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Verbal Advantage – Level 06 Word 21 – Word 30 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 06 Word 21 - Word 30 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 21: Commensurate [kuh-MEN-shur-it also kuhMEN-sur-it]

Proportionate, corresponding in amount, measure, or degree; also, equal, of the same size or extent: “She wants to find a job commensurate with her abilities and experience”; “His paycheck was not commensurate with the number of hours he had worked.”


By derivation commensurate means “measured together,” and therefore corresponding or proportionate.

  • Word 22: Incessant [in-SES-int]

Constant, uninterrupted, continuous, unceasing.


Incessant combines the privative prefix in-, meaning “not,” with the Latin cessare, to stop, cease, and means literally not ceasing, never-ending.

Synonyms of incessant include interminable, relentless, and unremitting. Antonyms of incessant include occasional, irregular, intermittent, incidental, sporadic (word 16 of Level 1), fitful, and erratic.

Dictionaries often list the words continuous and continual as synonyms, and today many educated speakers use them interchangeably. They are not interchangeable, however, and the ability to distinguish continual and continuous precisely is one sign of a careful user of the language. Continual means happening again and again at short intervals. We speak of continual reminders, continual attempts, continual laughter, or the continual ringing of the telephone. Continuous means uninterrupted or unbroken. We speak of continuous noise, continuous rain, a continuous effort, or the continuous rotation of the earth.

Continuous and incessant are close synonyms. The Century Dictionary (1914) explains that “continuous means unbroken, and is passive; incessant means unceasing, and is active.” On one level that distinction is simple: we say a railroad track or telephone cable is continuous, not incessant, because tracks and cables are inactive. But on another level the distinction can be quite subtle and subjective. For example, we may say that a fever is continuous or incessant depending on whether we perceive it as a state or an activity. Similarly, the flow of a waterfall is continuous if viewed as a passive condition of a bucolic scene; it is incessant if looked upon as an active condition within that scene. The bland background music we typically hear in elevators, restaurants, and waiting rooms is continuous to those who don’t mind it; but to those who are distracted or irritated by it, it’s incessant, unceasing, constant, never-ending.

  • Word 23: Sycophant [SIK-uh-funt; the last syllable, -phant, as in elephant]

A flatterer, parasite, toady, fawning follower, hanger-on.


No one knows the precise origin of the words sycophant and toady, but various theories and folk etymologies abound. According to most sources, the word toady is related to toad. As the etymologist Joseph T. Shipley recounts the story in his Dictionary of Word Origins (1945), the charlatans and mountebanks of medieval times usually traveled with an assistant who would swallow, or seem to swallow, a live toad, “so that the master could display his healing powers. These helpers were called toadeaters; then the term came to mean a flattering follower,” and “the word has been shortened to toady.”

Sycophant is thought to come from a Greek word meaning to show figs. As the legend goes, the Athenians passed a law prohibiting the export of figs from their city. Like many laws, this one was rarely enforced, but “there were always found mean fellows,” says Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, “who, for their own private ends, impeached those who violated it; hence sycophant came to signify first a government toady, then a toady generally.” Although by derivation sycophant means an informer, today the word refers to people who attempt to gain influence or advancement by ingratiating themselves through flattery and servility: “Joanne warned Lucy her first day on the job that Ralph and Diane were the office sycophants, always sucking up to the boss and stabbing people in the back.”

The corresponding adjective is sycophantic (SIK-uh-FAN-tik).

  • Word 24: Tangential [tan-JEN-shul]

Not closely related, only slightly connected, digressive, divergent.


In geometry, the word tangent refers to a line that touches a curve but does not intersect it. When you “go off on a tangent” you make an abrupt change of course in what you are saying; you diverge, digress. Tangential may mean going off on a subject that is only slightly connected to the one under consideration, or it may mean slightly connected to or touching lightly on a subject. Tangential remarks diverge from the subject in question; they are only slightly connected to it. Tangential information touches lightly on the subject but is not closely related or essential to it.

  • Word 25: Tenable [TEN-uh-buul]

Defensible, reasonable; able to be defended, maintained, or upheld.


Tenable comes from the Latin tenere, to hold, grasp. From the same source come the unusual noun tenaculum (te-NAK-yuu-lum), a pointed, hooked instrument used in surgery for lifting and holding parts, such as blood vessels, and the useful adjective tenacious (te-NAY-shus), which means holding firmly, as a tenacious grip or a tenacious memory.

Tenable means defensible, able to be maintained or upheld. The logic behind a course of action may be tenable, defensible, or untenable, indefensible. The legislature may pass a tenable law, one that can be upheld in the courts, or an untenable law, one that will be struck down. A tenable reason is a reason that can be defended, maintained, or upheld.

  • Word 26: Impalpable [im-PAL-puh-buul]

Incapable of being felt or understood, not able to be perceived either by the sense of touch or by the mind.


Synonyms of impalpable include untouchable, imperceptible, and intangible (in-TAN-ji-buul). Antonyms include palpable (PAL-puhbuul), perceptiblemanifest, and tangible (TAN-ji-buul).

The adjective palpable means capable of being touched or felt, easily perceived or discerned. Palpable may be used either literally, as a palpable pulse or palpable heat, or figuratively, as a palpable error or palpable desire.

Impalpable combines palpable with the privative prefix im-, meaning “not,” and means not able to be felt or grasped, either with the fingers or by the mind. An impalpable pulse is a sign of heart failure; an impalpable breeze is so faint as to be imperceptible; an impalpable idea is not easily grasped by the mind.

