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Verbal Advantage – Level 07 Word 31 – Word 40 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 07 Word 31 - Word 40 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 31: Engender [en-JEN-dur]

To bring about, bring into being, give rise to, cause to exist, sow the seeds of.


Synonyms of engender include produce and generate. Antonyms include prevent, suppress, subdue, quell, and quash (rhymes with squash).

Engender comes through Middle English and Old French from the Latin generare, to beget, produce, bring to life. Originally, engender meant to beget by procreation, which is a fancy way of saying sexual intercourse. (And who told you Verbal Advantage wasn’t a sexy program?) Dictionaries still list begetprocreate, and propagate as synonyms of engender, but the sense of breeding offspring has fallen by the wayside, and since at least Shakespeare’s day engender has meant to bring forth, give rise to, cause to exist. A rally in the stock market may engender hope among investors that the economy is improving. An exchange of invective between nations can engender war.

  • Word 32: Fetid [FET-id]

Stinking, foul-smelling; having an extremely offensive odor, as of something rotten or decayed.


In Hamlet, Shakespeare could just as well have written “Something is fetid in the state of Denmark,” except that if he had, probably no one would quote the line today.

Challenging synonyms of fetid include rank, rancid, malodorous, putrid (PYOO-trid), noisome (NOY-sum), mephitic (me-FIT-ik), and graveolent (gruh-VEE-uh-lint). Antonyms include fragrant, scented, perfumed, aromatic, and redolent (RED-uh-lint).

Fetid comes through the Latin fetidus, which means “stinking,” from the verb fetere, to stink, have a bad smell. In current usage, fetid is not used of any old bad smell but is usually reserved for an extremely offensive odor, such as that produced by rotting or decay. For example, bad breath makes you wrinkle your nose; fetid breath makes you gag. When your garbage is odorous, it smells; when it’s malodorous, it smells bad; when it’s rank, it’s really going sour; and when it’s fetid, you’d better get rid of it before your neighbors call the health department.

And now, because I can read your twisted, puerile mind and I know you are waiting for me to get to this: yes, it’s also true that a fart (which in this dignified program—stop giggling now!—we call “a gaseous flatus expelled from the anus”) can also be fetid, foul-smelling.

I shall end this malodorous lesson with a pronunciation tip. You may occasionally see our keyword spelled foetid, and you may occasionally hear it pronounced FEE-tid. That’s the British spelling and pronunciation. In American English we spell it fetid and prefer a short e: FET-id.

  • Word 33: Pedantic [pe-DAN-tik]

Absurdly learned; scholarly in an ostentatious way; making an inappropriate or tiresome display of knowledge by placing undue importance on trivial details, rules, or formalities.


After that definition, you’re probably thinking that your guide through Verbal Advantage sometimes is pedantic about language. All right, it’s true. As we pedantic types like to say, mea culpa (MAY-uh KUUL-puh), which is Latin for “my fault.” On the other hand, I am also erudite, which as you learned in Level 3 means scholarly, possessing extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books. That’s not such a bad combination for someone whose job is to help you navigate the stormy sea of English words.

So, my verbally advantaged friend, if you want to emulate my grandiloquent erudition, then please pardon my pedantry as I explain that the adjective pedantic, and the corresponding nouns pedant (PED-’nt) and pedantry (PED-’n-tree), come through Italian and Latin from the Greek paidagogos, a tutor of children, the source also of the word pedagogue (PED-uh-GAHG), which may mean simply a teacher, or a teacher who is narrow-minded, dogmatic, and—you guessed it—pedantic.

If we further break down the Greek paidagogos, we see that it is composed of pais, paidos, a boy or child, and agein, to lead or conduct, and means literally a leader or conductor of youngsters. For the significance of that derivation, let’s turn to the erudite and only occasionally pedantic Century Dictionary (1914). “Among the ancient Greeks and Romans,” says the Century, “the pedagogue was originally a slave who attended the younger children of his master, and conducted them to school, to the theater, etc., combining in many cases instruction with guardianship.”

