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Verbal Advantage – Level 08 Word 1 – Word 10 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 08 Word 1 - Word 10 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 1: Alacrity [uh-LAK-ri-tee]

Cheerful readiness, eagerness, or promptness in action or movement: “The duty of the firefighter is to answer every alarm with alacrity.”


Synonyms of alacrity include quickness, liveliness, briskness, enthusiasm, animation, zeal (ZEEL), and celerity (suh-LER-i-tee)

According to Funk & Wagnalls Standard Handbook of Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions (1947), alacrity denotes “that cheerful and hearty willingness from which quickness and promptness naturally result; hence, a prompt response. Alacrity springs from some demand from without; eagerness is spontaneous, springing from within; eagerness to act may produce alacrity in responding to the call for action.”

Alacrity and celerity are close in meaning. Both suggest “quickness in movement or action,” says Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1993). Celerity “implies speed in accomplishing work; alacrity stresses promptness in response to suggestion or command.” Because celerity emphasizes swiftness, you cross a busy street, complete a project, or run from danger with celerity. Because alacrity emphasizes eagerness, liveliness, or promptness, you meet a challenge, return a telephone message, or respond to a call for help with alacrity.

  • Word 2: Obviate [AHB-vee-AYT]

To prevent, make unnecessary, meet and dispose of, clear out of the way.


Obviate comes through the Latin verb obviare, to prevent, from the adjective obvius, in the way, the source also of the familiar English word obvious, which means literally “lying in the way.” The verb to obviate suggests preventing a problem or difficulty from arising by anticipating it and taking effective measures to meet and dispose of it or clear it out of the way. You can obviate trivial objections by coming straight to the point. You can obviate a trial by settling out of court. The necessity of attending a meeting can be obviated by a timely phone call.

  • Word 3: Emolument [i-MAHL-yuh-mint]

Wages, salary, payment received for work.


Synonyms of emolument include compensation, recompense (REK-um-PENTS), and remuneration, word 30 of Level 6.

Emolument comes from the Latin emolumentum, the fee a miller received for grinding grain, which comes in turn from the verb emolere, to grind out. By derivation, emolument means “that which is ground out by one’s exertion.” In the daily grind of the modern world, emolument has come to mean wages, pay, compensation for one’s labor. Webster’s New International Dictionary, second edition (1934), notes that emolument “applies to whatever profits arise from office or employment, as ‘the emoluments of a profession.’”

Now that you know the meaning of emolument, and also the keywords perquisite from Level 3 and commensurate from Level 6, I presume that the next time you consider a new position you will make sure that the perquisites are attractive and that the emolument is commensurate with your experience and ability.

  • Word 4: Intransigent [in-TRAN-si-jent]

Uncompromising, refusing to come to an agreement, unwilling to modify one’s position or give ground.


Synonyms of intransigent include irreconcilable, unyielding, diehard, hidebound, obstinate (word 34 of Level 1), resolute (REZuh-loot), tenacious (te-NAY-shus), recalcitrant (ri-KAL-suh-trint), intractable (in-TRAK-tuh-buul), refractory (word 42 of Level 6), and obdurate (AHB-d(y)uu-rit).

Antonyms include compromising, flexible, obliging, submissive, compliant, malleable (word 29 of Level 2), docile (word 28 of Level 7), tractable, deferential, acquiescent (AK-wee-ES-int), and complaisant (kum-PLAY-zint).

Intransigent combines the privative prefix in-, meaning “not,” with the Latin verb transigere, to come to a settlement, and means literally refusing to settle, unwilling to come to an agreement, uncompromising.

Resolute, tenacious, obstinate, intractable, refractory, obdurate, and intransigent suggest firmness or fixity in ascending intensity. The resolute person is firmly settled in opinion, resolved to pursue a course of action. Tenacious, which comes from the Latin tenere, to hold, suggests holding firmly; the tenacious person adheres persistently and sometimes doggedly to a belief or course of action. Obstinate implies stubborn adherence to an opinion or purpose and strong resistance to contrary influence or persuasion. Intractable means hard to lead or manage; the intractable person stubbornly resists direction. Refractory means stubborn and disobedient; a refractory person actively resists authority or control. Obdurate means stubbornly hardhearted; the obdurate person cannot be moved by appeals to the emotions.

Our keyword, intransigent, combines the firmness of resolute, the persistence of tenacious, the stubborn resistance of obstinateintractable, and refractory, and the hardheartedness of obdurate. The intransigent person takes an extreme position and will not compromise or back down under any circumstances.

  • Word 5: Mordant [MOR-dint or MORD-’nt]

Biting, cutting, keen, sarcastic, scathing.


Additional synonyms of mordant include incisive (in-SY-siv), caustic (KAW-stik), trenchant (TRENCH-int), virulent (VIR-(y)uhlint), and acrimonious (AK-ri-MOH-nee-us).

