE: Hard-hearted; stubborn - an obdurate, unrepentant criminal. Synonyms: adamant, unyielding, inflexible. Antonyms: submissive, docile, compliant.
OBLIVIOUS (noun: OBLIVION): Forgetful; absent-minded - walking oblivious of his surroundings. Synonyms: unmindful, heedless, abstracted.
OBSESSION: A persistent feeling, idea, activity, etc., which dominates a person; the state of being exclusively preoccupied by a fixed idea - Now that he has learned bowling, it has become his obsession. Synonyms: mania, infatuation (a foolish passion), monomania.
OBSOLETE: No longer in use - an obsolete word, not even included by most dictionaries. Synonyms: archaic, antiquated.
OBTRUSIVE (verb: OBTRUDE): Thrusting oneself or itself into undue prominence - made himself obnoxiously obtrusive. Synonyms: intrusive, aggressive.
OBVIATE: To prevent, dispose of, or make unnecessary by appropriate actions - an act which obviated all objections. Synonyms: preclude, forestall.
OMNIPOTENT: All-powerful - an omnipotent despot.
ONUS: Burden; duty; obligation - bore the onus of his difficult office creditably.
OSTENSIBLE: Apparent; pretended - his ostensible, though not actual, purpose. Synonyms: professed, plausible (that is, appearing true, reasonable, or fair), specious.
OSTRACIZE: To banish; to exclude from public favor or privileges - a former premier ostracized by popular vote. Synonym: outlaw.
PANACEA: A remedy for all ills - seeking a panacea to cure our social troubles. Synonym: nostrum.
PANEGYRIC: A speech or writing of extravagant praise - delivered a panegyric at his friend's testimonial dinner. Synonyms: eulogy, adulation, tribute, laudation (adj. laudatory), encomium. Antonyms: censure, disparagement, derogation, castigation, depreciation.
PARADOX: A self -contradictory statement; something 'that appears to be absurd and yet may be true -"Life is too important a matter to he taken seriously." - a paradox by Oscar Wilde. Synonym: anomaly.
PARAPHRASE: To restate the meaning of a passage in other words - paraphrased the poem in a few lines of prose.
PARODY (noun): A humorous imitation of an author's style and mannerisms - wrote a parody on Kipling's "Gunga Din." Synonym: burlesque. (verb): To write a parody - parodied the popular authors of the (lay to his audience's amusement. Synonym: Mimic.
PECCADILLO: A petty fault-possesses one peccadillo among his many virtues. Synonyms: frailty, foible, flaw, blemish.
PECUNIARY: Pertaining to money - involved in pecuniary difficulties. Synonyms; financial, fiscal, monetary.
PEDANT (adj.: PEDANTIC): One who proudly shows off his learning or who overrates his knowledge - like a pedant glorying in his scholarly trifles.
PENSIVE: Sadly thoughtful - softly sang his pensive song. Synonyms: reflective, meditative, contemplative, musing.
PEREMPTORY: Positive in expressing an opinion - gave a peremptory judgment. Synonyms: decisive, resolute, imperious, positive, dogmatic. Antonyms: indecisive, tentative.
PERTINACIOUS: Clinging doggedly to an opinion or purpose - pertinacious in his efforts. Synonyms: obdurate, tenacious, persistent, persevering, intractable, inflexible.
PERUSE: To read carefully - perused the important letter.
PERVERSE: Willfully bent on doing the wrong thing - a perverse lad, always disobeying his parents. Synonyms: headstrong, froward, refractory, wayward, fractious.
PETRIFY: To paralyze with horror, fear, or surprise - petrified by the enemy bombardment. Synonyms: stupefy, stun, bewilder, amaze.
PLAGIARISM. Adopting and reproducing, without acknowledgment, the writings or ideas of another and passing them off as one's own - denied the charge of deliberate plagiarism.
PLATITUDE: A dull and commonplace remark - bored people by his pompous phrases and platitudes. Synonyms: bromide, truism, axiom.
PLEBEIAN: Pertaining to the common people; hence, common or vulgar - plebeian in his tastes and outlook. Antonyms: patrician, aristocratic.
PLEBISCITE. A direct vote by the people - The decision to confederate was ratified by plebiscite.
POIGNANT: (1) Gripping and moving the feelings powerfully - a poignant grief. (2) Piercing, biting, pointed - a poignant cry; poignant wit.
PONDEROUS: Very heavy; clumsy; dull - a ponderous speech, extremely boring.
PRECARIOUS: Uncertain or risky - earning a precarious livelihood, providing no luxuries.