This servile tutor of classical antiquity eventually rose to become the modern pedagogue, a teacher or schoolmaster, but a stigma of pedantry—meaning a slavish or dogmatic attention to rules and minor details of learning—remained on the word. Perhaps that explains why, when certain members of the teaching profession went looking for a more dignified word for themselves than teacher, they eschewed pedagogue and settled on three terms: educator, which is a good alternative; educationist, which is a pompous one; and educationalist, which is preposterous. But unless you happen to be a pedagogue, that’s neither here nor there, and being the verbose pedant that I am, I digress.

pedant was originally a pedagogue or teacher, but that sense soon fell into disuse and a pedant became, as the Century Dictionary puts it, “a person who overrates erudition, or lays an undue stress on exact knowledge of detail or of trifles, as compared with larger matters or with general principles.” The noun pedantry refers to the manners or actions of a pedant. According to the eighteenth-century Irish essayist and dramatist Sir Richard Steele, “Pedantry proceeds from much reading and little understanding.” Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, defined pedantry as “the overrating of any kind of knowledge we pretend to.” And the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (KOHL-rij, two syllables) wrote that “pedantry consists in the use of words unsuitable to the time, place, and company.”

The adjective pedantic means absurdly learned; scholarly in an ostentatious way; making an inappropriate or tiresome display of knowledge by placing undue importance on trivial details, rules, or formalities.

  • Word 34: Capitulate [kuh-PICH-uh-layt]

To yield, surrender; specifically, to surrender on specified terms or conditions.


The verbs to capitulate and to decapitate both come ultimately from the Latin caput, capitis, which means “the head.” Decapitate sticks literally to its root and means to cut off the head. Capitulate has sprouted from its root and means to list the terms of surrender under various headings in a document.

Although some current dictionaries define capitulate as “to surrender unconditionally or on stipulated terms,” in precise usage capitulate means to yield or surrender only on stipulated terms, although the terms do not necessarily have to be drawn up in a document.

When armies or nations capitulate, they specify the conditions under which they will surrender. When people accused of a crime accept a plea bargain, they capitulate by stipulating the terms under which they will yield to the prosecution and accept a conviction. And when two parties come to terms in a dispute, you can be sure that one party is the victor and the other has capitulated.

The corresponding noun is capitulation, the act of surrendering or yielding on specified terms or conditions.

  • Word 35: Inchoate [in-KOH-it]

Just begun; in an early stage of development; partly in existence; not fully formed; undeveloped; imperfect; incomplete.


Synonyms of inchoate include elementary, preliminary, nascent (word 22 of this level), rudimentary, and incipient (in-SIP-ee-int).

Inchoate comes from the Latin incohatus, just begun, not finished, incomplete; incohatus is the past participle of the verb incohare, to begin, take in hand, start work on.

Since the sixteenth century, when inchoate entered English, the word has been used of that which has just begun or is in an early stage of development, and which is therefore imperfect or incomplete. An inchoate state is an initial, undeveloped state; an inchoate idea is an idea not yet fully formed; an inchoate project is a project that is just getting off the ground.

  • Word 36: Exponent [eks-POH-nint]

A person who stands or speaks for something, a representative or advocate.


Exponent comes from the Latin exponere, to put forth, put on view, display. The Latin exponere is also the source of the English verb to expound, which means to explain, interpret, set forth point by point, as to expound an idea or to expound the principles of business management. An exponent may be a person who expounds, an explainer, interpreter, or commentator, but in current usage exponent more often applies to a person who stands or speaks for something, someone who represents, advocates, or promotes some idea or purpose: The leader of a political party is the exponent of its principles and goals; the pontiff is the exponent of Roman Catholicism; the framers of the U.S. Constitution were exponents of democracy and individual liberty; and Carry Nation, the austere and abstemious nineteenth-century temperance crusader who chopped up saloons with a hatchet, was a radical exponent of abstinence from alcoholic beverages.

  • Word 37: Mendacious [men-DAY-shus]

Not truthful, lying, false, dishonest, deceitful.


Mendacious comes through the Latin mendacium, a lie, from the adjective mendax, which means lying, deceitful. By derivation mendacious means given to lying, disposed to falsehood or deceit. A mendacious person is a dishonest person, one who is prone to lie or deceive; a mendacious statement is an untruthful statement, a deliberate falsehood or a lie.

Synonyms of mendacious include fraudulent, hypocritical, disingenuous (DIS-in-JEN-yoo-us), evasive, equivocal (i-KWIV-uhkul), duplicitous (d(y)oo-PLIS-i-tus), and prevaricating (pri-VAR-iKAY-ting).

Antonyms include truthful, honorable, upright, ethical, virtuous, scrupulous, and veracious (ve-RAY-shus). The corresponding noun is mendacity (men-DAS-i-tee), untruthfulness, lying, deceit.

  • Word 38: Strident [STRY-dint]

Loud and harsh-sounding, grating, shrill.


Synonyms of strident include earsplitting, screeching, discordant, clamorous, cacophonous (kuh-KAHF-uh-nus), vociferous (voh-SIF-urus), and stentorian (sten-TOR-ee-in).

