In its narrowest sense, a synonym is a word or phrase that is perfectly
substitutable in a context for another word or phrase. People who study
language professionally agree that there is no such thing as an ideal
synonym, for it is virtually impossible to find two words or phrases that
are identical in denotation (meaning), connotation, frequency,
familiarity, and appropriateness. Indeed, linguists have long noted the
economy of language, which suggests that no language permits a perfect
fit, in all respects, between any two words or phrases. Many examples of
overlapping can be cited; the more obvious ones in English are those that
reflect a duplication arising from Germanic and Romance sources, like
motherly and maternal, farming and agriculture, teach and instruct. In
such pairs the native English form is often the one with an earthier,
warmer connotation. In some instances, where a new coinage or a loanword
has been adopted inadvertently duplicating an existing term, creating
'true' synonyms, the two will quickly diverge, not necessarily in meaning
but in usage, application, connotation, level, or all of these. For
example, scientists some years ago expressed dissatisfaction with the term
tidal wave, for the phenomenon was not caused by tides but, usually, by
submarine seismic activity. The word tsunami was borrowed from Japanese in
an attempt to describe the phenomenon more accurately, but it was later
pointed out the tsunami means 'tidal wave' in Japanese. Today, the terms
exist side by side in English, the older expression still in common use,
the newer more frequent in the scientific and technical literature.
Any synonym book must be seen as a compromise that relies on the
sensitivity of its users to the idiomatic nuances of the language. In its
best applications, it serves to remind users of words, similar in meaning,
that might not spring readily to mind, and to offer lists of words and
phrases that are alternatives to and compromises for those that might
otherwise be overused and therefore redundant, repetitious, and boring.
The Oxford Thesaurus goes a step further by offering example sentences to
illustrate the uses of the headwords and their alternatives in natural,
1. Selection of headwords
Two criteria have been employed: first, headwords have been selected
because of their frequency in the language, on the assumption that
synonyms are more likely to be sought for the words that are most
used; second, some headwords of lower frequency have been included
because it would otherwise be impossible to find a suitable place to
group together what are perceived as useful sets of synonyms with
their attendant illustrative sentences. Obvious listings have been
omitted on the grounds that users of the Thesaurus can easily find
synonyms for, say, abdication by making nouns of the verbs listed
under abdicate. This deliberate attempt to avoid duplication is
mitigated in the case of very common words. For the convenience of the
user, both shy and bashful are main entries, as are method, manner,
and mode, which, though much the same in some respects, differ in
detail and application. In this book, however, mitigate is a main
entry but not mitigation, mistake and mistaken are main entries but
not mistakenly, etc. Where it is determined that such derivations are
neither automatic nor semantically obvious, separate listings have
2. Illustrative sentences
On the principle that a word is known by the company it keeps, one or
more sentences showing the main entry word in context are provided for
each sense discrimination. These have been carefully selected to
demonstrate the use of the main entry in a context likely to be
encountered in familiar written or spoken ordinary English. (See also
3. Synonym lists
Each main entry is followed by one or more sense groupings, each
illustrated by one or more sentences. An effort has been made to group
the synonyms semantically as well as syntactically and idiomatically:
that is, each synonym listed within a given set should prove to be
more or less substitutable for the main entry in the illustrative
In some instances, idiomatic congruity may, unavoidably, become
strained; where it is felt to be stretched too far--though still
properly listed among its accompanying synonyms--a semicolon has been
inserted to separate sub-groups of synonyms, and, in many cases,
additional illustrative sentences have been provided. Such
sub-groupings have been confined largely to distinctions between
literal uses and figures of speech, between transitive and
intransitive verbs, and between synonyms that differ in more subtle
aspectual characteristics of meaning or syntax. (See also 7, below.)
Not all senses of all words are covered for either or both of the
following reasons: the sense, though it exists, is relatively rare in
ordinary discourse and writing; there are no reasonable synonyms for
it. Thus, this sense of mercy,
an affecting or moving of the mind in any way; a mental state
brought about by any influence; an emotion or feeling: Mercy
is an affection of the mind.
is not covered for the first reason, as it is a literary and somewhat
archaic usage. The same can be said for the sense,
a bodily state due to any influence
and for other senses listed in the largest dictionaries but rarely
encountered except in literary contexts. Even in such contexts it
would be unusual to need a synonym for this word and others like it.
4. Cross references
There are very few cross references between main listings in the
Thesaurus. Where such cross references do occur, they are simple and
superior adj....3 See supercilious, above. --n 4 See
A number of cross references occur within entries, between variant
forms of an expression. At the entry for take, for example, as one can
say either take or take it in the sense of 'understand' etc., the
option is shown in the following way:
take v...19 understand, gather, interpret, perceive,
apprehend, deduce, conclude, infer, judge, deem, assume,
suppose, imagine, see: I take him to be a fool. I take it from
your expression that you've had bad news.
33 take it: a withstand or tolerate or survive punishment or
abuse, survive: The Marines are extremely tough and can take
it. b See 19, above.
In a few entries, the form 'See also' is used.
a. All words and phrases that are recognized as being typical of a
particular variety of English, whether geographical or stylistic,
are labelled. It might at first seem that a large number of
colloquial, slang, and taboo words have been included. The labels
used are those commonly encountered in ordinary dictionaries:
Colloq Colloquial; informal; used in everyday conversation and
writing, especially in the popular press and in dramatic
dialogue; sometimes avoided where more formal language
is felt to be appropriate, as in business
correspondence, scholarly works, technical reports,
Slang Belonging to the most informal register and
characteristic of spoken English; often originating in
the cult language of a particular socio-cultural group.
Not sufficiently elevated to be used in most writing
(aside from dialogue), although often found in the
popular press and frequently heard on popular radio and
Taboo Not used in polite society, usually because of the risk
of offending sexual, religious, or cultural
sensibilities; occasionally encountered on late-night
television and radio; often occurring in graffiti and in
dialogue in novels, plays, and films.
Archaic Describing an obsolete word or phrase (like tickety-boo,
lounge lizard) that is used deliberately to invoke the
feeling of a bygone time.
Used of a synonym (like comfit) that is no longer
current but might occasionally be encountered among
older speakers and in older writing.
Technical Used of a somewhat specialized word that is not commonly
encountered in ordinary, everyday English, like
defalcator, which appears as a synonym under swindler.
Literary Describes a word, like euchre 'cheat', that is not
usually met with in everyday language, even of the
formal genre, but may be found in poetry and other
Brit, US, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand
Marks a word or phrase that occurs mainly in the
The meanings of other labels are self-evident.
b. All labels can occur in combination. Usage labels always take
precedence over regional labels. For example,
pushover n. 1 sure thing, Colloq piece of cake, child's
play, snap, picnic, walk-over, US breeze, Slang cinch,
Brit doddle, US lead-pipe cinch.
Here 'sure thing' is standard universal English. All words and
phrases following Colloq up to the Slang label are colloquial:
'piece of cake,...walkover' are universal colloquial English,
'breeze' is US colloquial. All synonyms following the Slang label
are slang; 'cinch' is universal English slang, 'doddle' is
confined to British slang, and 'lead-pipe cinch' is confined to
talented adj....Colloq ace, crack, top-notch, Brit wizard,
whizzo, US crackerjack.
In this entry, all synonyms shown are colloquial, 'ace, crack,
topnotch' being universal English, 'wizard, whizzo' British, and
It must be emphasized that such labels are to some extent
impressionistic and are based in the Thesaurus on a consensus of
several sources: that is, there is no implication that 'breeze' is
never used in the sense of 'pushover' except in the US, nor should
such an inference be made.
c. Comments regarding what might be viewed as 'correct' in contrast
to 'incorrect' usage are generally avoided. For example, the
non-standard use of between in contexts referring to more than two
of anything or of among in contexts involving fewer than three
goes unmarked. However, if the usage question is confined to what
can easily be represented in a 'lexical' environment, then
suitable treatment is accorded it; thus 'now' and 'at present' are
labelled Non-Standard under presently. To take another example,
'different to', in the typically British usage His house is
different to mine, is rarely encountered in American English; in
American English, purists condemn 'different than', as in His
house is different than mine, which is increasingly heard in
British English; purists on both sides of the Atlantic prefer
'different from'. Such matters are best left to usage books and to
usage notes in dictionaries and are not treated in the Thesaurus.
d. Main entry words and sub-entries are not labelled, only the
synonyms. Thus, under beat appears the idiomatic expression, beat
it, which is not labelled:
8 beat it: depart, leave, abscond, run off or away, Slang
US take it on the lam, lam out of here, hit the road:
You'd better beat it before the cops come.
The idiom is not labelled because it is assumed that the user has
looked it up to find a substitute for it, hence needs no
information about it other than a listing of its alternatives
(which are labelled, when appropriate) and an illustrative
A rare exception to the above rule occurs where a headword has one
meaning in British English and quite a different meaning in
another regional variety. Thus:
subway n. 1 In US: underground (railway), tube: She takes
the subway to work. 2 In Britain: tunnel, underpass: Use
the subway to cross the road in safety.
Here, the two regional labels do not apply to the synonyms (since,
for example, 'tunnel' has the same meaning in both British and US
English) but to the two definitions of the headword.
e. Synonyms bearing any kind of label appear at the end of the set in
which they are listed, except in the case described immediately
6. Spelling and other variants
The spellings shown throughout are those preferred by most modern
British writers. British variant spellings are shown; if they are
variants of the main entry word, they appear as the first word in the
set(s) of synonyms following:
mousy adj. 1 mousey,...
movable adj. moveable,...
Such variants are also shown when they appear within an entry:
movable adj....transferable or transferrable,...
Common American spelling variants (humor, traveler, unraveled) are not
shown, but less common ones are listed for convenience. Where both
forms are variants in American spelling, they are described by 'or US
...accoutrements or US also accouterments,...
...phoney or US also phony,...
This should be understood to mean 'the normal British spelling is
accoutrements (or phoney); this form, together with accouterments (or
phony), occurs in American English'.
a. The purpose of a synonym book is to provide the user with a
collection of words that are as close as possible in meaning to a
designated word. The Oxford Thesaurus tries to go to a step
further by providing examples that not only illustrate the main
entry word in a natural contextual environment but also allow the
user to substitute as many of the synonyms as possible into the
framework of the context. For example:
porous adj. spongy, spongelike, permeable, pervious,
penetrable: The rainwater runs through the porous rock and
collects in the pools below.
It is possible to substitute for porous in the sample sentence any
of the words given as synonyms without any adjustment of the
grammar or phrasing of the example. That is not to suggest that
the synonyms are identical: 'permeable' and 'pervious' belong to a
different register from that of 'spongy, spongelike', being more
common in technical usage. Some might argue that 'penetrable' is
not synonymous with the other listed words; but it is the function
of this book to provide synonyms for the main entries, not for the
other synonyms that might be listed. No claim is made--nor could
it be made--that synonyms are identical, either to one another or
to another word, merely that they fall well within the criteria of
what, for practical purposes, is viewed as synonymy in the
It is certainly true that substituting for porous any of the five
listed synonyms will yield five standard English sentence.
b. Some judgement is required of the user in determining the syntax
and idiomaticity with which a given word or expression can be
substituted in an illustrative context: words are rarely as
readily interchangeable in a context as might be components in a
chemical or mathematical formula. Moreover, while such formulae
are reflective of science, language offers its users the virtually
infinite variety available only in art, with each individual
speaker of any language being presented with the opportunity to
become an artist.
In the following example, nearly all terms can be substituted for
adjoining in the first illustrative sentence; to create idiomatic
parallels to the second sentence, the parenthetical prepositions
must be used:
adjoining adj. neighboring, contiguous (to), adjacent
(to), abutting, bordering, next (to): We have bought the
adjoining land and will build our new house there. The
land adjoining the supermarket is for sale.
Interpreting this, the following are all idiomatic: adjoining
land, neighbouring land, contiguous land, adjacent land, abutting
land, and bordering land. But if the context requires the
adjective to come after land (with a following noun), then the
parenthetical words must be added to yield constructions that are
idiomatic, like land adjoining the supermarket, land neighboring
the supermarket, land continuous to the supermarket, land adjacent
to the supermarket, land abutting the supermarket, land bordering
the supermarket, and land next to the supermarket.
As this is intended as a synonym book and not a work on English
collocations, the treatment of idiomaticity cannot be taken
c. There are other reasons why direct substitutability is not always
possible within a single semantic concept. The following extract
possess v.... 3 dominate, control, govern, consume, take
control of, preoccupy, obsess; charm, captivate, enchant,
cast a spell on or over, bewitch, enthral: What possessed
her to think that I could help? He behaves as if he is
possessed by the devil.
Here, two aspects of the same sense have been divided by a
semicolon, with the synonyms preceding the semicolon illustrated
by the first contextual example and those following it by the
second. While it may be argued that in this instance the synonyms
following the semicolon, with their illustrative sentence, might
better have been listed in a separately numbered set, the close
semantic association of the two groups would thereby have been
d. Sometimes, where the sub-sense is familiar enough not to require
its own example yet needs to be set off from the other synonyms
because of a subtle or aspectual semantic distinction, a semicolon
is inserted among the synonyms and only one example is provided:
practice n.... 2 exercise, discipline, drill, practising,
repetition, rehearsal, training, preparation, workout,
warm-up; application, study: She needs more practice on
the beginner`s slope before going down the main piste.
the idiomatic usage of this sense of 'study' and 'application' is
sufficiently familiar not to require separate example.
On the other hand, a second example is needed for the next sense
...3 pursuit, exercise, work, profession, career,
vocation, conduct; business, office: He genuinely enjoys
the practice of law. I heard of a veterinary practice for
sale in Yorkshire.
It would be difficult--perhaps impossible--to defend such fine
distinctions in every instance: indeed, as a comparison of the
different lengths of the entries in any dictionary will quickly
reveal, language does not provide the same levels of sense
discrimination for all words. The metaphorical focus and diversity
of a language provide for polysemy in some semantico-cultural
spheres but not in others. The classic observation often cited to
demonstrate this linkage is that of the Inuit language that has a
large number of distinguishing words for types of snow or of the
African language that has an extensive vocabulary to describe the
kinship among its speakers. On the grounds that the lexicon of a
language is moulded by speakers who, quite naturally, use it to
talk (and write) about things that are important to them, one
might be tempted to draw conclusions about the voracity of
English-speakers by reflecting that the entry for take has about
twice as many definitions in most dictionaries as that for give.
e. Often, the semicolon may be used to separate transitive uses of a
verb from intransitive:
preach v....2 moralize, sermonize, advise, counsel,
admonish, reprimand, lecture, harangue, pontificate; urge,
inculcate, advocate: Mother used to preach to us about
being charitable. Father preached restraint in all things.
Because of the behaviour of verbs in English, different synonyms
may be required depending on what the object of the verb is and,
often, whether the object is a word or phrase or a clause:
predict v. foretell, prophesy, forecast, foresee, augur,
prognosticate, forewarn, presage, vaticinate; portend,
foreshadow, foretoken, forebode; intimate, hint, suggest:
My mother predicted that there would be moments like this.
If only I could predict the winner of the 2.30!
f. Wherever possible, the proper prepositional or adverbial particle
normally accompanying a verb in a certain sense has been supplied,
though it must be emphasized that the one offered is the most
frequently used and not, necessarily, the only one acceptable in
standard usage. Particles used with some words may vary
considerably, owing not only to dialect variation but also to
whether the verb is used actively or passively as well as to which
nuance of meaning, sometimes far too subtle to be dealt with
adequately in a book of this kind, is to be expressed. The
following entry illustrates the full treatment that can be
accorded to words that occur in a wide variety of grammatical
persevere v. Often, persevere in or with or at: persist,
resolve, decide, endure, continue, carry on or through,
keep at or on or up, be steadfast or staunch or constant,
keep going, stand fast or firm, see through, be or remain
determined or resolved or resolute or stalwart or
purposeful or uncompromising, be tenacious or persistent
or constant or pertinacious or assiduous or sedulous, be
tireless or untiring or indefatigable, show determination
or pluck or grit, be plucky, be patient or diligent or
stubborn or inflexible or adamant or obstinate or
obdurate, show or exhibit or demonstrate patience or
diligence or stubbornness or inflexibility or obstinacy or
obduracy, remain dogged, pursue doggedly, be intransigent
or intractable, cling to, stick to, support, stop at
nothing, sustain, Colloq stick with, stick (it) out: We
must persevere to win. I shall persevere in my loyalty.
g. In some adjective senses, a split might occur between attributive
and predicative uses, though in most such cases, where the syntax
is open, only one, usually common, illustration is given. For
example, alone is used only predicatively or post-positively, not
attributively; that is, one cannot say *An alone woman...In this
particular case, the normal attributive form would be lone, but
lone is not listed as a synonym for alone because they are not
mutually substitutable. It is acknowledged that the detailed
description of the special syntactic ways in which certain words
(like alone, agog, galore) behave lies outside the province of
Although similar cautions must be observed and adjustments made
throughout, it is hoped that the illustrative sentences will
provide a substantial basis for the user to identify idiomatic
contexts and to discriminate senses that are not always carefully
distinguished in dictionaries.
CONTENTS Table of Contents
abandon v. 1 give up or over, yield, surrender, leave, cede, let go,
deliver (up), turn over, relinquish: I can see no reason why we
should abandon the house to thieves and vandals. 2 depart from,
leave, desert, quit, go away from: The order was given to
abandon ship. 3 desert, forsake, jilt, walk out on: He even
abandoned his fianc‚e. 4 give up, renounce; discontinue, forgo,
drop, desist, abstain from: She abandoned cigarettes and whisky
after the doctor's warning.
--n. 5 recklessness, intemperance, wantonness, lack of
restraint, unrestraint: He behaved with wild abandon after he
received the inheritance.
abandoned adj. 1 left alone, forlorn, forsaken, deserted, neglected;
rejected, shunned, cast off or aside, jilted, dropped, outcast:
An abandoned infant was found on the church steps. Totally
alone, she felt abandoned by her friends. 2 bad, immoral,
amoral, wicked, sinful, evil, corrupt, unprincipled,
unrestrained, uninhibited, reprobate; loose, wanton, debauched,
wild, dissolute, dissipated, profligate; depraved, lewd,
lascivious, flagitious: His abandoned behaviour soon landed him
v. 1 shorten, compress, contract, truncate, trim, reduce,
curtail: We abbreviated some of the longer words to save space.
2 shorten, cut, condense, abridge, abstract, digest, epitomize,
summarize, US synopsize: The school presented an abbreviated
version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
adj. skimpy, brief, revealing: The dancers' abbreviated
costumes shocked some members of the audience.
n. initialism; acronym; shortening, contraction: UK is one
kind of abbreviation, or initialism; NATO, which is pronounced
as a word, is another, usually called an acronym.
abdicate v. give up, renounce, disclaim, waive, disown, surrender,
yield, relinquish, abandon, resign, quit: He abdicated all
responsibility for care of the children. She abdicated the
throne to marry a commoner.
abduct v. kidnap, carry off, make away or off with, seize, Slang US
snatch, grab: The child that was abducted is safe.
abet v. 1 encourage, urge, instigate, incite, provoke, egg on, prod,
goad; aid, help, assist: The jury found that his wife had
abetted him in the murder. 2 countenance, approve (of),
support, endorse, second, sanction, condone; further, advance,
promote, uphold: By failing to inform on the terrorists, the
neighbours abetted the bombing.
abeyance n. in abeyance. pending, abeyant, reserved, in reserve,
shelved, pushed or shoved or shunted aside, postponed, put off,
suspended, US tabled; temporarily inactive, dormant; latent;
Colloq in a holding pattern, on the back burner; Slang on hold,
in the deep-freeze, on the shelf, on ice, hanging fire: Legal
proceedings were held in abeyance so that talks could take place
to reach an out-of-court settlement.
abhor v. hate, loathe, detest, abominate, execrate; regard or view
with horror or dread or fright or repugnance or loathing or
disgust, shudder at, recoil or shrink from; be or stand aghast
at: He said that he abhorred any violation of human rights.
abhorrent adj. hateful, detestable, abhorred, abominable, contemptible,
odious, loathsome, horrid, heinous, execrable, repugnant;
repulsive, repellent, revolting, offensive, disgusting,
horrifying, obnoxious: The idea of war was totally abhorrent to
abide v. 1 stand, endure, suffer, submit to, bear, put up with,
accept, tolerate, brook: How can you abide the company of such
a fool? 2 live, stay, reside, dwell, sojourn: Local people
believe that the rain god abides in these mountains. 3 remain,
stay, continue, tarry; linger, rest: He'll abide in my care
till he can walk again. 4 abide by. consent to, agree to,
comply with, observe, acknowledge, obey, follow, submit to,
conform to, keep to, remain true to, stand firm by, adhere to,
hold to: You must abide by the rules of the club if you become
abiding adj. lasting, permanent, constant, steadfast, everlasting,
unending, eternal, enduring, indestructible; unchanging, fast,
hard and fast, fixed, firm, immutable, changeless: Her abiding
love is a solace to him.
ability n. 1 adeptness, aptitude, facility, faculty, capacity, power,
knack, proficiency, Colloq know-how: I have perceived your
ability to manipulate situations to your own advantage. 2
talent, skill, cleverness, capacity, wit, gift, genius,
capability: He has such extraordinary ability it is difficult
to see why he doesn't accomplish more. 3 abilities. faculty,
faculties, talent(s), gift(s), skill(s): Her abilities have
made her one of the finest cellists of our time.
ablaze adj. 1 aflame, afire, burning, on fire, alight, blazing: By
the time the firemen arrived, the roof was ablaze. 2 lit up,
alight, brilliantly or brightly-lit, sparkling, gleaming, aglow,
bright, brilliant, luminous, illuminated, radiant: The ballroom
was ablaze with the light from thousands of candles.
able adj. 1 capable, qualified, competent, proficient: I feel quite
able to take care of myself, thank you. He is an able tennis
player. 2 talented, clever, skilled, masterful, masterly; adept,
skilful, gifted, superior, expert, accomplished: There is no
doubt that Wellington was a very able general.
abnormal adj. 1 deviant, deviating, irregular, unusual, unconventional,
aberrant, Psych jargon exceptional: The wing of a bat is an
abnormal structure. 2 peculiar, unusual, odd, strange, queer,
freakish, unnatural, extraordinary, weird, eccentric, bizarre,
anomalous, aberrant, perverse, deviant, irregular, Colloq
offbeat, Slang oddball, kinky, weirdo: They certainly make the
contestants on that TV show do some very abnormal things.
n. 1 irregularity, unconformity, unusualness, singularity,
eccentricity, unconventionality, uncommonness, deviation,
aberration, idiosyncrasy: The desire in a man to wear women's
clothing is viewed as an abnormality. 2 distortion, anomaly,
malformation, deformity: The child was born with an abnormality
of the right foot.
abode n. residence, dwelling, dwelling-place, house, home, domicile,
habitation, quarters, lodging, accommodation Military billet;
Colloq Brit digs, diggings: He was described as being of no
abolish v. eliminate, end, put an end to, terminate, destroy,
annihilate, annul, void, make void, demolish, do away with,
nullify, repeal, cancel, obliterate, liquidate, destroy, stamp
out, quash, extinguish, erase, delete, expunge; eradicate,
extirpate, deracinate, uproot: The best way to abolish folly is
to spread wisdom. Prohibition in the US was abolished in 1933.
abolition n. elimination, end, termination, annulment, nullification,
repudiation, cancellation; destruction, annihilation: 1837
marks the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.
adj. 1 offensive, repugnant, repulsive, vile, monstrous,
loathsome, odious, execrable, detestable, despicable, base,
disgusting, nauseous, nauseating, foul, abhorrent, horrid,
deplorable: He was accused of crimes too abominable to detail
in open court. 2 terrible, unpleasant, disagreeable; awful,
distasteful, in bad taste, horrible, frightful , Colloq Brit
beastly: No one wants to go out in this abominable weather. The
d‚cor in this hotel is simply abominable.
n. native, indigene, autochthon; Colloq Australian Abo,
Offensive Australian aborigine , Slang Australian contemptuous
boong: Many aboriginals are not assimilated to modern life.
abound v. 1 prevail, thrive, flourish: Disease abounds among the
undernourished peoples of Africa. 2 abound in. be crowded or
packed or jammed with, be abundant or rich in, proliferate (in
or with): The ship abounds in conveniences. 3 abound with.
teem or swarm or throng with, be filled or infested with,
overflow with: The ship abounds with rats.
about adv. 1 round, around, close by, nearby, on every side: Gather
about, for I have something to tell you. 2 approximately,
around, nearly, roughly, more or less, almost, close to or upon;
give or take: In 1685 London had been, for about half a
century, the most populous capital in Europe. Light travels at
about 186,000 miles a second. 3 to and fro, up and down, back
and forth, here and there, hither and yon, far and wide, hither
and thither: He wandered about aimlessly for several days. 4
here and there, far and wide, hither and yon, hither and
thither, helter-skelter: My papers were scattered about as if a
tornado had struck. 5 around, prevalent, in the air: There is
a lot of flu about this year. 6 approximately, nearly, close
to, not far from, almost, just about, around: It is about time
you telephoned your mother.
--prep. 7 around, surrounding, encircling: There is a railing
about the monument. 8 round, around, all round, everywhere, in
all directions, all over: Please look about the room for my
hat. 9 near, nearby, adjacent to, beside, alongside, close by,
nigh: There were a lot of trees about the garden. 10 with, at
hand, Colloq on: I am sorry, but I haven't my cheque-book about
me. 11 touching, concerning, connected with, involving, in or
with reference to, in or with regard to, regarding, in the
matter of, with respect to, respecting, relative to, relating
to, apropos, Formal anent: He wrote a book about the Spanish
n. reversal, reverse, turn-about, turn-round, U-turn,
volte-face, US about-face: There has been a complete about-turn
in the policy concerning immigration.
above adv. 1 overhead, on high, aloft, in the sky or heavens: Far
above, the clouds scudded swiftly by. 2 upstairs: They lived
on the ground floor and the landlady lived above.
--prep. 3 on, on (the) top of, upon, over, atop: The plume of
smoke remained fixed above the volcano. He hasn't got a roof
above his head for the night. 4 over, more than, exceeding, in
excess of, beyond, greater than, surpassing: The operations are
controlled by gears, of which there are above fifty in number. 5
insusceptible to, unaffected by, out of reach of, not
susceptible or vulnerable or exposed to, superior to: The judge
is above bribery or other influence. 6 above all. before or
beyond everything, first of all, chiefly, primarily, in the
first place, mainly, essentially, at bottom: Above all, serve
God and country before you serve yourself.
adv. 1 openly, candidly, freely, publicly, frankly,
straightforwardly, plainly, for all to see, out in the open, in
the open: Donald has always dealt completely above-board with
--adj. 2 open, candid, frank, straight, direct, honourable,
straightforward, forthright, guileless, undeceiving, artless,
ingenuous, undeceptive, undeceitful, straight from the shoulder;
honest, genuine: The company's dealings have always been
abridge v. shorten, reduce, condense, cut, abbreviate, cut back, trim,
curtail, pare down, contract, compress, digest, summarize,
epitomize, abstract, US synopsize: We abridged the original
edition of 1000 pages to 480 pages.
n. 1 shortening, reduction, abbreviation, condensation,
contraction, truncation, trimming: The abridgement took ten
years. 2 curtailment: We protested against the abridgement of
our right to picket. 3 digest, condensation, epitome,
compendium, concise edition or version, cut edition or version;
synopsis, abstract, summary, pr‚cis, outline, r‚sum‚: The
one-volume abridgement of the dictionary is easier to use.
abroad adv. 1 overseas, in foreign lands or parts: We were abroad on
assignment for a few years. 2 broadly, widely, at large, near
and far, far and wide, everywhere, extensively, publicly: Don't
spread rumours abroad. 3 outside, out of doors, away, out and
about: There are few people abroad this early in the morning.
abrupt adj. 1 sudden, hasty, quick, precipitate, snappy; unexpected,
unannounced, unplanned, unforeseen, unanticipated: The
general's abrupt departure has been linked with the
disappearance of a great deal of money. 2 precipitous, steep,
sheer, sudden: From the ridge there is an abrupt drop of 1000
metres into the valley. 3 curt, short, brusque, blunt, bluff,
gruff, uncivil, rude, discourteous, impolite, unceremonious,
snappish: My bank manager gave me an abrupt reply when I asked
for an increased overdraft.
absence n. 1 non-attendance, non-presence, non-appearance, truancy:
This is Jason's third absence from class in a week. She runs the
place in my absence. 2 lack, want, deficiency, non-existence;
insufficiency, scantiness, paucity, scarcity, dearth: In the
absence of new evidence, the matter must remain undecided.
absent adj. 1 away, out, off, elsewhere, not present, missing, gone:
Twenty people attended, but Harold was conspicuously absent. 2
missing, lacking, wanting, deficient: All warmth is absent from
--v. 3 absent (oneself) from. keep or stay away from; withdraw
or retire from: He absented himself from the court during his
father's trial for murder. Absent thee from felicity awhile.
adj. preoccupied, inattentive, unattentive, absorbed,
unmindful, absent, off, withdrawn, unheeding, heedless,
unheedful, inadvertent; distracted, abstracted, day-dreaming, in
a brown study, in the clouds, unaware, oblivious, in a trance,
distrait(e), mooning, (far) away (somewhere), star-gazing,
wool-gathering: The absent-minded professor delivered his
lecture to an empty lecture hall.
absolute adj. 1 perfect, complete, total, finished, thorough,
through-and-through, consummate, flawless, faultless,
unadulterated, pure, unmixed, unalloyed, undiluted; rank: Alan
behaved like an absolute gentleman. 2 complete, outright,
downright, genuine, real, pure, out-and-out, transparent,
unmitigated, categorical, unqualified, unconditional, utter,
veritable, unconditioned: Peace is an absolute requirement for
prosperity. 3 unrestricted, unrestrained, unconstrained,
unlimited, unmitigated, arbitrary, despotic, dictatorial,
totalitarian, supreme, almighty, arbitrary, autocratic,
tyrannical: The days of absolute monarchy are numbered. 4
positive, certain, sure, unambiguous, unquestionable,
authoritative, verifiable, uncompromised: Few intelligent
people would claim absolute knowledge of anything.
adv. 1 unqualifiedly, unconditionally, unreservedly,
unexceptionally, unequivocally, unquestionably, positively,
definitely, really, genuinely, decidedly, surely, truly,
certainly, categorically: She is absolutely the best dancer I
have ever seen. I absolutely refuse to go. 2 totally, utterly,
completely, entirely, fully, quite, altogether, wholly: It is
absolutely necessary that you undergo surgery.
--interj. 3 certainly, assuredly, positively, definitely, of
course, naturally, indubitably, yes, to be sure: 'Are you sure
you want to go?' 'Absolutely!'
absorbed adj. engrossed, lost, wrapped up, occupied, engaged, immersed,
buried, preoccupied, concentrating, rapt: He was absorbed in
absorbing adj. engrossing, engaging, riveting, captivating, fascinating,
spellbinding, gripping: Maria was watching an absorbing
thriller on television.
abstract adj. 1 theoretical, unapplied, notional, ideational,
conceptual, metaphysical, unpractical, intellectual: It is
difficult to capture abstract ideas on paper. 2
non-representational, symbolic, non-realistic: Museums began
buying abstract art in the 1930s.
--n. 3 summary, epitome, synopsis, essence, digest,
condensation, survey, conspectus, extract; outline, pr‚cis,
r‚sum‚: By reading the abstracts, you can determine which
articles merit reading in full.
--v. 4 epitomize, abbreviate, digest, summarize, condense,
shorten, abridge, cut, cut down, US synopsize: The service
abstracts articles that appear in scientific journals.
absurd adj. 1 ridiculous, silly, nonsensical, senseless, outlandish,
preposterous, farcical, mad, stupid, foolish, idiotic, imbecilic
or imbecile, moronic, childish; laughable, ludicrous, risible,
inane, Colloq crazy, nutty, nuts , Chiefly Brit daft: The
notion that the moon is made of green cheese is absurd. 2
asinine, senseless, illogical, irrational, unreasoned,
unreasonable, incongruous, paradoxical, unsound, meaningless:
Today, most people view it absurd to believe that the earth is
absurdity n. 1 folly, silliness, ridiculousness, foolishness,
ludicrousness, nonsense, senselessness, meaninglessness,
illogicality, irrationality, unreasonableness, incongruity,
stupidity, Colloq craziness, nuttiness , Chiefly Brit daftness:
Many comics rely on absurdity rather than cleverness for humour.
2 paradox, self-contradiction, error, fallacy: No one can abide
the man's pretentiousness and other absurdities.
abundance n. overflow, superfluity, over-abundance, superabundance,
excess, surplus, oversupply, glut, satiety, over-sufficiency;
plenty, plenteousness, plentifulness, plenitude, copiousness,
profusion, Formal nimiety: The days when there was an abundance
of fresh drinking-water have come to an end.
abundant adj. 1 plentiful, overflowing, ample, copious, over-sufficient,
superabundant, plenteous, profuse, inexhaustible, replete,
bountiful, bounteous: The abundant rainfall fills the
reservoirs every day. 2 abounding (in), full (of), rich (in),
luxuriant, lavish: We know a stream that is abundant in trout.
The abundant vegetation of the rain forest is an ecological
abuse v. 1 misuse, misemploy, pervert, misapply, exploit: The
officer abused his authority in ordering the forced march at
midnight. 2 maltreat, ill-use, injure, wrong, hurt, mistreat,
manhandle, ill-treat; damage: I cannot stand by and watch that
drunk abuse his wife and family. 3 malign, revile, censure,
upbraid, assail, objurgate, lambaste, berate, rebuke, scold,
reproach, disparage, traduce, defame, insult, swear at, curse
(at), calumniate, slander, libel, decry, deprecate, vilify, rail
against: In the report the director was abused in the most
--n. 4 misuse, misusage, misemployment, perversion,
misapplication, misappropriation, Rhetoric catachresis: Beware
of imitating his abuse of the language. 5 addiction,
dependence: They are being treated for drug abuse at the local
clinic. 6 maltreatment, ill-treatment, ill use, fault: It
seemed perfectly natural that he should defend abuses by which
he profited. 7 self-abuse, self-pollution, masturbation,
violation, defilement; corruption: The schoolmasters
consistently lectured the boys against any abuse of themselves.
8 revilement, reviling, execration, vituperation, malediction,
imprecation, tongue-lashing, calumny, calumniation,
vilification, obloquy, scurrility, invective, maligning,
upbraiding, berating, objurgation, scolding; billingsgate: The
two parties, after exchanging a good deal of abuse, came to
abused adj. 1 misused: Permission to use the office copying machine
has become an abused privilege. 2 maltreated, ill-treated,
mistreated, hurt: It was explained that he had been an abused
abusive adj. 1 insulting, scurrilous, vituperative, calumnious,
offensive, slanderous, libellous, defamatory, censorious,
opprobrious, disparaging, deprecatory, depreciatory, derogatory,
derisory, derisive, reviling, vilifying, vituperative,
reproachful; profane; rude, filthy, dirty, foul, vulgar,
obscene, smutty, vile, thersitical: The Crown refuses to
tolerate abusive satire directed at the king. If I hear another
word of abusive language out of you, I'll wash out your mouth
with soap! 2 perverted, misapplied, improper, wrong, incorrect;
exploitive, exploitative, exploitatory; brutal, cruel,
injurious, hurtful, harmful, destructive: Despite the abusive
treatment of wives, married women commanded much respect. 3
corrupt, venal, dishonest, crooked: The politicians exercised
abusive power over the townspeople.
abysmal adj. 1 awful, appalling, dreadful, terrible, profound: The
government of Nero presented a spectacle of abysmal degradation.
2 abyssal, bottomless, profound, unfathomable, unfathomed: The
abysmal depths have been plumbed in the diving bell.
abyss n. deep, abysm, bottomless gulf, yawning chasm, gaping void,
unfathomable cavity, impenetrable depth(s): The path led
straight down into the abyss. In the scandal the MP was plunged
into the abyss of disgrace.
academic adj. 1 scholastic, collegiate; scholarly, learned, lettered,
erudite: Green's academic background qualifies him for the
professorship. The university began publishing academic
journals in the 19th century. 2 theoretical, hypothetical,
conjectural, speculative, abstract; ivory-tower, visionary,
idealistic; impractical, unrealistic, unpractical: The car
doesn't run, so the question of miles per gallon is purely
accent n. 1 emphasis, stress, force, prominence, accentuation;
intensity, inflection; cadence, beat: The accent is on the
second syllable in 'reward'. 2 diacritic, diacritical mark,
mark, accent mark: There is an acute accent on the 'e' in
'clich‚'. 3 pronunciation, articulation, intonation, speech
pattern, inflection: Even after forty years in the country, he
still speaks English with an Italian accent.
--v. 4 accentuate, emphasize, stress, give prominence to, mark,
underline, underscore, distinguish, highlight, set off or apart:
In her speech, the psychologist accented the 'id' in 'idiot'.
Why must he always accent the negative aspect of everything?
accept v. 1 receive, take, allow, permit: Sorry, but we cannot accept
any more applications. 2 accede (to), agree (to), assent (to),
consent (to), acknowledge, admit, allow, recognize: We accept
your request for a hearing. 3 assume, undertake, take on or up,
agree to bear: I'll accept the responsibility for replying. 4
reconcile oneself to, suffer, undergo, experience, stand,
withstand, stomach, endure, bear, resign oneself to, brook,
allow, tolerate, take: I think I have accepted enough criticism
for one day.
adj. 1 satisfactory, adequate, tolerable, all right,
sufficient, admissible, passable, Colloq OK, okay: The bread
and meat were acceptable, but the beer was awful. 2 agreeable,
pleasing, welcome, satisfying, delightful, pleasant, pleasing:
Most people find her compliments quite acceptable.
adj. approachable, open, available, attainable, obtainable,
reachable, ready, at hand, Colloq get-at-able: The president is
always accessible to those seeking help. The mechanism is
accessible if the cover is removed.
accessory n. 1 extra, addition, adjunct, attachment, component, frill,
Slang bells and whistles, doodah, US and Canadian doodad: My
food processor has more accessories than I could ever need. 2
accessary, accomplice, helper, assistant, confederate,
colleague, abettor, aide, collaborator, co-conspirator,
conspirator, fellow-criminal, associate or partner in crime:
Although he did not rob the bank, he drove the getaway car,
which legally makes him an accessory before the fact. A seller
of stolen goods is an accessory after the fact.
--adj. 3 extra, subordinate, auxiliary, additional, ancillary,
supplemental, supplementary, secondary, adventitious, Formal
adscititious: For no apparent reason, the salamander grew an
accessory limb near its hind leg.
accident n. 1 mishap, misfortune, mischance, misadventure, blunder,
mistake; casualty, disaster, catastrophe, calamity: A high
percentage of the road accidents were caused by drunken drivers.
2 chance, fortune, luck, fortuity, fluke; serendipity: I came
across the gold ring by accident, when cleaning out a disused
cupboard. 3 non-essential, accessory or accessary, extra,
addition: Melancholy is an almost inseparable accident of old
v. 1 fit, suit, adapt, adjust, modify; customize: I shall do
my best to accommodate the equipment to your needs. 2
harmonize, make consistent, reconcile, adapt: It is uncertain
whether his version of the incident can be accommodated to ours.
3 equip, supply, provide, furnish: Can you accommodate me with
five pounds till tomorrow? 4 put up, house, lodge, shelter,
quarter, Military billet: The innkeeper is unable to
accommodate us tonight. 5 suit, oblige, convenience, serve: I
was willing to accommodate you by selling your old car.
adj. 1 obliging, cooperative, helpful, hospitable; considerate,
conciliatory, easy to deal with, pliant, yielding, compliant,
polite, friendly, complaisant, kind, kindly: The lady at the
complaints desk in the store was most accommodating. 2 pliable,
accessible, corruptible, subornable, get-at-able; bribable: If
you want to get off scot-free, we'll have to find an
n. 1 adaptation, adjustment, modification, change, alteration,
conformation, conformity: Her skilful accommodation to her
boss's demands kept the peace in the office. 2 settlement,
treaty, compromise: Negotiations were now opened for an
accommodation between the belligerents. 3 convenience, favour:
Would you take the mail to the post office as an accommodation
to me? 4 lodging(s), room(s), quarters, shelter, housing;
facility, premises, Brit digs, US accommodations: We were able
to arrange for accommodation at the hotel. Have you seen our new
office accommodation? 5 loan, (financial) assistance or aid;
grant, grant-in-aid: The man was able to obtain an
accommodation from his brother-in-law.
accompany v. 1 convoy, escort, chaperon or chaperone, go along with;
attend; usher, squire: Allow me to accompany you to your taxi.
2 go (along) with, come with, be associated with, belong with,
go together with, be linked with: The roast was accompanied by
a bottle of claret.
n. accessory or accessary, partner in crime, confederate, ally,
associate, colleague, fellow, henchman, collaborator,
conspirator, co-conspirator, abettor, assistant,
fellow-criminal, Colloq US cohort: The police arrested the
safe-cracker and three accomplices within hours of the robbery.
v. fulfil, perform, achieve, carry out, execute, carry off, do,
complete, carry through, finish, effect, bring to an end,
conclude, wind up, end; attain, reach, gain; Colloq bring off,
knock off, polish off, Slang pull off, US swing, hack, cut: I
don't know how she accomplished it, but she sailed around the
world single-handed. Has he accomplished his goal yet?
adj. consummate, perfect, expert, adept, skilful, proficient,
practised, gifted, talented, skilled, professional: Did you
know that she is also an accomplished flautist?
n. 1 fulfilment, consummation, completion, realization,
attainment, achievement, conclusion, culmination, realization:
After the accomplishment of the task they were all taken out to
celebrate. 2 coup, feat, exploit, triumph, tour de force: Among
her many accomplishments was climbing Mount Everest. 3 skill,
skilfulness, talent, gift, ability: Playing the violin is
another of his accomplishments.
accord v. 1 agree, harmonize, concur, be at one, correspond, agree, be
in harmony, be consistent, go (together), coincide, conform:
His principles and practices do not accord with one another.
--n. 2 agreement, unanimity, concord, reconciliation, harmony,
mutual understanding, conformity, accordance, rapport, concert:
The countries are in accord on a beneficial trade balance. 3
agreement, treaty, pact, contract: The accords will be signed
at the summit meeting in May. 4 agreement, harmony, congruence;
correspondence: The colours of the curtains are in perfect
accord with those of the carpet.
adv. 1 hence, therefore, consequently, thus, in consequence
(where)of, (and) so: Smoking was forbidden; accordingly, we put
out our cigars. 2 suitably, in conformity, in compliance;
conformably, appropriately, compliantly: Dinner-jackets were
required, and the men dressed accordingly.
adv.phr. 1 on the authority of, consistent with, in conformity
or agreement with, as said or believed or maintained etc. by:
We are going to play this game according to Hoyle. According to
his lawyer, he should never have been acquitted. 2 conformable
to, consistent with, in conformity with, commensurate with: The
queen greeted them in order, according to rank.
account v. 1 account for. explain, give a reason for, give or render a
reckoning for, answer for, justify, reckon for: The treasurer
has been able to account for every penny of expense. His desire
to conceal his background accounts for his secrecy.
--n. 2 calculation, accounting, reckoning, computation,
(financial) statement; enumeration: The accounts show that the
company has ample funds in reserve. Williams hasn't submitted
his expense account for the trip. 3 interest, profit, advantage,
benefit, favour; sake: Nigel turned his convalescence to good
account by writing a best seller. Don't read the book on my
account. 4 explanation, statement, description, report, recital,
narrative, history, chronicle: The defendant gave a credible
account of his whereabouts at the time of the crime. 5
consideration, use, worth, importance, consequence, note, value,
merit; standing, significance, estimation, esteem: The
committee decided that length of service is of some account in
determining retirement pensions. 6 story, narration, narrative,
report, tale, relation, description: Alice's account of the
rabbit wearing a waistcoat is unbelievable. 7 take into account
or take account of. notice, take note of, consider, take into
consideration, allow for: In passing sentence, the judge took
into account the child's poverty and the fact that it was
n. answerability, responsibility, liability, culpability,
accountableness: In a democracy, there can be no reducing the
accountability of the government to the citizens.
adj. answerable, responsible, liable, obliged, obligated: I am
accountable to no man, but the greatest man in England is
accountable to me.
v. collect, gather, amass, mass, pile or heap up, aggregate,
cumulate; assemble, store, stock, hoard, stockpile, put or lay
away: Overnight, the snow accumulated in six-foot drifts about
the house. Ill fares the land, to hast'ning ills a prey,/Where
wealth accumulates, and men decay.
n. 1 collecting, amassing, gathering, piling or aggregation,
heaping up: One effect of the strike was the accumulation of
rubbish in the streets. 2 growth, increase, build-up: The
accumulation of wealth has never proved a valid purpose in life.
3 heap, pile, mass, collection, hoard, store, stockpile, stock,
aggregation; assemblage: Our gardener made sure that there was
an ample accumulation of compost.
accuracy n. exactness, correctness, Loosely precision, preciseness: The
translation from the Greek has been accomplished with great
accuracy. Rifling the inside of the barrel of a firearm
increases its accuracy.
accurate adj. 1 exact, correct, error-free, precise: She gave an
accurate description of the events. There is a nice distinction
between 'accurate' and 'precise'. 2 careful, meticulous, nice,
with an eye to or for detail, scrupulous, conscientious: Marvin
is a very accurate typist. 3 unerring, on target, Colloq on the
mark, spot on (target): This rifle is accurate if you allow for
n. charge, allegation, indictment, charge, citation,
arraignment, complaint; imputation, incrimination, denunciation,
impeachment: The politician denied the accusation of having
accepted a bribe.
accuse v. 1 accuse (of or with). blame, censure, hold responsible
(for), charge (with), denounce (for), point the finger (at),
cite, call to account: She accused the Knave of Hearts of
lying. 2 accuse (of or with). charge, indict, impeach, arraign,
incriminate; attribute, impute: The prisoner is accused of
assault, criminal damage, and disorderly conduct.
accustom v. familiarize, acquaint, habituate, train, season; acclimatize
or acclimate: Start off by wearing your contact lenses for an
hour at a time in order to accustom your eyes to them. She soon
accustomed herself to the new surroundings.
adj. 1 customary, habitual, usual, traditional, normal,
regular, set, routine, ordinary, familiar, wonted, common,
habituated: The old man took his accustomed place near the
fire. 2 used: I've grown accustomed to her face.
ache v. 1 pain, hurt, smart, throb, pound; sting: My jaw has been
aching since that tooth was extracted. 2 yearn, long, hunger,
hanker, pine; crave: A hostage for a year, he was aching to see
his wife and children.
--n. 3 pain, pang, throbbing, pounding, smarting, soreness: I
have had this ache in my back, Doctor, and I can't stand up
straight. 4 pang, pain; distress; longing: There's been an ache
in my heart, my darling, ever since you went away.
achieve v. 1 accomplish, carry out, execute, succeed in, complete,
fulfil, bring off or about; realize, effect: When the fund
reaches its goal, we shall have achieved our purpose. 2
accomplish, attain, reach, gain, get, acquire, win, obtain: She
achieved her ends by cheating and conniving.
n. 1 attainment, accomplishment, acquisition, acquirement: As
he was still in his thirties, the achievement of great fame
still lay ahead for him. 2 accomplishment, attainment, feat,
deed, exploit, victory: The winning of the Nobel prize was her
greatest achievement. 3 fulfilment, realization,
accomplishment, attainment, completion: What virtue lies more
in achievement than in the desire for it?
v. 1 admit, confess, allow, concede, own, recognize, accept,
accede, acquiesce; own up to: We acknowledge that we might have
been mistaken. She finally acknowledged my presence by looking
up. 2 answer, reply to, respond to, react to: She couldn't
possibly acknowledge personally every letter she receives.
n. 1 acknowledging, confessing, admitting, owning, admission,
confession, avowal, affirmation: His acknowledgement of his
involvement in the crime saved the police a great deal of time.
