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Verbal Advantage – Level 05 Word 31 – Word 40 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 05 Word 31 - Word 40 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 31: Itinerant [eye-TIN-ur-int]

Wandering, traveling about, moving from place to place, especially to perform work.


Synonyms of the adjective itinerant include migratory, wayfaring, vagrant, nomadic (noh-MAD-ik), ambulatory (AM-byuh-luh-tor-ee), and the interesting word peripatetic (PER-i-puh-TET-ik). I’ll discuss peripatetic further in the tenth and final level of the program, so keep reading!

Itinerant is also a noun meaning an itinerant person, a wanderer, wayfarer, someone who travels from place to place.

The words itinerant and itinerary (eye-TIN-uh-rair-ee) come from the Late Latin verb itinerari, to travel, go on a journey. An itinerary is a route, a course taken on a journey, especially a detailed plan or list of places to visit while traveling, as “The travel agent prepared an itinerary for their trip to Europe, noting their transportation schedule and the hotels where they planned to stay.”

In current usage itinerary is sometimes used loosely as a synonym of agenda, but these words should be sharply distinguished. An agenda is a list of things to be done or dealt with, especially a list of items to be addressed in a meeting. An itinerary is a list of places to go, a detailed plan for a journey.

The words itinerant, nomadic, vagrant, and ambulatory all mean moving or traveling about.

Ambulatory, from the Latin ambulare, to walk, means walking, able to walk around: “When Kevin broke his leg the doctor said it would be at least three months before he’d be ambulatory again.”

Vagrant comes ultimately from the Latin vagari, to wander, and means wandering about with no fixed purpose. Vagrant is usually applied to people, such as hobos and tramps, who have no home or job and who wander about in a shiftless way.

Nomadic applies not to individuals but to tribes or groups of people who lack a permanent home, and who wander together from place to place to sustain themselves: “The nomadic tribes of the desert must move from oasis to oasis to provide enough water for themselves and their livestock.”

Itinerant applies to people who travel from place to place to work or seek work, and the word usually suggests traveling on a regular course or circuit. An itinerant preacher goes from town to town, spreading the gospel. Itinerant laborers must travel from place to place to do their work. In the past, the legal system had many itinerant judges who traveled on a regular circuit to adjudicate (uh-JOO-di-kayt) cases in various far-flung districts.

  • Word 32: Cull [rhymes with dull]

To pick out, select from various sources, gather, collect.


Cull comes from the Latin colligere, to gather, the source also of the familiar words collect and collection.

The verbs to cull and to glean are close in meaning.

Glean (rhymes with spleen) was originally used in farming to mean to gather up the stray bits and pieces of a crop that remained after the reapers or gatherers had done their work. From that sense, glean came to mean to collect or gather mentally, especially to learn or discover something bit by bit, in a laborious fashion: the investigator gathers facts to glean information; the historian gleans knowledge about the past by studying old records and documents.

The unusual noun a cull means something picked out or rejected as inferior or worthless, and in its original sense the verb to cull means to eliminate culls, as to cull livestock, to separate inferior specimens from the herd, or to cull lumber, to pick out and remove defective pieces. From that sense, cull came to mean to pick out so as to collect and keep, to select with an eye for retaining rather than rejecting.

Today we speak of culling useful information or culling ideas, meaning we gather that information or those ideas from various sources. When you cull flowers from a garden you select and gather them, and when you cull interesting words from reading, you pick them out and collect them in your mind.

  • Word 33: Promulgate [pruh-MUHL-gayt or PRAHMul-gayt]

To make known, publish, proclaim, make public in an official manner.


You may pronounce this word with the accent either on the second syllable or on the first. Pruh-MUHL-gayt is the original American pronunciation; PRAHM-ul-gayt was imported from Britain in the 1920s. Since the 1960s, PRAHM-ul-gayt has steadily eclipsed the traditional pruh-MUHL-gayt, and today PRAHM-ulgayt is sanctioned by all dictionaries and preferred by many educated speakers. (My sympathies, however, remain with pruhMUHL-gayt.)