Antonyms include faint, subdued, melodious, dulcet (DUHL-sit), and euphonious (yoo-FOH-nee-us).

Strident comes from the present participle of the Latin verb stridere, to make a harsh noise. Apparently, stridere was a versatile word in Latin, for ancient Roman poets and writers such as Vergil (VUR-jil), Lucretius (loo-KREE-shus), and Ovid (AH-vid) used it to describe many sounds, not all of them harsh: the grating of metal on metal; the whistling of the wind; the scraping or whining of a saw; the creaking of a wagon, a rope, or a hinge on a door; the whirring of a rock or an arrow propelled through the air; the braying of an ass; the trumpeting of elephants; the grunting of a pig; the hiss of a snake; and even the humming of bees.

The words that English has inherited from the Latin stridere are not so versatile, and stick more closely to the core meaning of this ancient verb: to make a harsh noise. For instance, the noun stridor (STRY-dur) may mean a harsh grating or creaking sound or, in medicine, a harsh sound made when breathing in or out that indicates obstruction of the respiratory tract. The adjective stridulous (STRIJ-uh-lus) means making a harsh or shrill noise. And the verb to stridulate (STRIJ-uh-LAYT) means to make a shrill, high-pitched grating or chirping sound. Crickets and various other insects stridulate by rubbing certain body parts together.

Our keyword, strident, applies to any sound or noise that is disagreeably loud, harsh, and shrill: a piercing scream, the screeching of brakes, the grinding of gears, the whining of a power tool, the wailing of a baby, or any loud, gruff voice that grates on your ears can be described as strident.

  • Word 39: Oligarchy [AHL-uh-GAHR-kee]

Government by a few; rule or control exercised by a few persons or by a small, elite group.


Oligarchy comes from the Greek oligos, few, little, and archein, to govern, rule, and by derivation means “government by the few.” Oligarchy may denote rule or control exercised by a few people, a state or an organization run by a few people, or the few dominant people themselves, and the word often suggests the hoarding of power for corrupt or selfish purposes. Thus we speak of an oligarchy within organized crime; an oligarchy of the rich; or the oligarchy of the former Soviet Union.

For the corresponding adjective, both oligarchic and oligarchical are acceptable.

Here’s a pronunciation tip: You may hear some speakers pronounce oligarchy with a long o: OH-ligarchy. This recent variant is listed second in two current dictionaries; all other authorities, past and present, do not recognize it. Properly, the initial o is short, as in olive and college.

  • Word 40: Refulgent [ri-FUHL-jent]

Shining brightly, brilliant, radiant, resplendent.


Additional synonyms of refulgent include gleaming, blazing, sparkling, luminous, incandescent, scintillating, and coruscating. In case you’re wondering about those last three, allow me to explain.

Incandescent (IN-kan-DES-int) means extremely bright or glowing with heat. It may sound peculiar to say so, but a light bulb, a person’s mind, and a spiritual truth all can be described as incandescent. Scintillating (SIN-ti-LAY-ting) means throwing off sparks, sparkling or twinkling. You can have scintillating thoughts, scintillating conversation, or observe scintillating stars in the summer sky. Coruscating (KOR-uh-SKAY-ting or KAHR-) means giving off flashes of light, flashing or glittering. An impressive display of fireworks is a coruscating display; a flashy or brilliant performance can be described as a coruscating performance.

Antonyms of refulgent include dull, dim, obscure, gloomy, and murky, all of which I know you know, so I think I’ll commit an unpardonable act of pedantic obfuscation by muddling and bewildering you with these mind-boggling antonyms: tenebrous (TEN-uh-brus), which means dark and gloomy; umbrageous (uhmBRAY-jus), which means shady or overshadowed; subfuscous (suhbFUHS-kus), which means dusky or somber; and—do you have room upstairs for one more?—crepuscular (kri-PUHS-kyuh-lur), which means pertaining to twilight, hence, characterized by dim, waning, or glimmering light.

Our brilliant keyword, refulgent, comes from the present participle of the Latin verb refulgere, to shine brightly, which comes in turn from re-, meaning “back,” and fulgere, to shine, flash, or gleam. You may use refulgent literally to mean gleaming or shining brightly; for example, someone can give you a refulgent smile, or you can explore a cave with the refulgent beam of a powerful flashlight. You may also use refulgent to mean figuratively brilliant or radiant; for example, you may know someone with a refulgent wit, or a person of refulgent beauty.

The corresponding noun is refulgence (ri-FUHL-jents), brilliance, radiance, resplendence.

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