2 approval, acceptance, recognition, allowance: By
acknowledgement of the parliament, the king was the commander of
the army and navy. 3 reply, response, answer, recognition: Our
acknowledgement will be in tomorrow's post.
acme n. peak, apex, top, summit, pinnacle, zenith; climax,
culmination: Roger has reached the acme of perfection as a
acquaint n. acquaint with. familiarize with, inform of or about, make
aware of, apprise of, advise of: The management requires
employees to acquaint themselves with the safety rules.
n. 1 familiarity, knowledge, acquaintanceship, understanding,
awareness; experience: His acquaintance with the works of
Coleridge is sparse at best. 2 associate, fellow, colleague:
She's not a friend of mine, only an acquaintance.
adj. 1 known to each other or one another, familiar with each
other or one another, on speaking terms: I have known Rory for
years, but his wife and I are not acquainted. 2 acquainted
with. familiar with, known to, aware of, informed of,
knowledgeable of, conversant with: I have studied trigonometry,
but I am not acquainted with calculus.
acquire v. get, obtain, gain, win, earn, procure, secure, come by or
into; receive, come into possession of; buy, purchase: He
acquired great wealth by marrying rich old dying widows.
n. 1 obtaining, getting, acquiring, acquirement, gain,
procurement: The acquisition of property entails many
obligations. 2 possession(s), property, purchase; object: This
first edition is a recent acquisition.
act n. 1 deed, action, undertaking, operation, step, move; feat,
exploit; accomplishment, achievement: The first act of the new
commission was to ban smoking in public places. 2 performance,
show, bit, skit, stand, routine, turn, sketch, Colloq thing,
Slang US shtick: Stand-up comedians do their acts in
nightclubs. 3 performance, pretence, posture, stance, feigning,
front, fake, dissimulation, show, deception, hoax, affectation:
She didn't mean what she said - it was just an act. 4 bill,
law, decree, edict, statute, order, ordinance, command, mandate,
resolution, measure, enactment: Are the opening hours of public
houses in England regulated by act of Parliament?
--v. 5 behave (oneself), carry on, deport oneself, comport
oneself, conduct oneself: I don't know how she'll act when
we're in public. 6 perform, play, do: She is acting in the
West End. 7 portray, represent, impersonate, act out,
personify, take or play the part or role of, personate:
Reginald acts the fool whenever he has had too much to drink. 8
feign, pretend, counterfeit, fake, dissemble, make believe,
sham, simulate, dissimulate, posture: You may think him
sincere, but I know he is just acting. 9 take effect, work,
operate, function, perform: This drug will act only if taken
action n. 1 activity, performance, movement, motion, energy,
liveliness, vim, vigour, spirit, vitality; enterprise,
initiative: Being a man of action, he hates just sitting and
reading. 2 influence, effect, power, force, strength: The
action of the moon's gravitational pull causes tides on earth.
3 deed, act, undertaking, exertion, exercise: The very action
of breathing caused me pain. 4 remedy, proceeding, process: If
they don't stop beating their dog we shall take action against
them. 5 fighting, combat: We saw action in the Far East. 6
fight, battle, engagement, encounter, clash, fray, sortie,
skirmish, affray: How many men were lost in last night's
action? 7 effect, effectiveness, activity, function,
performance, functioning, reaction: What is the action of
steroids on the lymph system? 8 actions. behaviour, conduct,
deportment, demeanour, ways, manner, manners: She must be held
responsible for her actions.
activate v. move, actuate, set in motion, get started, energize, get or
set going, start, initiate, switch or turn on, trigger;
motivate, rouse, arouse, prompt, stimulate, stir, mobilize,
animate, impel, galvanize, Colloq US light a fire under: The
sensor in the pavement activates the traffic signal. Her
enthusiasm activated him to go into business for himself.
active adj. 1 strenuous, vigorous, full, dynamic, physical; energetic,
lively, busy, brisk, bustling, occupied, on the move, Colloq on
the go, running: She is healthier for having led a very active
life. He always seems to be active. 2 acting, effective,
efficacious, effectual, working, functioning, operative, potent,
influential; powerful: The active ingredient in her medicine is
an antihistamine. 3 energetic, lively, hyperactive, animated,
spry, nimble, quick, agile, sprightly: There is no keeping up
with an active child.
activity n. 1 action, movement, motion, vigour, vim, energy, liveliness,
bustle: Last week there wasn't much activity in the stock
market. 2 pursuit, occupation, vocation, work, function,
operation, job, labour, endeavour, enterprise, project,
undertaking, venture, interest: What sort of business activity
are you engaged in?
actual adj. 1 existing, existent, real, genuine, factual, true,
authentic, verified, verifiable, true to life, manifest,
realized, realistic, Colloq solid: The actual cost of the
project turned out to be double the estimate. 2 present,
current, existent, real, genuine, physical, tangible: No
telescope has detected any actual volcanic eruption on the moon.
actually adv. really, in reality, in fact, in actuality, in point of
fact, in truth, absolutely, as a matter of fact, indeed, truly,
literally: The interest rates actually charged by banks may
vary from those quoted publicly.
acute adj. 1 sharp, pointed, narrow: The two roads meet at an acute
angle. 2 severe, intense, critical, crucial, dangerous, grave,
serious, severe: This is the ward for patients with acute
illnesses. 3 sharp, cutting, intense, severe, violent,
penetrating, exquisite, excruciating, fierce, shooting,
stabbing, piercing, sudden: The onset of the disease is marked
by acute pains in the abdomen. 4 keen, sharp, sensitive: The
bloodhound is known for its acute sense of smell. 5 keen,
sharp-witted, shrewd, clever, ingenious, astute, sharp, canny,
incisive, discerning, perceptive, perspicacious, intelligent,
penetrating, insightful, percipient, wise, sensitive,
discriminating; alert, aware, on the qui vive: Such a
circumstance could not be lost upon so acute an observer.
adapt v. 1 suit, fit, make suitable, qualify: The structure of the
outer ear is adapted to collect and concentrate the vibrations.
2 alter, modify, change, remodel, tailor, reshape, shape,
fashion; adjust, accommodate, accustom, acclimatize or
acclimate, habituate: He adapted the play from an old French
comedy. The whale adapts itself to great changes in pressure
when it dives thousands of feet.
adaptable adj. flexible, pliable, pliant, compliant, accommodative,
tractable, malleable, ductile, versatile; alterable, changeable:
Men, in general, are not as adaptable as women.
n. 1 fitting, suiting, modifying, adjusting, conversion: In
1831 electricity was ripe for adaptation to practical purposes.
2 modification, change, adjustment, accommodation, reworking,
customization, alteration: She was responsible for the
adaptation of her short story to a television play.
add v. 1 join, unite, combine, annex: 5 + 3 denotes that 3 is to
be added to 5. 2 total, sum, sum up, combine, count up, reckon,
Brit tot (up), US tote (up): The computer can add all those
figures in a few seconds. 3 continue, go on: 'And I won't take
no for an answer', she added. 4 add to. increase, enlarge,
amplify, augment, supplement: His articles have added greatly
to his reputation as a financial analyst.
addict n. 1 (habitual) user, Slang junkie, dope-fiend, doper, head,
pot-head, acid-head, pill popper, tripper, Chiefly US hophead:
His contributions helped set up the halfway houses for addicts.
2 devotee, aficionado, fan, admirer, follower, adherent,
supporter, enthusiast, Colloq buff, hound, fiend, groupie, Slang
freak, bug, nut, teeny-bopper: She became a rock 'n' roll
addict in the '60s.
addition n. 1 adding, joining, putting together, uniting, combining:
The addition of this paragraph is uncalled for. 2 totalling,
adding up, summing-up, summation, counting up, reckoning,
totting up: You have made an error in addition. 3 addendum,
appendix, appendage, supplement, increment, augmentation,
extension: This addition contributes nothing to the manuscript.
4 extension, ell, Brit annexe, US annex, wing: We used our
lottery winnings to pay for an addition to the house.
--prep. 5 in addition to. as well as, besides, beyond, over and
above: In addition to books, the shop sold greetings cards.
---adv.phr. 6 in addition. moreover, furthermore, additionally,
besides, withal, to boot, in or into the bargain, too, also, as
well: We were compelled to exercise every morning and in
addition we went for a ten-mile run each Saturday.
address n. 1 speech, talk, discourse, oration, lecture; sermon: The
Prime Minister's address to the nation was broadcast last night.
2 location, whereabouts: She couldn't write to me because she
didn't have my address.
--v. 3 speak or talk to; deliver or give a speech to; lecture:
After the coup, the general addressed the crowd in the square.
4 greet, hail, accost, approach: She was addressing strangers
in the street to ask their views on women's rights. 5 address
oneself to. devote or direct or apply oneself to: After the
holidays, I again addressed myself to studying for examinations.
adept adj. 1 versed, proficient, skilled, well-skilled, expert,
accomplished, skilful or US skillful, adroit, dexterous or
dextrous, able, masterful, masterly, polished: She is an adept
pianist, and her husband is adept at carpentry.
--n. 2 expert, master, specialist, authority , Colloq dab hand,
old hand: He is an adept at anything that one does with one's
adequate adj. 1 sufficient, enough, ample; satisfactory, fitting, equal,
suitable: Is there language adequate to describe my feelings?
2 passable, fair, fair to middling, middling, average,
tolerable, (barely) acceptable, (barely) satisfactory, all
right, competent, not (at all) bad, so so , Colloq OK or okay,
up to snuff, not that or too bad, no great shakes: The music
was good, the band only adequate. 3 equal, suitable, suited,
fitted, up, proper, qualified, competent, good enough: Johnson
was unsure that he was adequate to the task at hand.
adjoining adj. neighbouring, contiguous (to), adjacent (to), abutting,
bordering, next (to): We have bought the adjoining house. The
land adjoining the supermarket is for sale.
adjust v. 1 set right, arrange, settle, harmonize, reconcile, resolve,
set or put to rights; arbitrate, mediate; redress, rectify,
correct, patch up: Four were named on each side to adjust their
differences. 2 change, alter, modify, regulate, set: After he
adjusted the pendulum, the clock kept good time. 3 adapt (to),
accommodate (oneself) (to), accustom (oneself) (to); get used
(to), acclimatize or acclimate (to), reconcile (oneself) (to):
If she travels a distance east or west, it takes her a few days
to adjust to the local time. Army life was very different, but I
was able to adjust quickly. 4 put in order, arrange, rearrange,
close or fasten or zip or button (up): She adjusted the
children's coats and did up their shoes.
n. 1 adjusting, altering, alteration, setting, regulating,
regulation, setting or putting right or aright or to rights,
correcting, correction, calibrating, calibration; tuning: The
adjustment of the clocks is my responsibility. 2 arrangement,
balance, coordination, order, alignment, harmony, harmonization:
The inspector requires everything to be in perfect adjustment.
v. 1 administrate, manage, control, run, direct, conduct,
superintend, supervise, oversee: The president said that she
had administered the department well during her year as its
head. 2 execute, carry on, carry out; apply, implement,
prosecute: It is the responsibility of the police to administer
the law, not to make it. 3 dispense, supply, furnish, give
(out), provide (with), mete out, distribute, deliver, deal, hand
out: Doctors sometimes administer drugs that have side effects.
n. 1 management, direction, conduct, supervision, oversight,
superintendence, regulation, charge: Lord Hampden was given
administration of her affairs till she came of age. 2 authority,
management, US government: The current administration is in
favour of a better health programme. 3 dispensation,
administering, supplying, furnishing, provision, delivery,
distribution, application: The judge is charged with the
administration of justice.
admirable adj. wonderful, awe-inspiring, excellent, estimable, splendid,
marvellous, superior, first-rate, first-class, of the first
water, great, fine, Colloq top-drawer, ripsnorting, A-1, Brit
smashing, magic: His performance in Harper's new play is
n. wonder, awe; delight, pleasure; esteem, regard,
appreciation, respect: She is lost in admiration of her
mother's latest painting. Randolph was presented with a gold
medal as a token of his colleagues' admiration.
admire v. 1 wonder or marvel (at), delight in: Typically, he most
admires people who are wealthy. 2 esteem, regard or respect
highly, look up to, revere, idolize, venerate, worship: The
queen is one of the most admired people in the country.
admirer n. 1 devotee, aficionado, fan, supporter, enthusiast, adherent,
follower Slang groupie: Rock stars always seem to be
accompanied by a retinue of admirers. 2 beau, suitor; lover,
sweetheart, darling: Scarlett was always surrounded by many
admission n. 1 access, admittance, entr‚e, entry: The special card gives
me admission to the rare book room of the library. 2 reception,
acceptance, appointment, institution, induction, installation,
investiture: The committee has at last approved the admission
of women into the society. 3 acknowledging, acknowledgement or
acknowledgment, allowing, allowance, admitting, admittance,
conceding, concession: The court refuses to consider the
admission of testimony taken under duress. 4 acknowledgement,
confession, concession, profession, declaration, disclosure,
affirmation, concession, divulgence or divulgement, revelation:
The police were able to extract an admission of guilt from the
suspect. 5 ticket, (entry or entrance) fee, tariff: Admission
is free for senior citizens.
admit v. 1 let in, allow to enter, take or allow in; accept, receive:
I opened the window to admit some air. The harbour is too small
to admit even one more ship. 2 allow, permit, grant, brook,
tolerate: The governor will admit no delay in the execution of
the sentence, and the prisoner will be hanged at dawn. 3 accept,
concede, acquiesce, allow, grant, accept, recognize, take
cognizance of: Descartes' principle admitted nothing but what
his own consciousness obliged him to admit. 4 confess, own,
concede, divulge, reveal, acknowledge, declare: She readily
admitted to having incited the riot.
n. leave or permission to enter, entry, entering, entrance,
access, entr‚e: Admittance to the club is restricted to
n. 1 teenager, youth, juvenile, minor, stripling, youngster, US
teen, Colloq kid; Slang teeny-bopper: A group of adolescents
volunteered to work at the home for the elderly.
--adj. 2 teenaged, young, youthful, maturing, pubescent;
immature, puerile, juvenile: Adolescent growth is often
dramatic, a gain of two inches in height being not unusual.
adopt v. 1 take (in), accept, take or accept as one's own: Carol and
her husband have adopted two children. 2 take, take up or on or
over, embrace, espouse; arrogate, appropriate: All Hugh's ideas
are adopted from others - he's never had one of his own.
adorable adj. lovable, beloved, loved, darling, sweet, dear; delightful,
appealing, attractive, charming, captivating, fetching: To look
at him now, it is hard to imagine what an adorable child he once
adore v. 1 esteem, honour, respect, admire; idolize, dote on: An
entire generation adored the Beatles. 2 worship, venerate,
reverence, revere, exalt; hallow: O! Come let us adore him -
Christ, the Lord! 3 love, be in love with, cherish, fancy,
revere, adulate, Colloq have a crush on, carry the or a torch
for: Katie just adores the captain of the football team at
adult adj. 1 mature, grown (up), full-grown, matured, of age: Now
that you are adult, you come into a large inheritance.
--n. 2 grown-up: Tiger cubs are cute, but the adults are very
v. falsify, corrupt, alloy, debase, water (down), weaken,
dilute, bastardize, contaminate, pollute, taint, Colloq doctor;
Slang US cut: Adulterated rape seed oil was found to have
caused the deaths of more than 600 people.
advance v. 1 move or put or push or go forward; approach: Man has
advanced the frontier of physical science. The battalion
advanced towards the fort with guns blazing. 2 further, promote,
forward, help, aid, abet, assist, benefit, improve; contribute
to: The terrorists' dynamiting of the school has done nothing
to advance their cause. 3 go or move forward, move (onward), go
on, proceed, get ahead: As people advance in life, they acquire
what is better than admiration - judgement. 4 hasten,
accelerate, speed: We have advanced the date of our departure
from December to October. 5 move up, promote: In less than a
year, Mrs Leland has been advanced from supervisor to manager of
the production department. 6 prepay, lend: Could you advance me
some money till pay-day?
--n. 7 progress, development, progress, forward movement;
improvement, betterment; headway: Who has done more for the
advance of knowledge? 8 rise, increase, appreciation: Any
advance in prices at this time would reduce our sales. 9
prepayment, deposit; loan: I cannot understand why George is
always asking for an advance on his allowance. 10 in advance. a
beforehand, ahead (of time), before: You will have to make
reservations well in advance. b before, in front (of), ahead
(of), beyond: The colonel rode in advance of the cavalry.
advantage n. 1 superiority, upper hand, dominance, edge, head start;
sway; Colloq US and New Zealand drop: After a year, the
advantage was with the Royalists. His height gives him an
advantage at basketball. 2 gain, profit, benefit, interest;
asset, betterment, improvement, advancement; use, usefulness,
utility, help, service: I have information that will be of
advantage to her. 3 to advantage. better, (more) favourably,
advantageously: The dress sets off her figure to advantage.
adj. profitable, worthwhile, gainful, opportune, beneficial,
favourable, useful, valuable: The minister signed an
advantageous treaty of commerce with Russia.
adventure n. 1 exploit, escapade, danger, peril; affair, undertaking,
feat, deed; experience, incident, event, occurrence, happening,
episode: We shared many wartime adventures. 2 speculation,
hazard, chance, risk, venture, enterprise: I lost a fortune in
some of his financial adventures.
--v. 3 venture, hazard, risk, imperil, endanger, jeopardize,
threaten: Would you adventure your pension money in such a
scheme? 4 dare, wager, bet, gamble, stake, try one's luck, Brit
punt: She adventured a whole week's salary on the pools.
n. 1 adventuress, soldier of fortune, swashbuckler, hero,
heroine, daredevil; mercenary: Errol Flynn often played the
role of the adventurer. 2 adventuress, cheat, swindler,
charlatan, trickster, rogue, scoundrel, knave; cad, bounder,
philanderer, fortune-hunter, opportunist: That adventuress is
just after Nelson's money.
adj. daring, rash, brash, reckless, devil-may-care, bold,
foolhardy, hazardous, risky, daredevil, venturesome,
adventuresome, temerarious, audacious, bold, intrepid, brave,
courageous: She was adventurous enough to sail round the world
adversary n. 1 foe, enemy, opponent, antagonist, competitor, rival:
Before beginning to fight, each adversary sized up the other.
--adj. 2 opposed, hostile, antagonistic, competitive: Why does
she always take the adversary position in every argument?
n. 1 notice, handbill, blurb, broadside, bill, circular,
brochure, poster, placard, classified, commercial, spot
(announcement), US car-card, Colloq ad, plug, Brit advert: The
company has placed advertisements in all major media. 2
advertising, promotion; publicity; propaganda, ballyhoo,
hoop-la, Colloq hype, beating the drum, US puffery:
Advertisement on TV may be very effective, but it is very
advice n. 1 counsel, guidance, recommendation, suggestion, opinion,
view; warning, admonition, Technical par‘nesis: His solicitor's
advice is to say nothing. 2 information, news, intelligence,
notice, notification; communication: Advice has reached the
police that a shipment of arms will leave Dover tonight.
advisable adj. recommendable, expedient, prudent, practical, sensible,
sound, seemly, judicious, wise, intelligent, smart, proper,
politic: It would be advisable for you to keep out of sight for
a few days.
advise v. 1 counsel, guide, recommend, suggest, commend; caution,
admonish, warn; urge, encourage: I advised him to be careful
driving at night in that area. 2 tell, announce (to), inform,
apprise, register, make known (to), intimate (to), notify: We
advised her of our disapproval. The police have advised the
defendants of their rights.
adviser n. counsellor, mentor, guide, cicerone, counsel, consultant,
confidant(e): The chairman always consults his advisers before
making a decision.
advisory adj. 1 consultive, consultative, counselling, hortatory,
monitory, admonitory, Technical par‘netic(al): Our firm has
been engaged in an advisory capacity on the privatization of the
--n. 2 bulletin, notice, warning, admonition, prediction: The
Weather Office has issued a storm advisory for the weekend.
advocate v. 1 support, champion, back, endorse, uphold, recommend, stand
behind, second, favour, speak or plead or argue for or in favour
of: Don't you advocate the policies of the Party?
--n. 2 supporter, champion, backer, upholder, second, exponent,
proponent, patron, defender, apologist: She is an enthusiastic
advocate of free speech. 3 lawyer, counsel; intercessor; Brit
barrister, solicitor, US attorney, counselor-at-law: The
advocate for the opposition is not in court.
aesthete n. connoisseur, art-lover, lover of beauty, aesthetician or
esthetician, US tastemaker: It was the aesthetes who set the
standard for the art purchased by the museum.
aesthetic adj. 1 artistic, tasteful, beautiful; in good, excellent, etc.
taste: Daphne always does such aesthetic flower arrangements.
2 sensitive, artistic, refined, discriminating, cultivated:
These paintings might be realistic, but they are an aesthetic
affair n. 1 matter, topic, issue; business, concern, interest,
undertaking, activity: These are affairs of state and require
the approval of a minister. 2 concern, business, Slang US
beeswax: Who wiped the fingerprints off the weapon is none of
your affair. 3 event, business, occurrence, happening,
proceeding, incident, operation: Last night's farewell party
was truly a dull affair. 4 Also, affaire. love affair, amour,
romance, intrigue, fling, liaison, relationship, affaire
d'amour, affaire de coeur: Lady Constance is having an affair
with the gamekeeper.
affect° v. 1 attack, act upon, lay hold of, strike: Arthritis has
affected his hands and he can no longer play the piano. 2 move,
stir, impress, touch, strike; perturb, upset, trouble, agitate:
The sportsman was not affected by all the taunts and jeers. 3
influence, sway, change, transform, modify, alter: Her sudden
fame has affected her view of herself.
affectэ v. 1 assume, adopt, put on, pretend (to), feign, sham, fake,
counterfeit: Charles affects a knowledge of high finance. 2
choose, select; use, wear, adopt: He affected a striped blazer
and a boater which he wore at a jaunty angle.
n. 1 affectedness, pretentiousness, artificiality, insincerity,
posturing: She behaves with so much affectation that I never
can be sure of her real feelings. 2 pretence, simulation, false
display, show, front, pose, pretension, fa‡ade; act, airs: Some
people's charitable concern for others is mere affectation.
Using a long cigarette-holder is one of her many affectations.
affected adj. 1 unnatural, artificial, specious, stilted, stiff,
studied, awkward, non-natural, contrived, mannered: Dryden
found Shakespeare's style stiff and affected. 2 pretended,
simulated, hollow, assumed, feigned, fake, faked, false,
counterfeit, insincere, spurious, sham, bogus, Colloq phoney or
US also phony: The heir's affected grief concealed his secret
exultation. 3 pretentious, pompous, high-sounding, mincing,
niminy-piminy, Colloq la-di-da orlah-di-dah or la-de-da:
Oliver's affected airs were enough to make his classmates detest
him. 4 attacked, seized, afflicted, stricken, gripped, touched;
diseased, laid hold of: Her affected lungs never quite
recovered. 5 afflicted, moved, touched, stirred, distressed,
troubled, upset, hurt; influenced, swayed, impressed, struck,
played or worked or acted upon: Many affected theatre-goers
enjoyed her performances.
affection n. goodwill, (high) regard, liking, fondness, attachment,
loving attachment, tenderness, warmth, love: The affection she
felt towards her stepchildren was returned many times over.
adj. fond, loving, tender, caring, devoted, doting, warm: She
gave her mother an affectionate embrace and boarded the train.
adj. associated; attached, connected, combined, united, joined:
For our members' convenience, the club is now affiliated with
one that serves meals.
affinity n. 1 relationship, kinship, closeness, alliance, connection or
Brit connexion; sympathy, rapport: He felt an affinity with
other redheaded people. 2 friendliness, fondness, liking,
leaning, bent, inclination, taste, partiality, attractiveness,
attraction: I have an affinity for the sea.
afflict v. affect, bother, distress, oppress, trouble, torment: Last
winter's intense cold afflicted everyone, but those in the north
n. 1 hardship, misery, misfortune, distress, ordeal, trial,
tribulation, adversity, suffering, woe, pain, grief, distress,
torment, wretchedness: Moses saw the affliction of his people
in Egypt. 2 curse, disease, calamity, catastrophe, disaster,
plague, scourge, tribulation, trouble: He often observed that
greed was the affliction of the middle class.
afford v. 1 have the means, be able or rich enough, manage, bear the
expense, pay, provide: We cannot afford to send the children to
better schools. 2 give, spare, give up, contribute, donate;
sacrifice: The loss of a single day's work was more than I
could afford. 3 yield, give, supply, produce, provide, furnish,
grant, offer; give forth: May kind heaven afford him
everlasting rest. The poems afford no explanation.
afoul adv. afoul of. entangled with, in trouble with, in conflict
with, at odds with: Barbara fell afoul of the new tax
afraid adj. 1 fearful, frightened, scared, intimidated, apprehensive,
lily-livered, white-livered, terrified, panic-stricken,
faint-hearted, weak-kneed, timid, timorous, nervous, anxious,
jittery, on edge, edgy, jumpy; cowardly, pusillanimous, craven,
Colloq yellow: Don't be afraid, the dog won't bite you. 2
sorry, unhappy, regretful, apologetic, rueful: I'm afraid I
cannot help you find a cheap flat in London.
age n. 1 lifetime, duration, length of existence; life-span: The
age of a stag is judged chiefly by its antlers. She was sixteen
years of age. 2 maturity, discretion; majority, adulthood,
seniority: When he comes of age he will inherit millions. 3
period, stage, time: Among these people, both boys and girls
undergo rites of passage at the age of puberty. He is a man of
middle age. 4 long time, aeon or esp. US eon; years: I haven't
seen you for an age! The noise went on for ages. 5 era, epoch,
period, time: The 18th century was known as the Augustan Age in
--v. 6 grow old(er), mature, ripen: O, Matilda, I age too fast
for my years! You must first age the whisky in the barrel, then
aged adj. old, elderly, superannuated, ancient, age-old, grey,
venerable: The three aged women crouched in their chairs, each
with her own memories.
agency n. means, medium, instrumentality; intervention, intercession,
action, intermediation; operation, mechanism, force, power,
activity, working(s), energy: Pollen is carried from flower to
flower by the agency of certain insects.
agent n. 1 representative, intermediary, go-between, proxy, emissary,
delegate, spokesman, spokeswoman, spokesperson, deputy,
substitute, surrogate, advocate, emissary, legate, envoy,
factor: Our agent in Tokyo will look after the matter for you.
2 factor, agency, cause, means, force, instrument, power,
vehicle, ingredient: The active agent in this cleaner is
aggravate v. 1 worsen, intensify, exacerbate, heighten, magnify,
increase; inflame: They introduce new problems and aggravate
the old ones. 2 exasperate, frustrate; anger, incense,
infuriate; provoke, irritate, nettle, rile, vex, annoy, harass,
hector, bother; embitter, rankle, Colloq peeve, needle, get on
one's nerves; Slang Brit give (someone) aggro: Threats only
serve to aggravate people.
n. 1 aggressiveness, hostility, belligerence, combativeness,
Slang Brit aggro: The mere crossing of the river is an act of
aggression. 2 attack, assault, onslaught, invasion,
encroachment: The conflict had become a war of aggression.
adj. 1 combative, warlike, martial, belligerent, bellicose,
pugnacious, quarrelsome, disputatious, litigious; hostile,
unfriendly: The Germanic tribes were known to the Romans as
aggressive and hardened warriors. 2 forward, assertive,
forceful, bold, Colloq pushy: Dennis's aggressive nature may
yet make him a good salesman.
aggressor n. assailant, attacker, instigator, initiator, provoker;
belligerent: You will find that the Nazis were the aggressors
in Poland in 1939.
agile adj. 1 nimble, quick, brisk, swift, active, lively, lithe,
limber, spry, sprightly: Sofia is an agile dancer. 2 keen,
sharp, alert, dexterous or dextrous, resourceful, acute: With
his agile mind Richard was able to solve the problems in no time
agitate v. 1 excite, arouse, rouse, move, perturb, stir up, disquiet,
fluster, ruffle, rattle, disconcert, discomfit, unsettle, upset,
rock, unnerve, shake (up), Colloq discombobulate: Rachel was
agitated to learn of the bank's threat to foreclose on the
mortgage. 2 push, press, campaign; promote: The miners have
been agitating for better safety measures. 3 stir (up), churn,
disturb, shake, roil: The calm lake was agitated by the motor
agitated adj. moved, stirred (up), shaken (up), rattled, disturbed,
upset, nervous, perturbed, jittery, jumpy, uneasy, ill at ease,
fidgety, disquieted, discomfited, ruffled, flustered, unsettled,
unnerved, wrought up, discomposed, disconcerted, aroused,
roused, excited, Colloq discombobulated: The sheriff was in a
very agitated state about the mob forming outside the jail.
agitation n. 1 shaking, disturbance, churning, stirring, turbulence: The
agitation made the solution become cloudy. 2 excitement,
arousal, rabble-rousing, provocation, stirring up, incitement,
ferment, stimulation, over-stimulation, commotion: The
organized agitation of the crowds continued for weeks after the
agitator n. activist, rabble-rouser, incendiary, agent provocateur,
insurrectionist, troublemaker, demagogue, firebrand: The
opposition party hires professional agitators to incite the
people to riot.
agog adj. eager, avid, keen, enthusiastic, expectant, impatient,
breathless: The children were all agog waiting for Santa Claus
agonizing adj. painful, distressful, distressing, harrowing, torturous,
racking, excruciating, tortured, tormented: We went through an
agonizing reappraisal of our policy on immigration.
agony n. anguish, trouble, distress, suffering, misery, wretchedness,
pain, pangs, woe, torment, throes, torture, affliction: For two
days his parents experienced the agony of not knowing whether he
was dead or alive.
agree v. 1 concur, conform, come or go together, coincide,
correspond, harmonize, reconcile; accord, tally, Colloq jibe:
At last my cheque-book agrees with my bank statement! 2 Often,
agree to. consent to, favour, acquiesce in or to, approve of,
accede to, assent to: They finally agreed to our offer. We
agreed terms with respect to the contract. 3 concede, grant,
consent, admit, approve, allow, accept, concur; accede (to),
acquiesce (in or to), assent (to), see eye to eye: The
committee agreed that she should be given time to comply with
the request. I objected and they agreed with me. 4 agree with.
suit: The climate in England agrees with me, strange to say.
agreeable adj. 1 pleasing, pleasant, enjoyable, pleasurable, favourable,
delightful, satisfying, satisfactory, good, nice, acceptable; to
one's liking or taste: He found the Caribbean an agreeable
place for a holiday. 2 in favour, approving, willing,
consenting, acquiescent, complying, compliant, in agreement or
accord, concurring, amenable, sympathetic, well-disposed;
accommodating, accommodative: If Anne's agreeable, we can leave
agreement n. 1 understanding, covenant, treaty, pact, accord, compact,
settlement, concordat; contract, bargain, Colloq deal: They
drew up a ten-year agreement to be signed at the summit in
Geneva. 2 concord, harmony, compatibility, unity, concurrence,
unanimity: Agreement in error is far worse than division for
the sake of truth.
ahead adv. 1 at the or in front, in advance, in the lead or vanguard,
up ahead, before, to the fore: The general rode ahead. 2
winning: At half time, our team was ahead by two points. 3
onward(s), forward(s), on: Please move ahead if you can.
aid v. 1 help, support, assist, facilitate, back, abet, uphold,
promote; succour, relieve, subsidize: The invasion was aided by
Richard's subjects. He salved his conscience by aiding a local
--n. 2 help, support, assistance, backing, relief, benefit,
service, succour, comfort: He was convicted of giving aid to
the enemy in time of war. 3 funding, subsidy, subvention;
grant-money, grant, grant-in-aid, scholarship: He could never
have gone to university without aid from the endowment.
aide n. aide-de-camp, assistant, helper, coadjutor; good or strong
right arm, right hand, right-hand man; colleague, partner, ally,
comrade, comrade-in-arms, US cohort , Colloq man Friday, girl
Friday, US gal Friday: The general's aides are always at his
ail v. 1 trouble, afflict, affect, bother, distress, upset, worry,
make ill or sick, pain, hurt: I cannot imagine what ails him,
and the doctor can find nothing wrong. 2 suffer, be or feel ill
or poorly or unwell or indisposed, US be sick: Granny has been
ailment n. illness, sickness, affliction, disease, disorder,
indisposition, malady; disability, infirmity; malaise,
queasiness: Granny's ailment has been diagnosed as influenza.
aim v. 1 direct, point, focus, train, level: The guns of the fort
are aimed at the narrow pass. 2 aim at. focus on, have designs
on, aspire to, plan for or on, set one's sights on, seek, strive
for, try for, wish, want: Edward aimed at absolute dominion
over that kingdom. 3 seek, intend, plan: I aim to retire at
fifty, if not before.
--n. 4 direction, pointing, focus, focusing or focussing,
sighting: His aim is so bad that he can't hit the side of a
barn with a shotgun. 5 purpose, goal, ambition, desire,
aspiration, object, end, objective, target, intent, intention,
plan: It was never her aim in life to be rich. The aim of the
book is set forth in the Foreword.
aimless adj. 1 purposeless, pointless, frivolous: After receiving the
inheritance she led an aimless life of ease and luxury. 2
undirected, erratic, chance, haphazard, random, vagrant,
wayward; wanton: We were annoyed by the tourists' aimless
meandering round the village.
air n. 1 atmosphere, ambience, aura, climate, feeling, sense, mood,
quality: This restaurant has a delightful air about it. 2
breeze, zephyr, current, draught; breath, puff, wind: Light
airs sprang up from the south. 3 manner, style, appearance,
aura, feeling, bearing, quality, flavour: Louis has a
lugubrious air about him. 4 melody, tune, song, music: She was
humming airs from some Italian opera. 5 airs. pretension,
pretence, show, affectedness; haughtiness, hauteur, arrogance,
superiority, superciliousness: He puts on such airs since he
got his knighthood.
--v. 6 ventilate, freshen, refresh, aerate: The chambermaid is
airing the room, so you can't go in now. 7 show off, parade,
display, exhibit; publish, broadcast, circulate, publicize, make
public or known, reveal, expose, disclose, divulge, tell,
express, declare: Once again Andrew is airing his views on
akin adj. Usually, akin to. related (to), allied or connected or
affiliated (to or with), associated (with), germane (to), like,
alike, similar (to): Desultoriness is akin to indolence. Their
decision not to show the film smacks of something akin to
alarm n. 1 warning, alert, danger- or distress-signal; tocsin, bell,
gong, siren, whistle, horn: At the approach of the storm, the
lookouts gave the alarm. The alarm is set to wake me at four
o'clock. 2 fear, fright, apprehension, dismay, trepidation,
terror, dread, anxiety, excitement, panic, consternation,
distress, nervousness, uneasiness, discomfort: He viewed with
alarm the arrest of his next-door neighbours.
--v. 3 frighten, scare, daunt, startle, terrify, panic;
unnerve, dismay, disturb, upset: She was alarmed at the news of
the car crash. Don't be alarmed - such delays are quite normal.
alcohol n. spirits, liquor, the bottle, the cup that cheers, demon rum,
John Barleycorn, Colloq booze, hard stuff, juice, moonshine,
fire-water, Slang rot-gut, US and Canadian hooch: Alcohol and
driving do not mix.
alcoholic adj. 1 intoxicating, inebriating: His doctor has forbidden him
any alcoholic beverage.
--n. 2 drunkard, drunk, dipsomaniac, sot, toper, drinker,
winebibber, serious or problem drinker, tippler, Colloq barfly,
soak, Slang boozer, alchy or alkie or alky, dipso, stew, rummy,
US and Canadian lush, booze-hound, wino: The community runs a
centre for rehabilitating alcoholics.
alert adj. 1 awake, wide awake, watchful, vigilant, attentive,
heedful, wary, cautious, on the qui vive, aware, on guard, on
the lookout, observant, Colloq on the ball, on one's toes: The
sentinels must remain alert throughout the night. Kenneth is
alert to the perils of smoking cigarettes. 2 active, nimble,
lively, agile, active, quick, spry, sprightly, vivacious: He is
an alert and joyous old soul.
--n. 3 lookout: She is always on the alert for new ways of
saving money. 4 alarm, warning, signal, siren: Sound the
--v. 5 warn, caution, advise, alarm, forewarn, signal, notify:
We must alert him to the fact that the man is a vicious killer.
alibi n. 1 excuse, explanation: Your alibi places you very close to
the scene of the crime.
--v. 2 excuse, explain: Caught red-handed, she couldn't alibi
her way out of it.
alien adj. 1 foreign, strange, exotic, outlandish, unfamiliar: The
customs of the country were alien to me.
--n. 2 foreigner, stranger, outlander, outsider, non-native,
immigrant, newcomer: Aliens are required to register during
alienate v. Usually, alienate from. disabuse (of or from), wean away
(from), detach (from), distance (from): Gradually the villagers
were alienated from their old animistic beliefs.
alike adj. 1 similar, akin, resembling or like one another, akin to
or similar to one another, showing or exhibiting a resemblance:
They began to think all religions were alike.
--adv. 2 in like manner, in the same manner or way, similarly,
equally, uniformly, identically: She believes that all people
should be treated alike.
alive adj. 1 living, live, breathing, among the living, in the land
of the living: My great-grandfather is still alive, in spite of
years of defying medical advice. 2 alive to. sensitive or alert
to, aware or conscious of, aware or cognizant of: She is alive
to every slight nuance in the poem. 3 alert, active, lively,
vivacious, quick, spirited, animated, brisk, spry, sprightly,
vigorous, energetic: Look alive, my lads, and hoist away! 4
astir, teeming, swarming, thronging, crowded, packed, buzzing,
crawling, jumping, bustling, humming, Colloq lousy: In a few
minutes the water around the corpse was alive with deadly
n. charge, accusation, complaint; assertion, avowal,
asseveration, claim, declaration, statement, deposition: I
resent the allegation that I don't bath often enough.
allege v. declare, aver, state, assert, charge, affirm, avow,
asseverate, depose, say: The guard alleged that he had caught
the boy climbing in a basement window.
alleged adj. described, designated; claimed, avowed, stated; purported,
so-called, suspected, supposed, assumed, presumed; hypothetical,
conjectural: The press reported that the alleged assailant had
confessed. He is awaiting trial for his alleged involvement in
alliance n. 1 union, confederation, combination, federation, pact,
league, association, coalition, affiliation, connection, bond;
unity, affinity: The alliance between the two empires has been
faithfully maintained. 2 marriage, affinity: The alliance
between the two families was welded by the children born of it.
allot v. distribute, apportion, allocate, earmark, assign, parcel or
dole out, deal (out), divide, share (out), dispense: The
millionaire allotted an equal share of his fortune to each of
allotment n. 1 share, apportionment, ration, portion, quota, allowance,
measure: Each prisoner was given a daily allotment of four
ounces of black bread and a cup of water. 2 garden plot, kitchen
garden, patch, tract, plot, Brit market garden, US truck garden:
If I don't answer the phone, it's because I am digging my
allow v. 1 acknowledge, admit, grant, concede, own: He allowed that
he had not been completely truthful about his movements that
night. 2 agree to, concede, cede to, admit, permit, authorize,
entertain, consent to: The judge said that he would allow a
plea of 'guilty with an explanation'. 3 permit, let, suffer:
Please allow the children to select their own friends. 4
tolerate, stand (for), brook, sanction, countenance, permit,
consider, put up with: The headmaster refuses to allow such
goings-on at his school. 5 give, let (someone) have,
appropriate, grant, budget, earmark, assign, allocate, assign,
approve: The company allowed him њ100 a day for expenses. 6
make allowance or concession for, set apart or aside, put aside,
take into account or consideration; add; deduct: You must allow
at least an extra hour for the traffic during rush hour. The
shipper allows ten kilos for the weight of the container.
allowance n. 1 permission, toleration, tolerance, sufferance, admission,
concession, sanction; allowing, permitting, tolerating,
suffering, sanctioning, brooking, countenancing: There were
many causes of difference between them, the chief being the
allowance of slavery in the south. 2 payment, recompense,
remuneration, reimbursement, remittance: Allowance will be made
for all reasonable expenses. 3 stipend, dole, pin or pocket
money, quota, ration; pension, annuity, allocation: Bill gets a
liberal weekly allowance for expenses. 4 deduction, discount,
reduction, rebate; credit; tret; tare: You must make allowance
for the weight of the crate. 5 excuse(s), concession,
consideration: Allowance must be made for his poor eyesight.
alloy n. 1 mixture, mix, combination, compound, composite, blend,
amalgam, admixture; aggregate: Brass is an alloy of copper and
--v. 2 contaminate, pollute, adulterate, debase, diminish,
impair, vitiate: Their external prosperity was not alloyed by
troubles from within. 3 change, modify, temper, alter,
moderate, allay: Gentle persons might by their true patience
alloy the hardness of the common crowd.
ally n. 1 comrade, confederate, collaborator, coadjutor; accessory,
accomplice; associate, partner, friend: I had hoped to have you
as an ally in my proposal for reorganization. The Allies
finally defeated the Nazi war machine in 1945.
--v. 2 league, combine, unite, join (up), team (up), side, band
together, associate, affiliate, collaborate, confederate: In
their attempt at a take-over of our company, the raiders have
allied themselves with two banks. We shall ally the Romans to us
and conquer the territory.
almost adv. nearly, about, approximately, practically, virtually,
wellnigh, bordering on, on the brink of, verging on, on the
verge of, little short of; not quite, all but; barely, scarcely,
hardly; Colloq damn near: We are almost ready to go. You almost
broke the window!
aloft adv. above, overhead, (up) in the air, in flight, up (above);
on high; heavenwards, skyward: The plane was overloaded, but we
finally made it aloft. Five women held the banner aloft.
alone adj. 1 unaccompanied, unescorted, solitary, by oneself, tout(e)
seule, solo, unattended, unassisted; abandoned, desolate,
deserted: I am alone in the world. Leave me alone. 2
unequalled, unparalleled, unique, singular, unexcelled,
unsurpassed, without equal, peerless, matchless: As a poet, Don
--adv. 3 solitarily, by oneself, solo: I'll walk alone. 4
only, solely, exclusively, simply, just, merely: You alone can
aloof adv. 1 apart, away, at a distance, separate; at arm's length:
We invited Martha to join us but she preferred to remain aloof.
--adj. 2 private, reticent, reserved, withdrawn, haughty,
supercilious, standoffish, formal, unsociable, unsocial;
distant, remote: Deirdre is quite an aloof sort of person - not
what you would call a 'mixer'. 3 standoffish, distant, remote,
cool, chilly, unresponsive, unfriendly, antisocial,
unapproachable; unsympathetic, apathetic, indifferent,
undemonstrative: Roger keeps himself aloof from the needs of
those less fortunate than he is.
alter v. change, revise, modify, vary, transform; adjust, adapt,
convert, remodel: After the attack, we altered our opinion of
the rebels. The dress fits better since being altered.
n. change, modification, revision, transformation; adjustment,
adaptation, conversion, remodelling: We found places where
alterations had been made in the original document. My new suit
needs alteration to fit properly.
alternate v. 1 rotate, exchange, change, interchange, take turns, go or
take, etc. in turn, US change off, interexchange: To help out,
we could alternate our days off. 2 succeed, be in succession or
rotation: The wallpaper had alternating stripes of pink, grey,
--adj. 3 in rotation, successive; every other, every second:
The embankment revealed alternate layers of clay and gravel. The
nurse visited our district on alternate days. 4 alternative,
second, other: The alternate selection contains only milk
--n. 5 variant, alternative, (second) choice, US and Canadian
substitute, deputy, stand-in, backup, understudy; pinch-hitter,
Baseball designated hitter: I prefer the alternate to the
featured model. My alternate takes over if I am ill.
n. rotation, succession; exchange, interchange: In a temperate
climate there is the advantage of the alternation of the
adj. 1 alternate, variant, (an)other, different, additional;
substitute, surrogate: Alternative models are available.
--n. 2 alternate, variant, choice, option, selection;
possibility; substitute, surrogate: The alternative was to
remain at home and do nothing. You leave me no alternative.
'Esthetic' is an American spelling alternative.
adv. entirely, utterly, completely, wholly, totally, fully, in
all respects, absolutely, perfectly, quite; all in all, in all:
I don't altogether agree with you. Altogether, you may be right.
altruism n. selflessness, self-sacrifice, unselfishness, philanthropy,
generosity, charity, charitableness, humanitarianism,
humaneness, benevolence, humanity, public-spiritedness: Nick
does things for others out of altruism, expecting nothing in
always adv. 1 at all times, again and again, on all occasions, every
or each time, each and every time, without exception,
unexceptionally; often, many times, usually: He that indulges
hope will always be disappointed. I have always made coffee this
way and see no reason for changing. 2 forever, continually,
ever, perpetually; unceasingly, unendingly, eternally, evermore,
ever after, everlastingly, till the end of time, in perpetuity:
You are a fool, Mike, and you will always be a fool. 3 in any
case, as a last resort: You could always refuse to pay.
amalgam n. mixture, blend, combination, alloy, mix, composite,
admixture, amalgamation; compound: The population was an
amalgam of original settlers and new immigrants.
v. blend, combine, unite, mix, join, consolidate, compound,
integrate, merge: The four sentences of the original are
amalgamated into two.
n. blend, fusion, combination, mixture, mingling, admixture,
composite, compound, blending, joining, consolidating,
consolidation, compounding, commingling, fusing, coalescing,
coalescence, union, uniting, unification, integration, merger,
association, composition: The directors voted for an
amalgamation of the two companies that would benefit both.
amass v. accumulate, mass, pile or heap or rack up, collect, gather
(together), assemble, aggregate, cumulate, stock or store up,
hoard, set aside: How many points have you amassed? Owing to
the bountiful harvest, the farmers amassed huge amounts of
amateur n. 1 layman, non-professional, tiro or tyro; dabbler,
dilettante, bungler; Colloq US bush-leaguer: When it comes to
repairing cars, I'm a mere amateur.
