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Verbal Advantage – Level 09 Word 41 – Word 50 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 09 Word 41 - Word 50 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 41: Lassitude [LAS-i-T(Y)OOD]

Weariness, fatigue; a weak or exhausted state or feeling; a sluggish relaxation of body or mind.


Synonyms of lassitude include listlessness, lethargy (LETH-ur-jee), debility, indolence (IN-duh-lints), inertia (i-NUR-shuh), enervation (EN-ur-VAY-shin), torpor (TOR-pur), and languor (LANG-gur).

Would you like an ultragrandiloquent synonym for lassitude? How about oscitancyOscitancy (AHS-i-tin-see) comes through the Latin oscitare, to yawn, gape, open the mouth, from the Latin os, the mouth. Literally, oscitancy means the act of yawning or gaping; figuratively, it means sleepiness, drowsiness, or sluggishness.

The Latin os, meaning “the mouth,” is the source of another delightful grandiloquent word that is entirely unrelated to this discussion—but you don’t mind if I’m desultory, do you? (As I mentioned in the discussion of discursive, word 50 of Level 6, desultory, pronounced DES-ul-TOR-ee, means skipping or leaping from one subject to another in a disconnected way.) At any rate, this Latin os, the mouth, is also the source of the unusual English word osculation (AHS-kyuh-LAY-shin). Osculation denotes a pleasant act, something we all enjoy. With that clue, and knowing that this act has something to do with the mouth, can you guess what osculation means? If you’re thinking the act of kissing, then you are a sagacious word sleuth indeed.

Now let’s get back to our keyword, lassitude, which comes from the Latin lassitudo, weariness, exhaustion. In modern usage, lassitude denotes a weak or exhausted state or feeling; a sluggish relaxation of body or mind. Surfeiting yourself at the dinner table can cause lassitude, and on sultry summer days we often experience lassitude.

Fatigue, weariness, and lassitude are close in meaning. Fatigue usually is the result of physical or mental exertion; you feel fatigue after ten or twelve hours of assiduous labor. According to the Century Dictionary (1914), weariness is “the result of less obvious causes, as long sitting or standing in one position, importunity from others, delays, and the like. Fatigue and weariness are natural conditions,” says the Century, “from which one easily recovers by rest.” Lassitude is “the result of greater fatigue or weariness than one can well bear, and may be of the nature of ill health. The word may, however, be used in a lighter sense.” To illustrate that lighter sense, the Century quotes these lines from the eighteenth-century British poet, essayist, and physician John Armstrong: “Happy he whose toil/Has o’er his languid, pow’rless limbs diffus’d/a pleasing lassitude.”

  • Word 42: Traduce [truh-D(Y)OOS]

To publicly disgrace or humiliate by making false and malicious statements; to make a mockery of; expose to public ridicule or contempt.


Synonyms of traduce include defame, slander, denigrate, malign (muh-LYN), vituperate (vy-T(Y)OO-pur-AYT), calumniate (kuh-LUHM-nee-AYT), and vilify, word 32 of this level.

Antonyms of traduce include praise, compliment, laud, extol, and adulate (AJ-uh-LAYT).

Traduce comes from the Latin traducere, to lead across or lead in front of others; hence, to exhibit as a spectacle, expose to ridicule, disgrace or humiliate in public. In modern usage, traduce applies chiefly to making false, malicious, and humiliating statements about people, as to traduce someone’s honor, or a scathing editorial that traduces the mayor. Those gossipy newspapers with the sensational, ridiculous headlines that you see in the supermarket checkout line specialize in scandalous stories that traduce well-known people.

The noun traducement means the act of traducing, and a traducer is a person who traduces, who makes false, malicious, humiliating statements.

  • Word 43: Dishabille [DIS-uh-BEEL]

The state of being partly clothed; partial undress.


Dishabille may also mean the state of being casually or carelessly dressed, as in one’s night clothes or lounging attire.

Dishabille comes from a French verb meaning to undress, which explains why it has all those silent letters. Dishabille entered English in the late 1600s, and as you can imagine, the word usually has a slightly sexy or titillating connotation.

Here are a few examples cited in the Oxford English Dictionary, which specializes in displaying the language in historical dishabille. From 1684: “To surprise his mistress in dishabille.” From 1708: “What would she give now to be in this dishabille in the open air?” From 1796: “His lady made a thousand apologies for being [caught] in such a dishabille.” From 1861: “The easy, confidential intercourse of her dishabille in the boudoir” (BOOdwahr, a woman’s bedroom or private dressing room). And from 1885: “The shortcomings of English costume pale before the dishabille of the Dutch colonial ladies.”

Little could the writer of that last example have imagined the sometimes shocking dishabille, partial undress, that is commonplace in the worlds of entertainment and publishing today. And now, seeing as we’ve just discussed a rather prurient word (prurient, pronounced PRUUR-ee-int, means characterized by or arousing lust), it seems fitting to invite you to learn…

  • Word 44: Saturnalia [SAT-ur-NAY-lee-uh]

An orgy, licentious merrymaking, unrestrained revelry.


Saturnalia, with a capital S, denotes the seven-day festival of Saturn celebrated in December by the ancient Romans. According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1894), the Saturnalia was “a time of licensed disorder and misrule…. During its continuance no public business could be transacted, the law courts were closed, the schools kept holiday, no war could be commenced, and no malefactor punished.” (A malefactor, pronounced MAL-uh-FAK-tur, is a criminal, outlaw, evildoer.)

That week of abandon in ancient Rome has led to a second sense of the word. When spelled with a small ssaturnalia means any period or occasion of unrestrained revelry or licentious merrymaking; hence, an orgy. Among American college students, the saturnalia is celebrated during the vernal equinox, and goes by the name of “spring break.”

