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Verbal Advantage – Level 09 Word 21 – Word 30 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 09 Word 21 - Word 30 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 21: Exigency [EK-si-jen-see]

An urgency, pressing need; a situation demanding immediate attention or action.


Exigency comes from the Latin exigere, to demand, force or drive out, and by derivation means something one is demanded, forced, or driven to do. In current usage we speak of an unforeseen exigency; a financial exigency; front-page newspaper stories focusing on the exigencies of the moment. The corresponding adjective is exigent (EK-si-jint), urgent, pressing, demanding immediate attention or action.

According to the Century Dictionary (1914), an exigency is a situation of sudden urgency, in which something needs to be done at once. An emergency is more pressing and therefore less common than an exigency. For example, every day the federal government deals with exigencies in foreign affairs, but only occasionally must it respond to a national emergency. A crisis is an emergency on which the outcome of everything depends, as a midlife crisis, or an economic crisis.

  • Word 22: Pulchritude [PUHL-kri-T(Y)OOD]

Beauty, loveliness, attractiveness.


Pulchritude comes directly from the Latin word for beautiful. In his famous and influential dictionary, published in 1755, Samuel Johnson defined pulchritude as the “quality opposite to deformity.”

Pulchritude is a literary word that is usually applied to persons or things that have great physical beauty or external appeal: a woman of pulchritude; the pulchritude of nature. Occasionally it is used of something whose beauty manifests itself in a more subtle way, as the pulchritude of the soul. What seems meretricious to you may possess pulchritude for another, for as the saying (sort of) goes, “Pulchritude is in the eye of the beholder.”

The corresponding adjective is pulchritudinous (PUHL-kri-T(Y)OOD-’n-us), physically beautiful or lovely.

  • Word 23: Denouement [DAY-noo-MAW(N)— nasalized n, silent t]

The unraveling or resolution of a plot, as of a novel or a drama; the outcome or resolution of any complex situation.


As you can tell from its vowel-laden spelling and nasalized final syllable, denouement comes from French. The word means literally “an untying,” as of a knot. Since its introduction into English in the mid-1700s, denouement has been used to mean the untying or unraveling of a narrative or dramatic plot, the final sequence of events leading to a resolution of the story.

The Century Dictionary offers this illustrative quotation from the Saturday Review: “The end, the climax, the culmination, the surprise, the discovery, are all slightly different in meaning from that ingenious loosening of the knot of intrigue which the word denouement implies.” In current usage, denouement has also come to apply to the outcome or resolution of any complex situation, as the denouement of a sensational trial, or the denouement of the negotiations.

  • Word 24: Fugacious [fyoo-GAY-shus]

Fleeting, passing quickly away.


Synonyms of fugacious include transient (TRAN-shint, word 31 of Level 2), ephemeral (i-FEM-uh-rul, word 12 of Level 4), transitory (TRAN-si-TOR-ee or TRAN-zi-TOR-ee, word 4 of Level 5), and evanescent (EV-uh-NES-int).

The words fugacious and fugitive come from the same Latin source, the verb fugere, to flee, fly away. As a noun, fugitive refers to a person who flees, especially from the law; as an adjective, fugitive may mean either fleeing, running away, or passing away quickly, not permanent, temporary. In this last sense it is an exact synonym of the more difficult word fugacious, fleeting, passing swiftly, lasting but a short time.

  • Word 25: Turbid [TUR-bid]

Literally, muddy, clouded, roiled, murky, as if from stirred-up sediment; figuratively, muddled, obscure, confused, not lucid.


Turbid is often used of liquids to mean muddy or clouded from having the sediment stirred up: a turbid river; turbid wine. It may also apply to air that is thick or dark with smoke or mist. Figuratively, turbid means muddled, disturbed, or confused in thought or feeling.

In this figurative sense, turbid sometimes is confused with the words turgid (TUR-jid) and tumid (T(Y)OO-mid).

Both turgid and tumid mean swollen, inflated, and both may be used literally or figuratively. However, tumid, perhaps because of its relation to the word tumor, usually is used literally to mean swollen or distended. Turgid usually is used figuratively of language or style that is inflated, pompous, pretentious, bombastic.

Turbid never suggests swelling or inflation, but rather muddiness, cloudiness, disturbance, or confusion, as in the nineteenth-century poet Matthew Arnold’s line “the turbid ebb and flow of human misery.”

  • Word 26: Indefeasible [IN-di-FEE-zuh-buul]

Not capable of being undone, taken away, annulled, or rendered void.


The words defeasancedefeasible, and indefeasible come down to us through Anglo-French and Middle English. They were used in Old English law and are chiefly legal terms today. Defeasance is the oldest of the three; it means either the annulment or voiding of a deed or contract, or a clause within a deed or contract that provides a means for annulling it or rendering it void. Defeasible means capable of being invalidated, undone, or rendered void. Our keyword, indefeasible, which employs the privative prefix in-, meaning “not,” means not defeasible, not capable of being undone, annulled, or rendered void.

Inalienable and indefeasible are close in meaning and are often used interchangeably. According to the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary (1934), “that is indefeasible which one cannot be deprived of without one’s consent; that is inalienable which one cannot give away or dispose of even if one wishes.”