Synonyms of promulgate include announce, advertise, broadcast, disseminate (di-SEM-i-nayt), and bruit (BROOT, like brute). All of these words share the meaning of bringing something to the attention of the public, making it widely known.

The verb promulgate has two corresponding nouns: promulgation (PRAHM-ul-GAY-shin or PROH-mul-GAY-shin) is the act of making something public or widely known; a promulgator (PRAHM-ul-GAY-tur or, traditionally but now less often, pruh-MUHL-gay-tur) is a person who makes something widely known, who proclaims or publicizes it.

Promulgate comes from the Latin promulgare, to publish, proclaim. The word applies chiefly to making something known in a formal or official way: the government promulgates a new law or policy; religions promulgate their doctrine or creed; a corporation promulgates its financial status in an annual report to stockholders; and people often promulgate their opinions on radio talk shows and on the editorial pages of the newspaper.

  • Word 34: Gratuitous [gruh-T(Y)OO-i-tus]

Free, given without charge or obligation; also, without legitimate cause or reason, uncalled-for, unjustified, baseless, unwarranted.


Gratuitous comes from the Latin gratuitus, meaning not paid for, unprovoked, or spontaneous. Related English words include the adjective gratis (GRAT-is, not GRAH-tis), which means free, without charge, and the noun a gratuity, a gift or favor given in return for a service. After dining in a fancy restaurant, you leave the waiter a gratuity; after eating in a greasy spoon, you leave the server a tip.

In modern usage, gratuitous may be used to mean either given without charge or obligation, or given without legitimate cause or reason.

When your boss gives you an unexpected pay raise, it’s a gratuitous blessing; if a friend offers you a free pair of tickets to a ballgame, they’re gratuitous. On the other hand, a gratuitous remark or gesture is not given freely; it’s uncalled-for, unwarranted. Likewise, a gratuitous assumption is baseless, and a gratuitous criticism is unjustified.

Whenever you see or hear gratuitous used, be sure to consider the context carefully to determine in which sense you should construe the word.

I shall conclude this discussion by offering you some gratuitous advice on usage. After you hear it, you may decide whether it was gratuitous in the sense of “given freely” or gratuitous in the sense of “unjustified, uncalled-for.”

Have you ever received a “free gift” or been given something “for free”? Of course you have, but are you also aware that when you accepted that “free gift” or that whatnot “for free,” you acquiesced in two of the most preposterous redundancies in the English language?

Think about it for a moment. A gift is something given free, a present. You wouldn’t say a “free present,” would you? That would sound ridiculous, which it is. Similarly, “free gift” is ridiculous because the phrase literally means “something given free without charge.” So why do so many people insist on saying “free gift” when a gift already is free?

I’ll tell you why: because for years marauding hordes of advertising copywriters and marketers have assaulted us with this redundant phrase in every sleazy, gratuitous pitch they make on radio or television or drop into our mailboxes, until our brains are so saturated with it that we can’t look a gift horse in the mouth without calling it free. That, in a word, is mind control.

The question now is, Shall we continue to let ourselves be subjugated by the mind-numbing mannikins of Madison Avenue, or shall we strike a blow for freedom in our own writing and speech by striking free from the redundant “free gift”?

I hope you will consider that question the next time someone offers you “something free for nothing.”

Likewise with the phrase “for free” used to mean “for nothing.” William Safire, the columnist on language for The New York Times Magazine, calls “for free” a joculism (JAHK-yoo-liz-’m), which he defines as “a word or phrase intended to be an amusing error that is taken up as accurate by the unwary.” Safire posits that this joculism arose from a joke line from the 1930s: “I’ll give it to you free for nothing.” Just as irregardless began as a jocular play on the words irrespective and regardless and then weaseled its way into the speech of those who didn’t realize irregardless was a joke and not a legitimate word, so did the joke-phrase “for free” mutate from a facetious usage into a widely accepted one.

Everywhere you turn today you hear educated speakers saying “I’ll give it to you for free” or “Only a fool works for free” without giving a second thought to the fact that, as Safire puts it, “something is either free or for nothing—not both.” To that I would add that if the pure and simple word free by itself doesn’t satisfy your verbal appetite and you yearn for something more verbose, then use the formal “without charge,” the trendy “costfree,” or the emphatic “at no cost to you.”