--adj. 2 lay, non-professional, untrained; unpaid; dilettante,
amateurish, unprofessional, unskilled, inexpert, unskilful,
clumsy, mediocre, inferior, crude, bungling, second-rate; Colloq
US bush-league: The amateur theatre group's performance
received excellent reviews. These paintings are strictly
amateur and totally without merit.
amaze v. astound, astonish, surprise, awe, stun, stagger, take aback,
floor, dumbfound or dumfound, confound, nonplus, stupefy, Colloq
flabbergast, dazzle: Annie Oakley amazed audiences with her
fancy shooting. I was amazed that she still cared for me.
amazement n. astonishment, surprise, awe, wonder, stupefaction: He
stared at her in amazement, sure that he had misunderstood what
she was saying.
amazing adj. astonishing, astounding, surprising, wonderful,
remarkable, extraordinary, marvellous, fabulous, stunning,
dazzling, staggering, awesome: The Cossacks put on an amazing
display of horsemanship.
n. envoy, delegate, legate, emissary, minister,
plenipotentiary, diplomat; agent, deputy, representative,
(papal) nuncio, messenger: The ambassador must present his
credentials to the queen.
ambiguity n. 1 equivocalness, equivocacy, amphibology or amphiboly;
vagueness, indistinctness, uncertainty, indefiniteness,
imprecision, inconclusiveness: Ambiguity of language must be
avoided in legal documents. 2 equivocation, double-talk,
double-speak, equivoque; pun, double entendre, amphibologism:
The minister's speech was full of ambiguities.
ambiguous adj. 1 equivocal, amphibological, amphibolic or amphibolous;
misleading: If one says 'Taylor saw Tyler drunk', which one was
drunk is ambiguous. 2 doubtful, dubious, questionable, obscure,
indistinct, unclear, indefinite, indeterminate, uncertain,
undefined, inconclusive, uncertain, vague, misty, foggy,
unclear; cryptic, Delphic, enigmatic(al), oracular, mysterious,
puzzling; confusable: The soothsayer's prophecies were
sufficiently ambiguous to allow for several conflicting
interpretations. 3 unreliable, undependable: How can the doctor
decide on a correct diagnosis when the symptoms are ambiguous?
ambition n. 1 hunger, thirst, craving, appetite, arrivisme: John's
relentless ambition may yet be his undoing. 2 drive,
enterprise, energy, initiative, vigour, enthusiasm, zeal,
avidity, Colloq get-up-and-go: The company is seeking young men
of ambition. You'll never get anywhere, Stewart, since you are
totally lacking in ambition. 3 goal, object, aim, aspiration,
hope, desire, dream, objective, wish, purpose: It is Olivia's
ambition to marry someone with a title.
ambitious adj. 1 aspiring, hopeful; enthusiastic: My son, I am just as
ambitious for you as you are for yourself. 2 energetic,
enterprising, vigorous, zealous, enthusiastic, eager: We prefer
ambitious young people to those who are seeking a sinecure. 3
greedy, avaricious, overzealous, overambitious, Colloq pushy,
yuppy: Howard is a trifle too ambitious, expecting to be
department head after only one year.
ambush n. 1 trap, ambuscade or Archaic ambuscado: The company set up
an ambush near the crossroads.
--v. 2 lie in wait, trap, waylay, ensnare, entrap, lurk,
ambuscade, intercept, Colloq lay in wait, US bushwhack: The
guerrillas were ready to ambush the soldiers.
amend v. 1 reform, change for the better, improve, better,
ameliorate: The prisoner believes he could amend his ways if
given the chance. 2 correct, emend, emendate, rectify, set to
rights, repair, fix, revise: Take whatever time you need to
amend the text.
amendment n. 1 correction, emendation, reformation, change, alteration,
rectification, repair, reform, improvement, amelioration,
betterment, enhancement: The committee approved the amendment
of the constitution by the addition of the suggested paragraphs.
2 attachment, addition, addendum; clause, paragraph; alteration:
A two-thirds majority in the Congress is needed to pass the
amends n. make amends. compensate, pay, repay, make reparation or
restitution, recompense, redress, remedy, requite: How can the
bus-driver ever make amends for the loss of a beloved kitten?
amiable adj. friendly, well-disposed, kindly, kind, amicable,
agreeable, congenial, genial, warm, winsome, winning, affable,
agreeable, pleasant, obliging, tractable, approachable, benign,
good-natured, good-hearted, kind-hearted; affectionate: Melissa
is well named for her sweet and amiable disposition.
amicable adj. friendly, amiable, congenial, harmonious, brotherly,
kind-hearted; warm, courteous, cordial, polite, civil, pleasant;
peaceful, peaceable: Our countries have always enjoyed the most
amid prep. mid, in or into the middle or midst or centre of,
amongst, among, surrounded by, in the thick of, Literary amidst:
She is sitting in her cottage, Amid the flowers of May. Without
further ado, she plunged amid the waves.
amiss adj. 1 wrong, at fault, awry, out of order, faulty, defective,
improper, untoward; astray, erroneous, fallacious, confused,
incorrect, off: Something is amiss with the ignition. If I am
amiss in my thinking, let me know.
--adv. 2 wrong, awry, badly, poorly, imperfectly;
inopportunely, unfavourably, unpropitiously: Everything
possible has already gone amiss with the rocket launch. 3
wrongly, improperly, badly; incorrectly, inappropriately: A
word of advice might not come amiss here. 4 take or think (it)
amiss. mistake, misinterpret, misunderstand, take offence (at):
I trust that you will not take amiss what I intended as
among prep. 1 amongst, amid, amidst, mid, in the midst or middle or
centre of, surrounded by: Please take a seat among the people
over there. We lay down among the flowers. 2 among, to each or
all (of): The examination booklets were passed out among the
amount v. 1 amount to. a add up to, total, aggregate, come (up) to:
Waiter, what does my bill amount to, please? b become, develop
into: That son of his will never amount to much.
--n. 2 quantity, volume, mass, expanse, bulk, supply, lot;
number; magnitude: What amount of water is needed to fill the
container? She eats a huge amount of chocolates every day. 3
(sum) total, aggregate, extent, entirety: What is the amount of
the invoice without the tax?
ample adj. 1 broad, wide, spacious, extensive, expansive, great: Her
ample bosom heaved with sobs. 2 wide-ranging, extensive, broad:
In one ample swoop they snatched up all the land. 3 abundant,
extensive, fruitful: The event proved a very ample subject for
history. 4 abundant, full, complete, plentiful, copious,
generous, substantial; sufficient, adequate, enough: He had
stored ample provision of food for the winter. 5 liberal,
unsparing, unstinted, unstinting, generous, substantial, large,
lavish: Steve's contributions have always been ample,
especially at Christmas time. 6 copious, full, broad, detailed,
extensive, extended, thorough: The subject deserves more ample
amplify v. 1 broaden, widen, extend, increase, expand (on), enlarge
(on), expatiate on, detail; add to, augment, supplement: Let no
man comfort him But amplify his grief with bitter words. 2
exaggerate, overstate, magnify, stretch: The reports have
amplified the number of horsemen slain in the encounter. 3
enlarge (on), elaborate (on), stretch, lengthen, detail,
embellish, embroider: He amplifies every point in microscopic
amply adv. 1 widely, broadly, extensively, greatly, expansively:
This fabric stretches amply enough to fit over the couch. 2 to
a great extent, largely, fully, abundantly: My confidence in
her was amply recompensed by her success. 3 abundantly, fully,
copiously: The prophecy was amply fulfilled. 4 fully, well,
liberally, unstintingly, generously, richly, substantially,
lavishly; sufficiently: He has been amply paid for his work.
amulet n. charm, talisman, good-luck piece; fetish: Whenever the man
rubbed the silver amulet, his number would win.
amuse v. 1 divert, entertain, please, beguile, interest, occupy:
Perhaps the crossword puzzle will amuse her while she is
waiting. 2 make laugh, delight, cheer, Colloq tickle: That
form of rowdy slapstick doesn't amuse me.
amusement n. 1 entertainment, diversion, recreation, pleasure,
relaxation, distraction, enjoyment, fun, sport, joke, lark,
beguilement: The boys in my class used to pull the wings off
flies for amusement. They spent their afternoons in the
amusement arcade. 2 entertainment, diversion, divertissement,
recreation, distraction, pastime; game, sport: During the
festival there are concerts, plays, and other amusements.
n. misdate, misdating, misapplication; antedate, antedating,
prochronism; postdate, postdating, parachronism: The poster
showing Cleopatra smoking a cigarette is an anachronism - a
prochronism, to be specific.
analyse v. 1 take apart or to pieces, separate, dissect, break down,
anatomize: If we analyse these statistics for England and
Wales, we find no pattern. The scientists are analysing the
internal constitution of a glacier. 2 examine, investigate,
study, scrutinize, interpret; assess, evaluate, critique,
criticize, review; estimate, assay, test: We must first
explicitly define and analyse the nature of the sample we found.
analysis n. 1 examination, investigation, study, scrutiny, enquiry or
inquiry, dissection, assay, breakdown, division: The analysis
has shown the presence of arsenic in her soup. 2
interpretation, opinion, judgement, criticism, critique; review:
She disagrees with our analysis of the poem.
ancestor n. forebear, forefather; forerunner, precursor, antecedent,
Formal progenitor, primogenitor: His ancestors were transported
to Australia in a prison ship, and he's proud of it. The
eohippus, only a foot high, was the ancestor of the horse.
anchor n. 1 mooring: The ship rode at anchor in the harbour. 2
stability, security, mainstay, support, stabilizer, holdfast,
sheet anchor: Marie is an anchor to windward for George, who
tends to be a bit irresponsible.
--v. 3 attach, affix, secure, moor, fix, fasten; pin, rivet,
glue: You must anchor the foundation before adding the walls.
She remained anchored to the spot, refusing to move.
ancient adj. 1 old, bygone, past, former, earlier, Literary olden: In
ancient times there were very few books. 2 old, antique,
antediluvian, primitive, prehistoric, primeval, primordial,
Noachian, Literary Ogygian: In those ancient days man had only
just come down from the trees. 3 old, old-fashioned, archaic,
time-worn, aged, ageing, obsolescent, antiquated, elderly,
venerable, grey, hoary, superannuated, obsolete, fossil,
fossilized: We were accosted by an ancient crone at the mouth
of the cave.
anger n. 1 rage, wrath, ire, fury, pique, spleen, choler; antagonism,
irritation, vexation, indignation, displeasure, annoyance,
irritability, resentment, outrage: Her anger got the better of
her, so she simply punched him.
--v. 2 enrage, infuriate, madden, pique, incense, raise one's
hackles, make one's blood boil, rile, gall; annoy, irritate,
vex, nettle, displease, exasperate, provoke: Father was so
angered by the insult that he refused to pay.
angle° n. 1 slant, oblique, corner, edge, intersection; bend, cusp,
point, apex, projection: The two walls meet at an angle. 2
slant, point of view, aspect, viewpoint, standpoint, approach,
position, side, perspective: The managing editor told me he's
looking for a new angle on the kidnapping story.
angleэ v. angle for. fish for; look for, seek, be after, try for, hunt
for: On holiday we went angling for perch. Fran is angling for
compliments on her new dress.
angry adj. 1 enraged, furious, irate, resentful, ireful, wrathful,
piqued, incensed, infuriated, fuming; irritated, irritable,
annoyed, vexed, irascible, provoked, indignant, exasperated,
splenetic, Literary wroth, Colloq livid, hot under the collar,
on the warpath, (all) steamed up, up in arms, mad, Slang browned
off, Brit cheesed off: Father was angry with me for letting the
cat out. 2 inflamed, irritated, sore, smarting: He has an
angry lesion where the fetters rubbed against his ankles.
anguish n. 1 suffering, pain, agony, torment, torture, misery: She
endured the anguish of toothache rather than go to the dentist.
2 suffering, grief, distress, woe, anxiety: He underwent
terrible anguish in the waiting-room till the surgeon arrived.
--v. 3 disturb, upset, distress, afflict, trouble; torment,
torture: The anguished cries of prisoners could be heard.
animal n. 1 creature, being, mammal, organism: Scientists are
unlikely to employ the popular division of all things into
animal, vegetable, or mineral. 2 beast, brute, savage, monster:
Think of the poor girl married to that animal!
--adj. 3 zoological, zooid, animalistic: The sponge is a
member of the animal kingdom. 4 physical, fleshly, sensual,
gross, coarse, unrefined, uncultured, uncultivated, rude,
carnal, crude, bestial, beastlike, subhuman: His animal
appetites occasionally got the better of him.
animate v. 1 activate, enliven, invigorate, stimulate, inspirit,
excite, stir, vitalize, spark, vivify, revitalize, breathe life
into, innervate: A little enthusiasm would have animated their
dull relationship. 2 inspire, inspirit, stimulate, actuate,
move, motivate, incite, rouse, arouse, excite, fire (up),
encourage, energize, vitalize, spur (on or onwards): He spent
the few minutes before the battle in animating his soldiers.
--adj. 3 lively, spirited, vivacious, animated, quick: A
courser more animate of eye, Of form more faultless never had
been seen. 4 alive, moving, breathing, Archaic quick: Although
they move, plants are not considered to be animate.
animated adj. 1 lively, quick, spirited, active, vivacious, energetic,
vigorous, excited, ebullient, enthusiastic, dynamic, vibrant,
ardent, enlivened, passionate, impassioned, fervent: In the
corner, Terence was engaged in an animated conversation with
Mary. 2 mechanical, automated, lifelike, moving: Each
Christmas, the shop has an animated window display.
animation n. 1 spirit, spiritedness, vitality, dash, ‚lan, zest, fervour,
verve, liveliness, fire, ardour, ardency, exhilaration,
intensity, energy, pep, dynamism, enthusiasm, excitement,
vigour, vivacity: Johnson was in high spirits, talking with
great animation. 2 enlivenment, liveliness, energizing,
invigoration, enlivening, innervation: The scout leader was
credited with the animation of the youths in his care.
animosity n. hostility, antagonism, antipathy, ill will, malevolence,
enmity, hatred, animus, loathing, detestation, contempt; bad
blood, malice, bitterness, acrimony, resentment, rancour: The
animosity he felt for his brother soon disappeared.
announce v. 1 proclaim, make public, make known, set or put forth, put
out, publish, advertise, publicize, promulgate, broadcast,
herald; circulate; tell, reveal, disclose, divulge, declare,
propound: The appointment of a new prime minister has been
announced. 2 intimate, suggest, hint at, signal: The sight of
a top hat announced Gordon's presence in the club. 3 declare,
tell, state, aver, assert, asseverate; notify; confirm: The
president announced that he was resigning because of the
scandal. 4 foretell, betoken, augur, portend, presage,
harbinger, herald, signal; precede: The sighting of the first
crocus announces spring.
n. 1 declaration, pronouncement, proclamation, statement:
Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to make an announcement. 2
notification, notice, word: We received an announcement of the
wedding but no invitation. 3 commercial, advertisement, advert,
ad, spot: The window was filled with announcements of houses
for sale. 4 report, bulletin, communiqu‚, disclosure: An
announcement has just been received from the fire-fighters at
announcer n. presenter, master of ceremonies, master of the revels, MC,
emcee, reporter, anchorman, anchorwoman, anchor; newsreader,
newscaster, sportscaster, weatherman, weathergirl: The
announcer didn't get my name right.
annoy v. 1 irritate, bother, irk, vex, nettle, get on (someone's)
nerves, exasperate, provoke, incense, rile, madden, Colloq get
at: The anonymous telephone calls were beginning to annoy us.
2 pester, harass, harry, badger, nag, plague, molest, bedevil,
Colloq bug, needle, hassle, Slang get up someone's nose: Stop
annoying me with your persistent requests for money.
annoyance n. 1 irritation, bother, vexation, exasperation, pique,
aggravation, Colloq botheration: Must I put up with the
annoyance of that constant bickering? 2 nuisance, pest,
irritant, bore, Colloq pain, pain in the neck or arse or US ass:
He's such an annoyance, I wish he'd leave.
answer n. 1 reply, response; rejoinder, retort, riposte, Colloq
comeback: The boy's answer is unprintable. 2 Law defence,
counter-statement, plea, explanation; Technical declaration,
plea, replication, rejoinder, surrejoinder, rebutter or
rebuttal, surrebutter or surrebuttal: Her answer to the charge
was 'Not Guilty'. 3 solution, explanation: Ten points were
taken off because I had the wrong answer to question three.
--v. 4 reply, respond; retort, rejoin, riposte: When I ask you
a question, I expect you to answer. 5 satisfy, fulfil, suffice
for, meet, suit, serve, fit, fill, conform to, correlate with:
The bequest answered my needs for the moment. 6 answer back.
talk back (to): How dare you answer your father back! 7 answer
for. a be accountable or responsible or answerable for, be to
blame for; take or undertake responsibility for; sponsor,
support, guarantee: I answer alone to Allah for my motives. So
shall my righteousness answer for me. b make amends for, atone
for, suffer the consequences of: Caesar was ambitious and he
answered for it with his life. c take or accept the blame for:
Andy shouldn't have to answer for his brother's shortcomings.
n. 1 opposition, animosity, enmity, rancour, hostility,
antipathy: It is difficult to understand your antagonism
towards classical music. 2 conflict, rivalry, discord,
dissension, friction, strife; contention: Giving jobs only to
personal friends has engendered antagonism.
n. adversary, opponent, enemy, foe; contender, competitor,
competition, opposition: The antagonists prepared to fight.
v. 1 forestall, intercept, preclude, obviate, prevent; nullify:
She anticipated her opponent's manoeuvre by moving the queen's
bishop one square. 2 foretell, forecast, predict, prophesy,
foretaste, foresee: He anticipated that flying would be a
future mode of locomotion. 3 expect, look forward to, prepare
for; count or reckon on: We eagerly anticipated the arrival of
n. 1 expectation, expectancy; hope: In anticipation of the
arrival of Father Christmas, we hung up our stockings. 2
foreknowledge, precognition; intuition, presentiment, feeling;
foreboding, apprehension: His anticipation of the solar eclipse
by a week established him as the foremost scientist of his day.
antidote n. antitoxin, antiserum, antivenin; counteractant,
counterirritant; cure, remedy, specific; medication, medicine,
drug, medicament, Technical alexipharmic: The old prospector
says that the best antidote against snakebite is whisky.
adj. old, old-fashioned, outmoded, pass‚, out of date, dated,
archaic, obsolescent, antique, obsolete, quaint, ancient,
antediluvian, medieval or mediaeval, primitive; extinct; Colloq
old hat: Antiquated laws list penalties for practising
antique adj. 1 old, old-fashioned; antiquated, outmoded, pass‚, out of
date, obsolete: She wore the antique clothing she had found in
--n. 2 collectable or collectible, collector's item, bibelot,
objet d'art, objet de vertu, object or article of virtu,
heirloom, curio, rarity: His hobby is collecting antiques.
anxiety n. 1 solicitude, concern, uneasiness, disquiet, nervousness,
worry, dread, angst, apprehension, foreboding: Philip began to
feel genuine anxiety over Tanya's safety. 2 appetite, hunger,
thirst, desire, eagerness, longing, ache, concern: It is every
person's anxiety to obtain for himself the inestimable pearl of
anxious adj. 1 troubled, uneasy, disquieted, uncertain, apprehensive;
solicitous, concerned, worried, distressed, disturbed, nervous,
tense, fretful, on edge, restless, edgy, perturbed, upset; wary,
cautious, careful, watchful: She has been terribly anxious
about the diagnosis. We were anxious for her safety. 2 desirous,
eager, keen, enthusiastic, ardent, agog, avid, yearning,
longing, aching, impatient: I was anxious to visit the Pitti
Palace once again.
apart adv. 1 aside, to one side, by oneself, at a distance, separate,
separately: He stood apart when the awards were given out. 2
separately, distinctly, individually, singly, alone,
independently: The provisions of the bill should be seen
together as a whole, not viewed apart. 3 to or into pieces,
asunder: At the touch of the button, the building blew apart.
4 apart from. except for, excepting, separately from, aside
from, besides, but for, not including, excluding, not counting:
Apart from the immediate family, no one knows of your
aperture n. opening, space, gap, cleft, chink, crevice, crack, fissure,
hole, chasm: As much water ran through as the aperture could
adj. regretful, sorry, contrite, remorseful, penitent, rueful,
repentant, conscience-stricken: The lad was most apologetic for
having broken the window.
apologize v. 1 beg or ask pardon, express regret(s), feel sorry or
regretful or remorse(ful): You needn't apologize for sneezing.
2 make or give excuses or explanation(s), defend, justify,
vindicate, espouse: You don't have to apologize for her.
appal v. dismay, shock, discomfit, unnerve, intimidate, terrify,
frighten, scare, horrify, alarm, startle, daunt: The council
were appalled to discover that the police superintendent was
apparatus n. equipment, requisites, tool, instrument, utensil, device,
implement, machine, machinery, gear, paraphernalia, tackle,
outfit; appliance, Colloq contraption, gadgetry, gadget: The
apparatus needed for the experiment is here.
apparel n. clothing, attire, clothes, dress, raiment, garments, Colloq
gear, rags, glad rags, duds, Slang US threads: The police found
various items of apparel strewn about the flat.
apparent adj. 1 evident, plain, clear, obvious, patent, unmistakable;
conspicuous, marked, manifest, visible, discernible: It was
apparent to all of us that she would become a successful opera
singer. 2 appearing, seeming, illusory, ostensible, superficial,
outward: In an apparent show of strength, he ordered his forces
to attack the capital.
adv. 1 evidently, plainly, clearly, obviously, patently,
manifestly: There is apparently no cure in sight for the
disease. 2 seemingly, ostensibly, superficially, outwardly: In
stop-action photography, the bullet apparently hangs in mid-air.
appeal v. 1 entreat, supplicate, solicit, plead, petition, apply, sue;
beseech, beg, implore, pray: She appealed to the king to
release her son from the dungeon. 2 attract, be attractive to,
allure, please; invite, tempt, beguile, fascinate, interest: He
seems to appeal to older women.
--n. 3 application, suit; entreaty, call, request,
supplication, solicitation, petition, plea; prayer: Her appeal
to the court has been dismissed. I don't know if God heard our
appeal. 4 attraction, lure, allurement, charm, fascination: It
is not hard to see why his type would have some appeal.
appear v. 1 come forth, become visible or manifest, put in an
appearance, materialize, surface, emerge, rise, arise, come up,
enter (into) the picture, show oneself, turn up, arrive, come,
Colloq crop or show up; Slang show: Suddenly, a vision appeared
before me. His wife appeared after an absence of ten years. 2
perform, act, play, take the role or part of: She has appeared
as Roxanne in dozens of productions of Cyrano de Bergerac . 3
occur, happen, come up, be included, figure, arrive: That
four-letter word does not appear in written form till the 20th
century. 4 seem, be clear or evident or plain or manifest; look:
It appears that the money was taken while the manager was at
lunch. 5 be published, come out, become available: The next
issue will appear in March.
n. 1 arrival, advent; presence; publication: I was awaiting
the appearance of the book in the shops. 2 aspect, look(s),
form; mien, air, demeanour; bearing, manner: The doorman would
not let him in because of his shabby appearance. 3 display,
show: Their fine horses with their rich trappings made a
splendid appearance. 4 semblance, show, hint, suggestion;
illusion: She gave no appearance of wanting to go.
appetite n. 1 desire, inclination, proclivity, tendency, disposition,
bent, preference, liking, predilection, zest, fondness, love,
zeal; enthusiasm; taste, relish; Formal appetency, appetence: I
have never lost my appetite for chocolate. They tried to
suppress their bodily appetites, such as hunger and lust. 2
craving, hunger, thirst, desire, keenness, hankering, yearning,
longing, passion, demand, Formal edacity: She developed an
insatiable appetite for reading.
applaud v. 1 approve, express approval, clap, cheer, give (someone) a
hand, Colloq root (for): The audience applauded when the
villain was caught. 2 express approval of, praise, laud, hail,
commend: Susan's parents applauded her decision to apply for
applause n. clapping, acclamation, acclaim, ‚clat; cheering, cheers;
approval, commendation, approbation, praise, kudos, plaudit(s):
At the curtain there was applause from the audience.
adj. fit, suitable, suited, appropriate, proper, apropos,
fitting, befitting, pertinent, apt, germane, right, seemly,
relevant, apposite: Are the laws of the mainland applicable to
n. 1 use, employment, utilization, practice, operation: The
committee wants to see a sterner application of the law with
respect to mail-order offers. 2 relevancy, relevance, reference,
pertinence, germaneness, appositeness; bearing: The application
of the regulation to present circumstances is somewhat vague. 3
attention; diligence, industriousness, effort, perseverance,
persistence, assiduity, devotion, dedication, commitment,
attentiveness Colloq stick-to-it-iveness; industry: Her
application to her studies leaves little time for recreation.
Without application, you will never develop much skill at the
piano. 4 request, solicitation; appeal, petition, claim: Gavin
made six job applications. The board will consider your
apply v. 1 fasten, fix, affix, stick, cement, glue: The signs were
applied to the window with a special substance. 2 administer,
rub in or on, embrocate: The doctor said to apply this ointment
before retiring. 3 appropriate, assign, allot, credit; use,
utilize, employ, put to use: He had many skills, but failed to
apply them in his daily work. The money raised for food was
illegally applied to paying the administrators. 4 bear, have
bearing; be relevant, refer, pertain, appertain, relate, suit:
I am not sure that the law applies to this situation. 5 devote,
dedicate, commit, focus, concentrate, pay attention, address;
do, attend, tend, Colloq buckle down (to): He stubbornly
applies himself to the task at hand. 6 seek, go after;
register, bid, try out, put in; audition, interview, make
application: Are you qualified to apply for a job as a nanny?
7 petition, solicit; appeal, request: Geraldine applied to the
court for compensation.
appoint v. 1 fix, set, settle, determine, ordain, authorize, establish,
destine, arrange, assign, allot, prescribe, decree: The time
appointed for the execution has been delayed. 2 name,
designate, nominate, elect; assign, delegate, commission,
deputize; select, choose: I was delighted to have been
appointed as chairman. 3 equip, fit out, furnish, decorate:
They live comfortably in a well-appointed home in the suburbs.
n. 1 meeting, date, rendezvous, engagement; assignation, tryst:
You are again late for your appointment. 2 nomination,
election; assignment, designation; selection, choice: We fully
approve of his appointment as chairman. 3 job, position, post,
situation, office, place, assignment, Colloq berth, slot: He
got the appointment as manager.
v. 1 value, find worthwhile or valuable; esteem, cherish,
enjoy, admire, rate or regard highly, prize, treasure, respect:
I appreciate all you have done for me. Delia's contribution is
not really appreciated. 2 increase or rise or gain in value or
worth: The property in this area has been appreciating at a
rate of about ten per cent a year. 3 understand, comprehend,
recognize, perceive, know, be aware or cognizant or conscious
of: Do you appreciate the implications of the new tax law?
n. 1 gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, thanks;
acknowledgement; obligation: She is trying to think of an
appropriate way to express her appreciation for all he has done.
2 increase, rise, advance, growth, enhancement, gain;
aggrandizement: The appreciation in the value of the shares
made me very wealthy on paper - till the stock-market crash. 3
understanding, comprehension, perception, recognition,
knowledge, awareness; realization, enjoyment; admiration: It's
fortunate that Richard's appreciation of the finer things in
life is supported by his income.
n. 1 novice, tiro or tyro, learner, starter, beginner,
greenhorn, Colloq US rookie: Lever served as an apprentice in
the soap factory.
--v. 2 indenture, contract, bind: Cartwright was apprenticed
to a carpenter before becoming a journeyman cabinet-maker.
approach v. 1 near, advance, draw or come near or nearer or close or
closer, Formal come nigh: Claude approached the table. As night
approached, the sky darkened. With approaching manhood, you
must take on more responsibilities. 2 approximate, nearly equal,
come close to, compare with: The total is beginning to approach
your estimate. 3 make advances or overtures to, proposition,
propose to, sound out, make (a) proposal to, solicit, Colloq
chat up: Theo makes mincemeat of any man who tries to approach
--n. 4 approaches. advances, overtures, proposals,
propositions: Michelle had no intention of discouraging
Pierre's approaches. 5 access, passage, way, path, course;
entry: The approach to the house was overgrown with brambles.
6 advance, movement: Our approach to the gates was being
watched very carefully. 7 method, procedure, modus operandi,
way, technique, style, manner, attitude, Slang US MO (= 'modus
operandi'): Our approach in dealing with the problem is
adj. 1 suitable, apt, fitting, fit, proper, right, meet,
becoming, befitting, seemly, suited, apropos, correct, germane,
pertinent, happy, felicitous: Will a dinner-jacket be
appropriate attire? She has written a poem appropriate to the
--v. 2 take, take over, seize, expropriate, arrogate, annex,
impound; commandeer; steal, pilfer, filch, usurp, make away or
off with, Colloq pinch, lift, Brit nick, US boost: The police
appropriated the paintings. Somebody has appropriated my chair.
3 set aside or apart, devote, assign, earmark, allot, apportion:
Most of the money has been appropriated for back taxes.
adv. fittingly, suitably, properly, correctly, aptly, rightly,
becomingly, meetly: She came down appropriately dressed for
approval n. sanction, approbation, blessing, consent, agreement,
concurrence; endorsement, acceptance, imprimatur, affirmation,
‚clat, confirmation, mandate, authorization; licence, leave,
permission, rubber stamp, Colloq OK, okay, go-ahead, green
light: I don't think that the plan will meet with the
committee's approval. We gave our approval to proceed.
approve v. 1 Often, approve of. allow, countenance, condone, permit,
sanction, authorize, endorse, put one's imprimatur on, agree
(to), accept, assent (to), go along with, Colloq OK or okay,
give the green light or go-ahead or one's blessing (to),
rubber-stamp: The headmistress would never approve your leaving
the building during classes. 2 confirm, affirm, support, ratify,
uphold, subscribe to, second, give the stamp of approval to;
favour, commend, recommend: Sheila Jones's appointment to the
commission has been approved unanimously. 3 approve of.
sanction, consider fair or good or right, accept, favour,
respect, be partial to, like, have regard for, have a preference
for, tolerate, reconcile oneself to: I always had the feeling
that her father didn't quite approve of me.
adj. 1 rough, inexact, loose, imprecise, estimated, Colloq
guestimated, ballpark: The figures are only approximate, not
--v. 2 near, approach, come close to, verge on: Your estimates
approximate those of the budget committee. 3 resemble,
approach, look or seem like; simulate: The laboratory tests on
rats approximate the way the virus behaves in humans.
adv. approaching; nearly, almost, close to, about, around, give
or take, roughly, generally: I haven't seen Sally for
approximately three weeks. There are approximately fifty people
in the audience.
aptitude n. 1 fitness, suitability, appropriateness, relevance,
applicability, suitableness, aptness: One need only look at an
albatross in the air to appreciate its aptitude for flight. 2
tendency, propensity, disposition, predilection, bent,
proclivity; talent, gift, ability, capability, facility,
faculty, flair: Helen displays a natural aptitude for the
violin. 3 intelligence, quick-wittedness, intellect; capacity,
aptness: The aptitude of that new student sets her apart from
the others in the class.
arbitrary adj. 1 capricious, varying, erratic, uncertain, inconsistent,
doubtful, unpredictable, whimsical, irrational, chance, random,
inconsistent, subjective, unreasoned, irrational, Colloq chancy,
iffy: The choices are entirely arbitrary, totally at the whim
of the council and not based on research or knowledge. 2
absolute, tyrannical, despotic, authoritarian, magisterial,
summary, peremptory, autocratic, dogmatic, imperious,
uncompromising, inconsiderate, high-handed, dictatorial, Rare
thetic(al): The conduct of the archbishop appears to have been
arbitrary and harsh.
arch adj. 1 chief, principal, prime, primary, pre-eminent, foremost,
first, greatest, consummate, major: Moriarty was Holmes's
arch-enemy. 2 clever, cunning, crafty, roguish, tricky, shrewd,
artful, sly, designing: Brendan loves to play his arch pranks
on unsuspecting friends. 3 waggish, saucy, mischievous,
prankish: I could tell from the lad's arch expression that he
had thrown the snowball.
ardent adj. eager, intense, zealous, keen, fervent, fervid,
passionate, avid, fierce, impassioned, hot, warm; enthusiastic:
Diane was carrying on ardent love affairs with at least three
ardour n. eagerness, desire, zeal, fervency, burning desire, keenness,
fervour, passion, heat, warmth; enthusiasm: Bernadette has
supported the cause with great ardour.
arduous adj. 1 laborious, difficult, hard, tough, strenuous, onerous,
burdensome, back-breaking, painful, Formal operose; tiring,
exhausting, wearisome, fatiguing, taxing, gruelling, trying,
formidable: The Sherpas were well equipped for the arduous
climb. What an arduous task it is to read the proofs of a
dictionary! 2 energetic, strenuous, vigorous: Montrose made
arduous efforts to reconstruct his army.
area n. 1 space, room: Is there enough floor area here for the
carpet? 2 extent, limit, compass, size, square footage,
acreage: The area of my greenhouse is thirty by fifteen feet.
3 space, field, region, tract, territory, district, zone,
stretch; section, quarter, precinct, arrondissement,
neighbourhood, locality, bailiwick, US block: An area was set
aside for a garden. There has been a lot of crime in that area
lately. 4 scope, range, extent, breadth, compass, section: His
studies cover only one area of Scottish history. 5 court,
courtyard, enclosure, close, yard; square, ground, arena, field,
parade-ground, parade: The soldiers drill in the area behind
argue v. 1 dispute, debate, disagree, bicker, wrangle, quarrel,
squabble, spar, fight, remonstrate, altercate, Colloq chiefly
Brit row, scrap: The couple next door are continually arguing
with each other at the tops of their voices. 2 discuss, reason,
debate, wrangle: He would argue by the hour, but never for
arguing's sake. 3 make a case, talk, plead, debate, contend: I
cannot tell whether she's arguing for or against the
proposition. 4 prove, evince, indicate, denote, demonstrate,
show, establish, suggest, signify, betoken: The increase in
street crime argues that the police are not visible enough. 5
say, assert, hold, maintain, reason, claim, contend: The
defendant argued that he had never met the witness. 6 argue
into or out of. persuade or dissuade, talk out of or into,
prevail upon; convince: I argued him out of sailing to Bermuda
alone. She succeeded in arguing me into going to the tea dance.
argument n. 1 debate, dispute, disagreement, quarrel, controversy,
polemic, wrangle, squabble, tiff, spat, altercation; conflict,
fight, fracas, affray, fray, Donnybrook, feud, Colloq row,
falling-out, scrap, barney: The argument was about who had
invented the wheel. The argument spilt out into the street. 2
point, position, (line of) reasoning, logic, plea, claim,
pleading, assertion, contention, case; defence: His argument
has merit. Arthur's argument falls apart when he brings in the
adj. quarrelsome, disputatious, belligerent, combative,
contentious, litigious, disagreeable, testy: Evelyn is
irritable and argumentative.
arise v. 1 rise, get up, stand up, get to one's feet; wake up, get
out of bed, awake: We arose when Lady Spencer entered the room.
I have arisen before dawn all my life. 2 rise, go up, come up,
ascend, climb; mount: The full moon arose in the eastern sky.
3 come up, be brought up, be mentioned, Colloq crop up: The
subject never would have arisen if the waiter hadn't spilt the
wine on me. 4 spring up, begin, start (up), originate, come up,
Colloq crop up: A very unpleasant situation has arisen
regarding the missing funds.
aroma n. 1 smell, odour, fragrance, scent, perfume, savour, bouquet;
redolence: Don't you just love to be awakened by the aroma of
fresh coffee? 2 smell, odour, character, aura, atmosphere,
flavour, hint, suggestion: There is an aroma of dishonesty
about them that I can't quite identify.
aromatic adj. fragrant, spicy, perfumed, savoury, pungent: A most
agreeable scent came from a bowl of aromatic herbs.
around adv. 1 about, approximately, nearly, almost, roughly; circa:
There were around a dozen of us in the place. 2 about,
everywhere, in every direction, on all sides, all over,
throughout: By this time the savages were all around and we
couldn't move. 3 round, about, for everyone or all, US also
'round: I don't think we have enough food to go around. 4
round, about, all about, everywhere, here and there, hither and
thither, hither and yon, far and wide: The tinker travelled
around selling his wares and repairing pots.
--prep. 5 round, about, surrounding, encompassing, enveloping,
encircling, on all sides of, in all directions from, enclosing:
The fields around the castle were cultivated by tenant farmers.
6 about, approximately, roughly; circa: He was born around the
turn of the century.
arouse v. 1 awaken, raise (up), wake up, waken, rouse, revive, stir
(up): I was aroused by the noise and reached for my pistol. 2
excite, stir up, stimulate, awaken, summon up, spark, Colloq
turn on: My suspicions were aroused because she was carrying my
umbrella. 3 provoke, encourage, quicken, foster, call forth,
stir up, kindle, foment: The song aroused feelings of
patriotism among the recruits.
arrange v. 1 order, dispose, array, organize, sort (out), systematize,
group, set up, rank, line up, align, form, position: The
teachers arranged the children according to height. The flowers
were arranged in a vase so as to conceal the listening device. 2
settle, plan, set (up), organize, orchestrate, manipulate,
choreograph; predetermine, decide, prepare, determine,
prearrange, devise, bring about, contrive; fix it: Everything
has been arranged - you won't have to lift a finger. For a
small fee I can arrange for you to win the first prize. 3
orchestrate, score, adapt: Flemburgh has arranged music for
some of the best-known modern composers.
n. 1 order, disposition, grouping, organization, array,
display, structure, structuring, ordering, alignment, line-up,
Colloq set-up: Don't you care for the arrangement of the
furniture, Milady? 2 structure, combination, construction,
contrivance, affair, set-up: An arrangement of bricks served as
a hearth. 3 settlement, agreement, terms, plan, contract,
covenant, compact: The arrangement called for Bosworth to get
ten per cent of the gross profits. 4 orchestration, score,
instrumentation, adaptation, interpretation, version: I prefer
Fats Waller's arrangement of 'Sugar Blues'. 5 arrangements.
preparations, plans; groundwork, planning: Arrangements have
been made for the limousine to pick you up at five.
arrest v. 1 stop, halt, check, stall, forestall, detain, delay,
hinder, restrain, obstruct, prevent, block, interrupt: The
progress of the train has been arrested. 2 catch, capture,
seize, apprehend, take, take in, take into custody, detain,
Colloq nab, pinch, collar, bust, run in, Brit nick: Foxworthy
was arrested crossing the border. 3 slow, retard, stop: I'm
afraid that we have here a case of arrested mental development.
--n. 4 seizure, capture, apprehension, detention; restraint,
Colloq bust, US collar: The police have made six arrests. 5
stop, stoppage, check, cessation: The doctor said it was a case
of cardiac arrest. 6 under arrest. in custody, under legal
restraint, in the hands of the law, imprisoned, arrested: You
are under arrest for the murder of one Hugh Brown, and anything
you say may be used in evidence against you.
arresting adj. striking, shocking, remarkable, impressive, electrifying,
stunning, extraordinary, surprising, dazzling: It is indeed an
experience to be in the presence of such an arresting beauty.
arrival n. 1 coming, advent, appearance: We have been awaiting your
arrival for weeks. 2 newcomer; immigrant; traveller, passenger;
tourist; Australian migrant, new chum: The arrivals on flight
422 were questioned about a bearded passenger on the plane.
arrive v. 1 come, make one's appearance, appear, turn up, Colloq show
up; Slang hit (town), blow in: She arrived only two minutes
before the plane was to take off. 2 succeed, prosper, get ahead
(in the world), reach the top, Colloq make it, make the grade,
get somewhere, get there: Yuppies believe that once they own a
fur coat and a Mercedes, they've arrived. 3 arrive at. come or
get to, reach; attain: I think that Crumley has arrived at the
stage in his career where he merits a promotion.
arrogance n. self-assertion, impertinence, insolence, presumption, nerve,
effrontery, gall, presumptuousness, self-importance, conceit,
egotism, hauteur, haughtiness, loftiness, pride, hubris,
pompousness, pomposity, pretension, pretentiousness, bluster,
snobbery, snobbishness, Colloq snottiness, Slang Brit side: He
has the arrogance to assume that I wish to see him again.
arrogant adj. 1 presumptuous, assuming, self-assertive, conceited,
egotistical, pompous, superior, brazen, bumptious, cavalier: It
would be most arrogant of me to take for myself the glory that
rightfully belongs to the whole team. 2 haughty, overbearing,
imperious, high-handed, overweening, disdainful, contemptuous,
scornful, snobbish, supercilious, lofty, swaggering , Brit
toffee-nosed; Colloq uppity, on one's high horse, high and
mighty, snotty: Since her husband was made a company director,
she's become unbearably arrogant.
art n. 1 skill, skilfulness, ingenuity, aptitude, talent, artistry,
craftsmanship; knowledge, expertise; craft, technique,
adroitness, dexterity, Colloq know-how: Little art is required
to plant turnips. 2 artistry, artisticness; taste,
tastefulness: High art differs from low art in possessing an
excess of beauty in addition to its truth. 3 craft, technique,
business, profession, skill: The fishermen can't employ their
art with much success in so troubled a sea. 4 knack, aptitude,
faculty, technique, mastery; dexterity, adroitness:
Conversation may be esteemed a gift, not an art. You have
acquired the art of insulting people without their realizing it.
5 trickery, craftiness, cunning, wiliness, slyness, guile,
deceit, duplicity, artfulness, cleverness, astuteness: You have
to admire the art with which she wraps him round her little
finger. 6 arts. wiles, schemes, stratagems, artifices,
subterfuges, tricks; manoeuvres,: She was expert in the arts
which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation.
artful adj. 1 scheming, wily, sly, cunning, foxy, tricky, crafty,
deceitful, underhand or underhanded, double-dealing, guileful,
disingenuous: That artful fellow managed to sell me a
completely useless gadget. 2 ingenious, clever, astute, shrewd,
dexterous: She has practised her artful deceptions so long that
nobody believes anything she says.
artifice n. 1 skill, cunning, trickery, craft, craftiness, artfulness,
guile, duplicity, deception, chicanery, underhandedness,
shrewdness, slyness, wiliness, trickiness: He used artifice to
get control of the firm. 2 stratagem, device, manoeuvre, trick,
contrivance, wile, ruse, subterfuge, expedient, contrivance,
Colloq dodge: They were deluded by artifices to cheat them out
of their money.
adj. 1 unnatural, synthetic, man-made, manufactured, simulated,
imitation, plastic: The museum has a strange collection of
artificial teeth on display. 2 made-up, concocted, bogus, fake,
sham, false, counterfeit, Colloq phoney or US also phony: The
figures used in the sample survey are entirely artificial. 3
affected, unnatural, forced, pretended, high-sounding, feigned,
assumed, contrived, factitious; meretricious, insincere, sham,
faked, Colloq phoney or US also phony: I tell you that Alan's
concern for you is entirely artificial.
artless adj. 1 innocent, sincere, guileless, ingenuous, true, natural,
open, unartificial, genuine, simple, direct, candid, frank,
honest, straightforward, above-board, uncomplicated, undevious,
undeceptive , Colloq upfront, on the level, on the up and up:
Imitation is a kind of artless flattery. 2 unpretentious,
unassuming, unaffected, natural, simple, na‹ve, unsophisticated,
plain, ordinary, humble: The remarks were those of an artless
young man who meant nothing sinister. 3 unskilled, untalented,
unskilful, unpractised, inexperienced, inexpert, primitive,
unproficient, incompetent, inept, clumsy, crude, awkward,
bungling: Clogs must be the most artless footwear ever made.
ashamed adj. embarrassed, abashed, humiliated, chagrined, mortified,
blushing, shamefaced, sheepish, red-faced: I was ashamed to
have to admit that it was I who had written the nasty letter.
ask v. 1 question, interrogate, query, quiz; inquire or enquire
(of): Let's ask the policeman for information. Just ask
directions of any passer-by. I merely asked if you were going my
way. 2 demand, require, expect, request: Doing his laundry is a
lot to ask. 3 beg, apply (to), appeal (to), seek (from),
solicit (from), petition, plead (to), beg, beseech, pray,
entreat, implore: In the streets, thousands of beggars ask
passers-by for alms. 4 invite, bid, summon: Nellie asked me to
dinner. 5 ask after or about. inquire or enquire after or
about: My sister asked after you - wanted to know how you were
getting along. 6 ask for. a invite, attract, encourage,
provoke: You're asking for trouble if you walk alone through
that neighbourhood after dark. b request, seek: We asked for
more time to finish the project.
aspect n. 1 viewpoint, point of view, position, standpoint, side:
Looked at from a different aspect, the problem did not seem
insurmountable after all. 2 complexion, light, angle,
interpretation, mien, face: His conviction for robbery put a
different aspect on hiring him as a security guard. 3 exposure,
prospect, outlook, orientation: The western aspect of the room
made it sunny in the afternoons. 4 side, feature, attribute,
characteristic, quality, detail, angle, facet, manifestation,
element, circumstance: There are many aspects of Buddhism that
you do not understand.
aspersion n. slander, libel, false insinuation, calumny, imputation,
allegation, detraction, slur, obloquy, defamation,
disparagement: He resented my casting aspersions on the
legitimacy of his birth.
n. desire, longing, yearning, craving, hankering, wish, dream,
hope; ambition, aim, goal, objective, purpose, intention, plan,
scheme, plot: It was his lifelong aspiration to marry someone
aspire v. aspire to. desire, hope, long, wish, aim, yearn; dream of:
I'd never aspire to anything higher. He still aspired to being a
assailant n. attacker, assaulter, mugger: My assailant threatened me
with a knife.
assault n. 1 attack, onslaught, onset, charge, offensive, blitzkrieg,
blitz, strike, raid, incursion, sortie; aggression, invasion:
At dawn we launched the assault on the fort. 2 beating,
battering, hold-up, mugging; rape, violation, molestation; Law
battery: The defendant is accused of assault.
--v. 3 attack, assail, set or fall upon, pounce upon, storm,
beset, charge, rush, lay into: The elderly couple were
assaulted near their home. 4 rape, violate, molest: Three
women were assaulted in that neighbourhood last night. 5 beat
(up), batter, bruise, harm, hit, strike, punch, smite: She
complained that her husband continually assaulted the children.
assemble v. 1 convene, gather, call or bring or get together, convoke,
summon, muster, marshal, rally, levy, round up, collect,
congregate, forgather or foregather; meet: The forces were
assembled along the waterfront. A small crowd assembled at the
airport. 2 accumulate, gather, amass, collect, bring or group or
lump together, compile, unite, join or draw together: The
paintings were assembled from many sources. 3 construct, put
together, erect, set up, fit or join or piece together, connect,
fabricate, manufacture, make: The sculpture was assembled from
so-called objets trouv‚s , or 'found' objects.
assembly n. 1 gathering, group, meeting, assemblage, body, circle,
company, congregation, flock, crowd, throng, multitude, host;
horde: A huge assembly of well-wishers greeted the candidate.
2 convocation, council, convention, congress, association,
conclave; diet, synod: The assembly voted to re-elect the
incumbent officers. 3 construction, putting together, erection,
connection, setting up, set-up, fitting or joining or piecing
together, fabrication; manufacture, making: Assembly of the
bicycle can be completed in an hour.
assertion n. 1 statement, declaration, affirmation, contention,
asseveration, averment, avowal, pronouncement; Law affidavit,
deposition: He made the assertion that he had never seen the
defendant before. 2 insistence, proclamation, representation,
affirmation, confirmation: The kings exercised their
jurisdiction in the assertion of their regal power.
assertive adj. declaratory, affirmative, asseverative; definite, certain,
sure, positive, firm, emphatic, bold, aggressive, confident,
insistent; dogmatic, doctrinaire, domineering, opinionated,
peremptory, Colloq bossy, pushy: Harold won't obey unless his
mother adopts an assertive tone with him.
asset n. 1 Also, assets. property, resources, possessions, holdings,
effects, capital, means, valuables, money, wealth: We have to
pay a tax on the company's assets. Her only liquid asset was
some shares in the Suez Canal Company. 2 talent, strength,
advantage, resource, benefit: His main asset is that he speaks
assign v. 1 allot, allocate, apportion, consign, appropriate,
distribute, give (out), grant: A water ration was assigned to
each person. 2 fix, set (apart or aside), settle (on),
determine, appoint, authorize, designate, ordain, prescribe,
specify: Have they really assigned Thursday as the day of
worship? Please sit in the seats assigned to you. 3 appoint,
designate, order; name, delegate, nominate, attach; choose,
select; Brit second: The men have been assigned to their posts.