For example, the U.S. Constitution guarantees all citizens certain inalienable rights, such as personal liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and so on. When you pay off a mortgage on a house and own it outright, you have an indefeasible title to the house, although you may give up or transfer that title by selling your home or putting the deed in someone else’s name.

Inalienable means not able to be given away or transferred. Indefeasible means not able to be taken away, undone, or made void.

  • Word 27: Disingenuous [DIS-in-JEN-yoo-us]

Insincere, crafty, sly, not straightforward or frank.


Synonyms of disingenuous include wily, subtle, slippery, deceptive, hypocritical, fraudulent, and mendacious (men-DAY-shus).

The direct antonym is ingenuous, sincere, open, straightforward, without artifice or guile. Other antonyms include truthful, frank, candid, unselfconscious, unaffected, and guileless.

The corresponding noun is disingenuousness.

Disingenuous combines the prefix dis-, meaning “not,” with the Latin ingenuus, which means freeborn, of free birth; hence, noble, honorable, upright. From the Latin ingenuus, by way of French, English has also acquired the word ingénue (AN-zhuh-N(Y)OO), which the Century Dictionary defines as “a woman or girl who displays innocent candor or simplicity; specifically, such a character represented on the stage, or the actress who plays it.”

An ingénue is an ingenuous woman. An ingenuous person is a woman, man, or child who is free from restraint or reserve, and therefore innocent, straightforward, and sincere. A disingenuous person is not sincere or straightforward. Disingenuous words are crafty, subtle, or deceptive.

  • Word 28: Scurrilous [SKUR-i-lus or SKUH-ri-lus]

Foul-mouthed, obscene; using or expressed in language that is coarse, vulgar, and abusive.


Synonyms of scurrilous include shameless, indelicate, lewd, smutty, ribald (word 42 of Level 7), irreverent, insolent, disparaging, derisive (di-RY-siv), and contumelious (KAHN-t(y)oo-MEEL-ee-us).

Antonyms of scurrilous include polite, refined, tasteful, cultured, sophisticated, cultivated, decorous (DEK-ur-us), and urbane (urBAYN).

The adjective scurrilous comes from the Latin scurrilis, mocking, jesting, or jeering like a buffoon. Scurrilis comes in turn from scurra, a jester, comedian, buffoon, especially one employed to entertain a rich person. By derivation, scurrilous means talking like a buffoon.

And what precisely is a buffoon, you ask? Any dictionary will tell you that a buffoon is a person who amuses or attempts to amuse others by clowning around and cracking jokes; however, the savvy lexicographers, or dictionary editors, at Random House include a second definition: “a person given to coarse or offensive joking.” That sort of buffoon is the one implied by the word scurrilous, which means, as the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary puts it, “using, or given to using, the language of low buffoonery; containing low indecency or abuse.” Scurrilous language is coarse, vulgar, and abusive. A scurrilous rogue is a foul-mouthed joker who spouts insolent obscenities.

There are two corresponding nouns, scurrility (skuh-RIL-i-tee) and scurrilousness; both may refer to coarse, vulgar, and abusive language, or to an expression of foul-mouthed verbal abuse.

  • Word 29: Recrudescence [REE-kroo-DES-ints]

A revival, renewal, fresh outbreak after a period of inactivity or quiescence (kwy-ES-ints).


Recrudescence comes from the Latin recrudescere, to become raw again, break out again, open afresh. In medicine, recrudescence is used of a wound or sore that partially heals and then reopens, or of a fever that abates and then breaks out again.

Does recrudescence strike you as a word you’d never use because you can’t imagine how you’d apply it? Well, let me give you a few suggestions.

How about sports for the weekend warrior? “Whenever Ken played basketball or softball without warming up properly, he suffered from a recrudescence of lower back pain.”

Now let’s try economics: “Analysts disagree on whether the recrudescence of inflation will affect the stock market.”

Are you in the retail business? Try this: “Booksellers are delighted with the recrudescence of interest in high-priced coffeetable volumes, which accounted for a 20 percent increase in sales this holiday season.”

Now let’s take a stab at the fine arts: “Some critics are disturbed by the recrudescence of classical themes in contemporary literature and art, though others applaud it.”

And let’s not forget fashion: “Madonna may have revolutionized our concept of fashion by turning underwear into outerwear, but it’s unlikely that she alone can effect a recrudescence of that most alluring of all exterior female garments, the miniskirt.”

And finally, we have romance: “Seeing John again after all these years, Sally felt a recrudescence of the love for him that she had suppressed since high school.”

You see? Recrudescence isn’t such an obscure, useless word after all, now is it?

The corresponding verb is recrudesce (REE-kroo-DES), to break out again, show renewed activity after an inactive period. The corresponding adjective is recrudescent (REE-kroo-DES-int), breaking out afresh, as a recrudescent epidemic or a recrudescent revolt.

  • Word 30: Defenestrate [dee-FEN-uh-STRAYT]

To throw something or someone out of a window.


I include this humorous but useful word in the event that you may be experiencing a recrudescent urge to give up building your vocabulary and defenestrate Verbal Advantage from a swiftly moving vehicle.

The verb to defenestrate combines the prefix de-, meaning “out,” with the Latin fenestra, a window. The corresponding noun defenestration means the act of throwing something or someone out of a window.

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