Verbal Advantage - Level 02 Word 1 - Word 10 MCQ Test
- Word 1: Advocate [AD-vuh-kayt]
To support, plead for, be in favor of, defend by argument; especially, to speak or write in favor or in defense of a person or cause. Synonyms include champion, endorse, and espouse (eSPOWZ).
Advocate comes from the Latin ad-, to, and vocare, to call, summon. You can hear the Latin vocare in the English words vocation (voh-KAY-shin), a calling, profession; avocation, a hobby, sideline, subordinate occupation; and vocational, pertaining to an occupation or trade.
Combine the Latin vocare, to call, with the prefix con-, together, and you get the more difficult English words convoke (kun-VOHK), which means to call together, and convocation (KAHN-vuh-KAY-shin), the act of calling together or a group that has been summoned. Combine the single-letter prefix e-, which is short for the Latin ex-, out, with vocare, to call, and you get the English words evoke, to call out, call forth, summon, and evocative (iVAHK-uh-tiv), calling forth a response, especially an emotional response. Vocare also can be heard in the common word vocal, spoken, oral, inclined to speak out.
An advocate is a vocal supporter or defender of a cause, a champion: “He is an outspoken advocate of handgun control.” An advocate may also be a person who speaks for another, for example, a lawyer who pleads a case before a court. To advocate means to support, plead for, defend by argument: “Their organization advocates educational reform.”
- Word 2: Delegate [DEL-uh-gayt]
To entrust with authority or power, deliver to another’s care or management, hand over to an agent or representative: “The executive director delegated various managerial duties to her assistant”; “Our department chief has trouble letting go of the reins and delegating responsibility.”
- Word 3: Unprecedented [uhn-PRES-i-den-tid]
Unheard-of, novel, new, having no precedent or parallel, having no prior example.
A precedent is an authoritative example, something done or said that may serve as a reason to justify a later act or statement. Precedent is often used specifically of a legal decision or case used as an example or as authorization in a subsequent decision or case. Unprecedented means without a precedent, without prior example or justification, and so unheard-of, novel, new.
- Word 4: Poignant [POYN-yint]
Piercing, sharp, biting, penetrating, keen.
Poignant is used to mean piercing, sharp, or penetrating in three ways. First, it may mean keenly affecting the senses: a poignant odor, poignant beauty, a poignant look. Second, it may mean piercing or penetrating to the feelings, emotionally touching, painfully moving: a poignant drama, a poignant family reunion. Third, it may mean biting, cutting, acute, piercingly effective: poignant wit, poignant delight, a poignant critique.
The odd spelling of poignant, with its silent g, comes from French; the word ultimately comes from the Latin pungere, to pierce or prick. Pungere is also the source of puncture, to pierce; pungent (PUHN-jint), piercing to the smell or taste; and expunge (ek-SPUHNJ), to punch out, erase, delete: “The editor expunged all potentially offensive and derogatory material from the book.”
Poignant means piercing or penetrating to the senses, to the emotions, or to the intellect.
- Word 5: Nebulous [NEB-yuh-lus]
Unclear, vague, obscure, hazy, indefinite, indistinct.
In astronomy the word nebula (NEB-yuh-luh) refers to a cloudy mass of dust or gas visible between stars in space. The plural is nebulae (NEB-yuh-lee).
The adjectives nebular and nebulous both come from a Latin word meaning cloudy, misty, foggy, like a nebula, and according to dictionaries both words may still be used in this sense. It is probably best, however, to let nebular take over the meaning cloudy, misty, vaporous, and to use nebulous in its more popular sense of vague, indefinite, hazy, unclear, as in nebulous writing, a nebulous idea, a nebulous purpose or goal.
- Word 6: Clandestine [klan-DES-tin]
Kept secret, done in secrecy, especially for an evil, immoral, or illegal purpose: a clandestine affair; a clandestine business deal; a clandestine intelligence operation.
Synonyms include private, concealed, covert (properly KUH-vurt but now often KOH-vurt), underhand, sly, stealthy, furtive (FURtiv), and surreptitious (SUR-up-TISH-us).
Clandestine is sometimes pronounced klan-DES-tyn, klan-DESteen, KLAN-des-tyn, or KLAN-des-teen. You should avoid all these recent variants. The traditional and preferred pronunciation is klan-DES-tin (DES-tin as in destiny).
- Word 7: Tirade [TY-rayd]
A long-drawn-out speech, especially a vehement and abusive one: “After suffering through yet another one of his boss’s frequent tirades, Joe decided it was time to quit and move on.”
Tirades have three characteristics: they are protracted (prohTRAK-tid), drawn out to great length; they are vituperative (vyT(Y)OO-pur-uh-tiv), full of harsh, abusive language; and they are censorious, meaning that they tend to censure (SEN-shur), to blame or condemn.
Tirade may also be pronounced with the accent on the second syllable: ty-RAYD.
- Word 8: Recur [ri-KUR]
To happen again, occur again, especially at intervals or after some lapse of time.
In The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein explains the difference between the words recur and reoccur: Both mean to happen again, he says, but reoccur “suggests a one-time repetition,” whereas recur “suggests repetition more than once.” Thus you would say “the revolt is not likely to reoccur,” but “as long as these skirmishes recur, the revolt will continue.”
Here’s another example: If economists predict that a recession will reoccur in this decade, that means they’re predicting it will happen only one more time. If economists predict that recession recurs on average every ten years, then they’re predicting it happens again and again at intervals.
“It is the ability to feel a fine distinction such as this,” writes Bernstein, “and to choose the word that precisely expresses the thought that marks the writer of competence and taste.”
- Word 9: Tacit [TAS-it]
Unspoken, silent, implied or understood without words.
Tacit is most often used to mean done or made in silence, not expressed or declared openly. Tacit consent is approval given without words, perhaps with a look or a nod. A tacit agreement is an unspoken understanding, one arrived at in silence. Tacit comes from the Latin tacere, to be silent, hold one’s tongue, the source also of the word taciturn, reserved, uncommunicative, inclined to hold one’s tongue.
- Word 10: Allegation [AL-uh-GAY-shin]
An assertion or declaration, especially one made without proof.
In law, an allegation is an assertion of what one intends to prove. Often the word implies an unsupportable assertion: “The judge dismissed the allegations, citing lack of evidence to support them.” “A spokesperson for the company today denied the allegations of wrongdoing regarding the firm’s hiring practices.”