PRECIPITOUS: (1) Very steep - a precipitous cliff. (2) Descending rapidly - a precipitous decline in popularity.
PRELUDE: An introduction, forerunner, or preliminary step - a short prelude to the play. Synonyms: preface, prologue, preamble. Antonym: epilogue.
PREROGATIVE: A privilege or power attaching to a position - It is a woman's prerogative to refuse to tell her age. Synonym: license.
PRESTIGE: Esteem or influence accorded for recognized achievements or reputation - As Senator he enjoyed great prestige. Synonym: distinction.
PRESUMPTION: (1) Something taken for granted - acted on a reasonable presumption. (2) Going beyond proper bounds; impudent boldness - His question was downright presumption. Synonyms: effrontery, forwardness, arrogance.
PREVARICATE: To disguise or conceal the truth to lie - prevaricated in order to avoid detection. Synonyms: quibble, equivocate; (adj.) mendacious. Antonyms: (noun) veracity, verity; (adj.) forthright.
PROCRASTINATE: To postpone or put off to another time - missed his opportunity by procrastinating too long. Synonyms: defer, delay.
PROGNOSTICATE (noun: PROGNOSIS): To forecast - The Weather Bureau prognosticates daily. Synonyms: presage, portend, augur, forebode.
PROLETARIAT: The wage-earning class - a truckman, humble member of the proletariat.
PROMONTORY: A cliff - an imposing promontory along the coast. Synonyms: headland, precipice.
PROMULGATE: To publish or proclaim; to spread abroad The President promulgated a decree. Synonym: disseminate.
PROTUBERANT: Bulging or swelling out - a protuberant jaw. Antonyms: receding, recessive.
PROVISIONAL: Temporary; for the time being - a provisional plan until a permanent decision is reached. Synonym: tentative.
PROXIMITY: Nearness-worked in close proximity to his home. Synonyms: propinquity, vicinity. Antonym remoteness.
PSEUDONYM: A false name assumed by a writer - concealed his identity by a pseudonym. Synonyms: alias, pen name, nom de plume.
PUNITIVE: Inflicting, or concerned with, punishment - took punitive measures against deserters.
QUASH: To crush; to render void - quashed a rebellion; quashed an indictment. Synonyms: suppress, extinguish, quell; annul.
QUERULOUS: Given to fault-finding and complaining - Her querulous nature estranged many people. Synonyms: fretful, whining, captious, carping, peevish, petulant. Antonym: affable.
QUIXOTIC: Extravagantly romantic or idealistic; highly impractical - a quixotic scheme that can never materialize. Synonyms: utopian, visionary, fantastic.
RACONTEUR: A skilled storyteller - held spellbound by a superb raconteur.
RADICAL (noun): One who advocates extreme basic changes - The reform movement was led by a radical. (adj.): Thorough, extreme - radical measures adopted to meet the emergency. Antonym (noun and adj.): conservative.
RAMIFICATION: A branching; sub-division - studied the subject in all its ramifications.
RAZE: To tear down completely- razed the old building. Synonyms: level. Antonym: rear.
RECAPITULATE: To restate in a brief, concise form; to sum up - recapitulated the main ideas.
RECIPROCAL: Mutual; done in return for something received - held each other in reciprocal esteem.
RECUMBENT: Lying down; leaning back or down - resting in a recumbent position.
REDOLENT: (1) Fragrant - a room redolent of roses. Synonym: aromatic. (2) Reminiscent of - redolent of olden times.
REDOUBTABLE: Commanding fear or respect - cringing before a redoubtable enemy. Synonym: formidable.
REFUTE: To prove incorrect or false-refuted his opponent's argument. Synonyms: rebut, confute. Antonyms: substantiate, confirm, corroborate.
REITERATE: Repeat (several times) - reiterated his story once more.
REMUNERATIVE: Profitable - a remunerative job. Synonyms: lucrative, gainful.
RENEGADE: One who forsakes political or party principles or his religious faith - a renegade from his former allegiance. Synonyms: turncoat, apostate, recreant, traitor.
REPRISAL: Injury inflicted in turn for one received - took action in reprisal against his neighbor. Synonym: retaliation.
RESENTMENT: Feeling of displeasure or indignation resulting from mistreatment or abuse - showed resentment at what he considered an unwarranted insult. Synonyms: umbrage, dudgeon, animosity.
RESILIENT: Elastic; light-hearted; possessing power of recovery - a resilient Spirit, refusing to admit defeat. Synonyms: flexible, pliable, supple, limber.
