Verbal Advantage - Level 02 Word 41 - Word 50 MCQ Test
- Word 41: Cursory [KUR-sur-ee]
Quick, hasty, not methodical, done rapidly with little attention to detail, passing quickly over or through something that deserves closer examination.
Synonyms of cursory include hurried, haphazard, slapdash, and superficial. Antonyms include thorough, careful, exhaustive, prolonged, and protracted.
Don’t be fooled by the sound of the word cursory; it has nothing to do with curses or cursing. Cursory comes through the Latin cursorius, running, from the Latin currere, to run. This Latin currere, to run, is also the root of the words course, a path on which one moves or runs; curriculum, a course of study; and courier, a messenger who runs here and there delivering important documents or urgent news.
By derivation, cursory means “running about, not standing still,” and the word was once used in this sense. Today, however, cursory is used to mean done rapidly with little attention to detail, passing quickly over or through something that deserves closer examination.
A cursory glance is a quick, passing glance. A cursory reading is a hasty, superficial reading. A cursory explanation is a hurried explanation, one that covers the subject in a haphazard way. A cursory investigation is not methodical; it is done rapidly with little attention to detail.
- Word 42: Vacillate [VAS-i-layt]
To waver, fluctuate, be indecisive, show uncertainty, hesitate in making up one’s mind: The strong leader is decisive; the weak leader vacillates.
Vacillate comes from a Latin verb meaning to sway to and fro. When you vacillate you go back and forth mentally on an issue or question. The person or group that vacillates has difficulty coming to a conclusion or expressing a firm opinion.
- Word 43: Clement [KLEM-int]
Mild, calm, tranquil, moderate, temperate, not severe or extreme; also, merciful, lenient, inclined to pardon or forgive.
Clement comes from the Latin clemens, mild, and may be used to mean mild in two ways. You may say the weather is clement when it’s mild or temperate; when it’s rough or stormy it’s inclement (in-KLEM-int), not clement, not mild and calm. Clement’s second sense applies to a mild state of mind, one in which the person is inclined to be lenient or forgiving. A convicted criminal can only hope for a clement judge. If you screw up at work, you hope your boss will be clement, lenient, merciful.
The corresponding noun is clemency, mildness, leniency, compassion: “The lawyers asked the governor to show clemency and stay the execution.”
- Word 44: Lucrative [LOO-kruh-tiv]
Profitable, producing wealth, money-making, financially productive, remunerative (ri-MYOO-nur-uh-tiv).
You’ve probably heard the phrase “filthy lucre,” which comes from Shakespeare. Lucre (LOO-kur) is an old word for money, profit, wealth. In modern usage lucre used alone usually implies filthy lucre, tainted money, ill-gotten gains.
Lucre and the useful adjective lucrative come from the Latin lucrum, gain, profit. That which is lucrative is likely to make money, turn a profit. A lucrative job pays well; a lucrative business deal is profitable; a lucrative enterprise is a moneymaking enterprise.
- Word 45: Allocate [AL-uh-kayt]
To assign, designate, earmark, set aside for a specific purpose.
Allocate comes from a Latin verb meaning to locate, determine the place of. That which is allocated has been assigned a special place or purpose. A person might allocate a bedroom in the house as a home office. Busy parents try to allocate time to spend with their children. Voters pass bond measures to allocate funds for education, parks, or libraries. One measure of a successful company is how much money it allocates for product development.
- Word 46: Reconcile [REK-un-syl]
To make friendly again, restore friendly relations between, settle, resolve, bring into harmony or agreement.
Reconcile comes from the Latin reconciliare, to make good again, restore, repair. When estranged partners reconcile, they make their relationship good again by restoring it, repairing what was wrong with it. When two parties in a dispute reconcile their differences, they settle them and restore friendly relations. The corresponding noun is reconciliation, a settlement, resolution, the act of restoring harmony or agreement.
Reconcile also has two other useful senses. It may mean to bring into agreement, make consistent: “The jury found it hard to reconcile the defendant’s confession of guilt the night of the murder with his profession of innocence during the trial.” Reconcile may also mean to resign oneself to accept something undesirable: “Nancy didn’t want to live with her mother-in-law, but she reconciled herself to it and tried to get on with her life.”
- Word 47: Paragon [PAR-uh-gahn]
A model of excellence, perfect example.
Paragon applies to a person or thing so excellent that it serves as a model or example of perfection. The inventor Thomas Alva Edison is a paragon of American ingenuity. In her Camelot days, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was considered a paragon of beauty and style. The Gettysburg Address is a paragon of forceful, eloquent speechwriting.
A paragon is a model of excellence, a perfect example.
- Word 48: Analogous [un-NAL-uh-gus]
Similar, akin, comparable (KAHM-pur-uh-buul), corresponding partially, sharing some aspects of form, function, or content.
An analogy is a partial similarity, likeness, or resemblance that allows for a comparison between things: You can draw an analogy between the human brain and a computer, between the human heart and a mechanical pump, or between an airplane and a bird.
When we see an analogy between two things, we say they are analogous, similar but not entirely alike, comparable in some respects. Analogous does not apply to things that are identical. For example, brains and computers and birds and airplanes differ markedly in all but a few ways, but in those ways they are analogous.
When things are analogous they share certain features or particulars; they are similar enough to form the basis for a comparison. If you say your company’s management style is analogous to Japanese management style, you mean the styles are alike in some respects but not in others. If you tell a coworker that your job descriptions are analogous, you mean they are similar, comparable, alike in certain ways.
- Word 49: Diurnal [dy-UR-nul]
Daily, recurring each day, performed or happening in the course of a day.
Diurnal comes from the Latin diurnus, belonging to or lasting for a day. The ocean’s tides and the rotation of the earth are diurnal; their cycles are completed in the course of a day. At work your diurnal duties are the tasks you perform every day. If your coworker Joanne complains every day about not getting a raise, that’s her diurnal complaint. Perhaps if Joanne made reading Verbal Advantage part of her diurnal routine, she might eventually get that raise and get off your back.
Diurnal is also used to mean active during the day, as opposed to nocturnal, active during the night.
- Word 50: Pretext [PREE-tekst]
An excuse, ostensible reason or motive, professed purpose.
Pretext comes through the Latin praetextum, an ornament, from the verb praetexere, to pretend, literally “to weave in front.” By derivation a pretext is a front, a faade, something used for cover. As the Century Dictionary (1914) puts it, a pretext is “that which is assumed as a cloak or means of concealment; something under cover of which a true purpose is hidden.”
Tyrannical leaders often invent pretexts for invading or declaring war on other countries. Irresponsible employees will invent pretexts for not coming to work. A supervisor who hates an employee’s guts may try to come up with a pretext for firing the person. A pretext is an excuse, an ostensible reason designed to hide the real reason.