I assigned David to look after the champagne. 4 attribute,
ascribe, accredit, put down; refer: To which century did the
curator assign this vase?
n. 1 allotment, allocation, apportionment, giving (out),
distribution: Assignment of posts in the Cabinet is the
responsibility of the Prime Minister. 2 task, obligation,
responsibility, chore, duty, position, post, charge, job,
mission, commission; lesson, homework: Every agent is expected
to carry out his assignment. The school assignment for tomorrow
is an essay on Alexander Pope. 3 appointment, designation,
naming, nomination: The assignment of Neil Mackay to the post
was a stroke of genius. 4 designation, specification,
ascription: In ancient medicine, the assignment of the
functions of the organs was often wrong.
assist v. 1 aid, help, second, support: He could walk only if
assisted by the nurse. 2 further, promote, abet, support,
benefit, facilitate: The rumours will not assist his election.
3 help, succour, serve, work for or with; relieve: She has
always assisted the poor.
n. help, aid, support, succour, backing, reinforcement, relief,
benefit: Can you get up without my assistance? The scholarship
fund offered financial assistance.
assistant n. 1 helper, helpmate or helpmeet, aid, aide; aide-de-camp,
second: These systems make use of rhymes as assistants to the
memory. 2 deputy, subordinate, subsidiary, auxiliary;
underling: He is now the assistant to the sales manager.
associate v. 1 associate (with). a ally with, link, join or unite
(with), combine or confederate (with), connect (with), conjoin
(with): In the 1930s Abe was associated with Dutch and Louis in
Murder, Incorporated. I always associate him with fast cars and
hard drinking. b see, be seen with, socialize or fraternize
(with), mix or mingle (with), go (out) with, consort with, have
to do with, Colloq hang out with, Brit pal with or about, pal up
(with), US pal around (with): Mother told me not to associate
with boys who use that kind of language.
--n. 2 colleague, partner; fellow, fellow-worker: I'd like you
to meet my associate, Ian Lindsay. 3 confederate, ally,
collaborator; accomplice, accessory: He and his associates have
been sent to prison for conspiracy. 4 comrade, companion,
friend, mate, buddy; confidant(e): We have been close
associates for many years.
--adj. 5 subsidiary, secondary: She is an associate professor
at an American university. 6 allied, affiliate, affiliated,
associated; accessory: Publication is under the direction of an
n. 1 society, organization, confederation, confederacy,
federation, league, union, alliance, guild, coalition, group;
syndicate, combine, consortium, cooperative: The society later
became known as the British Association for the Advancement of
Science. 2 connection, link, affiliation, relationship, bond,
tie, linkage, linking, pairing, joining, conjunction, bonding:
The association between princes and frogs is probably lost on
anyone so literal-minded. 3 fellowship, intimacy, friendship,
camaraderie, comradeship, relationship: There has been a
long-standing association between Peter and Wendy.
n. 1 group, class, category, batch, set, lot, classification,
grouping: Which assortment contains only plain chocolates? 2
collection, pot-pourri, mixture, m‚lange, array, agglomeration,
conglomeration, medley, farrago, variety, miscellany, jumble,
salmagundi, gallimaufry, mishmash, Colloq mixed bag: That hat
looks like something from the assortment at a jumble sale. A
bizarre assortment of people attended the meeting.
assume v. 1 accept, adopt, take, use, employ; arrogate, appropriate,
take over or up, undertake: Who will assume the leadership of
the party? 2 take on (oneself), take upon (oneself), put or try
on, don, adopt; acquire: Whenever she delivered the
information, she assumed the disguise of an old man. That
trivial dispute has assumed gargantuan proportions. 3 presume,
suppose, believe, fancy, expect, think, presuppose, take, take
for granted, surmise, Chiefly US guess: When I saw the knife in
his hand, I assumed the chef was going to slice a lemon. The
king assumed he had the cooperation of Parliament. 4 pretend to,
feign, sham, counterfeit, simulate, sham, affect, fake: Though
she cared deeply, she assumed a devil-may-care attitude.
assumed adj. 1 appropriated, taken, usurped, expropriated, pre-empted,
usurped, seized: He functions in his assumed capacity as a
judge. 2 pretended, put on, sham, false, feigned, affected,
counterfeit, simulated, spurious, bogus, fake; pseudonymous,
made-up, Colloq phoney or US also phony: She morosely stared at
the floor in assumed contrition. He wrote poetry under an
assumed name. 3 taken, taken for granted, presumed, supposed,
accepted, expected, presupposed; hypothetical, theoretical,
suppositional: The payment depends materially on the assumed
rate of interest.
assurance n. 1 promise, pledge, guarantee or guaranty, warranty,
commitment, bond, surety; word, word of honour, oath, vow: You
have the bank's assurance that the money will be on deposit. 2
insurance, indemnity: His life assurance is barely enough to
cover the costs of his funeral. 3 certainty, confidence, trust,
faith, reassurance, surety, assuredness, certitude; security:
There is no assurance that Herr Kleister will get the job done.
4 audacity, impudence, presumption, boldness, brazenness, nerve,
effrontery, insolence , Colloq brass, gall, cheek, chutzpah:
With an air of assurance they quote authors they have never
read. 5 self-confidence, self-reliance, confidence, steadiness,
intrepidity, self-possession, poise, aplomb, coolness, control,
self-control, resolve, Colloq gumption, guts, gutsiness: He has
the assurance of one born to command.
assure v. 1 secure, stabilize, settle, establish, confirm, certify,
warrant, guarantee, ensure, be confident of, make or be sure or
certain: Force, fear, and the multitude of his guard do less to
assure the estate of a prince than the good will of his
subjects. 2 encourage, inspirit, reassure, hearten: Your
humanity assures us and gives us strength. 3 convince,
persuade, reassure, make (someone) certain; ensure: What can I
do to assure you of my love? 4 assert, state, asseverate,
promise: I assure you that we shall do everything possible to
find your dog.
astonish v. amaze, surprise, shock, astound, stun, stagger, dumbfound or
dumfound, bowl over, floor, stupefy, daze, Colloq flabbergast:
She astonished the audience with her gymnastic skill. I was
astonished when told my wife had given birth to quintuplets.
n. amazement, surprise, shock, stupefaction, wonder,
wonderment: I'll never forget that look of astonishment on his
face when he learned he had won.
astound v. surprise, shock, astonish, stun, stagger, dumbfound or
dumfound, bowl over, floor, stupefy, bewilder, overwhelm, Colloq
flabbergast: We were astounded to learn that he had survived
all those years on a desert island. The Great MacTavish performs
astounding feats of magic and levitation!
astute adj. 1 shrewd, subtle, clever, ingenious, adroit, wily,
cunning, calculating, canny, crafty, artful, arch, sly, foxy,
guileful, underhand, underhanded; Rare astucious: He had the
reputation of being an astute businessman. 2 sharp, keen,
perceptive, observant, alert, quick, quick-witted, sage,
sagacious, wise, intelligent, insightful, perspicacious,
discerning, knowledgeable: That was a very astute comment,
n. 1 air, heaven(s), sky, aerosphere: It is gravity that
prevents the earth's atmosphere from drifting off into outer
space. 2 air, ambience or ambiance, environment, climate, mood,
feeling, feel, spirit, tone: There's such a friendly atmosphere
in the bar of the Golden Cockerel. The atmosphere became very
chilly when she told him she was marrying someone else.
atone v. expiate, make amends, pay, repay, answer, compensate;
redress, remedy, propitiate, redeem: Nothing can atone for her
betrayal of him to the enemy. He has atoned for his sins many
atonement n. amends, propitiation, reparation, repayment, compensation,
payment, restitution, recompense, expiation, penance,
satisfaction: He sent her flowers in atonement, together with a
note apologizing profusely for his actions.
atrocious adj. 1 cruel, wicked, iniquitous, villainous, fiendish,
execrable, appalling, abominable, monstrous, inhuman, savage,
barbaric, brutal, barbarous, heinous, dreadful, flagrant,
flagitious, gruesome, grisly, ruthless, ghastly, unspeakable,
horrifying, horrible, awful, infamous, infernal, satanic,
hellish: They will never forget the atrocious crimes that took
place during the war. 2 awful, terrible, bad, rotten, horrid,
appalling, frightful, horrendous, Colloq lousy: That's the most
atrocious book it has ever been my misfortune to review.
Priscilla has atrocious taste.
atrocity n. 1 enormity, wickedness, flagitiousness, iniquity, infamy,
cruelty, heinousness, horror, evil, inhumanity, barbarity,
savagery: The atrocity of the 'Final Solution' was a well-kept
secret during the war. 2 evil, outrage, crime, villainy,
offence: She could not listen when the prosecutor read a list
of the atrocities perpetrated at the camp.
attach v. 1 fasten, join, connect, secure, fix, affix; tack or hook or
tie or stick on, pin, rivet, cement, glue, bond, solder, weld,
braze; unite; Nautical bend: The tag is still attached to your
dress. Attach this to the wall. How do I attach the sail to the
spar? 2 connect, associate, assign, affiliate, enlist, join,
add, subjoin, Brit second: Her brother-in-law has been attached
to my regiment. 3 endear, attract: I won't say that we were in
love, but I was very closely attached to her. 4 fix, affix, pin,
apply, ascribe, assign, attribute, put, place: Why do you
attach so much importance to what Dora says? 5 adhere, cleave,
stick: Many legends have attached themselves to Charlemagne. 6
seize, lay hold of, confiscate, appropriate: If he cannot meet
the mortgage payments the bank will attach his house.
attached adj. 1 connected, joined, Brit seconded: She has been attached
to the Foreign Office for many years. 2 united, fastened,
fixed: The knob attached to the outside of the door might come
off. 3 Often, attached to. devoted (to), partial (to), fond
(of), devoted (to): I feel closely attached to her. I became
attached to the painting and did not wish to sell it. 4 spoken
for, married, unavailable, engaged, betrothed: I would have
asked Suzanne out, but I gather she's attached.
n. 1 fastening; connection, tie, link, bond: The attachment of
this fitting is too flimsy. William cannot understand how an
attachment could have been formed between his wife and his
brother. 2 attaching, fastening, linking, joining, affixing,
fixing, connection: The mode of attachment to the wall is not
immediately apparent. 3 affection, regard, fidelity,
faithfulness, devotion, regard, liking, fondness, affinity,
friendliness, loyalty, admiration, tenderness, partiality,
friendship, love: We still feel a deep attachment, despite the
divorce. 4 adjunct, addition, accessory, device, appliance,
extra, accoutrement or US also accouterment, appendage, part;
ornament, decoration; Colloq gadget: With this attachment, the
film is advanced automatically. Attachments are available at
attack v. 1 assail, assault, fall or set or pounce upon; charge, rush,
raid, strike (at), storm; engage (in battle), fight; Colloq mug,
jump: They were attacked on their way home by a gang of boys.
Helicopter gunships were sent out to attack the bunker. 2
criticize, censure, berate; abuse, revile, inveigh against,
denounce, condemn, malign, denigrate, decry, disparage,
deprecate, vilify: His article attacked the minister for his
views on housing. 3 begin, start; approach, undertake: We
attacked the meal with gusto. 4 affect, seize; infect:
Rheumatism attacks young and old alike. 5 waste, devour,
destroy, eat; erode, corrode, decompose, dissolve: Termites
have attacked the beams of the house. Watch how the acid attacks
the areas on the plate that have not been protected.
--n. 6 assault, onset, offensive, onslaught, incursion, raid,
strike, inroad, invasion: The enemy responded to our attack
with a smokescreen. After capturing the pawn, Karpov launched an
attack on the queen. 7 criticism, censure; abuse, denunciation,
revilement, denigration, decrial, disparagement, deprecation,
vilification: The quarterly's attack is totally uncalled for.
8 seizure, spell, spasm, paroxysm; fit, bout: Preston has had
another attack of gout. How do you stop an attack of hiccups? 9
destruction, wasting; erosion, corrosion: Noting the attack on
the planks by shipworm, the surveyor declared the vessel
unseaworthy. Aluminium will not withstand the attack of the salt
air in this area.
attempt v. 1 try, essay, undertake, take on, venture; endeavour,
strive, Colloq have or take a crack at, try on, have a go or
shot at: It is too stormy to attempt the crossing tonight. Is
she going to attempt to dive off the cliff tomorrow?
--n. 2 endeavour, try, essay; effort, undertaking, bid, Colloq
crack, go, shot: The weather cleared sufficiently for another
attempt at the summit. He made a feeble attempt to wave. 3
attack, assault: An abortive attempt was made on the life of
the vice-president tonight.
attend v. 1 be present (at), go to, be at, appear (at), put in an
appearance (at), turn up (at), haunt, frequent; sit in (on), US
and Canadian audit: Are you attending the concert? She attends
Miss Fiennes's elocution class. 2 turn to, pay attention to,
serve, tend to, take care of, deal with, handle, heed, fulfil:
I shall attend to your request as soon as possible, Madam. 3
Also, attend to. watch over, wait on or upon, care for, take
care of, minister to, occupy oneself with, look after, look out
for, devote oneself to: Mrs Atterbury attends the patients in
the cancer ward on weekdays. The clergyman has his own flock to
attend to. 4 escort, accompany, conduct, convoy, squire, usher,
wait upon, follow; chaperon or chaperone: The actress arrived,
attended by her entourage of toadies. 5 be associated with,
accompany, result in or from, give rise to: A departure in the
midst of the battle would be attended by great peril, Milord.
n. 1 presence, appearance, being: Your attendance at chapel is
required. 2 audience, crowd, assembly, assemblage, gathering,
turnout, gate, house: The attendance at the f€te was greater
than we expected. 3 in attendance. waiting upon, attending,
serving: The king always has at least four people in
attendant adj. 1 waiting upon, accompanying, following; resultant,
resulting, related, consequent, concomitant, depending,
accessory: The circumstances attendant on your acceptance of
the post are immaterial.
--n. 2 escort, servant, menial, helper, usher or usherette,
chaperon or chaperone; aide, subordinate, underling, assistant;
follower, Derogatory lackey, flunkey, slave; Colloq US cohort:
He dismissed his attendants and entered the church alone.
attention n. 1 heed, regard, notice; concentration: Please give your
attention to the teacher. Pay attention! Don't let your
attention wander. 2 publicity, notice, distinction, acclaim,
prominence, r‚clame, notoriety; limelight: She seems to have
been getting a lot of attention lately.
attentive adj. 1 heedful, observant, awake, alert, intent, watchful,
concentrating, assiduous; mindful, considerate: James is very
attentive in class. You really must be more attentive to the
needs of others. 2 polite, courteous, courtly, gallant,
gracious, accommodating, considerate, thoughtful, solicitous,
civil, respectful, deferential: He is always very attentive to
attest v. bear witness (to), bear out, swear (to), vow, testify,
certify, vouchsafe, declare, assert, asseverate, aver, affirm,
confirm, verify, substantiate, vouch for, Law depose, depose and
say, depone: I attest to the fact that they left the restaurant
together. The merits of chѓteau-bottled Bordeaux are attested by
attitude n. 1 posture, position, disposition, stance, bearing, carriage,
aspect, demeanour: The attitude of the figures in the sculpture
was one of supplication. 2 posture, position, disposition,
opinion, feeling, view, point of view, viewpoint, approach,
leaning, thought, inclination, bent, tendency, orientation:
What is your attitude towards the situation in South Africa?
attract v. draw, invite; entice, lure, allure, appeal to, charm,
captivate, fascinate, Colloq pull: Our attention was attracted
by a slight noise in the cupboard. Melissa attracts men the way
flowers attract bees.
n. 1 draw, appeal; magnetism; gravitation, Colloq pull: David
confided to Joan that he felt a strong attraction to her. There
is an attraction between the north and south poles of these
magnets. 2 draw, lure, enticement, attractant, inducement; show,
entertainment, presentation, performance , Colloq come-on,
crowd-puller, crowd-pleaser: The presence of the movie stars
has been a powerful attraction. The producer has planned to
repeat the attraction every evening.
adj. attracting, drawing, pulling, captivating, taking,
fetching, appealing, luring, inviting, enticing, seductive,
inviting, engaging, charming, interesting, pleasing, winning,
alluring, good-looking, pretty, handsome: The person I'd like
to meet needn't be beautiful or stunning - attractive will do
attribute n. 1 quality, character, characteristic, property, feature,
trait, virtue: It is surprising how soon historical personages
become invested with romantic attributes.
--v. 2 ascribe, impute, assign, put down to, trace to, charge,
credit: The shrivelled arm of Richard the Third was attributed
to witchcraft. To what do you attribute your interest in birds?
n. assignment, ascription, credit: The curator disagreed with
the expert's attribution of the painting to Canaletto.
audacious adj. 1 daring, bold, confident, intrepid, brave, courageous,
adventurous, venturesome, reckless, rash, foolhardy, daredevil,
devil-may-care, fearless, doughty, mettlesome: The troop
launched an audacious daylight attack. Cranshaw made an
audacious bid for the chairmanship. 2 presumptuous, shameless,
bold, impudent, pert, saucy, defiant, impertinent, insolent,
brazen, unabashed, rude, disrespectful, cheeky, forward:
Charlotte was so audacious as to assume that she could win.
aura n. air, atmosphere, feeling, ambience or ambiance, spirit,
character, quality, odour, aroma, emanation: There is an aura
of elegance about the woman that impresses everyone she meets.
auspices n. aegis, sponsorship, authority, protection, support, backing,
supervision, guidance, patronage, sanction, approval, control,
influence: The competition is under the auspices of the
authentic adj. genuine, real, actual, bona fide, factual, accurate, true,
legitimate, authoritative, reliable, veritable, trustworthy,
faithful, undisputed: This is an authentic Chippendale chair.
v. verify, validate, certify, substantiate, endorse, vouch for,
confirm, corroborate: You will have to go to the consul to have
your passport authenticated.
author n. creator, originator, inventor, father, founder, framer,
initiator, maker, prime mover, architect, designer; writer,
novelist, litt‚rateur: Adolfo was the author of the plot to
kill the governor.
adj. dictatorial, imperious, totalitarian, autocratic,
arbitrary, absolute, dogmatic, domineering, strict, severe,
unyielding, tyrannical, despotic, Colloq bossy: Why do people
ever elect an authoritarian government?
adj. 1 official, valid, authentic, documented, certified,
validated, legitimate, sanctioned; conclusive: The second
edition is usually considered the authoritative one. 2
scholarly, learned, authentic, valid, sound, veritable,
verifiable, accurate, factual, faithful, dependable, reliable,
trustworthy, true, truthful: There is no more authoritative
source than Professor Fitzhugh on early Egyptian history.
authority n. 1 power, jurisdiction, dominion, right, control,
prerogative, authorization; hegemony: Who gave you the
authority to tell me what to do? By the authority vested in me,
I now pronounce you man and wife. 2 word, testimony, evidence,
Colloq say-so: Do not accept anything solely on the authority
of the Herald . 3 expert, specialist, scholar, sage, judge,
arbiter: Gardner is an authority on Scottish history. 4
authorities. government, establishment, officials, officialdom,
powers that be, police: The authorities lowered the speed
authorize v. empower, commission; sanction, approve, countenance, permit,
give leave, allow, license, entitle, consent or subscribe to,
endorse, Colloq OK or okay, give the green light or go-ahead to:
Who authorized you to speak for all of us?
automatic adj. 1 self-acting, self-governing, self-regulating,
mechanical, robot, automated: Many modern cars are equipped
with an automatic choke. 2 mechanical, involuntary,
unconscious, instinctive or instinctual, natural, spontaneous,
impulsive, conditioned, reflex, robot-like, Slang knee-jerk:
Flinching is an automatic reaction to a threatening gesture. 3
unavoidable, inevitable, inescapable, ineluctable: It is
automatic for the tax inspector to suspect people of hiding
auxiliary adj. 1 helping, assisting, supportive, aiding, abetting;
helpful, accessory, supplementary: In a well-balanced mind,
imagination and understanding are auxiliary to each other. 2
subordinate, additional, subsidiary, secondary, ancillary,
extra, reserve; accessory: Larger sailing vessels have an
auxiliary motor in case the wind fails.
--n. 3 help, assistance, aid, support, accessory: Knowing
another language is a useful auxiliary in the study of your own.
4 helper, assistant, aide, alter ego, supporter, Colloq man
Friday, girl Friday: Let me introduce Pat, my auxiliary, who
will help you if I am not available.
available adj. at or to hand, at one's disposal, accessible, handy,
present, ready, (readily) obtainable, convenient, nearby, close
by, within reach, on tap, at one's fingertips or elbow: Running
water is available. If you need me for anything, I am available.
adj. innovative, advanced, progressive, experimental, original,
new, ground-breaking, pioneering, precedent-setting;
revolutionary, extreme, extremist, Colloq far-out, way-out: We
disapprove of your avant-garde notions of teaching. Some modern
art, avant-garde not very long ago, seems quite conventional
avarice n. greed, acquisitiveness, cupidity, craving, covetousness,
desire, greediness, rapacity, selfishness; stinginess, meanness,
miserliness, parsimony, tight-fistedness, close-fistedness,
niggardliness, penuriousness: The classic tale of avarice is
that of King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold.
adj. greedy, acquisitive, grasping, covetous, mercenary,
selfish; penny-pinching, stingy, miserly, mean, parsimonious,
tight-fisted, close-fisted, niggardly, penurious, tight: She
fell into the clutches of an avaricious lawyer.
average n. 1 mean, norm, usual, standard: The Bell Inn is certainly
far above average in accommodation, food quality, and service. 2
on average. in the main, generally, normally, usually,
ordinarily, typically, customarily, as a rule, for the most
part: On average, I go abroad twice a year on business.
--adj. 3 normal, common, usual, customary, general, typical,
ordinary, regular: On an average day, the museum has about
2,000 visitors. 4 mediocre, middling, run-of-the-mill,
commonplace, common, ordinary, undistinguished, unexceptional,
Colloq so so: Boris is only an average violinist, but he's a
virtuoso on the harmonica.
averse adj. disinclined, unwilling, reluctant, resistant, loath,
opposed, anti, antipathetic, ill-disposed, indisposed: He does
not appear to be averse to your suggestion: in fact, he seems
quite keen on it.
aversion n. 1 dislike, abhorrence, repugnance, antipathy, antagonism,
animosity, hostility, loathing, hatred, odium, horror;
disinclination, unwillingness, reluctance, dislike, distaste:
Does Anne have an aversion to people who smoke? Your aversion to
the theatre might be explained as agoraphobia. 2 dislike,
hatred, hate, loathing: Turnips are a particular aversion of
avoid v. shun, keep (away) from, keep off, leave alone, keep or steer
clear of, refrain from, dodge, circumvent, sidestep, elude,
escape, evade: The doctor suggested that I avoid chocolate. Why
does Bennie avoid looking me straight in the eye?
awake v. 1 wake (up), awaken, get up, rouse or bestir oneself: When
I awoke, she was standing over me with a pistol. 2 awaken,
animate, arouse, rouse, stimulate, revive, incite, excite,
activate, alert, stir up, fan, kindle, ignite, fire: Marches
awaken my sense of patriotism. 3 awake to. awaken to, wake up
to, realize, understand, become aware or conscious of: I
finally awoke to the fact that my tax return was overdue.
--adj. 4 up, aroused, roused, wide awake, up and about, alert,
on the alert, on the qui vive, watchful, on guard, attentive,
conscious; heedful, alive: I'm always awake a few minutes
before the alarm goes off.
awaken v. See awake, 1, 2, above.
award v. 1 grant, give, confer, bestow, present, accord, furnish,
endow with; assign, apportion: Her dog was awarded the blue
ribbon in the club show.
--n. 2 prize, trophy, reward: The award for the tidiest boats
has been won by the Bristol Yacht Club. 3 grant, bestowal,
presentation, endowment, awarding: Before the award of the
prizes, we listened to speeches. Profits were up last year
despite a large pay award.
aware adj. 1 informed, apprised, knowledgeable, knowing, posted, in
the know, enlightened, au fait, au courant, cognizant, Slang
hip, hep, wise: She is well aware of the consequences. 2
sensitive, sensible, conscious: I became aware that someone was
awesome adj. awe-inspiring, awful, imposing, amazing, wonderful,
breathtaking, marvellous, wondrous, moving, stirring, affecting,
overwhelming, formidable, daunting, dreadful, fearsome, fearful,
frightening, horrifying, terrifying, terrible; unbelievable,
incredible; alarming, shocking, stunning, stupefying,
astounding, astonishing,: The eruption of Vesuvius in AD 67
must have been a truly awesome spectacle.
awful adj. 1 bad, terrible, inferior, base, abominable, rotten,
horrible, horrid; tasteless, unsightly, ugly, hideous,
grotesque, Slang lousy, Brit naff, Chiefly US hellacious: That
is an awful piece of sculpture. I feel awful this morning. 2
frightful, shocking, execrable, unpleasant, grotesque, nasty,
ghastly, gruesome, horrendous, horrifying, horrific, horrible,
unspeakable: That was an awful thing to do.
awfully adv. very (much), badly, terribly, extremely, greatly,
remarkably, in the worst way, dreadfully, extraordinarily,
exceedingly, excessively, really, fearfully, inordinately;
incomparably: I get awfully tired running in the marathon. I'm
awfully sorry I'm late. Doreen is an awfully good horsewoman.
awkward adj. 1 clumsy, ungainly, left-handed, ham-handed, ham-fisted,
blundering, bungling, maladroit, uncoordinated, undexterous,
inexpert, gauche, unhandy, inept, oafish, unskilled, unskilful,
Colloq all thumbs, butter-fingered, Brit cack-handed: In his
awkward attempt at putting the watch back together, Sam left out
a few parts. 2 ungraceful, ungainly, inelegant, wooden, gawky:
The ballerina made an awkward, flat-footed pirouette and
stumbled off stage. 3 embarrassed, shamefaced, uncomfortable,
ill at ease, uneasy, out of place, discomfited, confused: He
felt awkward being the only boy in the class. Terry made an
awkward excuse and left the room. 4 dangerous, hazardous, risky,
precarious, perilous: Be careful, there's an awkward step here.
5 difficult, touchy, sensitive, embarrassing, delicate,
unpleasant, uncomfortable, ticklish, tricky, trying,
troublesome, Colloq sticky: He's got himself into a very
awkward situation indeed.
babble v. 1 prattle, twaddle, jabber, gibber, chatter, blab, blabber,
gurgle, burble, gabble, Colloq blab, blabber, gab, yack, natter,
witter, Brit rabbit: The silly fellow kept babbling away, but
no one was listening. Madelaine is still too young to talk and
just babbles to herself. 2 divulge, tell, disclose, repeat,
reveal, tattle, gossip, blurt (out), Colloq blab: Don't tell
Nigel about the affair - he'll babble it all over town.
--n. 3 gibberish, nonsense, twaddle, prattle, chatter(ing),
gibber, jabber, jibber-jabber, drivel, rubbish, bavardage;
murmur, hubbub: Ella's conversation about the financial market
is just so much babble.
baby n. 1 infant, neonate, newborn, babe, babe in arms, child,
toddler, tot: The baby is just beginning to teethe.
--v. 2 cosset, coddle, pamper, mollycoddle, indulge, spoil,
pet: He turned out that way because he was babied till he was
ten. I know you like to be babied when you're ill.
back v. 1 invest in, wager or bet on: She backed a 35-to-2 long
shot in the Derby, and she won. 2 Also, back up. a support,
uphold, stand behind, promote, encourage, help, uphold, second,
side with, endorse, aid, abet, assist; sponsor, subsidize,
underwrite, subvene, finance, Slang US and Canadian bankroll:
Your mother and I will back you if you want to start a business.
b reverse, go or move in reverse, go or move backwards: He
backed into the driveway. 3 back down (from) or off (from) or
away (from) or out (of) or up. withdraw (from), retreat (from),
abandon, retire (from), backtrack (from), shy away (from),
recoil (from), turn tail (from): When Percy stood up to him,
the bully backed down. The investment sounded risky, so I backed
off. Philippa backed out of singing the leading role. Back up
and give me room!
--n. 4 backside, rear, Technical dorsum: She stood with her
back towards me. 5 at the back of or at someone's back. behind,
following, pursuing, chasing, US in back of: Here come the
hounds at the back of the fox. You were at my back in the queue
a minute ago. 6 behind the back of or behind someone's back.
surreptitiously, secretly, clandestinely, privately, furtively,
sneakily, slyly; treacherously, traitorously, perfidiously,
deceitfully, insidiously: Graham is always telling tales about
you behind your back. 7 break the back of. a overcome, master:
Now that he's broken the back of that problem he can get on with
his work. b US crush, ruin, bankrupt, destroy, defeat, vanquish,
Colloq break: The government has tried on many occasions to
break the back of the Mafia operation. 8 on (someone's) back.
US weighing (down) on or upon (someone), burdening (someone),
lodged with (someone), resting with (someone): The
responsibility for the decision is on your back. 9 turn one's
back on or upon. abandon, forsake, ignore, disregard, repudiate,
reject, cast off, disown, deny: He turned his back on her when
she needed him most. 10 with one's back to or against the wall.
hard pressed, struggling (against odds), without hope, with
little or no hope, helpless, in dire straits, in (serious)
trouble: After the stock-market crash, some brokers found
themselves with their backs to the wall.
--adj. 11 rear; service, servants': Both back tyres are flat.
Please use the back staircase from now on. 12 US and Australian
and New Zealand outlying, remote, isolated, distant;
undeveloped, primitive, raw, rough, uncivilized: They raised
three boys in the back country, and all of them became doctors.
13 in arrears, overdue, past due, late; behindhand: The tax
inspector has advised me that I owe thousands in back taxes.
--adv. 14 to or toward(s) the rear, rearward(s), backward(s);
away: We beat back the enemy in severe hand-to-hand fighting. I
accepted his offer at once, lest he should draw back. Get back
from the edge! 15 in return or repayment or requital or
retaliation; again: I'll pay you back when I have the money.
She gave him back as good as he had given. 16 ago, in time(s)
past: Two generations back, his was the finest house in the
town. 17 behind, behindhand, in arrears, overdue: We are a
week back in the rent. 18 go back on. renege, fail; deny,
disavow, break, repudiate: He has gone back on his promise to
send the payment on the first of every month.
backbone n. 1 spine, spinal column: He's much better since the surgery
on his backbone. 2 mainstay, chief or main support, buttress,
pillar: Sheila has been the backbone of the society, but she
has now moved away. 3 resoluteness, sturdiness, firmness,
determination, strength (of character), mettle, purposefulness,
resolution, courage, fortitude, resolve, will, will-power,
strength, stability, stamina, staying power, grit: Has she the
backbone to run the company alone?
backer n. 1 supporter, advocate, promoter, sponsor, patron: She has
always been an enthusiastic backer of adult education. 2
investor, benefactor or benefactress, supporter, underwriter,
Colloq angel: The play's backers have made huge profits. 3
bettor, Brit punter: His backers are offering odds of 10 to 1.
n. 1 history, experience, qualifications, credentials,
grounding, training; breeding, upbringing, family; curriculum
vitae, Colloq CV: His background suits him admirably for the
post of ambassador. 2 distance, offing, horizon, obscurity: I
like the way the coastline disappears into the background
towards the edge of the painting. 3 in the background.
inconspicuous, unnoticed, unobtrusive, behind the scenes, out of
the limelight or spotlight, unseen, out of the public eye,
backstage: Edward prefers to remain in the background, letting
his dealer bid at the auctions.
backing n. 1 support, help, aid, assistance, succour; approval,
endorsement, patronage, approval, sponsorship: He knows that he
can rely on the backing of his local party. 2 investment,
money, funds, funding, subsidy, grant; sponsorship: How can you
launch the company without backing?
backlash n. reaction, repercussion, recoil, counteraction, rebound,
kickback, backfire; boomerang: There was a strong backlash in
the USA against giving minorities preferred instead of equal job
backward adj. 1 bashful, shy, reticent, diffident, retiring, coy, timid,
unwilling, loath, chary, reluctant, averse: She took him to be
a bit backward when he didn't respond to her smile. 2 slow,
dim-witted, dull, stupid, slow-witted, dumb, feeble-minded,
Colloq Brit gormless, dim: Some of the more backward students
will need extra help. 3 slow, late, behindhand, retarded:
Millie seemed a bit backward in learning to walk. 4 rearward;
to the rear, behind; to the past: She gave him a backward
glance. He went on through life with never a backward look. 5
retrograde, retrogressive, reverse, regressive: The ancients
were unable to account for the apparently backward motion of the
--adv. 6 backwards: Walk backward to the door with your hands
backwards adv. 1 rearwards or rearward, in reverse, regressively,
retrogressively, backward; withershins or widdershins, Brit
anticlockwise, US counter-clockwise: The general, who refused
to acknowledge defeat, explained that his troops were 'advancing
backwards'. Do the clocks run backwards in Australia, Daddy? 2
in reverse; back to front: She can even ride sitting backwards
on a galloping horse. I think you're wearing your pullover
bad adj. 1 poor, wretched, inferior, defective, awful, worthless,
miserable, egregious, execrable, substandard, unsatisfactory,
disappointing, inadequate, non-standard, Colloq lousy, rotten,
crummy, Slang Brit grotty, naff: Sometimes they would send him
a letter, but he was a bad correspondent. We went to see a
rather bad play the other night. 2 corrupt, polluted, vitiated,
debased, base, vile, foul, rotten, miasmic, noxious, mephitic,
unhealthy, poisonous, injurious, dangerous, harmful, hurtful,
pernicious, deleterious, ruinous: It wasn't healthy to be so
near the bad air of the sewer. 3 evil, ill, immoral, wicked,
vicious, vile, sinful, depraved, awful, villainous, corrupt,
amoral, criminal, wrong, unspeakable: The man was thoroughly
bad and deserved everything he got. 4 unpleasant, offensive,
disagreeable, inclement, severe, awful, unfavourable, adverse,
inclement, unpleasant, Colloq lousy, rotten: Surely you're not
going sailing in this bad weather?! 5 unfavourable, unlucky,
unpropitious, unfortunate, inauspicious, troubled, grim,
distressing, discouraging, unpleasant: Agreeing to do that job
might yet turn out to have been a bad decision. 6 off, tainted,
spoilt or spoiled, mouldy, stale, rotten, decayed, putrefied,
putrid, contaminated: The fridge isn't working and all the food
has gone bad. She ate a bad egg and felt ill the next day. 7
irascible, ill-tempered, grouchy, irritable, nasty, peevish,
cross, crotchety, crabby, cranky, curmudgeonly: Don't go near
the boss - he's been in a bad mood all day. 8 sorry, regretful,
apologetic, contrite, rueful, sad, conscience-stricken,
remorseful, upset: She felt bad about having invited me. 9
sad, depressed, unhappy, dejected, downhearted, disconsolate,
melancholy; inconsolable: I feel bad about you losing your
purse. 10 naughty, ill-behaved, misbehaving, disobedient,
unruly, wild; mischievous: Ronnie isn't a bad boy, he's just
bored. 11 distressing, severe, grave, serious, terrible, awful,
painful: He was laid up with a bad case of the mumps.
badly adv. 1 poorly, defectively, insufficiently, inadequately,
unsatisfactorily, carelessly, ineptly, shoddily, inadequately,
deficiently: We lived in a badly furnished flat in the East
End. 2 unfortunately, unluckily, unsuccessfully, unfavourably,
poorly: These are an improvement on the former rules, which
worked badly. 3 incorrectly, faultily, defectively, poorly,
improperly, inaccurately, erroneously, unacceptably; ineptly,
inartistically, amateurishly, awfully: He speaks English badly.
He sings badly. 4 immorally, wickedly, viciously,
mischievously, naughtily, shamefully, improperly, villainously:
The school has had its share of badly behaved pupils. 5
dangerously, severely, gravely, critically, grievously,
seriously: Her father was badly wounded in the war. 6
unkindly, cruelly, harshly, severely, wretchedly, dreadfully,
improperly, atrociously, horribly, unspeakably: The prisoners
were treated so badly that few survived. 7 unfavourably,
damagingly, critically: Even her friends spoke badly of her. 8
very much, greatly, seriously: Peter is badly in need of extra
money. 9 distressfully, emotionally, hard: He took the news
bag n. 1 sack, shopping bag, reticule, string bag, Chiefly Brit
carrier bag, Scots or dialect poke, pocket: They have helpers
at the supermarket who will carry your bags to your car for you.
2 baggage, luggage, valise, satchel, grip, suitcase, overnight
bag, carry-on luggage or bag, Gladstone bag, carpet-bag,
portmanteau, toilet kit or case, sponge bag; briefcase, attach‚
case, dispatch- or despatch-case: Boarding in London I flew to
Buenos Aires while my bag went to Seoul. 3 purse, handbag,
evening bag, wallet, Highland dress sporran: She reached into
her bag and felt the gun that the Commander had given her. 4
crone, hag, beast, ogress, gorgon, nightmare, witch, harridan,
Archaic beldam, Slang old bat, dog, monster, US two-bagger:
Derek has been romancing some old bag for her money. 5
occupation, hobby, avocation, business, vocation, department,
concern, affair, Colloq lookout, worry, Slang thing: Peter's
bag at the moment is learning to play the violin.
--v. 6 catch, trap, ensnare, snare, entrap, capture, land;
kill, shoot: We bagged six pheasants and two partridges this
balance v. 1 weigh, estimate, ponder, consider, deliberate, assess,
compare, evaluate: We need to balance the advantages and the
disadvantages. 2 steady, poise; equalize, stabilize, level,
match, even out or up: The see-saw will balance better if both
of you get on the other end. 3 compensate (for), make up for,
counterbalance, offset, match, equal; counterpoise: The column
of mercury in the barometer balances the atmospheric pressure on
the surface of the bowl. The total of expenses seems to balance
the total of income.
--n. 4 scale(s), steelyard: According to the balance, the
package weighs two pounds. 5 control, command, authority,
weight, preponderance: Britain held the balance of power during
those decades. 6 equilibrium, stability, steadiness, footing;
equiponderance; equality, harmony: The acrobat almost lost his
balance on the high wire. It is important to maintain a balance
between presentation and content. 7 remainder, residue, rest;
excess, surplus, difference: You take these and I'll follow
with the balance. My bank balance is down to zero.
ban v. 1 prohibit, forbid, outlaw, proscribe, interdict, bar,
disallow, debar: They have banned smoking in all public places.
--n. 2 prohibition, taboo, proscription, interdiction,
interdict; embargo, boycott: They have put a ban on the sale of
alcoholic beverages. The ban against importing firearms is
banal adj. trite, hackneyed, stereotyped, clich‚d, stereotypical,
commonplace, old hat, stock, common, everyday, ordinary,
pedestrian, humdrum, tired, unoriginal, unimaginative,
platitudinous; trivial, petty, jejune, Slang corny: The book
was blasted as banal and boring. The plot of boy-meets-girl,
though banal, still brings in the audiences.
band° n. 1 strip, ribbon, belt, bandeau, fillet, tie; stripe, line,
border: He wears a cloth band round his head to keep the sweat
out of his eyes. There is a decorative band at the top of each
--v. 2 line, stripe, border: The column is banded at intervals
with bas-reliefs depicting scenes from the emperor's life. 3
tie, keep, bind: Only those papers that are banded together
should be sent off.
bandэ n. 1 company, troop, platoon, corps, group, body, gang, horde,
party, pack, bunch: They were set upon by a band of robbers in
the forest. 2 group, ensemble, combination, orchestra, Colloq
combo: A jazz band plays at the Civic Centre every Tuesday
--v. 3 band together. unite, confederate, gather or join or
league together, team up, affiliate, merge, federate: We must
band together if we expect to accomplish anything.
banish v. 1 exile, expatriate, deport, extradite, transport, eject,
oust, expel, rusticate, drive out or away, dismiss,
excommunicate, outlaw, ostracize: After ten years in prison,
the thief was released and banished from the kingdom. 2 drive or
drive out or away, expel, cast out, dismiss, reject: He tried
to banish suspicion from his mind.
banner n. 1 standard, flag, pennant, ensign, burgee, gonfalon, pennon,
streamer, banderole; symbol: The flag of the United States is
called the star-spangled banner. He is seeking election under
the banner of the Tories.
--adj. 2 leading, foremost, momentous, memorable, notable,
important, noteworthy: The firm had a banner year, with profits
up 25 per cent.
banquet n. 1 feast, sumptuous repast or meal, ceremonial dinner, lavish
dinner: At the end of the banquet, the guest of honour rose to
make a few remarks.
--v. 2 feast, indulge, wine and dine, regale, carouse: The
winners of the trophy banqueted night after night on champagne
banter n. raillery, badinage, persiflage, pleasantry, jesting, joking,
repartee; chaffing, teasing, chaff; Colloq kidding, ribbing:
Despite the good-natured banter between them, Ray knew that
Stephen really detested him.
bar n. 1 rod, shaft, pole, stick, stake: A heavy iron bar is used
to tamp the dynamite into place in the hole. 2 strip, stripe,
band, belt; streak, line: The company trade mark is a narrow
red bar around the barrel of every ball-point pen. 3 barrier,
obstacle, obstruction, barricade, hindrance, block, deterrent,
impediment; ban, embargo: A steel bar was across the entrance.
Her pride proved a bar to her success. There is a bar against
importing spirits. 4 sandbar, shallow, shoal, bank, sandbank:
Because the keel is too deep, the sloop will be unable to cross
the bar till high tide. 5 tribunal, court, courtroom, lawcourt,
bench: The former mayor was found guilty of corruption at the
bar of public opinion. 6 bar-room, saloon, public house, caf‚,
lounge, cocktail lounge, tavern, taproom, canteen, Brit local,
wine bar; Colloq pub; Slang boozer, gin-mill: I was at the bar
on my third beer when she walked in. 7 counter: We had a quick
lunch at the sandwich bar.
--v. 8 fasten, close up, secure, shut up; lock, lock up,
padlock: We tried to get in through the window, but they had
barred it. 9 block, obstruct, stop, stay, hinder, keep (out),
shut out, exclude, prevent, forbid, prohibit, set aside;
forestall, impede, hamper, retard, balk, barricade; ban,
embargo: After his behaviour, he was barred from the club for a
year. A huge man in an ill-fitting dinner-jacket barred my way.
The regulations bar the import of firearms.
--prep. 10 except (for), excepting, excluding, barring, outside
(of), save for, aside from, but: It's all over now bar the
barbarian n. 1 savage, brute: The barbarians wore animal skins. 2 boor,
lowbrow, lout, oaf, clod, churl, philistine, ignoramus, yahoo;
hooligan, vandal, ruffian, tough, Slang Brit yob, yobbo,
skinhead: Those barbarians ought to be denied admittance to the
--adj. 3 uncivilized, uncultivated, uncultured, philistine,
savage; barbarous, barbaric, coarse, vulgar, uncouth, rude;
boorish, loutish, oafish, crude, rough, insensitive, churlish,
uncivil: One sees a great deal of barbarian behaviour every
barbarity n. cruelty, inhumanity, ruthlessness, savagery, brutishness,
barbarousness, heartlessness, viciousness, cold-bloodedness,
bloodthirstiness: The barbarity of this mass murderer cannot be
bare adj. 1 unclothed, naked, nude, stark naked, unclad, exposed,
uncovered, hatless, unshod, undressed , Brit starkers; Colloq in
the altogether, in one's birthday suit, in the buff; Slang US
bare-ass: He stood completely bare in the middle of the room.
2 unconcealed, undisguised, open, revealed, literal, bald,
manifest, out-and-out, overt, uncovered, straightforward,
direct, unvarnished, unembellished, cold, hard, plain,
unadorned, basic, simple: The bare facts point to him as the
culprit. 3 unfurnished, undecorated, vacant, stripped, empty:
The landlord entered and found a bare flat - the tenants had
done a moonlight flit. 4 denuded, stripped, leafless,
defoliated, shorn, barren; bared: After the storm the trees
were entirely bare of foliage. The hurricane began blowing in
earnest, and the little ketch was driving forward under bare
poles. 5 plain, mere, simple, minimal, essential, absolute,
basic; meagre, scant, scanty: For years we scraped by with only
the bare necessities of life.
--v. 6 expose, lay bare, uncover, reveal, open; undress,
unveil: The torrential rain had washed away the soil, baring
the clay and rock beneath. He tore off his shirt, baring his
hairy chest. 7 disclose, reveal, lay bare, uncover, divulge,
unfold, tell, expose, unmask, bring to light: Because of the
way he had treated her, she decided to bare his secrets to the
police. Benson bares his soul in his book. 8 strip, divest,
denude; defoliate: The autumn winds bared all the trees in the
barefaced adj. 1 unconcealed, open, undisguised, blatant, manifest,
unmitigated, outright, downright, out-and-out, sheer, unalloyed,
undiluted: His proposal is a barefaced attempt to gain control
of the committee. 2 audacious, impudent, shameless, insolent,
impertinent, immodest, bold, arrant, unabashed, forward, brazen,
brassy, saucy, pert, unblushing, Colloq cheeky: She said that
he was a barefaced liar and that she would have nothing more to
do with him.
barely adv. scarcely, only, just, not quite, hardly, only just, no
more than: I barely had my coat off when she said she'd
forgotten to shop for dinner.
bargain n. 1 agreement, contract, understanding, arrangement, covenant,
pact, compact, settlement, transaction, deal: We made a bargain
- I would provide the materials and he would do the work. 2 good
deal, Colloq give-away, US steal: If you paid only њ100 for
this painting, you got a real bargain.
