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Verbal Advantage – Level 10 Word 21 – Word 30 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 10 Word 21 - Word 30 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 21: Sanguine [SANG-gwin]

Confident, cheerful, hopeful, optimistic.


As you may recall from the discussion of phlegmatic (word 33 of Level 9), in ancient physiology there were four humors, or bodily fluids: blood, phlegm, choler (also called yellow bile), and melancholy (also called black bile). Early physicians believed that a person’s health and disposition were determined by the relative proportions of these humors.

Sanguine originally meant having blood as the dominant humor in one’s system; hence, having a ruddy, healthy complexion and a warm temperament. Eventually this sense evolved into the current meaning: confident, cheerfully optimistic.

Sanguine and sanguinary (SANG-gwi-NER-ee) are sometimes confused because of their common derivation, the Latin sanguis, blood. Sanguinary means either bloody, accompanied by bloodshed and slaughter, or bloodthirsty, eager for bloodshed. Sanguine either means blood-colored, ruddy, red, as a sanguine complexion, or, more often, filled with the uplifting humor of blood, and therefore confident, cheerful, optimistic.

  • Word 22: Deipnosophist [dyp-NAHS-uh-fist]

An adept conversationalist, especially one who enjoys conversing at the table.


You’ll need to check a hefty unabridged dictionary to find the unusual words deipnosophist, deipnosophistic (dyp-NAHS-uh-FIS-tik), and deipnosophism (dyp-NAHS-uh-FIZ-’m), which come from the Greek deipnon, a meal, and sophistes, a wise man. Like the word symposium (sim-POH-zee-um), which means literally a drinking party, and comes from the title of a Platonic dialogue, deipnosophist comes from the Deipnosophistai of the Greek writer Athenaeus (ATH-uh-NEE-us), in which he details the conversation of a group of learned men who are dining together. For your next symposium, whether you plan to cook a gourmet meal or have a potluck, try inviting a few deipnosophists to liven up the conversation.

I have known many deipnosophists, I am something of one myself, and in my book they fall into three categories: the preprandial (pree-PRAN-dee-ul) deipnosophists, who excel at conversation over cocktails before dinner; the postprandial (pohst-PRAN-dee-ul) deipnosophists, who hit their stride and wax eloquent after the plates have been cleared away; and the vulgar deipnosophists, who talk incessantly through the meal, usually with their mouths full.

  • Word 23: Frangible [FRAN-ji-buul]

Breakable, fragile, frail, delicate, easily damaged or destroyed.


Fragile applies to something so delicately constructed that it is easily broken. Frangible adds to this the idea of a susceptibility to being broken, even if the object in question is not inherently delicate. The solid steel of a car is frangible if struck by another car. The heart of a brave and sanguine person might be frangible in an especially sad and poignant situation. The unusual word friable (FRY-uh-buul) means easily crumbled, crushed, or pulverized. Dried herbs are friable, as are the stiff, yellowed pages of an old book.

  • Word 24: Apodictic [AP-uh-DIK-tik]

Absolutely certain, necessarily true, proved or demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt.


Synonyms of apodictic include incontestable, incontrovertible, and irrefragable (i-REF-ruh-guh-buul).

Apodictic is chiefly a technical term used in logic of a judgment that asserts its own necessity. “Such judgments,” cautions the Century Dictionary, “may be false.” Apodictic is a lovely word, so much more forceful and decisive than certain or true, yet I wonder what in life honestly can be called apodictic, absolutely certain, necessarily true. Can you think of anything that is unarguably apodictic? Perhaps only death and taxes.

  • Word 25: Fulminate [FUHL-mi-NAYT or FUUL-miNAYT]

To explode, especially to explode with invective and denunciations; to shout forth condemnation and censure.


The verb to fulminate and the corresponding noun fulmination come through the Latin fulminare, to strike with lightning, from fulmen, a stroke of lightning, thunderbolt. Fulminate was once used to mean to strike with lightning, but this sense is obsolete and in modern usage fulminate suggests the throwing of verbal thunderbolts, and fulmination suggests a thundering verbal explosion: “The speaker fulminated against corruption and vice”; “The dispute between the two nations has not reached the point of war, but there have been fulminations from both sides.”