When you think of mordant, think of gnashing teeth. Mordant comes from Old French and Latin words meaning to bite, cut into, nip, or sting. Today mordant is chiefly used of speech or writing that is biting or cutting in a bitterly sarcastic way. We speak of mordant satire, mordant wit, mordant criticism, or a mordant cross-examination.

  • Word 6: Sagacious [suh-GAY-shus]

Wise, shrewd, perceptive; showing sound judgment and keen insight, especially in practical matters.


Synonyms of sagacious include insightful, discerning, astute (word 3 of Level 4), judicious (word 16 of Level 5), percipient (pur-SIP-eeint), sage (rhymes with page), sapient (SAY-pee-int), and perspicacious (PUR-spi-KAY-shus).

Antonyms of sagacious include undiscriminating, undiscerning, simpleminded, witless, inane (i-NAYN), gullible, credulous (KREJ-uhlus), obtuse (uhb-T(Y)OOS), and addlepated (AD-’l-PAY-tid).

The corresponding noun is sagacity, wisdom, shrewdness, keen insight or discernment.

Sagacious comes from the Latin sagax, having keen senses, especially a keen sense of smell. In its early days in the language, sagacious was used of hunting dogs to mean quick in picking up a scent. That sense is long obsolete. By 1755, when Samuel Johnson published his famous dictionary, sagacious had come to mean, as Johnson puts it, “quick of thought; acute in making discoveries.” To illustrate the expanded sense, Johnson quotes the philosopher John Locke: “Only sagacious heads light on these observations, and reduce them into general propositions.” Over the years since then, sagacious continued to acquire dignity, perhaps by association with the adjective sage, which means having or showing great wisdom. Today, says the third edition of The American Heritage Dictionary (1992), sagacious “connotes prudence, circumspection, discernment, and farsightedness.”

That’s a far cry from the hunting hounds of yore. Yet, as those words reveal, a faint odor of quick-sniffing canine instinct still clings to the word. In current usage, the sagacious person is no brooding scholar or musing philosopher but a shrewd, sharp-eyed, keen-witted person who displays instinctive wisdom, swift insight, and sound judgment regarding mundane or practical matters. Thus we do not speak of a sagacious treatise on the meaning of life, but rather of a sagacious comment on human nature, a shrewd lawyer who asks sagacious questions, or a business executive known for making sagacious decisions—in other words, wise and keenly perceptive decisions.

  • Word 7: Acerbic [uh-SUR-bik]

Sour, bitter, and harsh in flavor, tone, or character.


Synonyms of acerbic include tart, caustic (KAW-stik), pungent (PUHN-jint), astringent (uh-STRIN-jint), acrid (AK-rid), and acidulous (uh-SIJ-(y)uh-lus).

The direct antonym of acerbic is sweet.

Acerbic comes from a Latin word meaning sour or bitter like unripe fruit. Acerbic may be used literally to mean sour or bitter tasting, as the lemon is an acerbic fruit. However, the word acidic probably is more often used in this literal sense, and acerbic usually is used figuratively to mean sour, bitter, and harsh in tone or character: An acerbic mood is a sour mood; acerbic words are bitter words; and someone who is acerbic has a harsh, unpleasant personality.

  • Word 8: Variegated [VAIR-ee-uh-GAY-tid]

In a broad sense, varied, diverse, showing variety of character or form; in a strict sense, spotted, streaked, or dappled; having marks or patches of different colors, as a variegated quilt, a variegated cat, or a variegated design.


The verb to variegate is now often used figuratively to mean to give variety to, diversify. The adjective variegated is also frequently used in this way to mean varied, diverse, or multifaceted, as variegated interests, a variegated selection, or variegated accomplishments.

  • Word 9: Succor [SUHK-ur, like sucker]

To aid, help, relieve, give assistance to in time of need or difficulty, as to succor the wounded or succor the sick.


The noun succor means help, aid, relief, assistance in time of need or distress, as to give succor to the homeless on Thanksgiving.

Both the verb and the noun come from a Latin verb meaning “to run to the aid of.” Although succor and the slang verb sucker have the same pronunciation, they are not related and are virtually opposite in meaning.

  • Word 10: Importune [IM-por-T(Y)OON]

To trouble or annoy with requests or demands, make urgent or persistent entreaties or solicitations.


To remember the meaning of the verb importune, think of some annoying person who interrupts your life at an inappropriate moment and urgently asks you to do something you don’t want to do. Salespeople importune you on the telephone when you’re not interested and have better things to do. Panhandlers importune you on the street to beg for a handout. Children are experts at importuning parents when they are preoccupied with work or some pressing domestic chore, like cooking or paying bills.

The corresponding adjective is importunate (im-POR-chuh-nit), troublesomely demanding, persistent in a vexatious way.

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