Z abase To make yourself seem to be less important or to not deserve respect abate Become less in amount or intensity. The storm/wind/rain has started to abate. abdicate To give up a position as king, or to fail to take responsibility for something: The administration has abdicated its leadership on this critical issue. abject The state of being extremely unhappy, poor, unsuccessful, etc. This policy has turned out to be an abject failure abjure To say formally or publicly that you no longer agree with a belief or way of behaving He abjured his religion/his life of dissipation. ablution The act of washing yourself Ablution is part of some religious ceremonies. abnegation To not allow yourself to have something, especially something you like or want abrade To remove part of the surface of something by rubbing abscond To escape and hide somewhere, esp. because you have stolen something They absconded with $100,000 of the company’s money absolve To officially remove guilt or responsibility for something wrong that someone has done or might have done abstemious Not doing things that give you pleasure, especially not eating good food or drinking alcohol abstruse Difficult to understand an abstruse philosophical essay accede To agree to do what people have asked you to do He graciously acceded to our request. accrue To increase over a period of time, or to get an amount of something gradually over time acerbic Used to describe something that is spoken or written in a way that is direct, clever, and cruel acquiesce To accept or agree to something, often unwillingly Reluctantly, he acquiesced to/in the plans. acrid An acrid smell or taste is strong and bitter and causes a burning feeling in the throat acrimonious Full of anger, arguments, and bad feeling Their marriage ended eight years ago in an acrimonious divorce. administer To control the operation or arrangement of something The economy has been badly administered by the present government. admonish To warn someone not to do something, usually in a kind way, or to tell someone to do something. adorn To add something decorative to a person or thing: The bride's hair was adorned with white flowers. adversity A difficult or unlucky situation or event She’s cheerful in the face of adversity. affable Friendly, kind, relaxed, and easy to talk to It’s hard not to like such an affable fellow. affinity A close similarity between two things There are several close affinities between the two paintings. affray A fight in a public place Wallace was charged with causing an affray at a Southampton nightclub. affronted A remark or action intended to insult or upset someone Such statements are an affront to people of conscience. aficionado Someone who is very interested in and enthusiastic about a particular subject a club for model railway aficionados an aficionado of French cinema aggrieved Unhappy, hurt, and angry because of unfair treatment Our hearts go out to the aggrieved families of the innocent victims. alacrity Speed and interest He invited us all to visit, and we agreed with alacrity. altercation A loud argument or disagreement: Phil got into an altercation with his partner. ambience The character of a place or the quality it seems to have The city’s ambience, particularly on the waterfront, is changing quickly. ameliorate To make a bad or unpleasant situation better Foreign aid is badly needed to ameliorate the effects of the drought amenable Willing to accept or be influenced by a suggestion He was amenable to suggestion, and really worked hard to improve himself. amity A good relationship The two groups had lived in perfect amity for many years before the recent troubles. ancillary Providing support or help Campaigning to change government policy is ancillary to the charity's direct relief work. animosity A strong dislike or unfriendly feeling I have no animosity toward him whatsoever. anomaly Something that is unusual enough to be noticeable or seem strange The government does computer checks of tax returns to find anomalies that might indicate fraud anthology A collection of stories, poems, etc., by different writers This Bob Dylan anthology includes some rare recordings of his best songs.. antipathy Strong dislike or opposition His letters show a deep and intense antipathy toward workers. apathy Lack of interest, or the attitude of not caring resulting from it There is a growing sense of apathy among teens and a feeling that there are no opportunities, he said aplomb Confidence and style Rosalind conducted the meeting with characteristic aplomb/with her usual aplomb. apogee The most successful, popular, or powerful point At their apogee, the novels of Spillane claimed worldwide sales of over $180 million. apprise To tell someone about something The president has been apprised of the situation. archaic of or belonging to an ancient period in history an archaic system of government an archaic law/rule/language archetype The original model or a perfect example of something The United States is the archetype of a federal society. Ardent Showing strong feelings; eager They were ardent pacifists. ascetic Avoiding physical comforts and living a simple life They live a very ascetic life. ascribe To consider something to be caused, created, or owned by someone or something aspect One part of a situation, problem, subject, etc Which aspects of the job do you most enjoy? aspire To want something very much or hope to achieve something or be successful assent Agreement to an idea, plan, or request, esp. after serious consideration He gave a nod of assent, and we knew we had a deal at last. assiduous Showing hard work, care, and attention to detail The government has been assiduous in the fight against inflation. assimilate To take in and make a part of your basic knowledge something learned from others, so that you can use it as your own assuage to make unpleasant feelings less strong. The government has tried to assuage the public's fears. assiduous Showing hard work, care, and attention to detail The government has been assiduous in the fight against inflation. assimilate To take in and make a part of your basic knowledge something learned from others, so that you can use it as your own atoll a ring-shaped island formed of coral (= rock-like natural substance) that surrounds a lagoon (= area of sea water). atone To do something that shows you are sorry for something bad that you did or for something that you failed to do audacious Showing a willingness to take risks or offend people He described the plan as ambitious and audacious. Augment To make something larger or fuller by adding something to it. He augmented his income by taking a second job. auspicious Suggesting a positive and successful future Winning her first seven cases was an auspicious beginning for the young lawyer. austere Plain and without decoration, comforts, or anything extra Despite their wealth, they lead an austere life. autocratic Relating to an autocrat The president resigned after 30 years of autocratic rule. aversion A feeling of strong dislike or unwillingness to do something I felt an instant aversion to his parents.