Both palpable and impalpable come from the Latin palpare, to touch or stroke gently, the source also of the verb to palpate (PALpayt). Palpate is used chiefly in medicine to mean to examine or explore by touch, as to palpate a limb or an organ. The corresponding noun is palpation (pal-PAY-shin), the act of palpating, examining by touch.

  • Word 27: Odious [OH-dee-us]

Hateful, detestable, offensive, revolting, arousing strong dislike or aversion.


The English language has a plethora of words that mean hateful or offensive, so odious has many synonyms. Here is a selection of them, ranging from the familiar to the not-so-familiar: disgusting, obnoxious, objectionable, disagreeable, contemptible, repellent, repugnant (ri-PUHG-nint), loathsome (LOHTH-sum), abominable, abhorrent (ab-HOR-int), heinous (HAY-nis), opprobrious (uh-PROHbree-us), flagitious (fluh-JISH-us, word 46 of Level 9), and last but not least, the thoroughly damning word execrable (EK-si-kruhbuul). By derivation execrable means expressing a curse, and today the word applies to that which is so horrible or wicked that it deserves to be cursed or damned.

Odious comes from the Latin odiosus, hateful, which in turn comes from odium, hatred, the direct source of the English noun odium (OH-dee-um). Odium and hatred are synonymous, but odium refers less frequently to hatred directed toward someone or something else and more often to hatred experienced or incurred: “Alan’s supervisor was a supercilious, draconian tyrant who did not seem to care that her employees regarded her with odium.”

The adjective odious refers either to that which arouses hate, disgust, or displeasure or to that which is regarded as hateful, detestable, or offensive. An odious remark is extremely unpleasant or offensive; an odious practice is a disagreeable or disgusting practice; an odious person is a person that others find hateful or detestable.

The corresponding noun odiousness means the state or quality of being odious, as the odiousness of the crime.

Be careful to distinguish odious from odorous both in spelling and usage. Odorous means emitting an odor, having a distinct aroma or smell. Odious means hateful, detestable, revolting. Odorous armpits or odorous garbage may be odious, but there is nothing odious, hateful or offensive, about odorous flowers.

  • Word 28: Ubiquitous [yoo-BIK-wi-tus]

Existing or seeming to exist everywhere at the same time.


Ubiquitous and nonexistent are antonyms. Synonyms of ubiquitous include ever-present, universal, pervading, and omnipresent (AHM-ni-PREZ-int). The corresponding noun is ubiquity (yoo-BIK-wi-tee), the state of being or seeming to be everywhere at once, omnipresence.

Ubiquitous comes from the Latin ubique, everywhere. Its closest synonym, omnipresent, links the combining form omni-, meaning “all,” with present to mean present in all places at once.

Because few things other than the air we breathe can accurately be described as ubiquitous, existing everywhere at the same time, ubiquitous is often used to mean seeming to exist everywhere at once, extremely widespread. For example, when telephones and televisions first came on the market they were considered novelties and luxury items, but today we see them everywhere, so we could say they are ubiquitous. In George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, which depicts the horrors of life in a futuristic totalitarian state, the image of the dictator, Big Brother, and the slogan “Big Brother is watching you” are ubiquitous; they seem to be in all places at once.

Ubiquitous is also often used to achieve an exaggerated effect. For example, a writer might state that the cockroach is a ubiquitous insect, or that graffiti has become ubiquitous in a neighborhood, or that fast-food restaurant chains are now ubiquitous in our society. And if you ever have the experience of running across a certain person nearly everywhere you go, you could say that person is ubiquitous.

  • Word 29: Ruminate [ROO-mi-nayt]

To turn over in the mind, think about again and again, consider carefully or at length.


Synonyms of ruminate include to ponder, contemplate, meditate, deliberate, muse (MYOOZ), cogitate (KAH-ji-tayt), and mull (rhymes with dull).

The etymology of the verb to ruminate may surprise you. It comes from the Latin ruminare, to chew the cud, and by derivation means to chew over and over again. In the science of zoology (which is properly pronounced zoh-AHL-uh-jee, not zoo-) the word ruminant (ROO-mi-nint) is used of animals that chew their cud, such as cows, oxen, sheep, goats, deer, giraffes, and camels. These ruminant creatures have multichambered stomachs, the first chamber of which is called the rumen (ROO-min). When a ruminant chews its cud, it is chewing food that has been swallowed, partially digested in the rumen, and then regurgitated into the mouth for thorough mastication. (As you may recall from Level 5, mastication means the act of chewing.) By a logical extension, the verb to ruminate has come to mean to chew the cud mentally, to regurgitate a thought and turn it over and over in the mind.

Just as we often say that we chew on something, we often say that we ruminate on something: “Aging athletes may ruminate on the triumphs of their youth”; “When John heard the rumor of impending layoffs, he went back to his office and ruminated on his future with the company.”

  • Word 30: Remuneration [ri-MYOO-nuh-RAY-shin]

Payment, compensation, or reward.


Remuneration is a suitable payment or reward for a service or something one has provided: “It is rare that the effort a writer expends in writing a book is commensurate with the remuneration received for writing it”; “When people volunteer their services for a cause, the satisfaction they get from doing something they believe in is more than enough remuneration”; “Mark took the job even though he knew the salary was not sufficient remuneration for the work he would have to do.”

Synonyms of remuneration include reimbursement, recompense (REK-um-PENTS), consideration, indemnification (in-DEM-nuh-fi-KAY-shin), and emolument (i-MAHL-yuh-mint, word 3 of Level 8).

The corresponding verb is remunerate (ri-MYOO-nuh-rayt), to pay or compensate for services rendered, trouble taken, or goods provided.

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