So remember, my verbally advantaged friend, that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as a “free gift,” because nothing in this world is “for free.” When it comes to language, one word is almost always better than two, even when they’re free, without charge, and at no cost to you.

  • Word 35: Nomenclature [NOH-men-KLAY-chur]

A system of names, especially a system of names used in a science, art, or branch of knowledge.


Nomenclature combines the Latin nomen, meaning “name,” with calare, to call, and by derivation means “name-calling,” not in a negative but in a neutral, disinterested sense. From the same source comes the unusual English word nomenclator (NOH-men-KLAY-tur). According to the Century Dictionary, “in ancient Rome candidates canvassing for office…were attended each by a nomenclator, who informed the candidate of the names of the persons they met, thus enabling him to address them by name.” From that sense nomenclator came to be used to mean one who invents names for things, specifically a person who assigns technical names in scientific classification.

Nomenclature is the system of names used by a nomenclator, the whole vocabulary of names or technical terms used in a given science, art, or branch of knowledge. Engineering, philosophy, economics, and chemistry all have distinct nomenclatures, as do music, carpentry, computer science, and plumbing. In the eighteenth century, the Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (KARuh-lus li-NEE-us) founded the binomial (by-NOH-mee-ul, “twoname”) system of nomenclature, which has since been adopted by many sciences.

  • Word 36: Droll [rhymes with bowl]

Amusing, humorous, comical; especially, funny or witty in an odd or outrageous way.


Synonyms of droll include ridiculous, ludicrous, farcical, and waggish. Antonyms include sober, sedate, staid (pronounced like stayed), and austere (word 17 of Level 3).

Droll comes from a French word meaning a buffoon, a jester, or a wag. Droll was once used as a noun to mean a buffoon, someone who clowns around telling jokes and performing amusing tricks— the kind of person that today we might describe as “the life of the party.” The noun a droll is now old-fashioned, and in current usage droll is used as an adjective to mean amusing or witty in a quirky, eccentric way. A droll person has a playful, lively sense of humor; a droll expression is an oddly comical expression; a droll remark is humorous in an offbeat way.

The corresponding noun is drollery (DROH-lur-ee), which may denote either an oddly amusing quality or something said or done in a slightly outrageous and amusing way.

  • Word 37: Insatiable [in-SAY-shuh-bul or in-SAYshee- uh-bul]

Greedy, hungry, unable to be satisfied or appeased.


Synonyms of insatiable include ravenous, voracious (vor-RAYshus), unquenchable, and unappeasable. The direct antonym is satiable, capable of being satisfied.

From the Latin satis, which means “enough, sufficient,” English has inherited the antonyms insatiable and satiable, the verbs to satisfy and to satiate (SAY-shee-ayt), and the challenging noun satiety (suh-TY-i-tee).

To satiate means to satisfy completely or somewhat to excess. When you fill your hungry belly with a hearty meal, you are satiated with food. If you occasionally feel that Verbal Advantage is stuffing your brain with more words than it can comfortably contain, then you’re feeling satiated with words. But don’t worry. I don’t think you’ll reach the point of satiety. The noun satiety means a state of excessive gratification, satisfaction beyond what one normally desires.

Our keyword, insatiable, means incapable of being satiated, not able to achieve satiety, unable to be satisfied or appeased— in short, greedy, hungry, ravenous.

The human animal can be insatiable in many ways. You can have an insatiable appetite for food, or drink, or sex; you can have an insatiable desire to make money or achieve fame; you can have an insatiable hunger for attention; you can have an insatiable longing for the way things were; and you can have an insatiable thirst for knowledge or for learning new words.

  • Word 38: Beguile [be-GYL]

To deceive, delude, or mislead; also, to charm, amuse, or delight.