--v. 3 negotiate, trade, haggle, barter, dicker, chaffer: We
bargained far into the night, and finally came to an agreement
after eight hours of discussion. 4 bargain for. expect, count
on, anticipate, foresee, take into account, allow for, be
prepared for: Even though the storm had been predicted, it was
windier than we had bargained for.
barren adj. 1 sterile, childless, infertile: We won't have any calf
from this barren cow. 2 unproductive, sterile, bare, infertile;
fruitless, dry, unfruitful, unprofitable, poor: The land was
exceedingly stony and barren. The fifteenth century was the most
barren period in the history of English literature.
barrier n. 1 bar, fence, railing, wall; ditch, ha-ha: A barrier was
erected at each end of the street. This barrier will keep the
dingoes from killing the sheep. 2 obstacle, bar, obstruction,
block, impediment, hindrance: Neither race, nor creed, nor
colour shall be a barrier to success. 3 boundary,
boundary-line, limit, frontier: No mountain barrier lay between
France and Flanders.
barring prep. excluding, exclusive of, bar, omitting, leaving out,
excepting, except (for), save for, aside from, besides, but:
Barring another stock market crash, your money is safe. Nobody
else, barring the author, knew the truth of the matter.
base° n. 1 bottom, foot, support, stand, pedestal: The base of the
statue cracked and the whole thing fell down. Have you been
able to find a teak base for the new lamp? 2 groundwork,
background, fundamental principle, principle, foundation,
underpinning; infrastructure, basis: Henry's charter was at
once welcomed as a base for the needed reforms. 3 root, theme,
radical, stem, core: In the word interdigitation the base is
-digit- . 4 home, station, camp, starting-point, point of
departure, post, centre: Using the Sherpa village as a base of
operations, we set up smaller camps as we began to climb the
--v. 5 establish, found, secure, build, ground, anchor, fix,
hinge, form; derive, draw: We are basing all our hopes on his
ability to do a deal. 6 establish, headquarter, post, station,
position, place: The company is based in Guernsey.
baseэ adj. 1 low, undignified, cowardly, selfish, mean, despicable,
contemptible, filthy, evil: He must have had some base motive
in revealing to her what Martha had said. 2 degraded, degrading,
menial, inferior, mean, unworthy, lowly, low, grovelling,
servile, slavish, subservient, downtrodden, abject, miserable,
wretched, sordid, undignified, ignoble, dishonourable,
disreputable, vile, scurrilous, wicked, Colloq infra dig:
Foolish sinners will submit to the basest servitude, and be
attendants of swine. 3 mean, cheap, sorry, common, poor, shabby,
shoddy: He cast off his base attire, revealing a splendid suit
of armour like burnished gold. 4 sordid, offensive, lewd,
lascivious, obscene, profane, rude, ribald, unseemly, vulgar,
coarse, rude, dirty, indecent, evil-minded, filthy,
pornographic: The entertainment in that theatre caters to the
basest appetites. 5 poor, shoddy, cheap, fake, pinchbeck,
inferior, counterfeit, fraudulent, debased, forged, spurious,
worthless, bad: Her jewels look valuable but are, in fact, made
of base materials. 6 wicked, evil, wretched, corrupt, shameful,
currish, loathsome, scurvy, insufferable, villainous: They were
labelled as base infidels and treated with contempt and cruelty.
bashful adj. 1 shy, retiring, embarrassed, meek, abashed, shamefaced,
sheepish, timid, diffident, self-effacing, unconfident; ill at
ease, uneasy, uncomfortable, nervous, self-conscious, awkward,
confused, Colloq in a tizzy, US and Canadian discombobulated:
Henry is so bashful in the presence of women that he blushes
merely talking to them. 2 modest, coy, unassuming,
unostentatious, demure, reserved, restrained, Rare verecund:
When we first met, she was a bashful young girl of fifteen who
had no notion of her own beauty.
basic adj. fundamental, essential, key, elementary, underlying,
prime, primary, root; principal, central, focal, vital: He
enrolled for a basic course in Sanskrit. We must reconsider the
basis n. 1 foundation, base, bottom, heart, footing, principle,
underpinning; infrastructure: The three R's form the basis of
elementary education. Do you think our society still rests on
the basis of the family? 2 essence, main ingredient or
constituent, point of departure: The basis of the discussion is
that the hospitals are understaffed.
batch n. 1 quantity, lot; amount, volume: Mother baked a huge batch
of bread. 2 set, group, number, quantity, assortment, bunch,
pack, collection: Please sort this batch of cards into
batter v. 1 beat, hit, strike, clout, belabour, pound, pummel or
pommel, pelt, bash, smite, thrash, Colloq wallop, clobber: He
was battered till he was black and blue. 2 bombard, attack,
assault: Battering by the cannons finally breached the wall of
the fort. 3 maltreat, mistreat, ill-treat, abuse; maul, bruise,
harm, mangle, disfigure: The police report an increase in
complaints about battered wives and children.
battle n. 1 fight, conflict, combat, action, encounter, clash,
engagement, struggle, Donnybrook, fray, Law affray; brawl,
fracas, m€l‚e or melee; contest; duel, hand-to-hand encounter:
You won the battle, but you lost the war. And now, the battle
between the world champion and the challenger! 2 argument,
dispute, altercation, quarrel, war; contest, competition;
struggle, fight, crusade, campaign: The battle spilt out of the
restaurant and into the street. We are not yet winning the
battle against AIDS.
--v. 3 Usually, battle against. fight, contend or struggle or
fight with or strive against, combat: We must battle against
ignorance at every opportunity.
bauble n. gewgaw, trinket, ornament, trifle, toy, bagatelle,
knick-knack, plaything, kickshaw: Wear your diamonds to the
ball, my dear, not those cheap baubles.
bawdy adj. lewd, obscene, taboo, vulgar, dirty, smutty, filthy,
coarse, earthy, gross, scatological, rude, lascivious,
salacious, indelicate, indecent, indecorous, broad, crude,
ribald, risqu‚, suggestive, Rabelaisian, uninhibited,
unrestrained, lusty, Literary lubricious or lubricous:
Afterwards, each of us had to recite a bawdy limerick.
bawl v. 1 shout, bellow, vociferate, roar, yell, trumpet, thunder ,
Colloq holler: Fishwives bawled out their wares continuously,
creating a deafening din. 2 cry, wail, weep, keen, squall,
blubber, whimper; yelp, Colloq yammer: Stop that bawling or
I'll really give you something to cry about! 3 bawl out. scold,
reprimand, upbraid: My father bawled me out because I stayed
out past midnight.
beach n. 1 shore, lakeshore, bank, seashore, seaside, lido, strand,
coast, margin, Formal littoral: The children wanted to go to
the beach and build sandcastles.
--v. 2 ground, run aground, strand; careen: Despite the heavy
surf, we finally beached the boat safely.
beacon n. signal, sign, fire, light, bonfire, flare, signal fire, Very
light, rocket; lighthouse, pharos: Beacons blazed at the tops
of the hills to spread the news of the victory. The drunkard's
nose shone like a beacon.
beam n. 1 timber, scantling, girder, rafter; bar, brace, plank,
board, stud, trestle: Are you sure that these beams will
support the weight of the upper storeys? 2 ray, gleam; shaft;
pencil: I could just make out his face in the beam of the
--v. 3 radiate, shine; smile radiantly: The door opened and
the firelight beamed forth onto the snowdrifts. 'I'm so happy
to meet you at last', she beamed.
beamy adj. broad, wide, broad in the beam; big, heavy, chubby,
chunky, fat, obese: She's quite a beamy boat, with
accommodation for eight below. A beamy gentleman sat on my
homburg, squashing it flat.
bear v. 1 carry, transport, convey, move, take, Colloq tote: She
was borne round the stadium on the shoulders of her team-mates.
2 carry, support, sustain, shoulder, hold up, uphold; suffer,
undergo, experience, endure: Looking after her invalid mother
while working is a heavy burden to bear. 3 merit, be worthy of,
warrant; provoke, invite: Gordon's suggestion bears looking
into. 4 stand, abide, tolerate, brook, survive, endure, stand
up to; reconcile oneself to, admit of, Colloq put up with: How
can you bear such boring people? His actions will not bear
examination. I cannot bear to see you unhappy. 5 have, carry,
show, exhibit, display, sustain: The getaway car bore German
licence plates. The knight bore the scars of many battles. She
bears her grandmother's name. 6 produce, yield, develop, breed,
generate, engender; give birth to, spawn, bring forth: Our
apple tree did not bear any fruit this year. She bore thirteen
children and still had time to write books. 7 entertain,
harbour, wish: He bore her no ill will, despite her
accusations. 8 bear on or upon. relate or have relevance or be
relevant to or pertain to, touch on or upon, affect, concern,
have a bearing on or upon, influence: I don't quite see how
your illness bears on which school James attends. 9 bear out.
confirm, support, corroborate, substantiate, uphold, back up:
The evidence bears out what I said. 10 bear up. a survive,
hold out, stand up, hold up, withstand: Can Alex bear up under
the strain of keeping two jobs? b support, cheer, encourage:
What hope have you to bear you up? 11 bear with. put up with,
be patient with, make allowance(s) for: Please bear with me,
I'm sure you'll think it was worth waiting when you see the
bearable adj. tolerable, supportable, endurable, acceptable, manageable:
The heat last summer was made bearable only by frequent dips in
bearing n. 1 carriage, deportment, manner, behaviour, conduct, aspect,
demeanour, posture, stance, air, attitude, mien, presence:
Lewis's noble bearing makes him noticeable, even in a crowd. 2
sustaining, supporting, endurance, enduring: Thomas Jefferson
considered the government of England totally without morality
and insolent beyond bearing. 3 aspect; relation, reference,
relationship, correlation, pertinence, relevance, connection,
relevancy, applicability, application, germaneness,
significance: The legal bearing of the case will become obvious
in court. It is unclear exactly what bearing your remarks have
on the situation. 4 Often, bearings. direction, orientation,
(relative) position: The bearing of the lighthouse is now 180ш.
Which way is north? - I have lost my bearings entirely.
beast n. 1 animal, creature, being: He loves all the beasts of the
field, of the sea, and of the air. 2 brute, savage, animal,
monster: I've seen that beast hitting his wife in public.
beastly adj. 1 uncivilized, uncultivated, uncivil, rude, crude,
boorish, unrefined, coarse; cruel, inhuman, savage, barbaric,
barbarous, bestial, brutal: Priscilla treats Cyril in a beastly
way. 2 abominable, intolerable, offensive, unpleasant, awful,
terrible, ghastly, horrid, disagreeable, horrible, hateful,
execrable; foul, vile, nasty, rotten, dirty, filthy: If this
beastly weather keeps up, the plane may be delayed.
beat v. 1 strike, pound, bash, smite, batter, pummel or pommel,
belabour, pelt, clout, thrash, give (someone) a thrashing or
beating, drub, manhandle, thump, whack, cane, scourge, whip,
bludgeon, club, cudgel, fustigate; whip, flog, lash , Colloq
clobber, wallop, give (someone) a once-over: At first he
refused to tell them, but then they beat it out of him. 2
defeat, best, worst, win (out) over, vanquish, trounce, rout,
outdo, subdue, overcome, overwhelm, pre-empt; surpass, conquer,
crush, master, US beat out: Can they beat Manchester United for
the cup? He first beat the Danes, then the Russians. 3 throb,
pulsate, palpitate, pound, thump: I could feel my heart beating
against my ribs. 4 Nautical tack: Close-hauled, the sloop was
beating to windward against the howling gale. 5 hammer, forge,
shape, form, fashion, make, mould: They shall beat their swords
into ploughshares. 6 mix, whip, stir, blend: Beat two eggs,
then add the flour and sugar. 7 tread, wear, trample: The
hunters beat a path through the forest. 8 beat it. depart,
leave, abscond, run off or away, Slang US take it on the lam,
lam out of here, US hit the road: You'd better beat it before
the cops come. 9 beat off. drive off or away, rout: We beat
off our attackers, who fled into the forest.
--n. 10 stroke, blow: The signal was to be three beats of a
tin cup on the pipes. 11 rhythm, tempo, measure; pulse, throb,
stress, pulsation: In boogie-woogie the beat is eight to the
bar. 12 course, round, tour, route, circuit, run, path; area,
bailiwick: In the old days, it was the bobby on the beat who
prevented a lot of crime. As a reporter, my beat is the
--adj. 13 dead beat, exhausted, spent, drained, worn out,
weary, bone-tired, fatigued, fagged: I was really beat after
completing the marathon.
beautiful adj. 1 attractive, charming, comely, lovely, good-looking,
fair, pretty, alluring, appealing, handsome, radiant, gorgeous,
Formal pulchritudinous, Scots bonny; Colloq smashing: She's not
only intelligent, she's beautiful. She entered on the arm of
some beautiful youth. 2 excellent, first-rate, unequalled,
skilful, admirable, magnificent, well done; superb, spectacular,
splendid, marvellous, wonderful, incomparable, superior,
elegant, exquisite, pleasant, pleasing, delightful, Colloq
smashing: The garage did a beautiful job in tuning the engine.
Armand's arranged a beautiful wedding reception for us.
adv. 1 attractively, chicly, fashionably, delightfully,
charmingly, splendidly, magnificently, Colloq smashingly: The
princess was beautifully dressed in a rose satin ball-gown. 2
admirably, superbly, excellently, wonderfully, marvellously,
splendidly, spectacularly, magnificently, Colloq smashingly:
Emily played her solo beautifully.
beautify v. adorn, embellish, decorate, ornament, titivate, elaborate,
garnish, deck (out), bedeck: The old fa‡ade was removed and the
building beautified by refacing it with white marble.
beauty n. 1 loveliness, attractiveness, handsomeness, pulchritude:
The beauty of the actress took my breath away. 2 belle, Colloq
looker, knockout, dream, dreamboat, stunner: She was one of the
great beauties of her day. 3 attraction, strength, advantage,
asset: The beauty of the plan lies in its simplicity.
beckon v. signal, gesture, motion; summon, bid, call: The manager
beckoned to me and I went over to see what he wanted.
become v. 1 turn or change or transform into: The princess kissed the
prince, who immediately became a frog. 2 grow or develop or
evolve into; mature or ripen into: It's hard to believe that
this dull caterpillar will eventually become a splendid
butterfly. 3 enhance, suit, fit, befit, be proper or appropriate
for, behove or US behoove: Moonlight becomes you, It goes with
your hair. 4 grace, adorn: Walter was a man who became the
dignity of his function as a commissionaire. 5 become of. come
of, happen to: What will become of you if you don't go to
becoming adj. enhancing, beautifying, seemly; attractive, comely,
fetching, chic, stylish, fashionable, tasteful; appropriate,
fitting, fit, meet, befitting, proper, suitable: Your new
hairdo is most becoming, Frances.
bedlam n. pandemonium, uproar, hubbub, commotion, confusion, tumult,
turmoil, furore or US furor, chaos; madhouse: The chancellor's
announcement created instant bedlam in the Commons.
adj. soiled, dirty, muddy, muddied, untidy, stained,
dishevelled, scruffy, messy; wet, sloppy, soaking or sopping or
wringing wet, soaked, drenched, Colloq gungy, US grungy: We
took the two bedraggled waifs in out of the pouring rain.
befitting adj. fitting, becoming, due, suitable or suited (to),
appropriate (to), apropos, proper (to), seemly (for): He really
ought to behave in a manner befitting his position as chairman.
This must be done with a befitting sense of awe.
before adv. 1 previously, earlier, already, beforehand; formerly, in
the past; once: I have told you before, don't count your
chickens. 2 ahead, in advance, in front, in the forefront,
first, in the vanguard, Colloq up front: He let his wife walk
before, as he knew the road was mined. 3 ahead, in the future,
to come: Before lie the prospects of surrendering or dying.
--prep. 4 ahead of, in advance of, in front of, forward of:
The king indicated that the page should go before him. 5 in
front of; in the presence of: The entire valley was spread out
before me. 6 preceding, previous or anterior to, prior to; on
the eve of: Before my departure I have to kiss Annie goodbye.
7 in preference to, rather than, sooner than, more willingly
than: They said they would die before yielding.
--conj. 8 previous to or preceding the time when: This was a
nice place before the day-trippers arrived.
beg v. 1 entreat, beseech, plead (with), crave, implore, importune,
wheedle, cajole, supplicate (with), pray; ask for, request: She
begged me to stay. 2 solicit, sponge, Colloq cadge, scrounge,
US panhandle: When he was an alcoholic, he used to beg drinks
beggar n. 1 mendicant, supplicant, suppliant, alms-man, sponger,
tramp, vagrant, pauper, Colloq cadger, scrounger, US panhandler:
We were approached by beggars on every street corner. 2 fellow,
man, person, Colloq chap, guy, bloke: I feel sorry for the poor
beggar who lost his wallet at the station.
--v. 3 impoverish; want, challenge, defy, baffle: The misery
of those people beggars description.
begin v. 1 start (out or off or in or on), initiate, enter on or
upon, set out or about, set out on or upon, Rather formal
commence: We began the journey full of enthusiasm. 2 start
(off), inaugurate, originate, open, launch, create, establish,
found, set up; go into: We began the company five years ago. 3
arise, start, originate, Rather formal commence: The greatness
of the Prussian monarchy begins with Frederick II. The
paragraph begins in the middle of the page.
beginning n. 1 start, commencement, outset, onset, inception, dawn,
dawning, birth, genesis, origin, creation, day one; origination,
source, well-spring: There are several competing theories about
the beginning of life on earth. The beginning of the idea can be
traced to Galileo. 2 opening, start, inception, commencement: I
have plenty of energy at the beginning of the day. The book is
good at the beginning, but then it gets boring.
begrudge v. 1 resent, envy, grudge: She doesn't begrudge him his
success. 2 give (be)grudgingly or unwillingly or reluctantly,
deny, refuse: He begrudges her the slightest consideration.
beguile v. 1 delude, deceive, cheat, swindle, dupe, fool, mislead,
hoodwink, bamboozle, take in: She was easily beguiled by his
solicitude. 2 defraud (of), deprive (of), cheat (out of or
into), swindle (out of): Let no man beguile you of your reward.
3 charm, divert, amuse, distract, fascinate, engross, engage,
allure: I always meet the most beguiling people at Daphne's
behalf n. on or US in behalf of or on or US in one's behalf. for, as a
representative of, in place of, instead of, in the name of, on
the part of; in the interest of, for the benefit or advantage
of: The lawyer is acting on behalf of the heirs.
behave v. act, react, function, operate, perform, work, conduct or
deport or comport or bear (oneself); act obediently, act
properly, be good: The boy behaved with great insolence. I wish
the children would behave themselves.
behaviour n. conduct, demeanour, deportment, bearing, manners,
comportment; action(s): His behaviour in the presence of the
royal couple was abominable.
behead v. decapitate, guillotine, Archaic decollate: Criminals and
enemies of the state were formerly beheaded.
behold v. see, look at, regard, set or lay eyes on, descry, notice,
note, espy, perceive, discern, remark, view: As we emerged from
the gorge, we beheld the mountain looming above us.
beholden adj. obliged, obligated, indebted, grateful, in debt, under
(an) obligation: She said that she was beholden to him for
everything he had done.
behove v. US behoove; be required of, be incumbent on, be proper of,
be fitting of or for, befit; be advisable for, be worthwhile
for, be expeditious for or of, be advantageous to or for, be
useful to or for, be beneficial to or for: It behoves you to be
respectful to the chairman of the board.
belabour v. thrash, beat, pummel or pommel, buffet, pelt, lambaste: We
tried to stop the drover from belabouring the poor horse with a
belated adj. late; behind time, behindhand, out of date; delayed,
detained: I forgot your birthday, so here's a belated gift.
belief n. 1 trust, dependence, reliance, confidence, faith, security,
assurance: He retains his belief in the divine right of kings.
2 acceptance, credence; assent: His statements are unworthy of
belief. 3 tenet, view, idea, sentiment, conviction, doctrine,
dogma, principle(s), axiom, maxim, creed, opinion, persuasion:
The belief that there is no God is as definite a creed as the
belief in one God or in many gods. 4 intuition, judgement: It
is her belief that nuclear energy will eventually prove
believe v. 1 accept, put faith or credence in or into, find credible,
find creditable; allow, think, hold, maintain, feel; take it,
suppose, assume: He still believes that the moon is made of
green cheese. 2 believe in. trust to or in, rely upon or on,
have faith or confidence in, put one's trust in, be convinced
of, swear by, credit; have the courage of one's convictions: Do
you believe everything you read in the papers? The chairman
believes in your ability to carry out the plan. 3 make believe.
pretend, suppose, imagine, fancy, conjecture, assume: I used to
make believe I was a great detective.
belittle v. diminish, minimize, disparage, slight, decry, detract from,
depreciate, trivialize, deprecate, degrade, denigrate,
downgrade, de-emphasize, discredit, criticize, derogate; reduce,
mitigate, lessen, undervalue, underestimate, underrate,
minimize, Colloq play down, pooh-pooh: He belittles the efforts
of others but accomplishes nothing himself.
adj. 1 warring; warlike, militant, warmongering, hawkish,
jingoistic, bellicose, martial: The belligerent nations have
agreed to discuss an accord. 2 quarrelsome, pugnacious,
contentious, disputatious, truculent, aggressive, hostile,
combative, antagonistic, bellicose: I cannot see why you have
to take such a belligerent attitude towards the chairman.
--n. 3 warring party, antagonist, contestant; warmonger, hawk,
jingoist, militant: Our country has refused to sell arms to the
belligerents in the conflict.
bellow v. 1 roar; yell, shout, blare, trumpet, howl, Colloq holler:
Father was bellowing that he couldn't find his pipe. The
public-address system bellowed out my name.
--n. 2 roar; yell, shout, Colloq holler: The bull gave a
bellow and charged.
belong v. 1 be a member (of), be affiliated or associated or connected
(with), be attached or bound (to), be a part (of): Does he
belong to the Green party? He didn't want to belong while his
wife was a member. 2 have a (proper) place (in), be proper (to):
Do you ever get the feeling that you don't belong here? 3
belong to. be owned by, be the property or possession of: That
coat belongs to me.
belonging n. association, connection, alliance, relationship, affinity,
relation: She says the Church gives her a strong sense of
n. (personal) property, effects, possessions, goods, things,
chattels: He returned home to find all his belongings in the
beloved adj. 1 loved, cherished, adored, dear, dearest, darling,
precious, treasured; admired, worshipped, revered, esteemed,
idolized, respected, esteemed; valued, prized: He denied
nothing to his beloved children. She was their beloved queen.
--n. 2 sweetheart, darling, dearest, love; lover, paramour,
inamorata or inamorato, Colloq flame: He wrote poems to his
below adv. 1 lower down, further down, farther down: Please see the
explanation given below. The department head could no longer
resist the pressures from below. 2 beneath, underneath, under;
downstairs, Nautical below-decks, Brit below-stairs: Can you
hear someone walking about below? They put the captain in irons
below. 3 on earth, here, in this world, under the sun: Man
wants but little here below.
--prep. 4 under, underneath, beneath: Below the sea live
creatures we have never even seen. Barely discernible below his
nose was a tiny moustache. Sign your name below 'Yours truly'. 5
less or lower or cheaper than: The sale price is below cost. 6
deeper or further or farther down than: The current is
strongest about six feet below the surface. 7 under, beneath,
underneath: Her bright eyes peered at him from below the wide
hat. 8 lower or less than, under: The temperature was 20
degrees below zero. 9 inferior or subordinate to, lower than:
He gives orders to the servants below him. 10 inferior or
secondary to, under, beneath, lower than: In exports, the USA
and UK are below Japan. 11 beneath, unworthy of, unbefitting,
not worth: Mugging old ladies is below contempt.
belt n. 1 sash; Literary girdle, cestus, cincture, zone: At her
belt she wore a dagger in a golden scabbard. 2 zone, band,
strip, circuit, perimeter; area, swath, tract, region, district:
The planners ensured that each city would be surrounded by a
--v. 3 strike, hit, punch; beat, thrash: When he insulted her,
I simply belted him. 4 belt out. sing or perform stridently or
loudly; put over or across: Sophie Tucker was there, belting
out 'One of These Days'.
bemoan v. lament, mourn or grieve or weep or moan for: She bitterly
bemoaned the loss of her sole companion, her canary.
bemuse v. 1 confuse, muddle, mix up, addle, befuddle, perplex,
bewilder, puzzle, Colloq US and Canadian discombobulate: The
actors were thoroughly bemused by the sudden appearance of a
horse on stage. 2 stupefy, benumb, numb, paralyse: I found him,
completely bemused, with the empty bottle beside him.
bend n. 1 curve, turn, turning, corner; bow, angle, crook, hook,
curvature, flexure: Go left at the bend in the road. If you put
a bend in a wire hanger, you can fish out the obstruction.
--v. 2 arch, bow, curve, crook: Soak the branch in water and
it will bend easily. Stop bending my arm - it hurts! 3 bow;
curtsy or curtsey; kowtow, salaam; kneel, genuflect: The
cannibal bent down before a pile of skulls. 4 incline, channel,
focus, direct, steer, set; fix: He bent his attention on more
important matters. She bent her steps towards the cemetery. 5
submit, bow, yield, give way, be pliant or subservient or
tractable: The cabinet bends to the will of the prime minister.
6 incline, turn, deflect: As you can see, the ray is bent by
bender Colloq n. drunk, spree, bout, revel, carousal, carouse,
bacchanal; Slang binge, jag, US toot: He goes off on a bender
whenever his wife leaves him.
beneath adv. 1 low or lower down, below, under, underneath: Please
sign beneath if you agree the terms. 2 below, underneath,
under; underground: The flowers are above the ground, the roots
--prep. 3 under, underneath, below: Beneath that gruff
exterior of his beats a heart of gold. 4 below, unworthy of,
unbefitting, undeserving of, not (even) meriting, lower than:
Your behaviour is beneath criticism.
n. patron, supporter, sponsor, donor, philanthropist; backer,
investor, supporter, Colloq angel: Our benefactor has made a
donation that will enable the mission to carry on its work.
adj. 1 advantageous, serviceable, useful, profitable, helpful,
supportive, favourable, constructive, good: No measures could
have been more beneficial to the kingdom. 2 healthful, healthy,
salutary, salubrious; efficacious, effective: A certain amount
of sunshine is quite beneficial.
benefit n. 1 advantage, profit, good, sake, gain, aid, help, service:
It would be to their benefit to call off the strike. 2 Often,
benefits. perquisite(s), emolument(s), allowance(s), extra(s),
fringe benefit(s), Colloq perk(s): We offer one of the best
schemes in the industry for employee benefits.
--v. 3 improve, aid, help, better, promote, further, advance,
forward: Enrolling on a management course could benefit your
chances for advancement. 4 profit, gain: No one has ever
personally benefited a penny from these contributions.
n. 1 charity, kindness, kindliness, humanity, humanitarianism,
beneficence, charitableness, goodness, altruism, good will,
unselfishness, philanthropy, generosity, magnanimity: The poor
people in the village used to rely on his benevolence. 2 gift,
grant, contribution, donation, beneficence: The victims of the
famine were recipients of the benevolence of the British people.
adj. charitable, well-disposed, gracious, good, kind, kindly,
humane, humanitarian, well-wishing, thoughtful, considerate,
sympathetic, caring, kind-hearted, warm-hearted, compassionate,
benign, benignant; liberal, generous, magnanimous, open-handed;
beneficial, helpful, salutary: That hypocrite has cast himself
in the role of a benevolent despot.
benighted adj. unenlightened, na‹ve, uninformed, ignorant: That poor,
benighted fool believes that the doctors can cure him.
benign adj. 1 kindly, gracious, good, kind, kind-hearted, benevolent,
benignant, warm, warm-hearted, cordial, genial, congenial,
tender, tender-hearted, compassionate, sympathetic,
soft-hearted: It was Grandad's benign goodwill that kept us
together in those hard times. 2 bland, gentle, mild, warm: A
benign smile lit the headmaster's face as he announced the
awards for scholastic achievement. 3 kind, favourable,
fortunate; salutary, salubrious, mild, congenial, propitious:
She recovered rapidly in that most benign climate. 4 non-fatal,
non-malignant, non-virulent, curable, harmless: Fortunately,
the biopsy showed that the tumour was benign.
bent adj. 1 curved, deflected, bowed, crooked, distorted: He
complained to the waiter just because the fork was bent. 2
strange, weird, peculiar, twisted, deviant, warped, wry, awry,
corrupt, corrupted; perverted, perverse, abnormal: You'd be
bent, too, if you'd been in prison for fifteen years. 3
dishonest, crooked, illegal: That share deal sounds a bit bent
to me: I'll pass. 4 determined, intent, set, resolved,
resolute, decided, set: Garvey is bent on running in the
marathon, despite his sprained ankle.
--n. 5 turn, inclination, direction, disposition,
predisposition, tendency, bias, leaning, proclivity, propensity,
partiality, prejudice; ability, aptitude, talent, gift: She
wished to follow the bent of her own taste. He has a natural
bent for music.
bequeath v. leave, make over, will, pass on, hand down or on, transmit,
Law devise: Aunt Margaret has bequeathed her collection of
music boxes to the museum.
bequest n. legacy, inheritance: A huge bequest was received by the
berate v. scold, chide, rate, upbraid, revile, abuse, rail at,
excoriate, castigate, objurgate; harangue: In the square an
ancient virago was berating a butcher.
bereave v. deprive; strip, rob, dispossess: The accident bereaved him
of his child.
berserk adj. amok, mad, violent, wild, crazed, frenzied, maniacal: He
went berserk, destroying tables and chairs.
beseech v. supplicate, entreat, implore, plead (with), beg, importune,
obsecrate: The prisoners beseeched the king to have mercy on
beset v. encompass, surround, besiege; assail, attack, harass, harry,
hector, bother, afflict, trouble: She was beset by all the
problems involved in having a job and a family.
beside prep. 1 alongside, near, next to, with, close to, hard by,
nearby, by: A handsome young man walked up and sat down beside
her. 2 away from, wide of, apart from, unconnected with, off:
The fact that I owe you money is entirely beside the point. 3
beside oneself. out of one's mind or wits, at the end of one's
tether, overwrought, agitated, upset, crazy, mad: She was
beside herself with grief when she heard the news.
besides adv. 1 in addition, additionally, also; further, furthermore,
moreover, as well, too; to boot, on top of everything else, into
the bargain: Maria is our choice for the post and, besides,
she's the only qualified person available. On their anniversary
he gave her a diamond ring and a sapphire brooch besides.
--prep. 2 over and above, above and beyond, in addition to,
additionally to, as well as; aside from, barring, excepting,
except for, excluding, exclusive of, not counting or including,
beyond, apart from, other than: St Paul became acquainted with
many Christians besides his converts.
besiege v. 1 lay siege to, beleaguer: For ten years Troy was besieged
by the Greeks. 2 blockade, block, block off or up, hem in, cut
off; surround, crowd round: The strikers have besieged the
factory gates, not allowing anyone in or out. 3 importune, sue,
petition, assail, pressurize or US pressure, press, overwhelm,
inundate: The Home Office has been besieged by requests for
leniency in your case.
best adj. 1 superlative, unexcelled, finest, pre-eminent, first,
superb, unsurpassed, superior, excellent, paramount, first-rate,
Colloq A-1, A-one: Henry VIII was the best rider, the best
lance, and the best archer in England. 2 kindest, most
beneficent, nicest: Which of your brothers is the best to you?
3 foremost, choicest, pre-eminent, most suitable, most
appropriate, most qualified, most talented, most desirable, most
outstanding: We want the best person to fill the job. 4
largest, most, greatest: She had travelled the best part of the
way by ship. 5 richest, wealthiest; first-class, upper crust,
upper-class: He associates only with those he considers to be
the best people.
--n. 6 finest; first: The best is yet to come. 7 finery, best
clothes, Colloq best bib and tucker: He was all decked out in
his Sunday best. 8 greatest or maximum effort: He did his best
but it wasn't enough to win.
--adv. 9 most excellently, to the fullest extent, in the most
suitable way, most adroitly, most skilfully, most superbly, most
artistically: All the children performed well, but Alice
performed best. 10 with greatest satisfaction, most
successfully: He who laughs last laughs best.
--v. 11 win (out) over, conquer, beat, surpass, overpower, get
the better of, subdue, defeat, worst, vanquish, trounce, rout,
crush, master, outdo, overwhelm, overcome, outwit: He was
bested in three falls out of four.
bestow v. confer; give, award, present, donate, grant: The country
has bestowed its highest honours on her.
bet n. 1 wager, stake, risk, venture, Brit punt, Colloq Brit
flutter: He could not afford more than a small bet.
--v. 2 wager, stake, gamble, risk, hazard, play, lay, put,
chance, venture, Brit punt: Every week he bet a small amount on
betray v. 1 be or prove false or disloyal to, sell out, break faith
with, let down, fail, inform on, Colloq sell down the river,
Slang Brit shop: He betrayed her to the enemy. 2 reveal,
disclose, divulge, impart, tell; expose, lay bare: She betrayed
their hide-out to the police. He betrayed an unsuspected streak
of cowardice. 3 lead astray, mislead, misguide, deceive, dupe,
fool, hoodwink: He has been betrayed by his own arrogance.
betrayal n. 1 treachery, treason, disloyalty, perfidy, traitorousness,
faithlessness, bad faith, breach of faith: His delivery of the
country into the hands of an invader was an outright act of
betrayal. 2 revelation, divulging, disclosure, divulgence:
People should not be led into betrayals of their secret
better° adj. 1 superior: You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. Can
you suggest a better investment than the Channel Tunnel? I know
of no better invention than the wheel. 2 more; greater, larger,
bigger: I waited for her the better part of two hours. 3
wiser, safer, well-advised, more intelligent: It would be
better to wait till tomorrow to tell her. 4 healthier, haler,
heartier, less ill or US sick, improved; cured, recovered: You
will feel better after you have eaten something.
--adv. 5 preferably, best; more wisely, more advisedly, more
safely: We had better go before the trouble starts. 6 better
off. a improved, happier, well-advised: You'd be better off
attending a technical college. b wealthier, richer: She is
better off than any of us. 7 think better of. reconsider, think
twice, change one's mind: He was going to fight but thought
better of it.
--n. 8 advantage, mastery, superiority, control: Don't let the
obstacle course get the better of you. 9 betters. superiors:
That young imp should learn how to address his elders and
--v. 10 improve, ameliorate, advance, raise, elevate: It was
impossible in those days for labourers to better their
condition. 11 surpass, excel, outdo, outstrip, beat, improve:
She bettered her record in the 100-metre hurdles by two-tenths
of a second.
betterэ n. gambler, speculator, wagerer, gamester, Brit punter, US
bettor, Colloq crap-shooter, sport: The betters were gathered
round the craps table.
bewail v. lament, mourn, bemoan, moan or mourn over, shed tears or
whimper over, weep or cry or keen over, beat one's breast over:
Instead of bewailing his condition, why doesn't he do something
beware v. take heed, be careful, be wary, be cautious, be on one's
guard, exercise caution, mind, watch out, look out, take care:
There are shoals nearby, so beware. Beware the ides of March!
bewilder v. confuse, confound, perplex, puzzle, mystify, befuddle,
baffle, bemuse: I was bewildered by differential calculus.
bewitch v. enchant, entrance, spellbind, charm, fascinate, beguile,
cast a spell over, captivate, enrapture: She easily bewitches
men with her sultry good looks and her husky, low voice.
bias n. 1 prejudice, partiality; inclination, leaning, bent,
disposition, propensity, tendency, predilection, predisposition,
proclivity: She shows a marked bias in favour of the Irish. 2
angle, slant, diagonal: Cut the fabric on the bias. 3
influence, impulse, weight: If he is under any bias, it is on
the side of fairness.
--v. 4 influence, affect unduly or unfairly, sway, incline,
prejudice, colour, taint, predispose: Artists are seldom good
critics of art because they have been biased.
biased adj. biased, prejudiced, partial; warped, distorted, jaundiced:
I don't want to listen to your biased opinions about women's
bicker v. dispute, quarrel, wrangle, argue, squabble, tiff, Colloq
spat: The couple next door are always bickering about trifling
bid v. 1 offer, make an offer (for), tender, proffer: We bid њ500
for the painting. 2 Archaic or literary ask, pray, press,
entreat, beg, request, suggest, invite: She bade me leave her
to mourn alone. 3 Formal command, demand, order, tell, enjoin,
dictate: Please bid him enter. Custom bade him blow his horn.
bidding n. 1 invitation, summons: We attended the ceremony at the
bidding of the vice-chancellor. 2 command, order, dictate,
direction, instruction, demand: The letter was sent to all
theatre directors at the bidding of the Arts Minister.
big adj. 1 large, great, grand; huge, enormous, immense, gigantic,
giant, tremendous, colossal, Brobdingnagian, jumbo, Colloq Brit
socking or whacking big or great, US humongous: We live in a
big house in the country. 2 ample, hefty, huge, bulky, fat,
obese; large, hulking, beefy, burly, brawny, strapping,
gargantuan, elephantine, enormous, gigantic, immense, monstrous:
The sumo wrestler was one of the biggest men I'd ever seen. 3
tall, grown, mature, grown-up, large: Christopher is certainly
big for his age. 4 important, significant, outstanding,
weighty, consequential, major, grave, momentous, notable,
noteworthy, telling: Changing careers can be one of the biggest
decisions of your life. 5 important, prominent, illustrious,
noteworthy, notable, renowned, eminent, distinguished, esteemed:
Mr Johnson is a big man in our town. 6 generous, magnanimous,
charitable, unselfish, giving: It was very big of her to take
on the support of the orphanage. 7 popular, famous, well-known,
successful: That band is very big with the kids these days. 8
capital, large, upper case, majuscule: Always spell London with
a big L.
--adv. 9 pompously, boastfully, conceitedly, arrogantly,
pretentiously: Alfred talks big at home, but he's very modest
when he's with his friends. 10 successfully, well,
oustandingly,effectively: I think your speech went over big
with those opposed to the new budget.
bigoted adj. prejudiced, intolerant, biased, jaundiced, one-sided,
partial: The judge was bigoted against Blacks, which accounts
for the unfair decision.
bigotry n. prejudice, intolerance, bias, partiality: No government
that practises bigotry can survive long.
bigwig n. 1 boss, kingpin, king, queen, nabob, VIP, Colloq big-shot,
big gun, big cheese, big wheel, hotshot, chief, brass hat, US
(chief) honcho, Mr Big: The bigwig sits here, at the head of
the table. 2 bigwigs. brass, brass hats: Don't let the bigwigs
find out what we've done.
bilious adj. ill-tempered, bad-tempered, ill-natured, peevish, testy,
cross, petulant, tetchy, choleric, dyspeptic, angry, wrathful:
The director was absolutely bilious when he heard we had lost
bill° n. 1 invoice, account; tally, reckoning, tabulation, US
(restaurant) check, Colloq US tab: Have you paid the telephone
bill? 2 US and Canadian note, banknote, paper money, Colloq
folding money: The robbers took only small bills, which they
could spend easily.
--v. 3 invoice, charge: I haven't got my cheque-book with me,
please could you bill me.
billэ n. beak, neb, nib, pecker; jaws: One of the birds had a fish
in its bill.
bind v. 1 tie, fasten, secure, make fast, tie up: The thieves bound
him hand and foot. 2 constrain; hold, oblige, obligate: The
contract we signed is equally binding on both parties. The union
is bound by an agreement that expires in a month. 3 gird,
encircle, wreathe, wrap, cover, swathe, bandage: They were
binding his wounded head. 4 cement, stick, cause to adhere;
attach, connect: Ordinary glue will bind these pieces together.
--n. 5 Colloq US dilemma, predicament, tight spot, (difficult)
situation, Colloq pickle, fix, jam: I'm in a real bind because
I've invited two girls to the party. 6 Colloq Brit annoyance,
irritant, bother, bore, trial, ordeal, irritation, vexation,
Colloq pain (in the neck or arse): It was a bit of a bind
having to wait three hours at the airport.
birth n. 1 childbirth, delivery, Technical parturition, Old-fashioned
confinement: Nicole is expecting the birth of her first baby in
early April. 2 origin, creation, emergence, beginning, start,
origination: I believe we may be present at the birth of a
powerful idea. 3 nativity, origin, extraction; parentage, line,
lineage, ancestry, descent, family, blood: She is Scottish by
birth. Hortense is of noble birth.
bisexual adj. 1 hermaphrodite or hermaphroditic(al), androgynous: Many
of these microscopic animals are bisexual and self-fertilizing.
2 Colloq AC/DC, swinging both ways, Facetious ambisextrous: He
was known to have had bisexual relationships.
--n. 3 androgyne, hermaphrodite: Statistics showed that more
women than previously believed were bisexual.
bit n. 1 morsel, piece, scrap, fragment, shred, particle, grain,
crumb: We didn't have a bit of food in the house. 2 jot,
tittle, whit, scintilla, trace, touch, hint, suggestion,
suspicion, particle, iota, speck, atom: There's not the
slightest bit of evidence to link her with the crime. 3 moment,
minute, second, flash, Colloq two shakes (of a lamb's tail):
I'll be with you in a little bit. 4 piece, share, equity,
segment, portion, part, fraction: He owns a little bit of the
bitch n. 1 shrew, nag, termagant, virago, harpy, fury, spitfire,
scold: That greedy bitch has the house, and now she's suing me
for half my income. 2 whore, prostitute, bawd, harlot,
call-girl, trollop, strumpet, trull, drab, tart, floozie,
streetwalker, Colloq bimbo, pro, US hooker, tramp, hustler,: He
roamed the street every night, ending up with some bitch he
found in a bar.
--v. 3 complain, object, protest, grumble, Colloq gripe: Oh,
stop your bitching and get on with it! 4 bungle, botch, ruin,
spoil: They bitched the job by using too little paint.
bite v. 1 nip; chew, gnaw: That dog of yours bit a piece out of my
ankle. 2 sting: She was bitten by a mosquito.
--n. 3 mouthful, morsel, scrap, bit, piece, taste; snack, Slang
nosh: The survivors hadn't had a bite of food for three days.
Come round for a bite on Sunday evening before the concert. 4
sting: These mosquito bites itch horribly.
biting adj. severe, harsh, cutting, piercing, penetrating, keen,
sharp, bitter; cold, wintry, freezing: The biting wind went
right through his thin coat.
bitter adj. 1 harsh, acerbic, acrid, sharp, caustic, mordant: I added
some cream to the sauce to try and make it taste less bitter. 2
unappetizing, distasteful, unsavoury, unpleasant, hard (to
swallow or take), irritating, obnoxious, disagreeable, nasty,
painful, unwelcome, unpalatable: The demand for additional tax
payments was a bitter pill. 3 miserable, grievous, dispiriting,
distressing, cruel, distressful: Dismissal after all those
years in the firm was a bitter experience. 4 resentful,
embittered, rancorous; hateful: Andrew felt bitter at not being
selected as chairman. 5 stinging, cutting, biting, harsh,
reproachful, vicious, acrimonious, virulent; cruel, unkind,
unpleasant, nasty: His bitter denunciation of other candidates
lost him the campaign. 6 sharp, keen, cutting, severe, biting,
cold, wintry, freezing: A bitter gale lashed at the rigging.
n. 1 harshness, acerbity, acrimony, acrimoniousness,
bitterness, spleen, Literary gall and wormwood: The bitterness
of his opponent's attack was totally uncalled for. 2 animosity,
hatred, resentment; hostility, antagonism: She felt bitterness
in her heart over the way she had been treated.
bizarre adj. 1 eccentric, unusual, unconventional, extravagant,
whimsical, strange, odd, curious, peculiar, queer, offbeat,
fantastic, weird, incongruous, deviant, erratic, Slang kinky:
The police thought his behaviour somewhat bizarre and invited
him down to the station for questioning. 2 grotesque, irregular,
nonconformist, nonconforming, outlandish, outr‚, quaint,
fantastic, unconventional: His house is a bizarre mixture of
baroque and modern design.
blab Colloq v. broadcast, tattle, babble, betray, reveal, disclose,
divulge, expose: Don't tell Frieda - she'll blab your secrets
all over town.
Colloq n. tell-tale, babbler, chatterer, gossip, Colloq blab,
tattle-tale, big-mouth: Oscar is such a blabbermouth that you
can't tell him anything you don't want everyone to know.
black adj. 1 jet, jet-black, coal-black, inky, sooty, swart, swarthy,
raven, ebony, dusky, Literary ebon, hyacinthine: Her hair was
as black as coal. 2 Negro, Negroid, coloured, dark-skinned:
Most of the Black races live near or south of the equator. 3
dark, pitch-black, jet-black, coal-black, Stygian; starless,
moonless: He bundled his coat round himself and walked into the
black night. 4 dark, sombre, dusky, gloomy, menacing,
glowering, louring or lowering, threatening, funereal: The sky
became black with storm clouds. 5 malignant, baleful, baneful,
deadly, deathly, sinister, dismal, hateful, disastrous: It was
a black day when he came into my life. 6 bad, foul, iniquitous,
wicked, evil, diabolical, infernal, hellish, atrocious, awful,
malicious, abominable, outrageous, vicious, villainous,
flagitious, vile, disgraceful, unscrupulous, unconscionable,
unprincipled, blackguardly, knavish, perfidious, insidious,
nefarious, dastardly, treacherous, unspeakable, disgraceful,
shameful, scurvy, criminal, felonious: You have told the
blackest lies about me. 7 angry, wrathful, furious, frowning,
bad-tempered, sulky, resentful, clouded, threatening, glowering:
She gave him a black look and he withered in abject fear.
--v. 8 boycott, embargo, blacklist, ban, interdict: Because of
the dispute over plumbers' wages, the other building-trades
unions have blacked every manufacturer in the business.
blacken v. 1 darken, smudge, begrime: The chimney sweep's face was
blackened with soot. 2 slander, libel, asperse, cast aspersions
on, traduce, smear, sully, soil, besmirch, taint, tarnish,
defame, revile, malign, vilify, discredit, denigrate: His
article has blackened my reputation.
blackleg n. scab, strikebreaker: Despite the strike, the plant is being
operated by blackleg labour.
blackmail n. 1 extortion, ransom, tribute, US graft: Even if you pay the
blackmail, that is no guarantee that he won't demand more later.
--v. 2 extort money from; force, coerce, compel, make: They
had discovered his indiscretions and were blackmailing him. He
blackmailed her into signing the alimony settlement.
blade n. 1 knife, cutting edge: Don't hold the knife by the blade.
2 Literary sword, rapier, sabre, dagger, poniard, stiletto,
cutlass, bayonet, knife, penknife, jackknife: She plunged the
blade in up to the hilt. 3 leaf, leaflet, frond, shoot: The
blades of grass were flattened where he had walked. 4 Rather
old-fashioned playboy, ladies' man, man about town, fop, dandy:
He was quite a gay blade in his youth.
blame v. 1 find fault with, censure, criticize, fault; accuse,
charge, indict, condemn, point to, point (the finger) at,
rebuke, reprimand, recriminate, reproach, scold, reprehend,
reprove: Don't blame me if you can't get to school on time. 2
hold responsible, fix (the) responsibility upon or on, put or
place or lay (the) blame on, lay at someone's door, denounce,
incriminate: Why blame Carol for the mess?
--n. 3 censure, criticism, reproof, rebuke, recrimination,
disapproval, disapprobation, reproach, objurgation,
condemnation, reprehension: The cyclist put the blame for the
accident on me. 4 culpability, responsibility; guilt, Slang
rap: Why should you take the blame for something that Donald
blameless adj. faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable,
unimpeachable: Hugh has led a blameless life.
bland adj. 1 gentle, soothing, smooth, mild, suave, urbane, cool,
unruffled, calm, composed, unemotional, nonchalant, insouciant:
His reaction to the news of the invasion was bland indifference.
2 insipid, boring, dull, uninteresting, ennuyant, tasteless,
Colloq US plain vanilla; Slang US blah: The play is a bland
mixture of clich‚s embedded in a tired plot.
blank adj. 1 empty, plain, bare: I stared at the blank paper, unable
to write even my name. 2 unornamented, unadorned, undecorated,
void: Whenever Irena sees a blank wall she feels compelled to
hang a painting on it. 3 vacant, empty: The actor's mind went
--he had forgotten his lines. 4 passive, impassive,
expressionless, emotionless, vacuous, mindless, unexpressive:
He gave us a blank look when asked about the missing rare
stamps. 5 disconcerted, discomfited, nonplussed, confused,
helpless, resourceless, perplexed, dazed, bewildered: The two
old men looked at each other with blank and horror-stricken
faces. 6 unrelieved, stark, sheer, utter, pure, unmixed,
absolute, unqualified: Jack faced the blank prospect of
--n. 7 space; line, box: Please fill in the blanks on the
form. 8 nothing, zero, nil; void, emptiness: I asked her when
the baby was coming, but I drew a blank.
blare v. 1 blast, bellow, trumpet, ring, boom, thunder, roar, bray;
resound, echo, reverberate, resonate: Everyone in the
neighbourhood can hear your hi-fi blaring.
--n. 2 blast, bellow, ring, roar, boom, noise, sound, clamour:
The games began with a blare of trumpets.
blas‚ adj. 1 bored, jaded, weary, unimpressed, ennuy‚: Her blas‚
attitude does little to endear her at job interviews. 2
indifferent, cool, superior, supercilious, sophisticated,
unmoved, nonchalant, emotionless, phlegmatic, apathetic,
pococurante, carefree, light-hearted, insouciant: His blas‚
behaviour hides his basic feelings of insecurity.
blaspheme v. 1 curse, swear, imprecate, execrate, profane, damn: They
were denounced for blaspheming against God. 2 abuse, malign,
calumniate, defame, disparage, revile, put down, decry,
deprecate, depreciate, belittle: The ungrateful wretches
blaspheme the charitable soul who would help them.
adj. profane, impious, irreverent, disrespectful, sacrilegious,
irreligious, sinful, wicked, evil, iniquitous: He was
excommunicated for his blasphemous writings.
blast n. 1 blow, gust, wind, gale: The door opened and a blast of
icy air made us shiver. 2 blare, sound, noise, racket, din,
bellow, roar; boom: At the trumpet-blast thousands of Goths
descended screaming on the camp. 3 explosion, burst, eruption,
discharge; detonation: A blast of dynamite levelled all the
houses in the vicinity. 4 (at or in) full blast. fully, at full
tilt, at the maximum, completely, thoroughly, entirely,
maximally, Slang with no holds barred, US to the max: The
factory was going full blast before the strike.