  • Word 45: Extirpate [EK-stur-PAYT]

To pull or dig up by the roots, root out, exterminate, abolish or destroy completely.


Although extirpate means to root out, it has stayed close to its roots, for it comes from the Latin extirpare, to tear up by the roots, which comes in turn from ex-, meaning “out,” and stirps, which means the stem and roots of a plant. The word may be used literally, as to extirpate a tree, or figuratively, as to extirpate evil or a heterodox belief.

Extirpate has two close synonyms: eradicate (i-RAD-i-KAYT) and deracinate (di-RAS-i-NAYT). Both these verbs come from the Latin radix, the root of a plant. By derivation and in modern usage, eradicate and deracinate also mean to pull up by the roots, uproot, and so to obliterate, annihilate, get rid of completely.

Deracinate suggests a violent uprooting or annihilation. You can deracinate your hair; a despotic government can deracinate dissent; and a war can deracinate a population. Eradicate suggests resistance from the thing being uprooted or destroyed. Campaigns to eradicate drug abuse and organized crime often fall short of expectations.

Extirpate suggests the intentional uprooting or extermination of something deeply entrenched. Self-styled defenders of society, like the zealous antivice crusader Anthony Comstock, are always on the lookout for some pernicious influence to extirpate—obscenity, drugs, subversives, heretics, or heterodox beliefs. The corresponding noun is extirpation (EK-stur-PAY-shin).

  • Word 46: Flagitious [fluh-JISH-us]

Extremely wicked; shamefully and scandalously criminal, viceridden, or corrupt.


Synonyms of flagitious include atrocious, egregious (word 36 of Level 8), heinous (HAY-nus), diabolical, nefarious (ne-FAIR-ee-us), odious (OH-dee-us), and execrable (EK-si-kruh-buul).

Flagitious comes through the Latin flagitiosus, shameful, disgraceful, infamous, from flagitium, a shameful crime, disgraceful action.

Flagitious may be used of persons who are grossly wicked and guilty of atrocious crimes or vices. For example, in different ways and on a different scale, Jack the Ripper and Joseph Stalin were both flagitious monsters. Flagitious may also be used of actions or things to mean shamefully wicked, villainous, or evil, as a flagitious crime, a flagitious obsession, flagitious thoughts. The Holocaust was one of the most flagitious events in history.

  • Word 47: Peripatetic [PER-i-puh-TET-ik]

Walking about, going from place to place on foot.


Synonyms of peripatetic include ambulating and itinerant.

Peripatetic comes from Greek and means literally walking about. When spelled with a capital PPeripatetic refers to the ancient Greek school of philosophy founded by Aristotle, who expounded his theories while strolling in the Lyceum (ly-SEE-um) in Athens.

When spelled with a small pperipatetic means walking about, traveling on foot, as peripatetic exercise, a peripatetic police officer, or a grassroots political campaign that succeeded because of the peripatetic efforts of volunteers.

Peripatetic may also be used as a noun to mean a peripatetic person, a pedestrian or itinerant, someone who walks or moves about on foot.

  • Word 48: Cachinnate [KAK-i-NAYT]

To laugh loudly and immoderately, laugh convulsively or hysterically.


To chuckle, giggle, cackle, chortle, titter, snicker, and snigger all suggest moderate, restrained, or self-conscious laughter.

To guffaw suggests loud, boisterous, unrestrained laughter.

To cachinnate takes the joke one step further. When you cachinnate, you shake with laughter, split your sides. Can you think of the last joke you heard that made you cachinnate?

The verb to cachinnate comes from the Latin cachinnare, to laugh aloud. The corresponding noun is cachinnation (KAK-i-NAY-shin), immoderate, convulsive, or hysterical laughter.

My earnest hope is that at least once in the course of Verbal Advantage, something I’ve written will catch your funny bone off guard and induce a cachinnation.

  • Word 49: Manumit [MAN-yuh-MIT]

To set free, liberate, emancipate, deliver from slavery or bondage.


Synonyms of manumit include unshackle, unfetter, enfranchise, and disenthrall.

Antonyms include enslave, enthrall, subjugate (word 43 of Level 1), shackle, fetter, manacle (MAN-uh-kul), and trammel (TRAM-ul).

The verb to manumit comes through Middle English and Old French from the Latin manumittere, to free a slave, which comes in turn from manus, the hand, and mittere, to send, let go.

To manumit, to emancipate, and to enfranchise are close in meaning. According to the Century Dictionary (1914), to enfranchise “is to bring into freedom or into civil rights.” In the twentieth century, American women gained the right to vote, gained economic and professional influence, and in many other ways became enfranchised. To emancipate “is to free from a literal or figurative slavery.” You can emancipate someone from bondage or emancipate someone’s mind with knowledge. Manumit has often been used interchangeably with emancipate, but it usually suggests a literal deliverance from bondage or slavery. Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation manumitted American slaves. If you get fired from a crummy job, consider yourself manumitted.

  • Word 50: Expiation [EK-spee-AY-shin]

Atonement; reparation for a sin, crime, or offense.


Expiation comes from the Latin expiare, to atone for, purify, engage in a ritual cleansing. The corresponding verb is expiate (EK-spee-AYT), to atone for, make amends for.

Have you done anything wrong lately? Alienated a loved one? Offended a coworker? Told a lie? Broken a law? If you’re feeling guilty about anything, if you have a compunction (word 26 of Level 8), a twinge of regret caused by an uneasy conscience, then Dr. Elster has the verbal cure for you: expiation, the act of atonement or reparation for a wrong done. Depending on the nature and severity of your offense, your expiation may require an apology, a punishment, or the wearing of sackcloth and ashes.

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