Synonyms of beguile in the sense of “deceive, delude, or mislead” include dupe and gull, which were discussed in word 11 of Level 2, and also hoodwink, swindle, bamboozle, ensnare, and cozen (KUZ-’n, like cousin). Synonyms of beguile in the sense of “charm, amuse, or delight” include enchant, enrapture, enthrall (enTHRAWL), and ensorcel (en-SOR-sul), also spelled ensorcell, a poetic word that by derivation means to practice sorcery upon.

The word guile (rhymes with mile) comes to us through Old French, probably from an Old English word meaning sorcery or divination. The notion that the practitioners of sorcery are evil wizards has led to the modern meaning of guile: deceitful craftiness, treacherous cunning.

The prefix be- at the beginning of the verb to beguile is an intensifier meaning “completely, thoroughly.” You can see this intensifying prefix be- in the words besmirch, to smirch or stain thoroughly; befuddle, to completely fuddle or confuse; and beware, to be completely wary of, to be thoroughly on one’s guard.

In its original sense the verb to beguile means to deceive completely by means of guile, crafty, treacherous cunning. In Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, Eve tells God, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Since Shakespeare’s time beguile has also been used in a far less sinister way to mean to completely capture the attention of, to thoroughly divert or distract, and so to charm, amuse, or delight.

Depending on the motives of the beguiler, when you are beguiled you may either be thoroughly charmed and enraptured or completely distracted and deceived. Beguiling eyes are captivating, fascinating eyes; beguiling words are crafty, deceptive, misleading words.

  • Word 39: Vindictive [vin-DIK-tiv]

Seeking or wanting revenge, vengeful, characterized by a desire to get even.


Vengeful and vindictive are close in meaning, and both words are used of people who have a strong desire for revenge or retribution. (Retribution means repayment—specifically, repayment in the form of punishment in return for a wrong.)

The vengeful person wants to inflict an equivalent degree of suffering upon the wrongdoer in accordance with the famous code of Hammurabi (HAH-muu-RAH-bee), the ancient Babylonian king, which stipulated “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

The vindictive person is less rational and more fervent. When a vindictive person feels wronged he is driven to retaliate at all costs. Consequently, vindictive often suggests gratuitous or unjustified retaliation for an offense that is imagined rather than actual.

  • Word 40: Replete [ri-PLEET]

Fully or richly supplied, well-stocked, chock-full, filled to capacity.


Synonyms of replete include stuffed, crammed, gorged, abounding, brimming, teeming, laden, and surfeited (SUR-fi-tid).

Replete comes from the Latin replere, to refill, fill again, from re, meaning “again,” and plere, to fill. From the Latin plere, to fill, and the adjective plenus, full, come the familiar English words plenty and plentiful, and the more challenging words plenitude (PLEN-i-t(y)ood), an abundance, ample amount, and plenary (PLEE-nuh-ree), which means full or complete in all respects. Plenary powers are complete powers; a plenary session of Congress is a fully attended session of Congress.

Our keyword, replete, by derivation means filled to capacity, well-stocked, abounding. A river may be replete with fish; a house may be replete with furniture; a conversation may be replete with humor; a book may be replete with insight; a mind may be replete with wisdom; and a life may be replete with experience. Verbal Advantage, of course, is replete with words.

The words replete and fraught (rhymes with caught) are close in meaning but are used in different ways.

Fraught comes from Middle English and Middle Dutch words meaning “loaded, freighted, full of cargo.” By derivation fraught suggests carrying a heavy load. That which is fraught is burdened or weighted down: a situation may be fraught with danger; a person’s face may be fraught with worry; a life may be fraught with pain and suffering. Fraught suggests great weight or emotional intensity, and is usually used of that which is burdensome or distressful. Replete, on the other hand, suggests great volume or mass, and may be used of any abundant supply. A train overflowing with passengers is replete with passengers, not fraught with them, but a relationship full of conflict is fraught with conflict, not replete with it.

Recently, replete has come to be used to mean complete. The words are not synonymous or interchangeable. Complete means lacking nothing, having all necessary elements, ingredients, or parts. Replete means well-stocked, fully or richly supplied. A multivitamin may come complete with all the minimum daily requirements. When your body absorbs those vitamins, it is replete with them.

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