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Verbal Advantage – Level 10 Word 31 – Word 40 MCQ Test

Verbal Advantage - Level 10 Word 31 - Word 40 MCQ Test

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Word List

  • Word 31: Nacreous [NAY-kree-us]

Pearly, consisting of or resembling mother-of-pearl.


Synonyms of nacreous include iridescent (IR-i-DES-int), which means having or displaying lustrous, rainbowlike colors, and the unusual word margaritaceous (MAHR-guh-ri-TAY-shus).

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1999) defines mother-of-pearl as “a hard, iridescent substance that forms the inner layer of certain mollusk shells, used for making buttons, beads, etc.” Mother-of-pearl also goes by the name nacre (NAYkur). The adjective corresponding to the noun nacre is nacreous, pearly, made of or resembling mother-of-pearl.

  • Word 32: Faineant [FAY-nee-int]

Lazy, idle, sluggish, good-for-nothing: “When her thirty-year-old son refused to get a job and demanded more money as an allowance, Mrs. Jones decided that enough was enough and it was time to kick her faineant offspring out of the house.”


Common synonyms of faineant include do-nothing, shiftless, slothful, and lackadaisical, which is often mispronounced LAKSadaisical. There is no lax in lackadaisical (LAK-uh-DAY-zi-kuul).

More challenging synonyms of faineant include lethargic, indolent, somnolent, torpid, otiose (OH-shee-OHS), and also hebetudinous (HEB-uh-T(Y)OO-di-nus), the adjective corresponding to the noun hebetude (HEB-i-T(Y)OOD), word 20 of this level.

Faineant comes from a French phrase meaning “to do nothing.” Faineant may be used as an adjective to mean lazy, good-fornothing, or as a noun to mean a lazy person, an idler, sluggard. The corresponding noun is faineance (FAY-nee-ints). Faineance means idleness, inactivity, indolence, or the lazy, do-nothing attitude of a faineant person.

If you look up faineant in a current dictionary, you may find it spelled with an accent, fainéant, and find the French pronunciation, fay-nay-AH(N), listed first or even listed alone. Frankly, I find that perplexing, because two of the twentiethcentury’s most respected arbiters on pronunciation, the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary, published in 1934, and Kenyon and Knott’s Pronouncing Dictionary of American English, published in 1949, both prefer the pronunciation FAY-neeint.

Faineant entered English in the early 1600s. After nearly four hundred years, it’s expected and sensible to anglicize a word, make it conform to English custom. And when an anglicized pronunciation has existed in educated speech for a half-century or more, it doesn’t make sense to retain or revive the foreign pronunciation. It’s one thing to use a twenty-dollar word in conversation; it’s quite another thing to use it with a pretentious (and especially a Frenchified) pronunciation. Faineant and faineance have earned their place in the language and they cry out for full anglicization. It’s high time we spelled them without an accent and pronounced them as assimilated English words.

  • Word 33: Hispid [HIS-pid]

Covered with stiff hairs, bristles, or small spines; rough and bristly.


Hispid and hirsute (HUR-s(y)oot) are close in meaning.

Hispid comes from the Latin hispidus, rough, hairy, bristly. Although the Oxford English Dictionary contains one figurative citation that refers to “a hispid law,” hispid is used chiefly in a literal sense of leaves, plants, insects, animals, and occasionally human beings and inanimate objects to mean covered with rough, stiff hairs or bristles. The nettle, with its small, stinging spines, is a hispid plant; although the spines of the porcupine are relatively large, the animal can fairly be described as hispid.

Hirsute comes from the Latin hirsutus, covered with hair, rough, shaggy. In botany and zoology, hirsute and hispid are synonymous. In general usage, however, hirsute means extremely hairy or covered with hair: “Abigail told Angela that she did not care for hirsute men.”

  • Word 34: Longanimity [LAHNG-guh-NIM-i-tee]

Long-suffering patience; the ability to calmly endure hardship or suffering.


Longanimity and forbearance are synonyms.

Longanimity comes ultimately from the Latin longus, meaning “long,” and animus, spirit, mind. By derivation, a person who displays longanimity has the strength of spirit and mind to endure hardship or suffering for a long, long time.

  • Word 35: Sciolist [SY-uh-list]

A person who has only superficial knowledge of a subject, or who pretends to have knowledge.


Sciolist and the corresponding noun sciolism (SY-uh-liz-’m) come through a Latin word meaning “a smatterer,” and ultimately from the Latin scire, to know. By derivation, and in modern usage, a sciolist is a person who has only a smattering of knowledge, and sciolism means superficial or pretended knowledge.