--v. 5 blow up, explode, dynamite, demolish, destroy, ruin,
waste, lay waste, shatter, devastate: The pillbox was blasted
out of existence by our guns. 6 defame, discredit, denounce,
criticize, attack; ruin, destroy: The candidate has been
blasted by the press. 7 curse, damn: The minister continued to
blast the proposal till the legislature dropped it.
blatant adj. 1 obvious, flagrant, palpable, obtrusive, arrant,
shameless, unashamed, brazen, overt, glaring: Those hooligans
have shown a blatant disregard for the law. 2 noisy, clamorous,
loud, bellowing, strident, vociferous, rowdy, boisterous,
obstreperous, uproarious: The blatant radical faction insists
on making itself heard.
blaze n. 1 flame, fire, holocaust, inferno, conflagration: The fuel
barrels exploded, feeding the blaze. 2 outburst, eruption,
flare-up: Her speech fanned the Lower House into a blaze of
resentment. 3 light, brightness, brilliance, brilliancy, glow:
The blaze of lamps lit up the whole square.
--v. 4 burn, flare up, flame: In a few minutes the logs were
blazing merrily. 5 blaze away (at). fire, shoot, open fire,
blast; bombard, shell: The enemy appeared, and we just blazed
away at them.
bleach v. 1 whiten, lighten, fade, blanch, blench, Technical etiolate:
My jeans are all bleached by the sun.
--n. 2 whitener, chlorine: Add a little bleach to the laundry.
bleak adj. 1 cheerless, dreary, depressing, dismal, gloomy, sombre,
melancholy, sad, unhappy, mournful: 1940 was one of the
bleakest periods in British history. 2 cold, chilly, raw,
bitter: The days were getting shorter, and the bleak winter was
setting in. 3 barren, bare, exposed, windswept, desolate: How
depressing the bleak landscape of the Russian steppes can be in
blemish v. 1 deface, mar, scar, impair, disfigure: They did nothing to
blemish the beauty of the landscape. 2 tarnish, stain, sully,
spoil, mar, flaw, harm, damage, scar, injure, bruise, besmirch:
She has blemished my reputation by spreading those stories about
--n. 3 disfigurement, scar, mark, impairment, stain, smear,
blot; defect, flaw, error, fault, imperfection, error, erratum:
Her complexion was entirely without blemish.
blend v. 1 mix, mingle, combine, meld, commingle, intermingle: The
Latakia is blended with the Virginia to produce a fine smoking
tobacco. 2 shade, grade, gradate, graduate, merge, coalesce,
fuse, unite: Note how the pink sky and the tinted clouds blend
in this Turner painting.
--n. 3 mixture, mix, combination, mingling, meld, commingling,
intermingling: His humour is a fine blend of the sardonic with
bless v. 1 consecrate, hallow, sanctify; extol, glorify, praise,
revere, adore: God bless this ship and all who sail in her.
Bless the Lord. 2 give, make happy or fortunate, endow, favour,
furnish, provide, supply, grace: She is blessed with one of the
most beautiful soprano voices that I have ever heard.
blessing n. 1 benediction, prayer, consecration: Each spring the vicar
officiated at the blessing of the fleet. 2 boon, favour,
advantage, good fortune, godsend, luck, profit, gain, help,
asset, gift, bounty: Hot, sunny days are a blessing for wine
blight n. 1 affliction, disease, plague, infestation, pestilence,
scourge: The crops were visited with a blight that lasted seven
years. 2 misfortune, curse, trouble, woe, calamity: Genius may
suffer an untimely blight.
--v. 3 afflict, infest, plague, scourge; wither, mar, taint,
blast: Central Africa has been blighted by famine after famine.
blind adj. 1 sightless, eyeless, unsighted, purblind, stone-blind:
He has been blind from birth. 2 imperceptive, slow,
insensitive, thick, dense, obtuse, stupid, weak-minded,
dull-witted, slow-witted, dim-witted, Colloq Brit gormless: How
blind some parents are! There's another case of the blind
leading the blind. 3 indiscriminate, undiscriminating, heedless,
reckless, rash, impetuous, inconsiderate, unreasoning, mindless,
senseless, thoughtless, unthinking, irrational, delusional: He
did her bidding with the blind obedience of a dog. 4 blind to.
unaware or unconscious of, impervious or insensible to,
unaffected or untouched or unmoved by: The critics were blind
to her merits as a novelist till many years had passed.
--v. 5 deceive, blindfold, blinker; bamboozle, hoodwink, fool:
Wolsey could not blind himself to the true condition of the
church. How jealousy blinds people! 6 conceal, hide, eclipse,
overshadow; dazzle, blindfold: The bright lights of the city
blinded our view of the airport runway. Her beauty blinded him
to her greed.
--n. 7 shade, curtain, screen, cover, shutter(s), awning: The
sun is too bright - please draw the blind. 8 pretence, pretext,
front, cover, smokescreen, stratagem, subterfuge, ruse, trick,
deception, Colloq dodge; Slang scam: The plumbing service is
merely a blind for getting into houses to rob them.
blindly adv. recklessly, heedlessly, deludedly, indiscriminately,
rashly, impetuously, irrationally, thoughtlessly, mindlessly,
senselessly, unthinkingly: Despite his parents' warnings, he
went blindly on, till one day he was arrested.
blink v. 1 wink, flicker, Technical nictitate: She blinked in the
strong light. 2 twinkle, flicker, gleam, glimmer, shimmer,
flash, sparkle, scintillate, coruscate: A billion stars blinked
in the wintry sky. 3 flinch, wince, shrink, quail, blench,
recoil, start, move: She didn't even blink when she had the
injection. 4 blink at. wink at, ignore, overlook, disregard:
That inspector has been known to blink at health violations.
--n. 5 wink, flicker: He switched the cards in the blink of an
eye. 6 on the blink. Colloq out of order, broken, in
disrepair, not working or operating, not operational, Slang US
out of whack, on the fritz: The fridge is on the blink again.
bliss n. happiness, blitheness, gladness, joy, blessedness, delight,
felicity, glee, enjoyment, pleasure, joyousness, cheer,
exhilaration, gaiety, blissfulness, rapture, ecstasy: The bliss
of our honeymoon has remained with us throughout our marriage.
blithe adj. 1 blissful, happy, cheerful, joyous, merry, light-hearted,
well-pleased, delighted, gay, joyful, elated, jubilant: His
spirit was blithe and his heart unquenchable. 2 happy-go-lucky,
insouciant, heedless, carefree, unconcerned, blas‚, casual,
detached, indifferent, uncaring, careless: She goes through
life with a blithe disregard for the feelings of others.
bloated adj. swollen, distended, fully, puffy; puffed up, overgrown,
inflated, pompous: He felt bloated after the enormous banquet.
That bloated, conceited, self-important petty official had the
gall to refuse me a visa.
blob n. gob, gobbet, globule, drop, droplet, bit, gout, lump, dab,
Colloq glob, Chiefly US and Canadian smidgen or smidgin:
There's a blob of jelly on your tie.
block n. 1 piece, chunk, hunk, lump, slab; stump; brick, cube: The
figure is carved out of a solid block of stone. 2 bar,
obstacle, obstruction, hindrance, stumbling-block, deterrent,
impediment, barrier: Her arrival should be no block to your
--v. 3 obstruct, close off, barricade; bar, shut off; hinder,
hamper, balk, impede, prevent: Entry to the playing field was
blocked by the police. 4 block out. a rough out, design,
outline, sketch, lay out, plan: The colonel blocked out a
strategy for our escape. b mask, screen, blank (out), erase,
eliminate, exclude, blot out, deny: She has blocked out that
part of her life from her mind. 5 block (up). stuff (up),
congest, clog, Colloq Brit bung up: My nose is all blocked up
because of this awful cold.
bloodshed n. slaughter, carnage, butchery, killing, murder,
blood-letting; violence; genocide: Let's settle this peaceably
and avoid bloodshed.
n. leech, extortionist, extortioner, blackmailer; parasite,
barnacle, Colloq sponge, freeloader, scrounge, scrounger; Slang
US moocher: He's nothing but a bloodsucker, always demanding
more and more money.
blot n. 1 stain, spot, mark, smudge, blotch, blemish, disfigurement,
smear, smirch, scar, Colloq splodge or US also splotch: An ink
blot covered the date of the document. There are a few blots on
his record from his time in the army.
--v. 2 stain, spot, spatter, smudge, mark, blur: You have
blotted these pages where you wrote with a fountain-pen. 3 blot
one's copybook. err, destroy or ruin or mar or spoil one's
reputation, commit an indiscretion, transgress, sin: She's
certainly blotted her copybook by having an affair with that
subaltern. 4 blot out. a obscure, conceal, cover (up), hide,
eclipse, dim: The clouds blotted out the sun for a few minutes.
b obliterate, destroy, erase, demolish, efface, annihilate,
delete, rub or wipe out: He subconsciously blotted out all
memory of the accident.
blow° v. 1 breathe, puff, exhale; expel: If the crystals turn green
when you blow into the tube, it means that you've had too much
to drink. Blow some air into the balloon. 2 waft, puff, whistle,
whine, blast: An icy wind blew through the cracks in the
windows. 3 Colloq bungle, botch, make a mess of, muff,
mismanage, Colloq screw up, mess up, fluff, bugger up, Taboo
fuck up: It was my last chance to win and I blew it. 4 Colloq
spend, lavish, squander, waste, throw out or away: She blew
hundreds on that dress and now she won't wear it. 5
short-circuit, burn out: All the fuses blew when I turned on
the electric heater. 6 blow hot and cold. vacillate, hesitate,
dither, Colloq shilly-shally: The sales manager has been
blowing hot and cold over my proposal for a month now. 7 blow
out. a extinguish: I blew out all the candles in one breath.
The match blew out in the wind. b explode, burst: One of my
tyres blew out on the way over here. c short-circuit, burn out:
The lights blew out during the storm. 8 blow up. a become
furious or angry or enraged, flare up, lose one's temper, Slang
blow one's top or US also stack, flip one's lid: She really
blew up when I said I was going to the pub. b explode, burst,
shatter, Colloq bust; detonate, dynamite, destroy, blast: The
bridge blew up with a roar. Demolition experts will blow up the
dam. c enlarge, inflate, embroider, magnify, expand, exaggerate,
overstate: The tabloid press has blown up the story out of all
proportion. d enlarge, magnify, amplify, expand, increase: Can
you blow up just this corner of the photograph? e inflate;
distend, swell: We were busy blowing up balloons for the party.
--n. 9 gale, storm, tempest, whirlwind, tornado, cyclone,
hurricane, typhoon, north-easter, nor'easter: We can expect a
big blow tonight - winds of gale force, they say.
blowэ n. 1 stroke, punch, clout, whack, hit, knock, thump, thwack,
Colloq wallop: He was felled by a blow to the chin in the
fourth round. 2 shock, surprise, bombshell, jolt, bolt from the
blue, revelation: It came as a blow to learn that she was
leaving in a month.
blue adj. 1 depressed, low-spirited, dispirited, sad, dismal, down,
down in the mouth, gloomy, unhappy, glum, downcast, crestfallen,
chap-fallen, dejected, melancholy, despondent, downhearted,
morose: I've been feeling blue since Kathleen left me. 2
obscene, vulgar, indecent, titillating, pornographic, dirty,
filthy, lewd, smutty, risqu‚, bawdy, sexy, X, X-rated, 18, US
XXX; indelicate, suggestive, off colour, erotic, coarse,
offensive, improper: There's a place nearby that shows blue
bluff° v. 1 deceive, hoodwink, dupe, mislead, delude, trick, cozen,
fool, Colloq bamboozle: I bluffed him into believing that I
held four aces. 2 pretend, feign, bluster, fool, Colloq kid;
Slang bullshit: She became frightened, unaware that I was only
--n. 3 bombast, bravado, boasting, bragging, bluster, show,
puffery; deception, blind; Literary rodomontade, gasconade;
Colloq hot air: Roger's ranting is all bluff - he's really very
bluffэ adj. 1 blustering, gruff, rough, abrupt, blunt, curt, short,
crude: Fred's bluff manner puts many people off. 2 frank,
open, hearty, straightforward, plain, plain-spoken, outspoken,
affable, approachable, good-natured, friendly: That comment is
typical of his bluff honesty.
--n. 3 cliff, escarpment, precipice, scarp, headland,
promontory, palisades: As you sail down the lower Hudson river,
the tall bluffs form a natural wall along the western bank.
blunder v. 1 stumble, flounder: I had somehow blundered into a meeting
of the local crime syndicate. She blundered upon the truth when
she saw them together.
--n. 2 mistake, error, gaffe, faux pas, slip, slip-up, howler,
Colloq boo-boo, screw-up, fluff, boner, US goof, goof-up: I
made a stupid blunder in telling him about the plans.
blunt adj. 1 dull, worn: This knife is too blunt to cut bread. 2
abrupt, curt, rough-spoken, plain-spoken, short, direct, candid,
frank, unceremonious, undiplomatic, inconsiderate, thoughtless,
brusque, outspoken, bluff, brash, indelicate, rude, uncivil,
ungracious, discourteous, impolite; straightforward, straight,
uncomplicated, uncompromising: Ralph may be blunt, but at least
you know exactly where you stand with him.
--v. 3 dull, take the edge off: You've blunted the scissors
cutting that cardboard. 4 soften, mitigate, mollify, soothe;
efface, dim, obscure, blur, weaken: Mother's love is an
absorbing delight, blunting all other sensibilities.
blur n. 1 indistinctness, dimness, haziness, cloudiness, fogginess:
We were unable to pick out the star from the blur of the Galaxy.
2 fog, haze, Brit fuzz: Without my spectacles, everything is a
--v. 3 dim, befog, obscure, bedim; efface: My vision was
momentarily blurred, and I didn't see the oncoming car. 4
obscure, hide, conceal, veil, mask; weaken: The Honourable
Gentleman has blurred the distinction between the unemployed and
blurt v. Usually, blurt out. burst out with, utter; reveal, disclose,
give away, divulge, Colloq blab: She blurted out the name of
blush v. be or act ashamed, redden, flush, colour: He blushed when
asked if he still loved Belinda.
bluster v. 1 storm, rage, harangue: It won't do any good to bluster on
about the postal service. 2 swagger, strut, talk big, boast,
brag, blow one's own horn or trumpet, show off, crow: He's
always blustering about his conquests.
--n. 3 swaggering, storming, raging, raving, haranguing,
tumult; hot air, puffery, bravado, grandiloquence, Literary
rodomontade: He's all bluster and will do nothing despite his
board n. 1 plank, scantling, timber: We nailed the last board in
place and the house was finished. 2 table, gaming-table, game
table or surface: I have the chessmen, have you brought the
board? 3 food, meals, provisions: I am moving to the country,
where room and board are cheaper. 4 council, committee,
directors, directorship, management, cabinet, panel, trustees,
advisers: That issue will be discussed at the meeting of the
board. 5 on board. aboard, on: Young children are not allowed
on board the boat.
--v. 6 go aboard, ship aboard; enter, embark on: We all
boarded the ship but it didn't leave for an hour. 7 feed; eat,
take meals; accommodate, lodge, house, billet, quarter; lodge,
stay, live, room; Colloq put up: Mrs O'Brien already boards
three gentlemen at her house, but she has agreed to let me board
boast n. 1 brag, bragging: They did not make good their boasts of
being the fastest in the competition.
--v. 2 brag, vaunt, crow, show off, Colloq US blow or toot
one's (own) horn or trumpet; Slang lay it on thick, talk big:
He boasted that he was the best poker player in the casino.
boastful adj. ostentatious, show-off, bragging, vainglorious,
egotistical, vain, conceited: She's boastful about her wealth,
but it was all left to her by her mother.
boat n. vessel, craft, skiff, small craft, motor boat, speedboat,
knockabout, runabout, yacht, motor yacht, sailing-yacht, Brit
rowing-boat, sailing-boat, US row-boat, sailboat, Colloq ship:
I bought a 30-foot boat at this year's show. They went off on a
slow boat to China.
bode v. portend, promise, augur, betoken, forebode, presage;
foreshadow: The weather bodes well for the picnic.
body n. 1 corpse, cadaver, remains, carcass, Slang stiff: A body
has been dragged up from the lake. 2 trunk, torso: They found
the body, but the arms, legs, and head were missing. 3 main
part or portion, hull, fuselage: The body of the plane remained
intact, though the wings and superstructure broke away. 4
substance, essentials, main part, essence, heart, centre, core:
The body of the book is all right, but the index needs work. 5
majority, bulk, main part or portion, mass(es): Under Henry
VIII the main body of the people were prosperous. 6
association, league, band, corps, confederation, fraternity,
society; committee, council; group, assemblage, assembly,
congress, company: It is not within the power of this body to
do more than vote on the proposal. 7 richness, substance,
firmness, consistency, solidity, thickness, density, fullness,
viscosity, fullness: This wine has excellent body. Add a little
cornflour to give the sauce more body.
bog n. 1 swamp, fen, marsh, quagmire: The peat bogs have yielded
interesting fossils. 2 bog down. impede, slow, hamper,
encumber, stymie, stick, handicap, clog, check, set back, hold
back: Traffic is bogged down owing to roadworks.
bogus adj. counterfeit, spurious, fake, false, fraudulent, sham,
imitation, fictitious, Colloq phoney or US also phony: The
police reported that a gang was trying to pass bogus money to
unsuspecting shopkeepers in the area.
Bohemian adj. nonconformist, unconforming, unconventional, unorthodox,
casual, free and easy: In the '60s she became a flower person
and adopted a Bohemian way of life.
boil° v. 1 bubble, seethe; simmer, stew, steam: A pot of soup was
boiling on the kitchen stove. 2 seethe, fume, sizzle, smoulder,
chafe, fulminate, ferment, sputter, splutter, bluster: When she
learned what he had been saying about her, she boiled with
boilэ n. abscess, carbuncle, pustule, Technical furuncle: The doctor
said the boil had to be lanced at once.
adj. rowdy, clamorous, rough, noisy, lively, exuberant, unruly,
wild, undisciplined, tempestuous, stormy, turbulent, Colloq
rambunctious: The boys were sent outside because of their
bold adj. 1 courageous, brave, plucky, confident, stout-hearted,
lion-hearted, daring, enterprising, audacious, fearless,
unafraid, intrepid, resolute, dauntless, undaunted, valiant,
stout, valorous, stalwart, adventurous, venturesome; reckless,
foolhardy, incautious, daredevil, rash: It would take a bold
man to enter the ring with the champion. 2 audacious,
presumptuous, forward, immodest, brazen, impudent, temerarious,
impertinent, shameless: It was very bold of you to speak your
mind to the boss. 3 pronounced, outstanding, striking,
vigorous, clear, strong, vivid, distinct, conspicuous: He wrote
down their demands in a good, bold hand.
bolster v. support, prop (up), brace, shore up, buttress, uphold, back
(up), reinforce, aid, help, assist, further, advance: The
miners cited a lack of safety measures to bolster their
bolt n. 1 arrow, dart, projectile, missile, Historical quarrel: He
had only three bolts remaining for the crossbow. 2 pin, bar,
rod, catch; latch: We hoped that the bolt would prevent their
opening the door. 3 machine screw: Bolts can be tightened or
removed, unlike rivets. 4 roll, length: We sell only full
bolts of fabric. 5 lightning flash, thunderbolt, Formal
fulguration: One bolt travelled down the television aerial and
blew out the set. 6 bolt from or out of the blue. surprise,
shock, bombshell, bomb, blow, revelation, eye-opener, Colloq
shocker: The news of her resignation came like a bolt from the
blue. 7 shoot one's bolt. exhaust or use up one's resources,
Slang burn out, US poop out: He was fast early in the marathon,
but he'd shot his bolt long before the finishing line.
--v. 8 spring, dart, shoot off, take flight, run (away or off),
rush (off or away), break away, flee, decamp, abscond, escape,
fly, dash (off or away), Colloq skedaddle, scram, Brit scarper,
do a bunk, do a moonlight flit, US take a (run-out) powder,:
The youths bolted as soon as they saw the police. The couple in
room 315 bolted without paying their bill. 9 gulp (down),
swallow whole: When the bell rang, she bolted her breakfast and
ran out of the back door. 10 fasten, lock, latch, secure: Make
sure you bolt your door at night and don't let anyone in. 11
fix, attach, fasten, connect, make fast to: The motor must be
securely bolted to the workbench.
--adv. 12 bolt upright. erect, straight, rigidly, stiffly:
When her name was called, Penny sat bolt upright in her chair.
bomb n. 1 bombshell, shell, explosive: One of the bombs blew up the
--v. 2 bombard, shell, batter, blow up: Last night the railway
station was bombed.
bombard v. 1 batter, bomb, shell: The artillery continued to bombard
the enemy with everything in their arsenal. 2 assail, attack,
assault, set upon; besiege: The Prime Minister was bombarded
with requests to amend the law.
bombast n. pretentious language, flatulence, bluster, show,
grandiloquence, magniloquence, hot air, bravado, boast,
boasting, Literary gasconade, rodomontade; Colloq puffery: The
speaker continued to bore the audience with his pompous bombast.
bombastic adj. high-flown, extravagant, pompous, grandiose,
grandiloquent, magniloquent, inflated, fustian, flatulent,
turgid, Literary euphuistic: The Minister made a bombastic
speech full of emotive appeals, but his actual arguments were
bombshell n. surprise, shock, eye-opener, bomb, blow, revelation, bolt
from or out of the blue, Colloq shocker: Then came the
bombshell - she and Tony had been married the week before.
bona fide adj. genuine, authentic, attested, real, veritable, legitimate,
true, valid; in good faith, sincere, honest: The jeweller
affirmed that it was a bona fide ruby. I don't believe her
reasons are bona fide.
bond n. 1 tie(s), shackles, chains, fetters, manacles, handcuffs,
trammels, thongs, cord(s), rope(s); restraint(s), constraint(s),
check(s), control(s), rein(s): The council is hampered by the
bonds of the old regulations. 2 covenant, pact, contract,
agreement, engagement, compact, treaty: To unite the party a
bond of confederacy was formed. 3 connection, link, linkage,
union, tie, relationship: The main bond between us was a shared
love of the theatre. The bond between the veneer and the board
should hold with a little more glue.
--v. 4 cement, bind, hold together, stick, cohere: They use
mortar to bond the bricks together.
bondage n. slavery, servitude, subjection, subjugation, enslavement,
serfdom, thraldom; vassalage, villeinage: The poor souls were
kept in bondage for most of their lives, forced to row in the
galleys till they died.
bonny adj. beautiful, comely, attractive, pretty, lovely: She's
grown into quite a bonny lass.
bonus n. reward, largesse, hand-out, perquisite, extra, honorarium,
tip, gratuity, remuneration, compensation, Colloq perk:
Employees often receive a Christmas bonus.
book n. 1 volume, tome, work, publication; hard-cover, soft-cover,
paperback: Our personal library contains more than 5000 books.
2 libretto, words, lyrics: Richard Rodgers wrote the music and
Oscar Hammerstein the book for several hit shows. 3 rules, laws,
regulations: He always insists that we go by the book.
--v. 4 engage, reserve; earmark, ticket; order, register,
enrol, list, enlist, log, record, post: Please phone the
restaurant and book a table for four for seven-thirty.
n. clerk; accountant, Brit chartered accountant, CA, cashier;
US CPA, certified public accountant: The office was haunted by
the melancholy ghosts of departed bookkeepers.
bookworm n. bibliophile, book-lover, inveterate or ardent reader, Formal
bibliophage: Fiona is such a bookworm, she hardly does anything
boom v. 1 sound, resound, resonate, blast, rumble, thunder, roar,
bang, explode: We heard the cannons booming in the distance. 2
prosper, thrive, flourish, progress, grow, increase, burgeon or
bourgeon: Business is booming in every sector.
--n. 3 blast, rumble, explosion: There was a resounding boom
and the car went up in flames. 4 prosperity, profitability;
growth, increase, burgeoning or bourgeoning: In this business
it is either boom or bust.
boomerang v. rebound, recoil, backfire, miscarry, redound: His plan
boon n. gift, favour, award, reward, gratuity, present; blessing,
benefit, advantage: The mobile library service is a great boon
to the elderly in the area.
boor n. 1 rustic, peasant, yokel, (country) bumpkin, provincial,
backwoodsman, US hayseed, hill-billy, Juke, Kallikak, Slang
hick: The boor is blind to the beauties of nature. 2
barbarian, yahoo, oaf, clod, clodhopper, philistine, clown,
Grobian; hoyden, Colloq lummox, Slang galoot, slob, US goop,
slobbovian: The guests behaved like boors, throwing their food
at each other.
boorish adj. rustic, barbarian, rude, crude, ill-mannered, uncultured,
coarse, clownish, uncouth, loutish, oafish, gawky, vulgar,
ill-bred: How can you even think of inviting such a boorish
boost n. 1 lift, shove or push up or upward(s), Colloq leg up; rise,
raise: If you give me a boost up, I can reach the window ledge.
2 encouragement, help, aid, assistance, support: With a boost
from your constituency, Trevor should win the vote. 3 increase,
rise, US raise, hike: He was given a slight boost in salary as
an incentive to stay.
--v. 4 lift, shove or push up or upward(s), raise: He boosted
her over the fence. The second stage is intended to boost the
rocket beyond the atmosphere. 5 encourage, promote, help, aid,
support, assist, improve: A talk from the manager before the
game helped to boost the players' morale. 6 increase, raise:
Her salary was boosted twice in one year.
boot n. 1 to boot. in addition, into the bargain, in addition,
besides, moreover, as well, also, too, additionally: He's
stingy and cruel - and ugly to boot. 2 shoe, riding-boot,
bootee: I need a new pair of boots for my walking holiday.
--v. 3 eject, expel, shove, propel, push, Colloq kick: The
landlord booted three rowdies out of the pub. 4 Literary
profit, avail, help, be in aid of: What boots it to complain?
booth n. 1 stall, stand: Our company has taken three booths at the
book fair. 2 compartment, cubicle, box, kiosk: We walked
across the road to a telephone booth and phoned a garage.
bootless adj. pointless, unavailing, vain, purposeless, useless, futile,
worthless, unproductive, ineffective, inefficacious, fruitless,
unprofitable, profitless, unremunerative, unrewarding, wasteful,
time-wasting, Sisyphean: It's a bootless task trying to
persuade him of the importance of a good education.
booty n. plunder, gain, spoil(s), contraband, takings, loot, Slang
swag, boodle, (hot) goods, take: The pirates fought over the
booty seized from the Spanish galleon.
booze n. 1 drink, (hard) liquor, spirit(s), whisk(e)y, alcohol, US
demon rum, John Barleycorn, mountain dew, white lightning, white
mule; Slang rot-gut, poison, fire-water, mother's ruin, US and
Canadian sauce, juice, hooch, red-eye: I ordered plenty of
booze for the party.
--v. 2 drink, tipple; Humorous bibulate; Slang hit the bottle,
US hit the sauce: He has a terrible hangover after boozing all
border n. 1 edge, margin, hem, binding, trimming, trim, edging,
periphery, purfle, purfling: The border of the tablecloth is
beautifully embroidered with flowers. 2 Usually, borders.
limit(s), bound(s), confines: Sometimes Tony exceeds the
borders of good taste. 3 boundary, frontier: You won't be able
to cross the border without a passport. 4 frame, frieze,
moulding; dado, wainscot or wainscoting or wainscotting: The
border of the fresco is in Greek fretwork design. 5 borderline,
edge, verge, brink: She is just on the border of becoming a
born-again Christian. 6 bed, flowerbed, herbaceous border:
Hollyhocks are growing in the border.
--v. 7 edge, trim, bind, fringe, purfle: The hem of the skirt
is bordered with lace. 8 resemble (closely), approach
(closely), verge upon or on: Isabel's attempts at playing the
tuba border on the ludicrous. 9 lie alongside, adjoin, abut (on
or upon), verge upon or on, touch, be adjacent to: The
territory of the Gauls bordered the western lands of the
bore° n. 1 hole, drill-hole, borehole: A bore of six inches was
carried to a depth of 2086 feet.
--v. 2 pierce, perforate, drill, penetrate, puncture, tap,
punch, stab, prick; sink, tunnel, dig (out), gouge (out); hollow
out: Bore a hole through this sheet metal. The oil rig is
boring through solid rock.
boreэ n. 1 annoyance, nuisance: Reggie is such a bore - always
talking about himself.
--v. 2 weary, wear out, tire, exhaust, jade: The programme so
bored me that I fell asleep.
boredom n. dullness, dreariness, ennui, tedium, monotony: I have to
look forward to the boredom of an evening of chamber music.
boring adj. dull, monotonous, tedious, humdrum, tiresome, dreary,
flat, dead, uninteresting, unexciting, ennuyant, stale, tired,
dry, dry-as-dust, arid; tiring, wearying, wearisome, exhausting,
soporific; repetitious, wordy, prolix, unending, long-drawn-out:
Felicity's boring old stories put me to sleep.
borrow v. take, appropriate, draw, adopt, refer to, obtain, Colloq
sponge, cadge, touch (someone) for, US bum; Slang mooch: Has
Fred borrowed my lawnmower again?
Borstal n. youth custody centre, approved school, Now chiefly US reform
school, reformatory: He was too young to go to prison, so he
was sent to a Borstal.
bosom n. 1 breast, chest, bust; Slang boobs, knockers, tits, titties,
pair, jugs, Brit Bristols: The sex goddess's lack of talent was
more than compensated for by her ample bosom. 2 midst, interior,
heart, core, centre: She was welcomed into the bosom of the
family as if she had been their own child. 3 soul, heart, heart
of hearts, bowels, blood, Colloq gut: I know he loves me, I can
feel it in my bosom.
--adj. 4 close, intimate, dear, beloved, cherished, boon,
special, confidential: We were once bosom companions.
bosomy adj. big-busted, busty, well-endowed: This tabloid always has
a bosomy model on page 3.
boss n. 1 chief, supervisor, head, administrator, manager, foreman,
superintendent, overseer; employer, director, proprietor, owner,
Brit managing director , US president, Dialect himself, Colloq
supremo, Brit governor, gov., gaffer, US super, leader, kingpin,
big cheese, the man, Slang honcho, head or chief honcho, Mr Big,
prex or prexy: If you have to leave early, check with the boss.
The company boss was interviewed on television last night.
--v. 2 supervise, head, manage, run, oversee, overlook, direct,
control, superintend, command, take charge, be in charge: Clive
has been here only a year and he's already bossing a department.
3 domineer, push or shove around or about, dominate, order
about, lord it over: That slave-driver had better stop bossing
me about or I'll quit!
bossy adj. overbearing, domineering, dictatorial, tyrannical,
despotic, imperious, lordly: Her boyfriend is awfully bossy -
and they're not even married yet.
botch v. bungle, mismanage, spoil, Colloq screw or louse up, blow,
mess up, muck up, make a mess or hash or muddle of; Slang
bollocks or ballocks or US bollix up: Give Gordon an assignment
and he's sure to botch it.
bother v. 1 annoy, pester, worry, irritate, trouble, hector, harass,
hound, dog, nag, plague, needle, Colloq hassle; Slang US nudge:
I wish they'd stop bothering me about paying the telephone bill.
2 trouble (about), fuss (at), make a fuss (about), concern
oneself (with), burden: Too few people are interested in
bothering about the welfare of others. 3 confuse, bewilder,
perplex, perturb, upset, disconcert, discomfit: She was
increasingly bothered by her inability to understand the local
--n. 4 trouble, inconvenience: Those pets must be a lot of
bother. 5 worry, annoyance, vexation, nuisance, irritation,
trouble, effort, disturbance, upset, Slang hassle: Painting the
lattice will be more bother than it's worth. 6 dither, flutter,
Colloq tizzy, pet, stew, lather, sweat: She seems to have
worked herself into quite a bother about something quite
insignificant. 7 pest, irritant, nag, nuisance, Colloq pain,
pain in the neck or Brit taboo arse or US taboo ass; Slang US
nudge: Mother is such a bother, always asking if I wear my
galoshes when it rains. 8 disturbance, to-do, ado, commotion,
fuss, trouble, disorder, stir, hubbub: We ran into a bit of
bother at the pub last night.
bottle n. 1 flask, container; fiasco, decanter: The milkman left two
bottles of milk. 2 courage, nerve, manliness, manfulness, grit,
backbone, gumption, mettle, pluck, Dutch courage, Slang guts;
Colloq spunk, starch, US moxie: He was going to tell her off
but lost his bottle at the last minute. 3 the bottle. alcohol,
alcoholic drink, spirit(s), liquor, booze, sauce: He's back on
the bottle after only two weeks of being on the wagon.
--v. 4 bottle up. a contain, restrain, hold back, control,
suppress, repress, hold or keep in check, stifle: All the
emotions, bottled up for so long, burst upon him at once, and he
wept pitiably. b trap, cut off, hem in, box in: With the help
of the posse, we can bottle up the gang in the canyon.
bottom n. 1 seat, buttocks, rear, behind, rear end, derriЉre, rump,
posterior, hindquarters, breech, fundament, gluteus maximus,
Colloq backside, butt, prat, Brit bum , US can, duff, keister or
keester, hinie; Taboo Brit arse, US ass; Slang US tokus or
tochis or tuchis, tushie or tushy or tush: He just sits there
on his bottom, never doing a bit of work. 2 base, foot,
foundation, groundwork, substructure, footing, underpinning,
fundament: A ditch was dug along the bottom of the wall. 3
basis, foundation, source, origin, cause, heart, nub: We have
to get to the bottom of the problem. 4 depths, Davy Jones's
locker; bed: The ship sank to the bottom of the sea. 5 at
bottom. basically, fundamentally, in the final or last analysis,
really, in reality, truly, in truth, essentially: Despite her
behaviour at the party, at bottom she is very reserved. 6
Bottoms up! Prosit!, To your (very good) health!, Cheers!,
Here's to -!, Skol!: Here's to the whole team - Bottoms up!
adj. unfathomed, unfathomable, abyssal, abysmal, inexhaustible,
unlimited, immeasurable, unplumbable: The bottomless ignorance
of the man is incredible.
bounce n. 1 bound, leap, hop, recoil, ricochet, rebound: The ball
took a bad bounce and the infielder missed it. 2 vitality,
energy, verve, zest, vivacity, liveliness, animation, dynamism,
life, Colloq pep, zip, go, get-up-and-go: Betty has so much
bounce, she is a bit tiring to have around.
--v. 3 bound, rebound, hop; recoil, ricochet: The ball bounced
over the wall and into the river.
bound° n. 1 Usually, bounds. boundary, boundary-line, limit(s),
extent, border(s), confines: Please try to keep the dogs within
the bounds of the estate. Carl's plan is beyond the bounds of
--v. 2 limit, restrict, confine, delimit, define, circumscribe:
The river bounds the property on the east.
boundэ n. 1 leap, jump, vault, spring; bounce, hop: With a great
bound, the dog was upon me. 2 by leaps and bounds. See leap, 7,
--v. 3 leap, jump, hop, spring, vault, gambol, caper, romp,
frolic, bounce, Colloq galumph: The wolfhound came bounding
towards me across the meadow.
bound° adj. 1 tied, fast, fixed, fastened, confined, secured: We were
bound hand and foot and left in the cave. 2 obliged, obligated,
required, constrained, forced, compelled: In the circumstances,
Philippa was bound to do as she was told. 3 determined,
resolved: Otto is bound to go to the party if Antonia is going.
4 likely, certain, sure, destined, predestined, fated, doomed:
He is bound to get the sack if he goes on turning up late. 5
destined, scheduled, booked; headed, directed: We were bound
boundary n. border(s), limit(s), frontier(s); bound(s), confines,
perimeter: If you cross that boundary, you will be safely in
boundless adj. limitless, unbounded, unlimited; illimitable, vast,
endless, unending, infinite, immense, enormous, immeasurable,
incalculable, measureless, unrestricted, unchecked,
inexhaustible, unstoppable, unbridled, uncontrolled, Literary
vasty: How can you keep up with a teenager's boundless energy?
bountiful adj. 1 generous, beneficent, munificent, liberal, unsparing,
unstinting, charitable, eleemosynary, magnanimous, Literary
bounteous: We are grateful to Sir Roger, our most bountiful
patron, for endowing this library. 2 ample, abundant, plenteous,
plentiful, copious, rich, Literary bounteous: Until the Stock
Exchange d‚bѓcle, these shares paid bountiful dividends.
bounty n. 1 generosity, liberality, munificence, charitableness,
philanthropy, charity, unselfishness, beneficence, goodness:
The poor used to be dependent on the bounty of the local gentry.
2 gift, present, largesse, grant, subsidy, endowment,
subvention: People should be given work and not live off the
bounty of the state. 3 reward, award, premium, bonus, gratuity:
In America they paid a bounty of њ50 for every dead wolf.
bouquet n. 1 nosegay, posy, bunch, arrangement, spray: I sent her a
bouquet of spring flowers for her birthday. 2 aroma, scent,
odour, fragrance, perfume: This '83 burgundy certainly has a
fine bouquet. 3 compliment(s), praise, commendation: Mrs
Campbell received many bouquets for her performances.
bourgeois adj. 1 middle-class, conventional, philistine, capitalistic,
propertied; materialistic, greedy, money-grubbing, money-hungry:
The yuppies constitute the modern bourgeois element in society.
2 working-class, proletarian, plebeian: In his bourgeois mind,
he had only his labour to offer.
bout n. 1 turn, round, time, occasion, spell, period, session: He's
just got over a bout of pneumonia. 2 chance, spree, stint,
opportunity, innings: We had long planned this bout of
shopping. 3 contest, match, boxing-match, prizefight, meet,
set-to, struggle, encounter, engagement; duel: A bout has been
arranged between the heavyweight champion of the world and a
challenger from Puerto Rico.
bow n. 1 nod; curtsy or curtsey, salaam, kowtow, genuflection,
prostration, obeisance: We all bowed respectfully before the
--v. 2 defer, yield, submit, give in, bend, bow down,
capitulate: I bow to your greater knowledge of the subject. 3
bend, incline, lower: The servants bowed their heads when the
master entered. 4 weigh down, crush, overload, bend down,
burden: Michael was bowed down by the responsibilities of his
new family. 5 nod, curtsy or curtsey, salaam, kowtow,
genuflect, prostrate oneself, salaam, make obeisance: The
natives bowed as the king passed by.
bowels n. interior, insides, depths; heart, centre, core, intestines,
viscera, vitals, belly, gut, Colloq innards, guts: We descended
the shaft into the very bowels of the earth. She hates me, I can
feel it in my bowels.
bowl° v. move, trundle, wheel, roll, spin: We saw him in his car,
bowling along at about 40.
bowlэ n. dish; basin, pan: She brought me a bowl of cereal.
box° n. 1 case, receptacle, crate, carton, container, casket,
coffer, caddy, chest: She keeps her valuables in a small
tortoise-shell box on the dressing-table.
--v. 2 crate, encase, package: The candles are boxed in
dozens. 3 box in or up. trap, confine, bottle up, hem in,
enclose, surround; pin down: They have the horses boxed in and
are now driving them into the corral.
boxэ v. 1 fight, engage in fisticuffs, spar, battle: When he was in
the army, he boxed for his regiment. 2 strike, buffet, punch,
hit, Colloq slug, sock, whack, thwack, clout, belt, thump,
lambaste, whomp: Every time she heard him swear, she'd box his
--n. 3 blow, buffet, punch, hit, strike, Colloq slug, sock,
whack, thwack, clout, belt, thump, whomp: How would you like a
box on the ear, you young rascal!
boy n. 1 lad, youth, young man, stripling, youngster, schoolboy,
fellow, urchin, brat, Colloq kid, guy, small fry, little shaver:
There were two girls and five boys in my family. 2 servant,
house-servant, attendant; lackey, slave, Archaic knave, varlet,
rogue, wretch, caitiff: Here! Boy! Bring me another gin and
tonic. 3 old boy. Brit (public) schoolmate; friend, chum, pal,
Archaic old bean, old egg, old crumpet, dear boy; crony: I say,
old boy, care for a rubber of bridge? Carruthers wouldn't be
where he is now if it weren't for the old-boy network.
boycott v. 1 blacklist, embargo; avoid, refuse, shun, reject, eschew,
pass over or by: They are boycotting Fern's Dairy because it
won't hire women. The US government is still boycotting cigars
--n. 2 embargo, blacklist, blacklisting, ban: A boycott of
their products soon forced them to change their policies.
boyish adj. 1 young, youthful, juvenile, adolescent: She liked his
boyish good looks. 2 childish, puerile, juvenile, immature:
Don't be too hard on them - it was just a boyish prank.
brace n. 1 bracket, stiffener, reinforcement, reinforcer, support,
buttress, prop, stay, strut, truss: Two steel braces have been
installed to steady the columns. 2 drill: He bored three holes
in the wood with his brace and auger. 3 clasp, clamp, buckle,
fastener, clip, holdfast, catch, coupler, coupling: Another
brace will be needed here to strengthen the handle. 4 pair;
couple, span, team (of two): A brace of duelling pistols was
sold at auction last week for њ20,000. Her carriage was drawn by
a brace of palominos.
--v. 5 steady, reinforce, support, strengthen, prop or shore
up: Iron bars are used to brace the arches. 6 brace oneself.
steady or gird or prepare oneself; hold or hang on: I braced
myself against the likelihood that she would refuse.
bracing adj. invigorating, tonic, stimulating, refreshing,
exhilarating, fortifying, restorative: I cannot live in the
tropics and need the more bracing climate of the north.
bracket n. 1 support, corbel, console: The mantelpiece rests on a pair
of stone brackets. 2 shelf: Her collection of glass
paperweights was arrayed on a bracket in the sitting-room. 3
category, class, set, group, grouping, classification, division,
level; order, grade, rank: He comes from an altogether
different bracket of society.
--v. 4 classify, rank, group; unite, combine, join, link: I
wish you wouldn't bracket her with me - our politics are as
different as day and night.
brag v. boast, crow, trumpet, vaunt, strut, swagger, show off,
Colloq talk big, blow or toot one's own horn or trumpet, go on
about: He's always bragging about what he did in the war.
braggart n. boaster, bragger, braggadocio, windbag, peacock, show-off,
Scaramouch or Scaramouche, Slang big-mouth, loud-mouth, gasbag:
That braggart William Smith talks about himself incessantly.
braid n. 1 plait: Katrina wore her blond hair in a tightly coiled
braid on top of her head. 2 trimming, embroidery, soutache,
lace, fillet, band, ribbon: The edges are decorated with narrow
braid containing gold thread.
--v. 3 plait, intertwine, interlace, weave, twist: At school
we learned how to braid leather laces into a belt.
brain n. 1 brains, intelligence, intellect, understanding, sense,
thought, imagination, capacity, perspicacity, perceptiveness,
perception, percipience; wisdom, sagacity, wit, discernment,
acumen; knowledge, cognition: Although she's not yet ten, she
has the brain to become a great mathematician. 2 genius,
mastermind, intellectual; leader, planner: Many people regard
Einstein as the greatest brain of the 20th century. Ivor was
clearly the brains of the operation.
brake n. 1 curb, check, restraint, restriction, constraint, control,
rein: The central bank applied a brake to the upward trend of
the dollar by buying Deutschmarks.
--v. 2 slow, slow up or down, put on or apply the brakes,
reduce speed, decelerate, slacken, hold up: He braked before
the bad curve. She braked the car going down the steep hill.
branch n. 1 offshoot, arm; limb, bough, stem, shoot, twig, sprig: The
branches of this tree need trimming. 2 department, section,
subsection, division, subdivision, office, part, ramification;
affiliate, subsidiary; spin-off: What branch of medicine are
you going to specialize in? The company maintains branches in
New York and Melbourne.
--v. 3 ramify, divide, subdivide, diverge; diversify: This
road branches off in three directions. The company will branch
out into electronics this year.
brand n. 1 kind, make, type, sort, variety; brand name, manufacturer,
maker, trade name, trade mark, label, mark, marque, Chiefly US
and Canadian name brand: Which brand of toothpaste do you
prefer? Our advertising agency is conducting a survey of brand
--v. 2 mark, stamp, identify, tag, label, trade-mark: We sell
only branded merchandise in our shops. 3 label, characterize;
stigmatize, discredit, disgrace: Because his actions at the
front were misinterpreted, Corporal Williams was branded as a
brand-new adj. new, unused, fresh, firsthand, mint, virgin: We bought a
brand-new car last week.
brash adj. 1 hasty, rash, impetuous, precipitate, impulsive,
headlong, reckless: He may be a brash young man, but I think
he's going places. 2 impudent, rude, impertinent,
disrespectful, insolent, forward, audacious, brassy, brazen,
bold, tactless, undiplomatic, presumptuous, Colloq cheeky,
fresh: Her brash behaviour has already landed her in trouble
with the headmistress.
brass n. effrontery, gall, nerve, temerity, impudence, insolence,
rudeness, Colloq cheek, nerve: He had the brass to turn down a
brassy adj. 1 impudent, forward, insolent, saucy, brash, rude, brazen,
shameless; coarse, flashy, florid, flamboyant; Colloq cheeky,
fresh: Our landlady was a big brassy blonde. 2 harsh,
strident, tinny, grating, dissonant, shrill, loud: She has just
the right kind of brassy voice for belting out songs like,
'There's No Business Like Show Business'.
bravado n. boldness, bluster, boasting, braggadocio, swagger, front,
self-assurance, Literary rodomontade, gasconade; arrogance,
pretentiousness, Colloq machismo, Slang Brit side: With an
attempt at bravado, the union leader refused to meet the
brave adj. 1 fearless, intrepid, bold, courageous, daring, gallant,
stout, stout-hearted, valiant, valorous, stalwart, plucky,
staunch, undaunted, dauntless, unafraid, unfearing, indomitable,
heroic, Colloq macho; Slang gutsy: Despite her misgivings about
her proposal, she put on a brave face in the boardroom. He was
brave to face the enemy alone. 2 fine, handsome, grand,
splendid, showy, colourful, spectacular, smart: The colonel
made a brave appearance in full Highland regalia.
--v. 3 challenge, defy, dare; brazen (out), face, confront,
encounter, meet: We had to brave the elements in the open boat.
I had to brave my father at breakfast.
bravery n. daring, courage, valour, heroism, fortitude, fearlessness,
intrepidity, intrepidness, pluck, determination, staunchness,
firmness, resoluteness, resolution, indomitability,
stalwartness, Colloq machismo: One has to admire the bravery of
a woman who supported suffrage in the early 1900s.
brawl n. 1 fight, m€l‚e or melee, battle, battle royal, Donnybrook,
fray, wrangle, dispute, disorder, brannigan, fracas, row,
quarrel, squabble, Colloq punch-up, free-for-all, scrap, ruckus:
The police had to be brought in to break up the brawl.
--v. 2 fight, wrangle; row, quarrel, squabble, Colloq scrap:
The two brothers always seem to be brawling.
brawn n. muscle(s), strength, robustness, brawniness, might, power,
Colloq huskiness: It must take a lot of brawn to lift those
brawny adj. muscular, strong, tough, robust, mighty, powerful, burly,
strapping, beefy, hefty, bulky, Colloq husky: That brawny
fellow tossing the caber is my brother.
brazen adj. brassy, shameless, barefaced, brash, outspoken, forward,
immodest, unashamed, audacious, candid, open, unabashed,
brazen-faced; rude, impudent, impertinent, insolent, saucy,
Colloq cheeky, fresh, US sassy: That's the last time I'll let
that brazen hussy near my husband!
breach n. 1 break, violation, infraction, disobedience,
non-observance, infringement, contravention: Their failure to
comply with paragraph 3 is a clear breach of our contract. 2
break, rift, gulf, split, break-up, separation, rupture,
severance, schism, split, alienation, estrangement: There seems
to be no way to heal the breach between them. 3 gap, fissure,
crack, split, hole, opening; chasm: Their cannon opened a
breach in the castle wall.