  • Word 26: Scarify [SKAR-i-fy]

To wound the feelings of; make cutting remarks about; distress by criticizing sharply.


Synonyms of scarify include lacerate (word 35 of Level 1), flay, castigate, vituperate, and excoriate (word 40 of Level 9). The corresponding noun is scarification.

The verbs to scarify and scare are similar in spelling and sound but they are entirely unrelated in derivation and meaning.

Scarify comes through Latin and Greek words meaning to scratch, ultimately from the Greek skariphos, a pencil or stylus. In modern usage, scarify has three senses, the first two literal and the third figurative. Scarify is used in medicine to mean to make a series of shallow cuts or punctures in the skin; certain vaccinations are administered by scarification. Scarify is also used in agriculture to mean to cut into the ground, loosen or break up the soil either to aerate it or in preparation for planting. Out of these literal senses, which suggest scratching and scraping, scarify came to be used figuratively to mean to scratch with words; hence, to wound the feelings of, make cutting remarks about, distress by criticizing sharply.

  • Word 27: Hebdomadal [heb-DAHM-uh-dul]

Weekly; pertaining to a week or seven-day period.


The adjective hebdomadal, and the corresponding noun hebdomad (HEB-duh-MAD) come from the Latin and Greek words for the number seven. The noun hebdomad may mean a group of seven; for example, a seven-member commission or board is a hebdomad. Hebdomad may also mean a seven-day period, a week. The adjective hebdomadal means weekly: hebdomadal duties are weekly duties; a hebdomadal occasion is an occasion that occurs once a week.

  • Word 28: Divagate [DY-vuh-GAYT]

To wander, ramble, or drift about; hence, to digress.


The verb to divagate and the corresponding noun divagation (DY-vuh-GAY-shin) come from the Latin divagari, to wander about, which comes in turn from dis-, meaning “apart,” and vagari, to wander, ramble, roam. In modern usage, divagate is a grandiloquent synonym for wander or digress, and divagation is a loftier word for a digression or the act of wandering or rambling. You may divagate literally, as to spend a summer divagating across the country. Or you may divagate figuratively: “Leroy dreaded his eighty-year-old mother’s hebdomadal phone call, because she would jabber and scold and divagate for an hour.”

  • Word 29: Iatrogenic [eye-A-truh-JEN-ik]

Caused by medical examination or treatment.


Pathological, which means pertaining to or caused by disease, is the antonym of iatrogenic.

The word iatric (eye-A-trik) means pertaining to medicine or medical doctors. The combining form iatro- comes from the Greek iatros, a physician; in English iatro- means “medical” or “medicine.” The combining form -genic means “producing” or “generating.” By derivation, that which is iatrogenic is produced by a medical doctor or generated by medical treatment.

Iatrogenic is used of ailments, maladies, or symptoms caused by medical treatment, especially one caused by a drug or surgery. An iatrogenic disorder may be cause for a malpractice suit against the doctor whose treatment induced it.

  • Word 30: Tergiversation [TUR-ji-vur-SAY-shin]

Desertion; specifically, the act of deserting something to which one was previously loyal, such as a cause, a party, or a religious faith.


Synonyms of tergiversation include abandonment and defection.

The noun tergiversation and the corresponding verb tergiversate (TUR-ji-vur-SAYT) come from a Latin word meaning “to turn one’s back.” When you tergiversate, you turn your back on something to which you were previously loyal and become a deserter or a renegade. When tergiversate denotes the desertion of a religious faith or creed, it is synonymous with apostatize (uh-PAHS-tuh-TYZ). Tergiversation means the act of desertion, and the word usually applies to the abandonment of a cause, a party, or a religion.

These words may also be used figuratively of language that is shifty and evasive, that does not take a firm stand. In this sense, tergiversate is a synonym of equivocate, which means to speak in a subtle and evasive manner; and the noun tergiversation is a synonym of equivocation, which means a shifty or evasive statement, language that does not come straight to the point or take a firm stand.

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