RESPITE: (1) Temporary deferment or cessation of work or pain - a brief respite from labor. Synonym: surcease. (2) A temporary delay in the execution of -a sentence - granted the doom man a temporary respite. Synonym: reprieve.
RETRIBUTION: The reward or punishment exacted for an injury, wickedness, or other action - suffered just retribution for his folly. Synonyms: requital, nemesis.
RETRIEVE: (1) To make good -retrieved a mistake. (2) To recover -retrieved the suitcase left at the station. (3) To restore - retrieved his lost fortunes.
REVERBERATE: To echo - a shot reverberating through the valley. Synonym: resound.
RUDIMENTARY: In an early stage of development - possessing only a rudimentary, knowledge of physics. Synonym: incipient.
RUE (adj.: RUEFUL): To be sorry for-He will rue the day he left home. Synonyms: regret, repent.
SACROSANCT: Very holy - a shrine. regarded as sacrosanct. Synonyms: consecrated, inviolable, hallowed.
SAGACIOUS (noun: SAGACITY): Wise; shrewd - proved to be sagacious in his judgment. Synonyms: perspicacious, astute, sapient, discerning, sage.
SALLOW: Sick - a sallow complexion. Synonym: pallid. Antonyms: rubicund, ruddy, florid.
SALLY: (verb): To rush forth suddenly - sallied out to meet the enemy. (noun): A Witty remark - amused the audience with his sallies against his opponent. Synonyms: quip, banter.
SANCTIMONIOUS: Pretending to be religious - showed his hypocrisy in a sanctimonious display of piety.
SANGUINARY: Bloody - a sanguinary battle. Synonym: gory.
SANGUINE: Of a hopeful disposition; blood-red in color - a perennial optimist, sanguine in temperament. Synonyms: buoyant, ardent.
SARTORIAL: Pertaining to a tailor or clothes - a picture of sartorial perfection.
SATELLITE: (1) An attentive or flattering follower - a prince surrounded by many satellites. Synonyms: lackey, toady, disciple, adherent; adj., fawning, obsequious, partisan. (2) A country influenced or controlled by another - Freedom is conspicuously absent ,in the Soviet satellites. (3) A body (natural or artificial) which revolves around a larger body, generally a planet - The moon is the only natural satellite of the earth, but in recent years it has been joined by many artificial satellites.
SCINTILLA: A trace; a particle - not a scintilla of convincing evidence. Synonyms: iota; vestige.
SCOURGE (verb): To punish severely; to afflict; to whip - a disease that scourged the country. Synonyms: excoriate, flay. (noun). A whip or other means of punishment; a cause of affliction - The Black Plague was a dreadful scourge of the Middle Ages. Synonym: tribulation.
SCRUTINIZE: To examine carefully -scrutinized the contents of the letter.
SHIBBOLETH: A party slogan - a shibboleth designed to attract votes.
SIMPER (verb): To smile in a silly or affected way simpered as he greeted each guest. (noun): An affected or silly smile - stood nervously, a simper on his face. Synonym: (verb and noun) smirk.
SINECURE: Employment entailing little or no responsibility or labor - His job was a sinecure.
SINISTER: Threatening or showing evil; dishonest - the sinister look of a gangster.
SLEAZY: Flimsy and cheap - sleazy cloth which is used only in cheap garments. Synonym: unsubstantial.
SLOVENLY: Untidy-severely criticized the student's slovenly appearance. Synonyms: slipshod, slatternly, frowzy.
SOPORIFIC: Tending to induce sleep - a poorly written novel, soporific in effect.
SORDID: Mean and base; filthy - Sordid motives breed selfish actions. Synonyms: degraded, vile, ignoble.
SOVEREIGN: Supreme m power and authority; independent of the control of any other government - possessing sovereign powers; a sovereign state. Synonyms: autonomous, imperial, majestic, paramount.
SPORADIC: Occurring singly, at irregular intervals; scattered - sporadic cases of illness.
SPURN: To refuse or reject with contempt - an offer that was spurned instantly. Synonyms: repel, snub.
STOIC: Indifferent, calm in bearing pain or pleasure; practising remarkable self-control over emotions - maintained a stoic attitude despite all his trials. Synonyms: stolid, impassive.
STRINGENT: Strict; compelling, constraining stringent regulations; stringent requirements. Synonyms: exacting, rigid. Antonym: lax.
STUPENDOUS: Amazing by, virtue of its immense size, force, or any quality in exceptional degree - The circus is a stupendous spectacle. Synonyms: astounding, prodigious, monstrous, marvelous, colossal, awful.
SUCCULENT: juicy - a succulent steak. Antonyms: desiccated, vapid.