--v. 4 rupture; break through, invade: The sea has breached
the dyke. Someone breached the security measures set up for the
breadth n. 1 width, wideness, broadness, beam, span, spread, thickness:
The breadth of the cloth is 54in. 2 extent, magnitude, degree,
amount, scope, expanse, range, area, depth, detail: I like the
breadth of coverage of the six o'clock news. 3 liberality,
largeness, catholicity, latitude: Great breadth of vision was
exhibited in the conference papers.
break v. 1 break apart or up or asunder, fracture, rupture, break
into bits, come apart, shatter, shiver, crack, crash, splinter,
fragment, split, burst, explode, Colloq bust: The ball flew
over the fence and broke my neighbour's window. She fell and
broke her wrist. 2 reveal, announce, disclose, divulge, tell,
make public: Break the news to him gently. 3 relax, ease up,
improve, ameliorate, change for the better: When will this
spell of wet weather break? 4 demolish, smash, destroy, crush,
ruin, defeat, foil, frustrate: The power of the dictator was
finally broken. 5 ruin, bankrupt: He's the man that broke the
bank at Monte Carlo. 6 weary, exhaust, wear out, weaken,
debilitate: Twenty years in the chain-gang had broken him
completely. 7 crush, overcome; cow, cripple, demoralize,
weaken, undermine, discourage: The divorce has broken her
spirit. 8 break in, tame, discipline, train, condition: I used
to break horses for a living. 9 violate, transgress, disobey,
contravene, defy, infringe, fail to observe, ignore, disregard,
flout: If you break the law, you'll regret it. They broke the
contract. 10 break off, discontinue, interrupt, sever, cut off;
give up, suspend, disrupt: We broke relations with Spain after
the incident. It is very difficult to break a habit of a
lifetime. The narrative breaks at this point, to be taken up
later. 11 break up, divide, disperse, scatter: The rain is over
and the clouds are breaking. 12 break loose or away or forth,
separate from, break out (of), escape (from), depart (from):
The ship broke from its moorings during the storm. 13 break
forth, burst forth; emerge or come out suddenly: The storm
broke in all its fury. After a little while, the sun broke
through. 14 demote, Colloq bust: He was broken from sergeant to
private. 15 break away. leave, depart, separate (oneself): A
small group broke away from the established church to worship as
they saw fit. 16 break down. a demolish, destroy: All right,
men, let's break down that wall. b decompose, break up;
analyse: The carbon dioxide molecules and water are broken down
by photosynthesis. c collapse, give way, disintegrate, be
crushed, be prostrated: His health has broken down completely.
17 break ground. initiate, begin, commence, found, set up,
establish, inaugurate, be innovative, innovate, Colloq break the
ice, take the plunge, start the ball rolling: Laser printers
have broken new ground in the area of computer printout. 18
break in. a interrupt, interpose, interject, burst in, intrude,
intervene, interfere, disturb: If the results of the election
become known, we shall break in to keep you informed. b train,
educate, prepare; accustom, condition, habituate, wear: We'll
break you in for a week or two on the new machine. Wear your new
boots for an hour each day to break them in. c rob, burgle,
burglarize, break and enter: Someone broke in and stole my
video recorder last night. 19 break off. a discontinue, stop,
cease, end: Sally broke off in mid sentence. After the Fashoda
Incident, Britain broke off relations with France. b disengage;
sever, detach, break: A large branch broke off from the tree
and crashed down, narrowly missing me. 20 break out. a escape;
emerge, appear: She broke out of prison in 1985 and hasn't been
seen since. b erupt, come out in, break out in or into: He
breaks out in a rash from eating strawberries. A war could break
out any minute. 21 break the ice. See 17, above. 22 break
through. penetrate, force or get through: Wit, like beauty, can
break through the most unpromising disguise. 23 break up. See
also 11, 16 (b), above. a disband, disperse; disintegrate:
Heraclius succeeded in breaking up the Persian power. b
fracture, fragment, comminute: In the spring, the ice on the
river breaks up. c See 24 (a), below. 24 break with. a break
up (with), separate from, leave, depart from: The leader broke
with the party and established a new organization. Sally has
broken up with Michael. b renounce, repudiate, disavow: They
have broken entirely with the traditions we valued so highly.
--n. 25 fracture, split, separation, rupture, breach, rift,
schism: There was a break in a gas pipe. Disagreement over the
fishing grounds has resulted in a break in relations. 26 gap,
opening, hole; crack, slit: You can escape through a break in
the wall near the bridge. 27 interruption, discontinuity,
discontinuation, hesitation, suspension, hiatus, gap, lacuna,
unevenness, irregularity: There was a five-minute break in
transmission from the ship. 28 rest, respite, rest period,
coffee-break, tea break, intermission, interlude, lull, pause,
playtime, US recess, Colloq breather: We take a break at ten
o'clock. 29 chance, stroke of luck, opportunity, opening: All
he needs is a break to get started.
breakdown n. 1 collapse, downfall, failure, foundering; destruction,
ruin: There was a breakdown of our computer system. The
arbitrators blamed a breakdown of communication between union
and management. 2 (mental) collapse, nervous breakdown, Colloq
crack-up: She had a bad breakdown after her daughter was
killed. 3 analysis, run-down, detailing, review; decomposition,
itemization, classification, dissection, distillation,
fractionation: I want a breakdown of these figures by noon. The
chemical breakdown of the substance indicated the presence of
breakneck adj. reckless, dangerous, daredevil; excessive, careless,
headlong, rash, Colloq hell for leather: The car came round the
corner at breakneck speed on two wheels.
breast n. 1 chest, bosom, bust; teat, Technical mamma, Slang boob,
knocker, tit, titty: He clasped the child to his breast. On
some beaches in Europe, women bare their breasts when
sunbathing. 2 soul, core, heart, heart of hearts: I feel in my
breast it is the right thing to do.
breath n. 1 gust, zephyr, breeze, puff, whiff, stirring, stir: There
wasn't a breath of air in the tent. 2 hint, suggestion,
indication, touch, murmur, whisper, soup‡on: She never allowed
the breath of scandal to affect her behaviour. 3 take one's
breath away. astound, astonish, surprise, amaze, dazzle,
startle, shock, stagger: The sheer beauty of the waterfall
takes your breath away.
breathe v. 1 live, exist: She believes that there never breathed a
wiser man than her father. 2 inhale and exhale, respire,
suspire: He was breathing regularly. 3 exhale, expel, puff,
blow: The banner depicts a dragon breathing fire. 4 whisper,
murmur, hint (at), suggest, tell, speak, say: She told me not
to breathe a word of it to anybody.
adj. 1 panting, out of breath, winded, gasping, exhausted,
spent, worn out, tired out, Colloq Brit puffed: We were
breathless after carrying the piano up two flights of stairs. 2
surprised, amazed, astonished, astounded, awestruck, staggered:
The news of Penny's having given birth to twins left me
breathless. 3 eager, agog, feverish, in suspense: We were all
breathless with anticipation as the compЉre opened the envelope.
breed n. 1 kind, sort, type, variety, species; race, lineage, stock,
family, strain: What breed of dog won at Crufts this year?
--v. 2 produce, generate, bring forth, create, engender, hatch,
beget, give rise to, develop, cause: The cheese is so old it's
breeding maggots. Familiarity breeds contempt. 3 raise, rear,
cultivate, propagate: Charollais cattle are widely bred in
Europe today. 4 arise, originate, appear; develop, grow,
increase, multiply: The sergeant allowed discontent and
jealousy to breed within his platoon.
breeding n. 1 rearing, bringing-up, raising, cultivation, development,
propagation: The breeding of sheepdogs has been Tom's hobby for
years. 2 (good) upbringing, (good) manners, civility,
politeness, politesse, gentility, (good) behaviour: You can
tell from the way she treats people that she has breeding.
breeze n. 1 breath, puff, zephyr, wind, draught, gust, Nautical
cat's-paw: A breeze sprang up from the north, and the little
boat moved forward. 2 easy or simple job or task, nothing,
Colloq snap, Slang cinch, US lead-pipe cinch: It ought to be a
breeze to find someone at that salary.
breezy adj. 1 airy, fresh, windy, draughty, brisk, gusty: The
afternoon was breezy and warm, ideal for walking. 2 casual,
carefree, light-hearted, cheerful, cheery, airy, lively,
spirited, blithesome, buoyant: The chairman's breezy opening of
the annual meeting made everyone feel comfortable.
brevity n. shortness, briefness, conciseness, concision, terseness,
succinctness, pithiness, compactness, laconicism or laconism,
economy: Brevity is the soul of wit.
brew v. 1 ferment, cook, boil; infuse: Our beer is brewed using the
best hops. 2 concoct, devise, plan, Colloq cook up; contrive,
prepare, bring about, cause, produce, hatch: They are brewing
up a plot to unseat the financial director. 3 start, go on,
hatch, begin, form; stew, simmer, Colloq cook: A storm is
--n. 4 beer, ale, stout; tea; beverage, drink; concoction,
mixture: She served me some strange brew in which I could
detect cinnamon and nutmeg.
bribe n. 1 graft, inducement, Colloq kickback, Chiefly US payola, US
plugola: Some judges were offered bribes for reducing the
sentences of convicted felons.
--v. 2 pay or buy off, buy; corrupt, suborn, Colloq fix; Slang
oil, grease (someone's) palm, Brit nobble: The guards were
bribed to look the other way during the prison break.
n. bric-a-brac, curiosities, knick-knacks, collectables or
collectibles, trinkets, gewgaws, gimcracks; bibelots, curios,
objets d'art, objets de vertu: On Saturday she went to an
antiques fair and bought still more bric-…-brac to clutter up
brick n. 1 block, cube, chunk, hunk, slab; stone: I bought a brick
of ice-cream to serve for pudding. A university is not just
bricks and mortar. 2 pal, comrade, friend, Colloq chum, US and
Canadian buddy: You're a real brick to watch the children for
me till I get back.
bridal adj. nuptial, wedding; conjugal, connubial, marriage: The
bridal gown was white, with lace appliqu‚s.
bridge n. 1 span: We could build a bridge over the river here. 2
link, connexion or connection, tie, bond: She regarded teaching
as a bridge between her studies and a post in school
--v. 3 span, cross (over), go or pass over, traverse: The
viaduct bridges the swamp. 4 connect, link, unite, join, tie:
The gap between rich and poor is not easily bridged.
bridle n. 1 restraint, curb, check, control: Man has need of a bridle
on his passions.
--v. 2 curb, check, restrain, hold in, control: You must learn
to bridle your temper. 3 bristle, draw oneself up, be or become
indignant, take offence or umbrage or affront (at), be affronted
or offended (by): She bridled at the suggestion that she was
responsible for Keith's departure.
brief adj. 1 short, momentary, little, fleeting; short-lived,
transitory, transient, evanescent, passing, temporary,
ephemeral, fugitive: The lights went back on after a brief
interval. His glory was brief. 2 short, concise, succinct, to
the point; condensed, shortened, cut, curtailed, abbreviated,
compressed, abridged, thumbnail, compendious: The chairman made
a few brief remarks. Here is a brief description of what
happened. 3 curt, abrupt, terse, short, blunt, brusque: You
mustn't be so brief with little children.
--n. 4 summary, outline, digest, pr‚cis, r‚sum‚, compendium,
abstract, condensation, abridgement or US only abridgment,
synopsis, extract: This is merely a brief; the full document
will follow. 5 in brief. briefly, concisely, in sum, in
summary, to sum up, succinctly, in a word: He is a cutthroat,
too - in brief, the greatest scoundrel living.
--v. 6 advise, inform, fill in, coach, instruct, enlighten;
explain, run through or down: Howard will brief you on the
briefly adv. 1 concisely, tersely, succinctly, in a word, in short;
bluntly, curtly, in a nutshell, in a few words, to sum up:
Briefly, the plan is a complete non-starter. 2 momentarily, for
a few moments or seconds or minutes, fleetingly, hurriedly,
hastily, quickly: I stopped briefly at the post office on my
bright adj. 1 light, shining, gleaming, radiant, brilliant,
resplendent, glittering, flashing, Formal refulgent, effulgent,
fulgent, fulgid, fulgorous; alight, aglow, beaming, dazzling,
glowing, luminous, lambent, incandescent, ablaze with: We
arrived on a bright, sunny day. The water was bright with
phosphorescence. 2 clear, cloudless, fair, unclouded: It
certainly is a bright night - you can see every star. 3 shiny,
polished, lustrous, glossy, sparkling: I want that brass so
bright I can see my face in it. 4 hopeful, optimistic,
favourable, propitious, auspicious, promising, rosy: Glenys's
job prospects are not very bright. 5 brilliant, vivid, intense,
fluorescent, US trade mark Day-Glo: But you said you wanted the
room bright orange, Madam. 6 intelligent, clever, quick-witted,
witty, brilliant, keen-minded, sharp-witted, gifted, astute,
ingenious, alert, smart; precocious; Colloq brainy, on the ball:
No one can deny that Alison is a bright young woman. 7
illustrious, glorious, splendid, magnificent, distinguished,
outstanding: Today has been one of the brightest days in the
history of Britain. 8 cheerful, gay, happy, exuberant, lively,
animated, vivacious, spirited: It is a pleasure to see so many
bright faces in the audience.
brighten v. 1 illuminate, enliven, lighten, cheer up, liven up, Colloq
perk up: Replacing those heavy draperies with thinner curtains
ought to brighten the room. 2 shine, polish, burnish: The
silver could use a bit of brightening up.
n. 1 brightness, radiance, lustre, splendour, magnificence,
sparkle, dazzle, glitter, effulgence, light: The brilliance of
the opening night rivalled that of Hollywood. 2 intelligence,
wit, intellect, keenness, sharpness, acuteness, genius, talent,
sagacity; precocity: Her brilliance shows in her books.
brilliant adj. 1 bright, shining, lustrous, radiant, resplendent,
dazzling, luminous; incandescent, glittering, sparkling,
scintillating, coruscating, twinkling, Formal effulgent: At the
show I saw the most brilliant display of diamonds. 2 splendid,
magnificent, superb, beautiful, distinguished, striking,
glorious, remarkable, exceptional, outstanding: The audience
rose for a standing ovation after the brilliant last movement of
the concerto. 3 illustrious, famous, noted, celebrated, eminent,
prominent, renowned, accomplished: Paul is one of the country's
most brilliant chemists. 4 intelligent, clever, gifted, bright,
talented, smart, expert, masterful, accomplished, ingenious,
imaginative, creative; quick-witted, sharp-witted, keen-witted,
enlightened; resourceful, discerning, able, competent:
Goddard's brilliant mind understood principles of practical
brim n. 1 edge, margin, lip, rim; brink: I filled the cup to the
--v. 2 be full or filled, overflow: His cup was brimming with
steaming mulled wine. They are brimming over with confidence as
they approach the race.
bring v. 1 carry, bear, fetch, get, take; deliver: Don't forget to
bring some wine home for dinner tonight. 2 lead, conduct,
convey; escort, invite, accompany: The road brought me to your
house. You can bring anyone you like to the party. 3 draw,
attract, lure, allure: What brings you to London? 4 carry,
bear, convey; report: She brought word of the uprising. 5
bring on, bring about, occasion, give rise to, be the source or
cause of, create, cause, engender, produce; contribute to: The
thought of his mother brought tears to his eyes. 6 institute,
advance; invoke: She is bringing charges against him for
slander. 7 bring about. occasion, cause, bring on, accomplish,
effect, achieve, produce: The government has brought about
changes in the health service. 8 bring down. a overthrow,
depose, oust, unseat, dethrone, overturn, topple: A military
faction has brought down the government. b reduce, lessen,
diminish, cut (back or down): The chancellor promised to bring
down taxes in the next budget. 9 bring forth. a bear, give
birth to, produce; yield: The kangaroo brings forth young less
than an inch in size. b set forth, bring out or in or up,
introduce, present, produce, put out, submit, offer, advance:
Mr Hanson has brought forth a new sales plan. 10 bring in. a
earn, yield, produce, realize, fetch, return, sell for:
Advertising brings in more revenue than subscriptions. b See
def. 15, below. 11 bring off. succeed (in), carry out,
achieve, accomplish, do, carry out or off, perform, succeed,
pull off; Colloq put over: Do you really think she'll be able
to bring off her masquerade? 12 bring on. a produce, put on,
introduce, bring in: When the children in the audience began to
get restless, they brought on the clowns. b induce, produce,
occasion, bring about: Eating strawberries brought on a rash.
13 bring out. a display, feature, focus on, illuminate, set
off, make noticeable or conspicuous, emphasize, develop: The
colour of the dress brings out the blue of your eyes. b
publish, issue, release, make known or public, produce; put on,
stage: They've brought out a new edition of Dickens's works.
14 bring round or around. a revive, resuscitate, bring to;
restore: The smelling salts brought her round when she fainted.
b persuade, win over, convince, influence: Can he be brought
round to our way of thinking? 15 bring up. a rear, raise, care
for, look after, nurture, breed; educate, teach, train, tutor:
She has brought up six children on her own. b introduce,
broach, bring in, raise, pen (up), set forth, mention, touch on,
talk about, discuss; reintroduce, recall: Why bring up
irrelevant matters like his age? c raise, elevate: So far,
they have brought up only three survivors from the mine. d
vomit, throw up, regurgitate, disgorge: He woke up feeling sick
and brought up most of the previous night's meal.
brink n. 1 edge, brim, rim, margin, lip, border: He lost his footing
and almost went over the brink into the gorge. 2 verge, point:
He was on the brink of telling them everything, but suddenly
remembered his promise.
brisk adj. 1 active, lively, busy, vigorous: The poachers are doing
a brisk trade in rhinoceros horn. 2 quick, animated, sprightly,
spry, energetic, spirited: Patrick was a brisk lad, fresh from
Oxford. 3 strong, steady, fresh, refreshing, bracing,
invigorating, stimulating, crisp, biting, bracing, keen, nippy,
chill, chilly, cool, cold: A brisk breeze had started up from
the north, chilling us through. 4 energetic, vibrant,
invigorating, stimulating: After a brisk massage, Mariette felt
bristle n. 1 hair, whisker, barb, prickle, thorn, quill, Technical
seta: Shaving brushes are often made from badger bristles.
--v. 2 prickle, rise, stand up, Formal horripilate: He could
feel the hair on the back of his neck bristle. 3 seethe, become
angry or infuriated or furious or maddened, boil, flare up, see
red, bridle: He bristled with enraged frustration. 4 teem,
crawl, be thick, swarm, be alive: The sea urchin was bristling
with sharp spines.
brittle adj. 1 fragile, frangible, breakable; friable: My fingernails
become brittle in the cold and break easily. 2 frail, weak,
delicate, sensitive, fragile, insecure: She might seem strong,
but she has a very brittle nature and is easily upset.
broach v. introduce, raise, open (up), suggest, mention, hint at,
touch on or upon, bring up or in, talk about, advance: I didn't
dare broach the subject of money.
broad adj. 1 wide, expansive, large, extensive; spread out, ample,
spacious: The broad highway stretched out for miles before
them. Cattle graze in the broad pastures. 2 bright, plain, open,
full; unshaded: He had the nerve to kiss me in broad daylight,
in front of everyone! 3 plain, clear, obvious, emphatic,
explicit, pronounced, direct, unconcealed, undisguised,
unsubtle, evident: His wink gave a broad hint of what he really
had in mind. 4 main, general, generalized, rough, unspecific,
non-specific, approximate, sweeping: Without the details, here
is a broad outline of what happened. 5 plain-spoken, outspoken,
forthright, direct, unreserved, frank, candid, unrestrained:
When he reached the witness box, he repeated the accusation in
broad terms. 6 inclusive, general, widely applicable, extensive,
wide-ranging, comprehensive, wholesale; vague, imprecise,
indefinite, unfocused, non-specific, unspecified: We have broad
support for these policies. She formulated a broad rule to fit
all imaginable cases. 7 liberal, tolerant, catholic, ecumenical,
latitudinarian: The term 'Broad Church' is said to have been
coined by A. H. Clough. The judge feels that he must give the
broadest possible interpretation of the law. 8 dirty, blue,
coarse, rude, indecent, vulgar, improper, indelicate, off
colour, loose, gross, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy,
pornographic; inelegant, unrefined, unladylike, ungentlemanly,
titillating: Peter was in the corner telling some of his broad
--n. 9 woman, girl, Slang dame, cookie or cooky, skirt, bimbo,
bird, chick, number, doll, piece (of baggage): We picked up a
couple of broads at the dancehall last night.
broadcast v. 1 air, transmit, relay; radio; televise, telecast: The
programme will be broadcast tonight. 2 announce, advertise,
publish, proclaim; disseminate: It may be a bad idea to
broadcast your plans in advance. 3 sow, scatter, seed: The
farmer broadcasts this seed instead of planting it.
--n. 4 programme, show; transmission, telecast: I heard the
broadcast on my car radio.
brochure n. pamphlet, booklet; catalogue; folder, leaflet; tract: The
brochure advertising the company's products will be ready
broil v. grill, barbecue: I think hamburgers taste better broiled
broke adj. penniless, indigent, down-and-out, poverty-stricken,
penurious, impoverished, insolvent, destitute, poor, needy,
bankrupt, ruined, Colloq on one's beam-ends, on one's uppers,
strapped, flat or dead or stony-broke, hard up, short, up
against it, US flat, on the skids; Slang Brit skint: I was
broke after paying the rent - I didn't even have money for food.
broken adj. 1 fragmented, shattered, shivered, splintered, ruptured,
cracked, split, smashed, pulverized, disintegrated, destroyed,
demolished: A broken Ming vase cannot be worth much. 2
fractured: With a broken leg, she certainly won't be competing
in the slalom. 3 enfeebled, weakened, crushed, defeated,
beaten, ruined; dispirited, dejected, discouraged, demoralized,
defeated, subdued, debilitated, Colloq licked: Rosa's running
away with a sailor left Hugh a broken man. 4 tamed, trained,
disciplined, obedient, docile, domesticated, subdued;
conditioned: What use is a horse that isn't broken? 5
violated, transgressed, disobeyed, contravened, defied,
flouted,disregarded, ignored, infringed: The rules of this club
are broken too often: we'll have to tighten things up. 6
interrupted, disturbed, discontinuous, disjointed, disconnected,
fragmented, fragmentary, intermittent, erratic, sporadic: I
couldn't stop worrying about the operation and had a terrible
night of broken sleep. 7 Also, broken-down. out of order or
commission, not working or functioning, in disrepair, Slang on
the blink, out of kilter, kaput, US on the fritz, out of whack:
My watch is broken. Why waste money repairing that broken-down
car of yours?
adj. heart-broken, depressed, downhearted, dejected,
devastated, crushed, overwhelmed, heartsick, downcast, upset;
forlorn, sorrowful, disconsolate, inconsolable, grief-stricken,
miserable, wretched, melancholy, heavy-hearted, sad, doleful,
dolorous, woeful, woebegone, gloomy, morose, glum, cheerless,
Colloq down: She was broken-hearted when her puppy was lost.
broker n. stockbroker; agent, dealer, middleman, intermediary,
go-between, Brit stockjobber: I have phoned my broker to tell
him to sell all my shares.
brooch n. clasp, pin; fastening: She was wearing the cameo brooch I
had given to her mother.
brood n. 1 young, offspring, progeny; children, family: A mallard
was tending her brood among the rushes.
--v. 2 incubate, hatch, set, sit, cover: The old hen was
brooding three eggs. 3 Also, brood on or over. ponder (on or
over), meditate (on or over), contemplate, ruminate (on or
over), muse (on or over): He just sits there brooding over the
subject of his next novel. 4 mope, sulk, pout, pine, eat one's
heart out, fret, worry, agonize, despair: Don't just brood over
the problem, do something about solving it!
brook° n. stream, rivulet, run, runnel, rill, US and Canadian and
Australian and New Zealand creek; No. Eng. dialect beck, gill or
ghyll; Scots burn: The river is fed by numerous brooks from
every part of the country.
brookэ v. endure, tolerate, stand, abide, put up with, suffer, allow:
She runs the business in her own way and brooks no interference
broth n. stock, bouillon, consomm‚; soup; decoction: We tossed food
scraps into the large, simmering pot to make a broth.
brothel n. bordello, whore-house, house of ill fame or ill repute,
bawdy-house, bagnio; seraglio, harem, Obsolete stew, Colloq US
sporting house, Slang Brit knocking-shop, US cat-house: On
their first night in Paris, they visited a brothel.
brother n. sibling; relation, relative, kin, kinsman; fellow,
fellow-man, fellow-clansman, fellow-citizen, fellow-countryman,
fellow-creature; associate, colleague, confrЉre, companion,
Colloq pal, chum, Brit and Australian mate, US buddy: Some day,
perhaps all men will regard each other as brothers.
n. 1 brotherliness, fellowship, companionship, alliance,
friendship, comradeship, camaraderie, kinship: We should all
live together in harmony and brotherhood. 2 fraternity, guild,
society, association, order, league, union, organization, club,
community, circle, set, clique: The tribes fused into a united
and enthusiastic brotherhood.
brotherly adj. fraternal, kind, affectionate, cordial, friendly,
amicable, amiable, neighbourly, loyal, devoted: The boys grew
up together and maintained a brotherly relationship throughout
browbeat v. bully, intimidate, threaten, badger, dominate, cow,
frighten, discourage, tyrannize, hector, harass, keep after,
nag, Colloq hassle: The foreman constantly browbeat anyone who
wasn't one of his drinking cronies.
browse v. look over or through, skim (through), scan, thumb or flip or
flick through: I was browsing through some recent acquisitions
at the second-hand bookshop.
bruise n. 1 injury, hurt, contusion, bump, welt, scrape, abrasion,
scratch, wound, black-and-blue mark, blotch, blemish, mark,
spot, discoloration, damage, Technical ecchymosis: I got this
bruise from walking into the corner of the table. The price is
lower if the fruit has a few bruises.
--v. 2 injure, contuse, hurt, scrape, harm; wound, damage: I
bruised my knee when I fell down. Being arrested certainly
bruised his self-esteem.
bruiser n. prizefighter, boxer, fighter; tough, ruffian, bodyguard,
thug, hoodlum, bouncer, Colloq hooligan, tough guy, toughie,
Brit minder, US roughneck, hood, gorilla, plug-ugly, torpedo,
enforcer: The heavyweight contender is really a big bruiser. Mr
Big strode in with two of his bruisers.
brunt n. (full) force, burden, onus, weight, impact; shock, stress,
violence, onslaught: As the head of the department was on
holiday, I had to take the full brunt of the customers'
brush° n. 1 brushwood, shrubs, undergrowth, branches, scrub, brush,
bracken, brambles, underbrush, underwood: It took us three days
to clear the brush from around the house. 2 thicket, brake,
copse, grove, boscage: The fox disappeared into the brush,
which was too dense for the dogs to follow.
brushэ n. 1 hairbrush, toothbrush, clothes-brush, shoe-brush,
nail-brush, paintbrush; broom, dust-broom, besom, US whisk
broom: This brush is too harsh and may damage your teeth. 2
See brush-off. 3 encounter, engagement, skirmish, Colloq Brit
spot of bother: Mark has had several brushes with the law.
--v. 4 scrub, clean; groom, curry; sweep, whisk, gather: Brush
your teeth twice a day. I brushed down the mare before saddling
her. Brush the crumbs off the table. 5 graze, touch: He
deliberately tried to brush against her in the corridor. 6
brush aside or away. disregard, dismiss, put aside, shrug off:
Brushing aside the members' objections, he tried to force the
committee's acceptance of the new rules. 7 brush off. dismiss,
ignore, rebuff, send off or away or packing: He asked her out,
but she brushed him off. 8 brush up (on). review, restudy, go
over, refresh, study, Archaic con: You should brush up on your
geometry before taking trigonometry.
brush-off n. dismissal, rebuff, rejection, snub, Colloq cold shoulder,
put-down, slap in the face, the (old) heave-ho; Chiefly US and
Canadian walking papers: Tanya has given Theo the brush-off -
said she never wants to see him again.
brusque adj. blunt, rude, overbearing, impolite, uncivil, discourteous,
ungracious, ill-mannered, unmannerly; churlish, gruff, abrupt,
short, curt, sharp, terse, brash, bluff: I could tell that the
interviewer had already decided against me by her brusque
brutal adj. 1 inhuman, savage, cruel, pitiless, harsh, severe,
barbaric, barbarous, beastly, bestial, sadistic, murderous;
inhumane, heartless, hard-hearted, unkind, fierce,
stony-hearted, insensitive, unfeeling, cold-blooded,
unsympathetic, remorseless, ruthless, ferocious, atrocious,
Draconian or Draconic, Literary fell: Few survived the brutal
treatment in the concentration camps. 2 rude, ill-mannered,
coarse, unrefined, boorish, ill-bred, rustic, crass, uncouth,
uncultured, uncultivated, rough, crude: His brutal behaviour
made him unfit to represent the Crown.
brute adj. 1 brutish, dull, unfeeling, senseless, blind,
unintelligent, unthinking, thoughtless, mindless, unreasoning,
irrational, instinctive, physical, material; insensate,
unconscious: He was able to lift the safe without help, by
sheer brute strength.
--n. 2 animal, beast, savage: He wrote that man was the middle
link between angels and brutes. George behaved like an absolute
brute to her.
bubble n. 1 blister, air pocket, globule, droplet: This painted
surface is full of air bubbles. 2 bubbles. froth, foam, suds,
lather, spume; effervescence, carbonation, fizz: The cider is
full of bubbles.
--v. 3 foam, froth, boil, seethe, fizz: A pot of soup was
bubbling on the stove.
bubbly adj. 1 effervescent, foamy, frothy, fizzy, sparkling: I could
see that the surface was all bubbly. 2 effervescent, merry,
ebullient, bouncy, animated, vivacious, cheerful, cheery,
lively, excited: Janet is known for her bubbly personality.
--n. 3 champagne, sparkling wine, sparkling burgundy, Asti
spumante, Colloq Brit champers: Let's open a bottle of bubbly
bucket n. pail, scuttle: Keep this bucket of coal near the hearth.
buckle n. 1 clasp, fastener, clip, fastening, hook, catch: The buckle
broke on my belt and my trousers fell down.
--v. 2 collapse, cave in, crumple, bend, warp, distort, twist,
bulge: The support gave way and the entire wall buckled.
bug n. 1 insect, beetle, larva, grub, caterpillar, butterfly,
mosquito, fly, spider, Colloq Brit creepy-crawly, US no-see-em:
There's a bug on your collar. 2 microbe, germ, virus; disease,
affliction, illness, sickness, ailment, disorder, malady,
infection; condition, complaint, infirmity, indisposition:
She's caught some kind of bug and won't be in for a few days. 3
obsession, craze, fad, mania, rage: Almost everyone in those
days succumbed to the hula hoop bug. 4 enthusiast, faddist,
fan, fanatic; hobbyist: She's turned into a fruit machine bug.
5 listening device; microphone, transmitter, electronic
eavesdropper, tap: They planted a bug in the ambassador's
telephone. 6 fault, error, mistake, failing, shortcoming,
Colloq hang-up, glitch: There's a bug in the program that's
preventing the list from being sorted. They can't market the
device till they've ironed out all the bugs.
--v. 7 annoy, irritate, pester, irk, harass, bother: I wish
Mum'd stop bugging me about my homework. 8 tap, spy on: They
bugged her phone and recorded all her conversations.
bugger n. 1 buggerer, sodomite. 2 chap, fellow, man; boy, lad, child,
tot; Slang chiefly Brit geezer , US jerk; Colloq guy , Brit
bloke, fool, idiot: He's a cute little bugger, isn't he? Who's
that silly-looking bugger with Christina?
--v. 3 Also, bugger up. ruin, destroy, botch, bungle, wreck;
make a mess of, Colloq mess or screw up, Brit bollocks or
ballocks up, balls up, make a balls-up of, cock up, US ball up,
bollix up; Taboo fuck up: He's buggered the recording, so we'll
have to start again at the beginning. Why does she bugger up
everything I try to do? 4 bugger about or around. a fool about,
waste time, dawdle, Colloq US lallygag or lollygag; Taboo fuck
about or around: He buggers about the house all the time
instead of looking for a job. Don't bugger about with my hi-fi.
b cause complications for, create difficulties for: She
pretends to be helping me, but she's just buggering me about. 5
bugger off. go away, depart, leave, clear off or out, Colloq
make tracks, skedaddle, beat it, Slang piss off; Taboo fuck off:
Oh, bugger off and leave me alone!
build v. 1 construct, erect, raise, set up, assemble: I hope to
build my own house in another year or so. 2 found, establish,
base: The theory is built on the principle that light travels
at 186,000 miles per second. 3 develop: She built the company
in about five years. 4 Also, build up. intensify; increase,
develop, enlarge, strengthen: The distant hum of voices
gradually built to a mighty roar.
--n. 5 physique, figure, body, shape, Slang bod: He has a good
build from working out at the gym.
building n. edifice, structure, construction, erection: The building
where I work is air-conditioned.
bulge n. 1 lump, hump, protuberance, bump, swelling, projection:
This wallet is making a bulge in my jacket.
--v. 2 protrude, stick out, swell (out): His stomach bulges
out over his belt.
bulk n. 1 volume, magnitude, mass, enlargement, largeness, size:
The sausage-makers add bread just for bulk. 2 majority: The
bulk of the people voted for the proposal.
bulky adj. large, voluminous, unwieldy, awkward, ungainly,
cumbersome, Brit chunky: The package, though quite bulky,
didn't cost much to post.
bulletin n. message, notice, communication, announcement, communiqu‚,
dispatch or despatch, report, account, flash, news item,
newsflash: And now, here's a bulletin from the centre court at
bully n. 1 persecutor, intimidator, tyrant: That bully Roderick is
always beating up the younger boys.
--v. 2 persecute, intimidate, tyrannize, torment, browbeat,
daunt, awe, cow, terrorize; hector, harass, push around:
Roderick even bullied his best friend into parting with his
--adj. 3 Old-fashioned jolly, worthy, admirable: Ah, there you
are, my bully boy!
--interj. 4 Usually, Bully for (someone)! Bravo!, Great!,
Fantastic!, Fabulous!, Marvellous!, Spectacular!; So what?, What
of it?; US Peachy!, Dandy!, Neat-oh!; Old-fashioned
Fantabulous!: 'David's won the snooker competition again.'
'Bully for him!'
bulwark n. 1 defence or US defense, safeguard, redoubt, bastion,
buffer, barrier, rampart, fortification: A strong defence is
the best bulwark against aggression from outside.
--v. 2 defend, protect, shelter: Marnie's indifference to
others bulwarks her against any feelings of contrition.
bum n. 1 buttocks, posterior, hindquarters, fundament, behind,
rump, bottom, behind, derriЉre, rear end, backside, seat, rear,
Colloq Brit arse, US fanny, can, hinie, tush, tushy or tushie,
tokus or tochis or tuchis, keister or keester, ass: Why don't
you get off your fat bum and go out and get a job?! 2 tramp,
panhandler, beggar, vagrant, loafer, drifter, vagabond, hobo,
derelict, gypsy; Brit caird, tinker, traveller; US
(shopping-)bag lady: Along the Bowery the doorways and
pavements are strewn with bums. 3 improper, unjustified, false,
trumped up, untrue, fabricated, made-up, bogus: That auto theft
charge was a bum rap, but he still served 18 months.
--adj. 4 bad, awful, unfair, dishonest, poor, rotten, Slang
lousy, crummy: I still think you got a bum deal on that
--v. 5 borrow, beg, sponge, Colloq scrounge, cadge, touch, put
the touch on, US mooch, hit, hit up: Can I bum a cigarette from
bump n. 1 blow, collision, thud, hit, knock, buffet, clunk, whack:
That bump on the head seems to have affected him. 2 lump,
protuberance, welt, swelling, tumescence, knob, bulge: How did
you get that bump on your forehead?
--v. 3 knock (against), strike, hit, collide (with), run into,
ram; smash, crash, Colloq wallop: I bumped into the car in
front as I was parking. 4 bump into. meet, encounter, run into
or across, come across, stumble over: I bumped into Philippa at
the hairdresser's. 5 bump off. murder, kill, put away,
assassinate, do away with, execute, liquidate, dispatch or
despatch, Slang take for a ride, destroy, eliminate, rub out,
wipe out, do in, US waste, ice: They bumped off Wimpy, boss; he
was pulled out of the river wearing concrete overshoes.
bumpy adj. lumpy, rough, uneven, irregular, knobby, knobbly, pitted;
potholed, bouncy, jarring, jerky, rutted: The skin on his
forehead is a bit bumpy. This is the bumpiest road in the town.
bunch n. 1 bundle, cluster, batch, clump; bouquet, nosegay, posy,
spray: That's a nice-looking bunch of grapes. Mr Herbert
arrived with a bunch of flowers for me. 2 crowd, knot,
collection, group, lot, gathering, cluster, clutch, batch,
assortment, mass: A bunch of people stood outside the
courtroom, awaiting news of the verdict.
--v. 3 sort, class, classify, categorize, assort, group
together, bracket: It would be a mistake to bunch all different
kinds of liberals into the same category. 4 bunch up. gather;
smock; collect, crowd, group, cluster: The fabric is all
bunched up at the bottom. Don't let the people bunch up in front
of the exits.
bundle n. 1 bunch, collection, package, parcel, packet, pack; bale,
sheaf; Archaic fardel: I have to leave this bundle at the
laundry today. Bring this bundle of hay for the horse.
--v. 2 gather (together), tie up (together), collect, pack,
package: He bundled up all his belongings. 3 bundle off or
out. dispatch or despatch, pack off, hustle or hurry off or
away, send away or off; decamp, scurry off or away, Colloq Brit
do a moonlight flit: We bundled Aunt Mary off home as soon as
the storm subsided. That couple have bundled out of room 429.
bungle v. spoil, botch, mismanage, stumble, bumble, Golf foozle,
Colloq foul or screw or louse up, blow, mess or muck up, make a
mess or hash or muddle of, muff, Slang Brit bugger, US snafu,
Taboo fuck up: Smith has bungled the job again; we'll have to
buoy n. 1 (navigational or channel) mark or marker, float; nun
(-buoy), can (-buoy), bell (buoy), gong (-buoy), siren, signal,
mooring-buoy, spar-buoy, lollipop: Returning to port, always
leave the red buoys to starboard.
--v. 2 Often, buoy up. lift, raise, elevate, support, hearten,
sustain, keep up: We sang songs to buoy up our spirits while
the rescuers dug their way towards us.
buoyant adj. 1 afloat, floating, floatable: The wood was water-logged
and no longer buoyant. 2 light, resilient, lively, vivacious,
bright, cheerful, carefree, blithe, animated, jaunty, bouncy,
ebullient, light-hearted , Colloq peppy: One had to admire his
buoyant optimism, even under adverse conditions.
burden n. 1 load, weight, gravamen; strain, pressure, trouble, onus,
millstone, cross, albatross: The old man put down his burden.
The burden of the evidence is against them. His feeling of guilt
over her death in the crash was a terrible burden to bear.
--v. 2 load, weigh down, saddle with, encumber; tax, oppress:
The mules were heavily burdened with a month's supply of food.
Don't burden me with your problems.
adj. onerous, cumbersome, oppressive, weighty, troublesome,
wearisome, bothersome, distressing, worrying, worrisome,
vexatious, irksome: A tax on food is burdensome for those on a
bureau n. 1 Brit (writing-)desk, US chest of drawers, chest, dresser,
chifferobe, chiffonier: Simon has a beautiful antique bureau in
his office. One of my cuff-links rolled under the bureau. 2
office, agency, department, division, section, subdivision,
subsection, desk: I sent the form to the bureau a month ago,
but I still don't have my visa.
n. officialdom, officialism, government, red tape,
administration, authorities: The bureaucracy survives because
the officials rely on graft for their income.
burglar n. housebreaker, thief, robber; sneak-thief, cat burglar, US
second-story or second-storey man: The burglars, remarkably,
didn't take the most valuable paintings.
burial n. interment, funeral, entombment, obsequies, sepulture: His
six ex-wives attended the burial.
burlesque n. 1 caricature, lampoon, spoof, parody, satire, mockery,
travesty, Colloq take-off; (grotesque) imitation, vulgarization,
exaggeration: In the mid-19th century, burlesques drove
pantomimes off the stage. 2 US striptease, strip show, nudie or
girlie show: The old comedians insist that burlesque acts were
an art form, but the audience went just for the girls.
--v. 3 satirize, take off, lampoon, spoof, parody, caricature,
travesty: Cervantes burlesqued the old romances in Don Quixote
--adj. 4 satirical, derisive, mock-heroic, mock-pathetic: She
sang a burlesque opera based on Hamlet, called 'Omelette'.
burly adj. stout, sturdy, corpulent, large, big, hefty, stocky,
thickset, brawny, chunky, heavy, beefy, muscular, strong,
strapping, rugged, tough, Colloq husky: Two rather burly
gentlemen were called in to help me out of the place.
burn v. 1 blaze, flame, flare, smoulder: A fire was burning on the
hearth. 2 ignite, set on fire, fire, light, kindle, incinerate,
Slang torch: He burnt the incriminating papers in the
fireplace. 3 desire, yearn, wish, long, itch: He wrote
'Darling, I am burning to be with you tonight'. 4 waste, throw
or fritter away, squander: Don't worry about Norman, he has
money to burn. 5 overcook, blacken, char, singe: If you're not
careful, you'll burn the toast again.
burning adj. 1 flaming, blazing, fiery; ablaze, aflame, afire, on fire:
When we arrived, the entire building was burning. 2 vehement,
ardent, excited, passionate, fervent, fervid, intense, fiery,
enthusiastic: She had a burning desire to join that illustrious
company. 3 raging, violent, parching: His burning fever had
finally subsided a little. 4 hot, blazing, scorching, seething,
withering: She was married on a burning hot day in July.
burrow n. 1 excavation, hole, warren, tunnel: The rabbit retreated to
its burrow under the hedge.
--v. 2 dig, delve, tunnel, bore; excavate: The larvae burrow
into the wood where the birds can hear them moving about.
burst v. break (asunder), rupture, shatter, explode, blow up;
puncture; Slang bust: If it keeps raining the dam will burst
and the valley will be flooded.
bury n. 1 inter, inhume, lay to rest: They buried her next to her
husband as she had requested. 2 abandon, forget, consign to
oblivion, eradicate, extirpate: The residents buried their
differences and united to repel the town planners. 3 submerge
(oneself), exile (oneself), plunge, become engrossed or
absorbed: She buried herself in her book. 4 conceal, obscure,
hide, cover up: The real story was by now completely buried
beneath the mass of legend. 5 overwhelm, overcome, inundate:
I'm so buried in work I can't take a holiday.
business n. 1 duty, function, occupation, calling, vocation, trade,
profession, work, province, area, subject, topic, concern,
affair, responsibility, role, charge, obligation: Her business
is supplying models for fashion shows. Mind your own business
and don't be such a Nosy Parker. 2 matter, job, task, subject,
question, problem, issue, point, affair: Gentlemen, let us call
the meeting to order and attend to the business at hand. 3
dealing, transaction; trade, commerce, traffic: We've never
done any business with that company. 4 concern, establishment,
organization, company, firm, house, enterprise; corporation,
partnership, proprietorship: Rodney wants to sell the business
and retire to Spain.
busy adj. 1 occupied, engaged, employed, involved: I can't talk to
you now, I'm busy. 2 working, industrious, active, diligent;
bustling, hectic, lively, hustling, energetic: Are you very
busy at the office these days? The diamond district is certainly
a busy place. 3 ornate, elaborate, detailed, complicated,
complex, (over-)decorated, intricate, Baroque, Rococo: Some of
the late Victorian architecture is far too busy for my taste.
--v. 4 occupy, involve, employ, divert, absorb, engross: She
has busied herself with charity work to get her mind off the
busybody n. pry, snoop(er), peep(er), gossip, meddler, Paul Pry, Colloq
Nosy Parker, Slang US buttinsky: If he so much as sees us
talking together, that busybody will probably cook up some sex
butcher n. 1 murderer, slaughterer, killer, ripper, cutthroat,
executioner, annihilator: That cold-blooded butcher dismembered
his victims after strangling them. 2 destroyer, bungler,
muddler: Look what that butcher of a tailor has done to my
--v. 3 slaughter, massacre, murder, cut or hack or hew to
pieces, dismember, disembowel, exterminate, annihilate, kill,
liquidate: The entire crew was butchered by the islanders. 4
botch, bungle, foul up, Colloq mess up, make a mess or hash of;
Slang louse up, screw up, Brit bollocks or ballocks up, US
bollix up; Taboo fuck up: He butchered the restoration of my
butt° n. target, end, object, prey, victim, dupe; gull, Colloq
pigeon, sucker; Brit Aunt Sally, Slang US and Canadian patsy:
He was always the butt of their jokes.
buttэ v. 1 abut, join, meet: This wall butts up against my garage.
2 butt in or into. interfere, intrude, interrupt, Colloq US
kibitz; meddle: Please let me finish a sentence without butting
in. Don't butt into my affairs.
buttocks n. bottom, behind, derriЉre, seat, rear, rear end, backside,
posterior, hindquarters, fundament, Colloq Brit bum, arse , US
hinie, can, tush or tushy or tushie, tokus or tochis or tuchis,
keister or keester, butt, tail, prat, ass; Slang cheeks, duff:
A person with large buttocks should not wear tight shorts.
v. 1 corner, detain, accost, importune, waylay: A reporter
buttonholed one of the senators for details of the new tax bill.
--n. 2 corsage, US boutonniere or boutonniЉre: He wore a rose
for a buttonhole.
buttress v. sustain, support, strengthen, prop (up), brace, reinforce,
shore up: Huge beams were needed to buttress the walls after
buxom adj. 1 hearty, healthy, vigorous, lusty, attractive, comely,
plump, Colloq hefty: Sylvia was a buxom serving-wench at the
Bugle Horn. 2 busty, bosomy, chesty, well-endowed, big-busted:
The centrefolds in this magazine usually show quite buxom women.
buy v. 1 purchase; acquire, obtain, get, procure, gain, come by,
secure: Where did you buy that hat? 2 accept, allow, take,
believe, swallow, go for: Did you buy his story about having
his car stolen? 3 bribe, suborn, pay off, buy off, corrupt:
That customs man must have been bought or he wouldn't have let
the package through.
--n. 4 purchase, acquisition: We made a bad buy at the last
auction. 5 Also, good buy. bargain, Colloq US and Canadian
steal: If you paid only њ2,000, that was a real buy.
buyer n. customer, consumer, client, purchaser: Is it likely that
you will find many buyers of Basque dictionaries in this
buzz n. 1 hum, murmur, drone: I lay and listened to the buzz of the
bees. 2 stir, ferment, talk, undercurrent: A ringing could be
heard above the buzz of conversation. 3 phone call, ring: I
think I'll give him a buzz to see if our appointment is still
on. 4 thrill, feeling of excitement, sensation, stimulation,
kick, Colloq high: I got quite a pleasant buzz from that drink.