Sciolist may also apply to people who pretend to be more knowledgeable or learned than they are, or who make a pretentious display of what little they know. As the saying goes, “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” The sciolist is a person you want to either avoid or watch carefully, because a small mind containing only a smattering of knowledge is likely to think mean, small-minded thoughts.

  • Word 36: Propinquity [proh- or pruh-PING-kwi-tee]

Nearness in place or time, proximity (word 50 of Level 1); also, nearness or similarity in nature, kinship, close relation.


In Latin, propinquitas means either nearness, proximity, or friendship, relationship. From this Latin word comes the English adjective propinquity, which is used to mean either nearness in place or time, or nearness of blood or nature.

According to the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary (1934), proximity “denotes simple nearness,” as the proximity of their houses, or living in proximity to downtown. Propinquity “connotes close neighborhood” and “personal vicinity,” as the propinquity of marriage, the propinquity of brothers and sisters, the propinquity of vice on the mean streets of the big city, or the hebdomadal propinquity of Christmas and New Year’s Day. (Remember hebdomadal, word 27 of this level? It means weekly or pertaining to a week.)

  • Word 37: Factitious [fak-TISH-us]

Not natural or genuine, produced artificially.


Synonyms of factitious include sham, contrived, bogus, fraudulent, and spurious (word 18 of Level 8).

Factitious comes through the Latin facticius, made by art, artificial, from the verb facere, to make. A factitious word is not genuine; it has been made up. A factitious need is artificially produced. A factitious smile is unnatural and manufactured for the occasion. And when something has factitious value, its value is not genuine or intrinsic but has been artificially created or imposed.

According to the Century Dictionary (1914), “an artificial or factitious demand in the market is one that is manufactured, the [factitious demand] being the more laboriously worked up; a factitious demand exists only in the invention of one and the imagination of another.”

  • Word 38: Plexiform [PLEK-si-FORM]

In general, complicated or elaborate; specifically, like a plexus or network.


According to Random House Webster’s College Dictionary (1999), the noun plexus (PLEK-sus) means “a network” or “any complex structure containing an intricate network of parts,” as “the plexus of international relations.” In medicine, plexus is used to describe various networks of nerves and blood vessels.

Plexus comes from the Latin plectere, to braid, intertwine, interweave. The adjective plexiform combines plexus and the suffix -form to mean formed like a plexus or network. Plexiform may be used in this sense, as the plexiform nature of computer bulletin boards and online services. However, outside the fields of medicine and science, plexiform probably is more often used in a more general sense to mean having the qualities of a complex network, and therefore extremely complicated or elaborate. We speak of the plexiform nature of human relationships; a plexiform bureaucracy; plexiform negotiations; the plexiform operations of a multinational corporation; or the plexiform financial structure of Wall Street.

  • Word 39: Susurrus [suu-SUR-us]

A soft, subdued sound; a whispering, murmuring, muttering, or rustling sound.


susurrus and a susurration (SOO-suh-RAY-shin) are the same thing. The corresponding verb is susurrate (suu-SUR-ayt), to whisper, murmur; and the adjective is susurrant (suu-SUR-ant), softly whispering, rustling, or murmuring. All of these softsounding words come from the Latin susurrare, to whisper, murmer, mutter.

susurrus or a susurration—pick the soft-sounding word you prefer—can apply to many things, because so many things create a whispering, murmuring, muttering, or rustling sound. Here are three possible applications: the susurrus in the library; the sussuration of the trees; as the lights dimmed and the curtain rose, a susurrus passed through the audience and then died away.

  • Word 40: Triturate [TRICH-uh-RAYT]

To grind, crush, or pound into fine particles or powder.


Synonyms of triturate include pulverize, comminute (KAHM-i-N(Y)OOT), and levigate (LEV-i-GAYT).

To pulverize and to triturate are virtually interchangeable; both words suggest reducing something to fine particles or powder. Pulverize comes from the Latin pulvis, dust, and by derivation suggests reducing something to dust. Triturate comes from a Latin word meaning to thresh grain or tread out corn, and by derivation suggests a violent beating, bruising, pounding, crushing, rubbing, or grinding action. When used figuratively, pulverize is the more violent word, and means to destroy or demolish completely, as to pulverize an opponent. Used figuratively, triturate suggests either a grinding or crushing into small pieces or a wearing down to nothing by friction: “Her job was triturating all her creative abilities”; “He triturated his financial assets until he was bankrupt.”

The corresponding noun is trituration (TRICH-uh-RAY-shin).

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