SULTRY: Close, hot, and moist - sultry tropical weather.
SUPINE: (1) Lying flat on the back - resting in a supine position. Antonym: erect. (2) Inert, inactive, averse to taking action - a supine, ineffective administrator. Synonyms: listless, torpid.
TANGIBLE: Real; actual - tangible gains which may be seen, and counted. Synonyms: material, veritable, perceptible, substantial.
TANTAMOUNT: Equivalent - an act that is tantamount to treason.
TAUNT (verb). To reproach with contempt - taunted him with the charge of failure to act promptly. Synonyms: mock, twit, gibe, sneer, deride. (noun): An insulting, jeering, or bitter remark - hurled taunts at his foes.
TEEMING: In abundance, fertile, highly productive - the teeming tropics, rank with vegetation. Synonyms: swarming, fruitful, fecund, abounding.
TEMERITY: Unwise or reckless boldness - leaped into battle with thoughtless temerity. Synonyms: audacity, presumptuousness, effrontery, rashness; (adj.) temerarious, foolhardy, venturesome. Antonyms: prudence, circumspection, wariness.
TEMPORAL: Worldly, as opposed to spiritual; existing for a time only - a man preoccupied with temporal matters. Synonyms: mundane, secular, civil.
TEMPORIZE: To delay or refuse to commit oneself in order to gain time - temporized while his friends hurried to his aid. Synonym: equivocate.
TENET: A principle of belief held as true - a tenet of religion which be maintained loyally. Synonyms: creed, doctrine, dogma.
TENUOUS: Slender; not substantial; of slight importance - clung desperately to his tenuous hope.
TRANQUIL: Calm; peaceful - a tranquil summer night. Synonyms: placid, serene. Antonyms: perturbed, ruffled, turbulent.
TRANSGRESS: To break a law or command; to violate a moral principle; to overstep a moral bound or limit - transgressed the bounds of decency; transgressed the law.
TREMULOUS: Trembling - tremulous with fright. Synonym: quivering.
TRIVIAL: Of little - importance - a trivial offense. Synonym: paltry. Antonyms: gross, momentous.
TRUCULENT (noun: TRUCULENCE): Cruel, fierce; harsh; threatening or intimidating savagely - a dispute marked by a truculent attitude on both sides.
TURGID: (1) Swollen, inflated - turgid rivers overflowing their banks. Synonyms: bloated, distended. (2) Using big or high-sounding words - a turgid prose style. Synonyms: pompous, bombastic, prolix.
UBIQUITOUS: Existing everywhere - The common cold is a ubiquitous complaint. Synonyms: omnipresent, universal.
UNTENABLE: Incapable of being defended or held - withdrew the argument as untenable.
UTILITARIAN (adj.): Materially or practically useful - beautiful, but not utilitarian.
VANQUISH: To subdue or conquer -an army vanquished with heavy losses.
VAUNT: To boast - proudly vaunted his strength. Synonyms: brag (noun: braggadocio, braggart), proclaim.
VENEER: A superficial appearance or show designed to impress one with superiority - pierced beneath his thin veneer of elegance. Synonym: gloss.
VENERABLE: Deserving respect or reverence because of age - a venerable leader.
VERNAL: Pertaining to spring-an array of vernal flowers. Antonym: hibernal (wintry).
VERSATILE: Able to do many things skillfully - versatile in all the arts.
VICARIOUS: Taking the place of another; felt, received, or done in place of another - took vicarious pleasure in his brother's victory.
VICISSITUDE: A change from one condition to another, often unexpected - suffered many vicissitudes of fortune.
VIRAGO: A scolding or ill-tempered woman - My neighbor's wife is a virago. Synonyms: shrew, termagant, vixen.
VITUPERATE (noun: VITUPERATION; adj.: VITUPERATIVE): To scold or blame loudly, find fault with in abusive language - an angry man, vituperating the world. Synonyms: berate, revile.
WAIVE: To give up (privileges, etc.); to do without - waived his rights to the property. Synonyms: relinquish, forgo, forsake.
WHIM (adj.: WHIMSICAL): A sudden notion or passing fancy -frequently acted on the whim of the moment. Synonyms: caprice, vagary, crotchet.
WRITHE: To twist about (usually with pain) - writhed in agony on the floor. Synonyms: contort, squirm.
ZEALOUS (noun: ZEALOT: fanatic): Full of enthusiasm or eagerness -a zealous student, first in his class. Antonym: perfunctory.
ZENITH: The highest point - the zenith of his career. Synonyms: acme, apex, culmination, summit. Antonym: nadir.