--v. 5 hum, murmur, drone: The flies were buzzing around the
dead squirrel. 6 fly down on, zoom on to: The pilot was
grounded for a month for buzzing the airfield. 7 telephone,
ring (up), call (up), phone; summon, signal, buzz or ring for:
She said she'd buzz me if she needed anything.
by prep. 1 near, beside, next to, close to, alongside: I park my
car by my house. 2 via, by way of, through; past: I go home by
High Wycombe. 3 by means of, on: I often travel by train. 4
before, not later than, sooner than: I have to leave by Monday.
5 during, at: We travel only by night.
--adv. 6 Often, close by. near, nearby, at hand, close, about,
around, Literary nigh: When she is close by I get a tingling
sensation. 7 past, nearby: When he walked by I nearly died. 8
away, aside: We put by a little for a rainy day.
bygone adj. past, former, olden; of old, of yore: In bygone times,
the fashion was for high-button shoes.
bypass v. 1 avoid, evade, circumvent, sidestep, skirt, go or get
round, detour; ignore, Slang give the go-by: I shall bypass
many problems if I take that route.
--n. 2 detour, alternative (way, route, etc.), alternate way or
route: Take the bypass and avoid the town traffic.
bystander n. spectator, onlooker, observer, witness, non-participant,
passer-by, eyewitness: He has always claimed he was an innocent
bystander, but I'm not so sure.
byword n. proverb, proverbial saying, parable, maxim, adage, motto,
slogan, apophthegm or apothegm, aphorism, catchword,
catch-phrase: My byword has always been, Honesty is the best
cab n. taxi, taxi-cub, Obsolete (horse-drawn) hackney, hansom
(cab); Old-fashioned US hack: A cab picked me up and dropped me
at the hotel.
cabal n. 1 intrigue, plot, conspiracy, scheme: The cabal against
Washington found supporters exclusively in the north. 2 junta or
junto, clique, set, coterie, faction, band, league; unit, party,
caucus, club; ring, gang: A cabal of artists was formed.
--v. 3 intrigue, plot, conspire, connive, machinate: The
barons began to sow dissension and to cabal against his
cabaret n. 1 nightclub, club, nightspot: The ever-popular entertainer
Mimi opened at the Golden Palm cabaret last night. 2 floor show,
show, entertainment, amusement: The dinner was poor, but the
cabaret was marvellous.
cabin n. 1 hut, shack, cottage, cot, shanty; bungalow, lodge, chalet;
Scots bothy: The old trapper lives in a cabin in the forest.
You are welcome to come skiing with us and stay in our cabin. 2
stateroom, compartment, berth: We had a cabin on the starboard
cabinet n. 1 cupboard, bureau, chifferobe, commode, chiffonier, chest
(of drawers), chest-on-chest, tallboy, US highboy, lowboy: The
aspirin is in the medicine cabinet. Our china cabinet is,
unfortunately, not a genuine Chippendale. 2 council, ministry,
committee, advisors, senate: At the age of thirty, he became
the youngest member of the cabinet.
cable n. 1 wire, line, rope, hawser, chain, mooring, strand, guy:
The cable broke and we were set adrift. 2 telegram, wire,
cablegram, radiogram, US Mailgram: Send a cable to Jones about
--v. 3 telegraph, wire; radio: Cable Jones to come at once.
cache n. 1 hiding-place, hole, vault, repository: There was a small
cache concealed by the panelling in the library. 2 store,
hoard, supply, reserve, nest egg, stockpile, Colloq US and
Canadian stash: The wise hunter keeps a cache of supplies
buried along his route.
--v. 3 hide, store, conceal, squirrel away, secrete, bury,
Colloq stash (away): I cached the money in a biscuit tin.
cachet n. 1 stamp, feature, distinguishing mark, identification: The
cachet of good taste is simplicity of design. 2 distinction,
prominence, importance, prestige, dignity: Her new job doesn't
pay much, but it has a certain cachet.
cadaver n. corpse, (dead) body, remains, Slang stiff: The medical
students and doctors once paid to have cadavers exhumed for
cadence n. measure, beat, rhythm, tempo, accent, pulse, metre, lilt,
swing: The snare drum marked the cadence for the marching band.
caf‚ n. coffee-house, coffee bar, coffee-shop, bistro, snack bar,
brasserie; tearoom, lunch-room, restaurant, eating-house,
canteen; cafeteria, US diner, Colloq eatery; Slang Brit caff, US
greasy spoon: We stopped at a caf‚ for refreshment.
cage n. 1 crate, enclosure, pen, pound, coop, hutch: He keeps rooks
in a cage.
--v. 2 Also, cage up or in. confine, enclose, pen, impound,
shut up, or in, coop (up), imprison; restrict, restrain, hem in:
They keep the kitten caged like a wild animal. I don't like to
stay caged up in my office all day.
cajole v. wheedle, coax, beguile, jolly (along), cosy along, seduce,
inveigle, persuade, Colloq soft-soap, butter (up), stroke,
sweet-talk: Robert's wife always has to cajole him to go and
visit her mother.
cajolery n. wheedling, coaxing, blandishment, beguilement, jollying,
persuasion, seduction, inveigling, inveiglement, Colloq soft
soap, buttering-up, sweet talk: She uses cajolery rather than
threats to get what she wants.
cake n. 1 pastry, bun, Brit gateau: Right now, I should like to
have a glass of milk and a piece of chocolate cake. 2 piece,
chunk, bar, block, cube, lump, loaf, slab: Barbara gave me a
cake of fancy perfumed soap for my birthday.
--v. 3 harden, solidify, thicken, congeal, dry, coagulate,
encrust, consolidate: You can see where the paint has caked.
adj. distressful, dire, tragic, disastrous, destructive, awful,
devastating, fatal, deadly, pernicious, cataclysmic,
catastrophic, ruinous, dreadful, terrible: They seemed unaware
of the calamitous consequences of what they were doing to the
calamity n. 1 disaster, destruction, ruin, catastrophe, cataclysm,
devastation, tragedy, misadventure, mischance, mishap: Calamity
befell the town when it was engulfed in a landslide. 2
distress, affliction, trouble, hardship, misery, tragedy,
misfortune, adversity, reverse, ruin, ruination, desolation,
wretchedness: So full is the world of calamity that every
source of pleasure is polluted.
calculate v. compute, reckon, add up, assess, evaluate, count, figure
(out), estimate, gauge, determine, ascertain, work out: Bradley
was able to calculate the velocity of light. They calculated
where the sun would come up at the equinox and built their
adj. 1 arranged, designed, planned, prepared, adjusted,
adapted, fit, fitted, intended, suited: The coach was
calculated to carry six regular passengers. 2 deliberate,
purposeful, intentional, premeditated, planned: The so-called
accident was really a calculated attempt to kill me.
adj. shrewd, conniving, crafty, sly, scheming, designing,
Machiavellian, manipulative, canny, contriving: She is a
calculating woman, who knows what she wants and manoeuvres
people to help her get it.
n. 1 computation, reckoning, counting, estimation, figuring,
determining: We needn't number them one by one, for the total
can be arrived at by calculation. 2 answer, product, result,
figure, count, estimate, amount: This calculation is wrong, so
please do it again. 3 estimate, forecast, expectation,
prediction, deliberation; circumspection, cautiousness,
wariness, caution, prudence, forethought, discretion: His
attack was not the inspiration of courage but the result of
n. computer, adding machine; abacus: According to my
calculator, the answer should be 7.1592.
calendar n. 1 appointment book, schedule, slate, Brit diary, US
date-book, US law docket: I have next week's lunch date in my
calendar. 2 almanac, chronology, chronicle, annal(s): The
ecclesiastical calendar lists today as St David's Day.
calibrate v. adjust, graduate; standardize: This balance has been
dropped on the floor, and you'll have to calibrate it again.
calibre n. 1 diameter, size, bore, gauge: You need a .38 calibre
bullet to fit a .38 calibre pistol. 2 merit, ability, talent,
capability, competence, capacity, quality, strength, stature:
They should be playing against a team of their own calibre. 3
degree, measure, stamp, quality: I doubt that you will find
anyone of equal calibre to Julia in artistic sensibility.
call v. 1 shout, cry (out), hail, yell, roar, bellow, call out,
Colloq holler: I heard someone calling my name. 2 name,
designate, denote, denominate, term, style, nickname, label,
title, entitle, tag, identify, dub, christen, baptize: My real
name is Angus, but they call me Scotty. A person from Glasgow is
called a Glaswegian. 3 call up, telephone, phone, ring (up),
dial, Colloq buzz: As it's her birthday, I must call my mother
in Australia. Don't call us, we'll call you. 4 summon, invite,
assemble, convoke, convene, bid, gather, collect, muster, rally:
From the minaret, the muezzin was calling the faithful to
prayer. Many are called but few are chosen. 5 visit, attend;
call in; call on: My great aunt Frederica came to call last
Sunday. 6 awake, awaken, wake up, rouse, Colloq Brit knock up:
Please call me at six. 7 call down. a appeal to, invoke,
petition, request, entreat, supplicate: He called down the
wrath of God on the Philistines. b reprimand, chastise,
castigate, upbraid, scold, reprove, rebuke: He was called down
for having left the house after curfew. 8 call for. a demand,
request, ask for, order, require, claim: The people in room 429
have called for clean towels. The problem calls for your urgent
attention. b pick up, fetch, come for, get, accompany, Colloq
collect: I'll call for you at seven o'clock. 9 call forth.
summon, invoke, draw on or upon, evoke; elicit, inspire: Susan
called forth all her courage and faced her accusers. He failed
to call forth much enthusiasm in his listeners. 10 call on or
upon. a request of, entreat, ask, address; apostrophize: The
teacher called on me today to recite Hamlet's soliloquy. b
supplicate, apostrophize, appeal to: He called on ’olus, god of
the winds, for a fair breeze to carry his ship home. c visit:
The vicar called on us when we first moved in. 11 call off.
cancel; discontinue; postpone: The picnic has been called off
because of rain. 12 call up. a summon, enlist, recruit,
conscript, US draft: Father was called up as soon as war was
declared. b call, telephone, phone, ring (up): Call me up
--n. 13 shout, cry, yell, whoop, Colloq holler: I'll be out in
the garden, so give me a call if you want me. 14 summons,
invitation, bidding, notice, notification, order, request,
demand, command; telephone call, phone call, Brit ring; Colloq
tinkle: She received a call to report at once for duty. 15
reason, justification, cause, need, occasion, right, excuse;
requirement: You have no call to be abusive, regardless of what
you think about him. 16 on call. ready, on duty, standing by, on
stand-by, awaiting orders: They had to remain on call from
midnight till eight o'clock. 17 within call. within earshot or
hearing or (easy) reach: Please stay within call in case I need
calling n. vocation, occupation, profession, business, trade,
employment, work, line, job, m‚tier, pursuit, career, area,
province, (area of) expertise, Brit speciality or US specialty,
Colloq racket: He found his calling as a veterinary surgeon
callous adj. hardened, thick-skinned, unfeeling, uncaring, insensible,
insensitive, hard, hard-hearted, tough, hardbitten, cold,
cold-hearted, heartless, indifferent, unsympathetic, apathetic,
Colloq hard-boiled, hard-nosed: It was callous of Gerry to go
off to the snooker club right after the funeral.
callow adj. inexperienced, immature, juvenile, na‹ve, green,
guileless, unsophisticated, innocent, raw, unfledged, untried,
Colloq (still) wet behind the ears: It was a mistake to let a
callow youth take out the boat alone.
calm n. 1 quiet, stillness, tranquillity, serenity, hush, peace,
peacefulness: A storm raged outside, but in the harbour was a
breathless calm. 2 calmness, composure, placidity, placidness,
peace, repose, sang-froid, coolness, self-control, equanimity,
self-possession: The calm exhibited by the passengers during
the hijacking was admirable.
--adj. 3 quiet, still, tranquil, serene, peaceful, balmy,
halcyon, mild, undisturbed, unagitated, placid, pacific;
motionless, smooth, even; windless: The sea is never calm in
the same sense as a mountain lake. 4 composed, cool,
cool-headed, self-controlled, impassive, dispassionate, unmoved,
unruffled, serene, tranquil, sedate, staid, stoical, Colloq
together: She remained calm while the others panicked.
--v. 5 Also, calm down. quiet, quieten, still, soothe, hush,
lull, pacify; mollify, appease, placate, become or make quiet or
pacified or less agitated, Colloq cool off or down: The
arbitrator did his best to calm the two litigants by suggesting
a compromise. After everyone had calmed down, the speaker
n. 1 disguise, concealment, cover-up, cover, guise, cloak,
mask, screen, blind, (false) front, show, fa‡ade, pretence,
trickery, deception; protective colouring or coloration,
Technical apatetic or aposematic or cryptic colouring or
coloration: Camouflage prevented the enemy from seeing our
--v. 2 disguise, cloak, mask, cover (up), hide, conceal,
screen, veil; misrepresent, falsify: We camouflaged our
movements by fastening twigs and leaves to our helmets.
camp° n. 1 camping-ground, camp-ground, bivouac, encampment,
camp-site; settlement; camping-site, Brit caravan site: The
name 'Chester' derives from Latin castrum, meaning 'camp', for
the city was originally the site of a Roman camp. Is there a
camp where we can stay overnight? 2 faction, set, coterie,
clique, group, party, body: On this issue, the politicians are
divided into two camps.
--v. 3 encamp, pitch camp, tent: Our family likes to go
camping in the mountains during the summer. 4 lodge, bivouac,
settle: The platoon camped by the river. 5 camp out. Slang
crash: Mind if I camp out in your pad tonight?
campэ adj. 1 outr‚, outrageous, exaggerated, artless, affected,
inartistic, extravagant, artificial, Dadaistic, theatrical,
mannered, flamboyant, showy, ostentatious, effeminate, Colloq
campy: Some of the kitsch produced in the 1930s was the epitome
of camp. His manner is a bit too camp for my taste.
--v. 2 exaggerate, show off, strut, flaunt, flounce, prance,
posture, Colloq ham: Clarence just loves to camp it up whenever
there are women around.
campaign n. 1 operation(s), manoeuvre(s), crusade, action; drive,
offensive, push, effort; struggle: Napoleon's Russian campaign
ended in disaster. Our next sales campaign will be aimed at
teenagers. 2 competition, contest, rivalry, race: Presidential
campaigns last for more than a year.
--v. 3 run, electioneer, compete, Brit stand; US and Canadian
stump; Colloq throw or toss one's hat in the ring: Next week
the Labour candidate will campaign in Yorkshire.
cancel v. 1 void, annul, invalidate, nullify, quash; revoke, rescind,
redeem, repeal, abolish, retract, withdraw, recall, repudiate,
abrogate, countermand, deny: The bonds have been cancelled and
are worthless. She cancelled the incorrect cheque. 2 delete,
obliterate, cross or strike or blot out, dele, rub out, erase,
expunge, efface, eradicate, quash, deracinate; eliminate, do
away with: I was forced to cancel the chapter of my book that
dealt with M.I.5 activities. 3 Sometimes, cancel out.
neutralize, nullify, counterbalance, countervail, compensate
(for), make up for, offset, counteract: His later kindnesses
cancel his previous injustices.
n. 1 cancelling, annulment, nullification, rescinding, voiding,
rescission, revocation, abolition, abandonment, withdrawal,
abrogation; repeal: We found a hotel room in the end because of
a late cancellation. 2 invalidation, revocation, abolition,
discontinuance, termination, suppression: If you fail to pay
the premium, the policy is subject to cancellation. 3
elimination, abolition; stoppage, cessation: Owing to the
storm, some trains are subject to cancellation.
candid adj. 1 frank, open, plain, sincere, ingenuous, straight,
straightforward, truthful, forthright, direct, unequivocal,
plain-spoken, plain-speaking, outspoken, honest, artless, blunt,
guileless, open-hearted, above-board, undeceitful, undeceiving,
undeliberative, uncalculating, uncalculated, unpremeditated,
uncontrived , Colloq upfront: Henry offered a very candid
account of his feelings. Let us be candid and speak our minds. 2
just, impartial, objective, fair, equitable, unbiased,
unprejudiced, even-handed; unbigoted: The speaker expressed a
candid view of all of the proposals. 3 unposed, informal,
impromptu: Here is a candid photo of the two of us in Rome.
candidate n. aspirant, seeker, office-seeker, runner, nominee; applicant,
entrant; prospect, possibility: There are quite a few
candidates for the post.
candour n. 1 openness, frankness, ingenuousness, simplicity, na‹vety,
outspokenness, unreservedness, forthrightness, honesty,
sincerity, directness, straightforwardness, unequivocalness: I
admire her candour, but the truth sometimes hurts. 2
impartiality, fairness, justice, objectivity, open-mindedness:
In criticism candour is as rare as bigotry is frequent.
candy n. sweet(s), bon-bon(s), sweetmeat(s), confectionery: Eating
candy can be bad for your teeth.
cannibal n. anthropophagite, man-eater: They were said to have been
captured by cannibals living in remote regions.
cant n. 1 hypocrisy, insincerity, sham, pretence, humbug,
sanctimony, sanctimoniousness, lip-service, affectedness,
pretension: He wasn't really enthusiastic - all that talk was
just cant. 2 jargon, shop, shop-talk, argot, vernacular, slang,
dialect, patois, Creole, pidgin, gobbledegook or gobbledygook,
Colloq lingo: The criminals use a cant not understood by those
outside their fraternity.
adj. ill-natured, quarrelsome, perverse, cross, choleric,
cross-grained, crabby, curmudgeonly, crusty, grumpy, surly,
irascible, snappish, bad-tempered, ill-tempered, bearish,
bilious, peevish, testy, irritable, touchy, disagreeable,
tetchy, contrary, Colloq crotchety, grouchy, US cranky: Simon
used to be so friendly, but he's become a cantankerous old
canvass v. 1 solicit, electioneer, campaign, poll, US and Canadian
stump: The candidates will be canvassing in farming areas next
week. 2 survey, poll, study, analyse, examine, investigate,
interview, question: The statisticians are not satisfied that
enough women were canvassed to provide an accurate sample.
--n. 3 solicitation, campaign: The party's canvass of rural
areas for new supporters was not very successful. 4 survey,
study, investigation, poll, examination, tally: A canvass of
editors shows they have a conservative view of the language.
canyon n. gorge, ravine, gully or gulley, pass, defile, Brit dialect
gill or ghyll, US and Canadian coul‚e, gulch; US gap, arroyo:
The canyon created by the river is more than a thousand feet
cap n. 1 hat, head covering: The plumber took off his cap and
scratched his head. 2 lid, top, cover: Screw the cap on tight.
3 cap in hand. humbly, meekly, servilely, submissively,
subserviently, docilely, respectfully: He went cap in hand to
ask for a pay rise.
--v. 4 surpass, outdo, outstrip, better, beat, exceed, top,
excel: Betty capped her earlier triumphs by winning the
semifinals. 5 cover, protect: As it's begun to rain, you'd
best cap the camera lens.
n. ability, power, potential, capacity, means, faculty,
wherewithal; talent, proficiency, aptitude, adeptness, skill,
competence: Deirdre has the capability to be first in her form.
capable adj. 1 able, competent, efficient, proficient, qualified,
talented, gifted, skilled, skilful, accomplished, apt, adept,
clever, effective, effectual; expert, masterly, masterful:
Halliwell is quite capable of speaking for himself. He is a
capable violinist, but scarcely a virtuoso. 2 capable of.
disposed to, inclined to, predisposed to: Though violent, he is
not capable of murder.
capacity n. 1 volume, content, size, dimensions; room, space: What is
the capacity of this bottle in litres? The car is of sufficient
capacity to hold only four adults. 2 potential, ability,
capability, competence, intelligence, wit, brain(s), talent,
aptitude, acumen, understanding, sense, judgement, perspicacity,
perceptiveness, perception, mother wit, intellect, genius,
skill, gift, faculty, power, potential, Colloq chiefly US right
stuff, the goods: They don't yet have the capacity to absorb
advanced theory. 3 position, condition, character, place, post,
role, job, office, duty, responsibility, province, sphere,
function; Law competency, qualification: She has every right to
sign cheques in her capacity as director.
cape° n. headland, promontory, peninsula, neck, point, Archaic ness:
We sailed round the cape and made for the harbour.
capeэ n. mantle, shawl, stole, cloak: His black cape reached to the
caper n. 1 skip, leap, spring, frolic, hop, gambol, frisk, curvet,
gambado: He can dance, though he does not cut capers. 2
escapade, stunt, mischief, prank, high jinks, US crime,
burglary, robbery, Colloq shenanigan, dido, lark, Slang US and
Canadian job: The capers we used to get up to after lights-out
in the dormitory!
--v. 3 skip, hop, frolic, leap, jump, frisk, romp, gambol,
prance, cavort, curvet: She capered about like a lamb in a
capital n. 1 head, top, crown, cap: The column was surmounted by a
finely carved capital. 2 seat (of government): Winnipeg is the
capital of Manitoba. 3 money, assets, funds, finance(s), cash,
wherewithal; wealth, means, property, resources, savings,
principal: My capital is invested in land at the moment. 4
majuscule, upper case, large letter, initial, Colloq cap: The
chapter titles should be set in capitals.
--adj. 5 chief, main, major, important, cardinal, central,
principal, prime, primary, paramount, pre-eminent, foremost,
leading: Our capital responsibility is to ensure the
passengers' safety. 6 first-class, first-rate, excellent,
superior, matchless, peerless, choice, select, outstanding,
fine, superb, splendid, marvellous, extraordinary, Colloq
smashing, great, super, Brit brill, Old-fashioned topping,
top-hole, ripping, ripsnorting: Eating out tonight was a
v. 1 surrender, yield, give up, submit, succumb: Want of
provisions quickly obliged the fortress to capitulate. 2
acquiesce, concede, relent, give in, yield: He begged so
piteously that the king finally capitulated and allowed him to
adj. whimsical, erratic, flighty, fickle, mercurial, unsteady,
variable, unstable, wayward, unpredictable, undependable,
changeable, impulsive, crotchety, quirky, unreliable,
inconstant, fanciful, wanton: His decisions are capricious and
not based on sound judgement. The weather in March is
capricious: as Mark Twain said, if you don't like it, just wait
capsize v. upset, overturn, turn turtle or upside down, tip (over),
keel over, invert: When the wind capsized the boat, we lost all
our gear overboard.
captivate v. enthral or US enthrall, enslave, fascinate, hypnotize,
entrance, beguile, charm, enamour, enchant, bewitch, enrapture,
dazzle, infatuate, attract, allure, seduce, win: Her beauty
captivated film-goers everywhere.
captive n. 1 prisoner, convict, hostage, detainee, internee; slave,
bondman or bondsman, bondservant: The captives were kept in a
--adj. 2 imprisoned, incarcerated, confined, caged, locked up,
under lock and key: Captive animals lose their free spirit.
captivity n. confinement, imprisonment, internment, detention, custody,
incarceration, restraint; bondage, slavery, thraldom or US also
thralldom, enslavement, servitude; Archaic durance: Some wild
creatures do not survive in captivity. Entire populations of
conquered territories were taken into captivity in ancient
capture n. 1 seizure, taking, catching, arrest, apprehension, Slang
pinch, collar: They celebrated the capture of the Spanish
galleon. The State has offered a reward for the capture of the
--v. 2 seize, take, catch, lay or take hold of, grab,
apprehend, arrest, Slang pinch, collar, nab, Brit nick:
Eventually, they captured the thief on the roof.
car n. 1 (motor) vehicle, motor car, automobile, passenger car,
Old-fashioned or slang motor; Chiefly US auto; Colloq jalopy,
heap, pile, crate, machine, buggy, transport; Slang wheels:
Borrow a car and drive down for the weekend. 2 (railway)
carriage: The body was found in a sleeping car of the Orient
card n. 1 playing-card, Slang pasteboard: The winning card was the
ten of diamonds. 2 calling-card, visiting-card, carte de
visite, business card: Visitors used to leave their cards on
the silver tray at the front door. 3 greetings card, Christmas
card, birthday card, anniversary card, condolence card, Easter
card, New Year card: I sent Jacquelyn a card for her birthday
last year. 4 postcard, US postal card: Drop me a card when you
get there, just so I'll know you're all right. 5 index card,
file card: The names and addresses of our members, formerly
held on cards, are now stored in the computer. 6 membership
card; press card; union card: I showed my card at the door and
they let me in without any problem. 7 dance-card: She told me
that her dance-card was full - and was likely to be for the next
ten years. 8 US car-card, window-card, show-card: At the cost
of a card on the New York buses, we'd never get our money back.
9 credit card; bank card: You may pay by card or cheque. They
won't accept your cheque without a card. 10 identity or
identification card, I.D. (card): The police asked to see my
card. 11 joker, prankster, practical joker, wag, humorist,
comedian, funny man: That Oscar - he's quite a card, isn't he?
12 on or esp. US in the cards. destined, fated, slated, in the
offing; likely, probable, possible, liable: I doubt that a
change of government is on the cards for some time to come. 13
play one's cards right, well, badly, etc. act, behave, take
action; plan, use strategy: If Francis plays his cards right,
he may be made head of department when Mark leaves. 14 put or
lay one's cards on the table or show one's cards. act openly,
reveal all, be forthright, be direct, be open, be honest, be
unsecretive, Colloq come clean: I'm going to put my cards on
the table, and let you know all my plans.
cardinal adj. important, chief, key, special, main, central, principal,
prime, primary, essential, necessary, fundamental; supreme,
paramount, highest, first, foremost, leading, pre-eminent: The
cardinal virtues are justice, prudence, temperance, and
fortitude, to which some writers add faith, hope, and charity.
care n. 1 anxiety, worry, trouble, anguish, disquiet, distress,
grief, sorrow, dolour, sadness, suffering, misery, woe,
tribulation: His haggard look reflected a life of care. 2
concern, regard, vigilance, mindfulness, heed, solicitude;
heedfulness, attention, pains, carefulness, meticulousness,
punctiliousness; caution, circumspection: The essence of
public-spiritedness is care for the common good. He looks after
his moustache and beard with great care. Open with care. 3
responsibility, charge, protection, guardianship, custody,
keeping, safe keeping; control, direction, supervision: The
child has been released into our care. 4 take care of. look
after, attend to, be responsible for, take charge of, take
responsibility for; tend, nurse: You should take care of your
money. Does she have enough experience to take care of someone
who is ill?
--v. 5 be concerned, trouble oneself, feel interest, worry,
fret, trouble, Brit mind: Do you care whether Arnold gets the
job he wants? I don't care who you are, you can't come in here!
6 care for. a look after, tend, attend (to), watch over,
protect, take care of, provide for; nurse: He cared for his
ailing parents for about twenty years. b like, fancy, be
attracted to, be fond of, love, be keen on, be enamoured of:
Jennifer admitted last night how much she cares for David.
careen v. heel over, keel over; US loosely career, sway, tip, pitch,
veer, swerve, lurch: We hauled out the boat, careened her, and
proceeded to caulk her seams.
career n. 1 employment, occupation, calling, vocation, pursuit,
(life's) work, job, business, livelihood; profession, trade,
craft, m‚tier: She has made a career out of helping others. He
is undecided whether to pursue a career in accountancy.
--v. 2 speed, race, rush, dash, fly, tear, hurtle, bolt, shoot,
Colloq zoom: A bicycle came careering around the corner and
knocked him down.
carefree adj. nonchalant, easy, easygoing, insouciant, light-hearted,
blithe, happy-go-lucky, breezy, airy; blas‚, indifferent,
unconcerned, unworried, trouble-free, worry-free, contented,
happy: Till he graduated from university, he had lived an
entirely carefree life.
careful adj. 1 cautious, wary, circumspect, chary, prudent, watchful,
aware, alert, vigilant: These days one cannot be too careful
about walking in the city at night. 2 meticulous, painstaking,
attentive, punctilious, (well-)organized, systematic, precise,
fastidious, thorough, scrupulous, conscientious, particular,
finicky, finical, fussy: The police conducted a careful search
careless adj. 1 unconcerned, untroubled, unworried, casual, indifferent,
heedless, thoughtless, inconsiderate, uncaring, devil-may-care,
irresponsible, cursory, lackadaisical, perfunctory: No one
could approve of the careless way he treats his family. 2
inattentive, negligent, thoughtless, absent-minded, neglectful,
remiss; unobservant, unthinking, imprudent, unmindful,
incautious, unwary, reckless, slapdash, rash: Many of the
errors come from being careless. 3 inaccurate, imprecise,
inexact, incorrect, wrong, error-ridden, erroneous, Colloq
sloppy: You won't get a good mark for such a careless paper. 4
unstudied, ingenuous, artless, casual, nonchalant: I dislike
his careless way of dressing, but it does show some style.
caress n. 1 pat, stroke, fondling, blandishment; cuddle, embrace, hug;
nuzzle, kiss: He submitted willingly to her caresses.
--v. 2 touch, pat, pet, fondle, stroke; cuddle, embrace, hug;
nuzzle, kiss: The kitten approached warily and Isabella
cargo n. shipment, consignment, shipload, truckload, wagon-load,
load, trainload, US carload; freight, goods, merchandise: The
cargo of rifles was delivered to the warehouse. The ship was
lost with all its cargo.
n. 1 cartoon, parody, burlesque, lampoon, satire, pasquinade,
Colloq take-off, spoof, Brit send-up: The cartoon in the
newspaper showed a caricature of the Prime Minister.
--v. 2 parody, satirize, lampoon, burlesque, ridicule, mock,
distort, Colloq take off, Brit send up: Hogarth caricatured
Churchill in the form of a bear.
carnage n. slaughter, butchery, massacre, blood bath, holocaust,
killing, Shoah, Churban or Hurban: The battle was fought with
much carnage on both sides.
carnal adj. fleshly, sensual, animal, bodily, lustful, voluptuous,
libidinous, lecherous, concupiscent, sexual, erotic, lascivious,
licentious, lewd, prurient: She is intent on satisfying her
carouse v. 1 make merry, revel, Colloq party, pub-crawl, make whoopee,
go on a bender or tear or binge or toot, paint the town red,
binge, booze: After the cup final, we all caroused till the wee
--n. 2 revel, spree, fling, wassail, carousal, drunk,
bacchanal, Colloq binge, bender, booze, boozer, Brit knees-up,
US tear, toot: They go on a carouse on Burns Night every year,
then need a day to sleep it off.
carp v. find fault, criticize, cavil, complain, nag, pick at, pick
on, bully, bullyrag or ballyrag, Colloq knock, pick holes (in),
gripe, Brit whinge: She said that she would leave him if he
kept on carping at her about her cooking.
carriage n. 1 (railway) coach, US car: We moved our belongings into the
next carriage. 2 bearing, mien, air, manner, deportment,
conduct, demeanour, attitude, posture, stance, presence,
behaviour, comportment: His upright carriage immediately
identified him as a military man. 3 freight, freightage,
transportation, cartage, shipping; postage: Carriage is free
within mainland Britain.
carrier n. 1 bearer, porter; transporter, drayman, shipper, haulier or
US hauler; carter: The company we use as a carrier is
expensive. 2 transmitter, Immunology vector, US Typhoid Mary:
She couldn't have caught the disease directly, only through some
carry v. 1 transport, convey, bear, lug, drag, cart, move, Colloq
tote, Slang US schlep: He shouldn't carry such heavy packages
at his age. 2 conduct, convey, lead, take, transport, transfer,
transmit: This cable carries the power to the town. 3 drive,
impel, conduct, convey, take, move: He travelled aimlessly,
wherever the wind carried his ship. 4 support, maintain,
finance: I had a wife and four children and was unable to carry
my brother's family as well. 5 bear, hold up, uphold, maintain:
Despite her troubles, she carried her head high. 6 win, take,
sweep, capture, gain, secure: She carried the election easily.
7 stock, sell, offer; display: We don't carry purple shoes in
this shop, Madam. 8 broadcast, disseminate, offer, release;
communicate, present, read, report, announce; give: The news is
carried on this station every night at nine. 9 carry away.
transport, excite, enrapture, delight: He was quite carried
away by her attentions. 10 carry off. a win, gain, capture,
secure: She managed to carry off the first prize for the third
year running. b abscond with, kidnap, take, purloin, Colloq
Brit pinch, nick: I'm afraid that some of your chickens have
been carried off by a fox. c accomplish, perform, effect, do,
succeed, handle or manage successfully, bring off, carry out:
We carried off the raid without loss of a single man. d kill,
be or cause the death of, cause to die: He was carried off by
yellow fever in his eightieth year. 11 carry on. a continue,
proceed, go on, persist, keep on or at, persevere: Don't stop -
just carry on with what you were doing. b manage, conduct,
operate: Despite the fire, we are carrying on our business as
usual. c misbehave, Colloq act up, fool around, Brit play up:
The children are carrying on so, I can't get any work done. 12
carry out or through. perform, effect, implement, complete,
execute, accomplish, continue, conclude: Henry is carrying out
his father's wishes according to the terms of his will.
cart n. 1 handcart, pushcart, trolley, barrow, wagon or Brit also
waggon: You'll need a cart to carry all these things to the
--v. 2 carry, convey, move, lug, drag, tote, transport, bring,
haul, Colloq US schlep: Why do you cart that heavy bag
everywhere you go?
n. licence, permission, sanction, free rein, authority,
discretion: She was given carte blanche to spend the money any
way she wished.
carve v. 1 hew, cut, sculpt, sculpture, shape, chisel, model,
fashion, engrave, incise, grave, whittle, chip: The bust is
carved out of solid marble. 2 Often, carve up or out. divide
(up), cut (up), subdivide, apportion, parcel out, allot,
partition: The gang-leaders carved up the territory, and the
killings stopped for a while.
case° n. 1 instance, example, event, occurrence; happening, occasion,
circumstance, state, situation: In a recent case a farmer was
attacked by a man-eating tiger. Holmes is investigating a case
of a missing necklace. 2 action, suit, lawsuit, dispute; cause:
I lost my case. 3 patient, invalid, victim: Four new cases
were admitted to the hospital yesterday. 4 specimen, instance,
example: Howard is an odd case, isn't he? 5 in any case. in
any event, come what may, at all events, anyhow, anyway: In any
case, your decision won't affect me. 6 in case. a lest, for
fear that: He was worried in case his wife found out where he
had been. b if, in the event that, if it happens or proves or
turns out that, if it should happen or prove or turn out that:
In case you were thinking of leaving, remember that we have your
car keys. 7 in case of. in the event of; for fear of: In case
of fire, you must use the staircase. We insured the house in
case of fire. 8 the case. the fact, the actuality, the truth,
the reality, what really happened or took place: She said he
was drunk, but that's not the case.
caseэ n. 1 box, container, carton, crate; chest, holder, receptacle;
trunk, suitcase, casket: Please order two cases of paper for
the copying machine. The cosmetics came in a fitted case lined
in velvet. 2 covering, cover, protection, casing, envelope,
wrapper: The engraving was on the inside of the watch-case. The
book came in a case of fine calfskin.
--v. 3 encase, box, crate, pack, package, containerize: The
computer arrived, completely cased in rigid foam.
cash n. 1 money, currency, bills, notes, banknotes, change, hard
cash or money, specie, coin of the realm, legal tender, Slang
moolah, dough, bread, loot, spondulicks or spondulix, Brit
lolly, ready, readies, US scratch, gelt, mazuma: The shop
accepts only cash, no charge cards.
--v. 2 Also, cash in. change, sell, liquidate, exchange;
realize: She cashed some bonds to pay off the overdraft.
casket n. 1 chest, box, container, case, coffer, receptacle: She
keeps her jewels in a leather casket on the dressing-table. 2
coffin; sarcophagus: After the funeral, the pallbearers carried
the casket from the church.
cast n. 1 throw, toss, pitch, shy, lob, thrust, chuck: In his next
cast, the bowler lightly struck the jack. 2 dramatis personae,
actors and actresses, players, performers, troupe, company: We
invited the cast to a party after the show. 3 form, shape,
mould; formation, formulation, arrangement: She can appreciate
the turn of the phrase, the happy cast and flow of the sentence.
4 model, casting, mould; stamp, type: The Ming vase was copied
from a cast. There are not many men of the cast of Crocker. 5
twist, turn, irregularity, warp; squint: The mare had a cast in
her gallop. The pirate had a cast in his left eye. 6 turn,
inclination, bent, hint, touch; tinge, tint, colouring: He has
a melancholy cast of mind.
--v. 7 throw, toss, pitch, fling, sling, hurl, dash, send,
Colloq chuck, shy: She tore off the gold necklace and cast it
into the lake. 8 assign, delegate, appoint, designate, name,
nominate, choose, pick, select: He has cast me as the villain
in his little drama. 9 form, mould, found: The king's
death-mask, cast in plaster, was on the floor of the tomb. 10
cast about for. search for, look for, seek: He was casting
about for an excuse to avoid going to the Fordyces' for dinner.
11 cast aside. reject, discard, cast or throw away or out, get
rid of: The expensive toys had been cast aside and the children
were playing with the boxes and wrappings. 12 cast away. maroon,
shipwreck: Jim O'Shea was cast away upon an Indian isle. 13
cast off. throw off, shed, doff: One's upbringing cannot be
cast off like an old overcoat. 14 cast out. expel, drive out,
throw out, evict, eject, oust, exile, remove, cast aside: She
was cast out of the house by her mother, who had married a
castaway n. reject, cast-off, outcast, pariah, exile: She always looked
after the moral well-being of the castaways of society.
caste n. (social) class, rank, order, level, stratum, standing,
position, station, status, estate: The women of her caste
castigate v. chastise, punish, correct, penalize, discipline, rebuke,
reprimand, read (someone) the riot act, keelhaul, chasten,
criticize, Colloq tell off, dress down, Chiefly Brit tick off,
Brit carpet, haul over the coals, US and Canadian chew out, rake
over the coals, put or call on or on to the carpet: They were
castigated in the press for their extravagant lifestyle.
castle n. 1 fortress, stronghold, citadel: The king moved to Windsor
Castle during the winter. 2 mansion, palace, manor-house, hall,
chѓteau: Mr Mooney lives alone in his castle and has nothing to
do with his neighbours.
casual adj. 1 accidental, chance, random, fortuitous, unexpected,
unforeseen, unpremeditated, unplanned, unforeseeable,
unpredictable, serendipitous: It was only a casual remark, but
it was taken very seriously. We interviewed casual passers-by.
2 uncertain, unsure, haphazard, occasional, random, irregular,
unsystematic, sporadic, erratic: The budget includes provision
for both certain and casual revenues. 3 indifferent,
nonchalant, offhand, insouciant, apathetic, cool, unconcerned,
uninterested, pococurante, dispassionate, blas‚, relaxed,
lackadaisical: He may seem casual, but he is genuinely
concerned about the patients. 4 informal; lounge: Dinner dress
is not required: you may come in casual clothes. 5 offhand,
happy-go-lucky, natural, easy, easygoing, devil-may-care,
unconcerned, relaxed, d‚gag‚, unconstrained: Phil is quite
casual about losing money at roulette.
casualty n. 1 disaster, catastrophe, calamity, accident, mischance,
misadventure, mishap: The company insures against casualties at
sea. 2 a victim, fatality, Colloq statistic: I'm afraid that
Jeff was a casualty of last year's cut in personnel. She was
only one of thousands of casualties of the earthquake. b
Usually, casualties. Chiefly military wounded, injured,
missing, missing in action, dead, fatalities, US MIA(s), body
count: The casualties were mounting.
n. 1 disaster, calamity, cataclysm: The eruption of Vesuvius
was one of the major catastrophes in recorded history. 2
misfortune, bad luck, shock, blow, tragedy, disaster; mishap,
mischance, misadventure, accident, fiasco, failure: Cook
reported a catastrophe with the layer cake.
catch v. 1 capture, seize, apprehend, take or get (hold of), grab,
grip, grasp, take captive, hold, arrest, take prisoner, Colloq
nab, pinch, collar, Brit nick: The police caught him when he
returned to the scene of the crime. 2 trap, ensnare, entrap,
snare, net, bag, hook, round up, corral: We caught three trout
this morning. I caught all the horses that had broken through
the fence. 3 take, get on or on to, board: You can catch the
London train at Aylesbury. 4 surprise, discover, find: They
fired him after catching him with his hand in the till. 5 be
seized or taken hold of by or with, come down with, be afflicted
by or with, contract, get, suffer from: You'll catch a cold if
you don't wear a hat. 6 strike, hit, deliver, fetch, box: She
caught him a great blow on the ear and he went down. 7 tangle,
become entangled or stuck or trapped or hooked: His foot caught
in the stirrup when he fell, and he was dragged along. 8
restrain, stop, check, curb: She caught herself before telling
the police where the thief was hiding. 9 intercept, grab, seize,
snatch: He caught the ball before it touched the ground. 10
understand, see, comprehend, grasp, apprehend, fathom, perceive,
discern, follow, take in, gather, Colloq figure out, get, catch
on (to), get the drift (of), Brit twig: I didn't quite catch
what you said - please can you repeat it? 11 captivate, charm,
bewitch, enchant, fascinate, seduce, attract, entice, allure:
She knows how to use her charms to catch a man. 12 attract,
draw: A very slight movement caught my eye. 13 catch on. a
understand, grasp, see (through), comprehend, get (it), Brit
twig: I didn't catch on to what she planned to do it till it
was too late. The joke's on you and you still don't catch on, do
you? b take hold, succeed, become popular or fashionable: Do
you think the hula hoop will catch on again? 14 catch up. a
absorb, involve, enthrall, immerse: He was completely caught up
in the plot of the new novel. b reach, overtake, overhaul: I
finally caught up with her as she neared the house.
--n. 15 capture, take, bag, prize, trophy: The catch of the
day was a 20-pound pike. 16 acquisition; conquest: She was
considered quite a catch. 17 clasp, hook, pin, clip, fastening,
fastener: The catch on the necklace opened and pearls spilt all
over the floor. 18 trick, disadvantage, hitch, snag, fly in the
ointment, catch-22, trap, problem, drawback , Colloq US hooker:
The first book is free, but the catch is that you have to buy
four more at the regular price.
catching adj. 1 contagious, infectious, transmissible, transmittable,
communicable: The doctor said that what I have is not catching.
2 attractive, captivating, fascinating, enchanting, bewitching,
entrancing, winning, enticing, alluring, fetching: The strange
object in the shop window was most catching to the eye of a
adj. direct, explicit, express, unconditional, firm, positive,
unreserved, unrestricted, absolute, outright, downright,
unequivocal, unambiguous, specific; emphatic, unqualified,
authoritative, dogmatic, Technical apodeictic or apodictic: His
denial was clear and categorical.
v. classify, class, sort, organize, assort, rank, order,
section, departmentalize, group, arrange: Should plankton be
categorized under zoology or botany?
category n. class, classification, type, sort, kind, variety, group,
grouping, listing, rank, ranking, list, grade, department,
division, section, sector, area, sphere; head, heading: Into
which category would you put the partially disabled?
cater v. 1 provision, victual; purvey, provide: We cater exclusively
for housebound gourmets. 2 cater for or to. indulge, humour,
serve, dance attendance on, pamper, baby, coddle, minister to,
spoil, mollycoddle, cosset, pander to: She caters for him night
and day. Our music group caters for all levels of ability.
catholic adj. universal, general, inclusive, all-inclusive, broad, wide,
comprehensive, widespread, all-embracing, eclectic, liberal:
Her musical tastes are catholic - they range from Bach to Berry
(Chuck, that is).
cattle n. livestock, stock, beef; cows, bulls, bullocks, steers,
bovines, oxen: He spent 20 years as a cowboy, herding cattle in
cause n. 1 origin, occasion, source, root, genesis, agent, prime
mover, well-spring: The cause of the train crash is not yet
known. 2 originator, creator, producer, agent, agency: His
indecision was the cause of many of our problems. 3 ground or
grounds, justification, reason, basis, call, motive: You have
no cause to be dissatisfied. 4 case, matter, issue, concern;
movement, undertaking; ideal, belief: We appealed the miners'
cause to the high court.
--v. 5 make, induce: What causes hot air to rise? 6 effect,
bring on or about, give rise to, result in, produce, create,
precipitate, occasion, lead to, induce, generate, provoke,
promote; engender; motivate, compel: Overeating causes
caustic adj. 1 burning, corrosive, destructive, mordant, astringent:
Sulphuric acid is the caustic agent that eats away the metal. 2
sarcastic, biting, acrimonious, sharp, bitter, biting, sardonic,
cutting, trenchant, critical, scathing, acid, harsh, pungent,
virulent: His caustic remarks do not earn him many friends.
caution n. 1 warning, admonition, admonishment, caveat, monition,
advice, counsel, injunction: A word of caution is needed before
you go ahead. 2 wariness, prudence, care, vigilance,
forethought, heed, watchfulness, alertness, circumspection,
discretion: Drivers should exercise extra caution in bad
--v. 3 warn, admonish, forewarn, tip (off); advise, counsel:
Some employees had to be cautioned about arriving on time.
cautious adj. wary, heedful, careful, prudent, circumspect, watchful,
vigilant, alert, circumspect, discreet, guarded: They were very
cautious about letting their children go out on their own.
cave n. 1 cavern, grotto, hollow, hole, cavity, den: In the cave
were prehistoric wall paintings.
--v. 2 cave in. a collapse, break down, give way, subside,
fall in or inwards: The earthquake caused the walls of the
house to cave in. b yield, submit, give way; surrender; Colloq
buckle, knuckle under: After eight hours of questioning, he
caved in and told them everything.
cavil n. 1 quibble, complaint: There is a minor cavil at the wording
of the statutes.
--v. 2 carp, quibble, split hairs, complain, find fault,
censure, criticize, dispute, object, demur, Colloq nit-pick:
They cavilled at a mere misspelling.
cavity n. pit, hole, hollow, opening, crater, gap; space: The
limestone is marked with a pattern of cavities. Vowel sounds
resonate in the oral cavity.
cavort v. curvet, prance, caper, frisk, bound, gambol, romp, skip,
leap, jump, dance: Stop cavorting about and settle down.
cease v. 1 stop, end, finish, leave off, terminate, halt,
discontinue, desist (from), break off (from), refrain (from):
Will that noise never cease?
--n. 2 without cease. ceaselessly, endlessly, unendingly,
incessantly, interminably, continuously, continually,
constantly, ad infinitum, infinitely, perpetually, forever,
eternally, everlastingly, non-stop, unremittingly: Sisyphus was
condemned to roll his burden uphill without cease.
cede v. yield, give way, give up, grant, give, surrender, deliver
up, turn or make or hand over, convey, transfer, relinquish,
abandon, renounce, abdicate: Let private concerns always cede
to the common good. The territory was ceded to our government in
celebrant n. officiant, official; priest: The celebrant at High Mass was
celebrate v. 1 hold, perform, solemnize, ritualize, observe, keep,
honour, officiate at; sanctify, hallow, consecrate, dedicate:
The archbishop himself celebrated holy communion. 2 rejoice (in
or at), memorialize; have a party, revel, make merry, wassail,
Colloq party, paint the town red, whoop it up: The entire town
celebrated the opening of the bridge with a huge party. 3 extol,
praise, exalt, glorify, laud, eulogize, honour; lionize: She
was widely celebrated for her achievements. 4 publicize,
advertise, broadcast: The stones themselves would find a Voice,
To celebrate his Praise.
adj. famous, renowned, well-known, famed, prominent, noted,
eminent, noteworthy, distinguished, illustrious, acclaimed:
Their son became a celebrated brain surgeon.
n. 1 observance, observation, performance, solemnization,
hallowing, sanctification, memorialization, commemoration: The
celebration of the Eucharist was delayed because the vicar had
been called to a sickbed. 2 praising, extolling, honouring: The
ceremony was a celebration of their achievements in space
exploration. 3 party, f€te, gala, festivities, frolic, revelry,
merrymaking: The New Year's celebration is planned at Jill's
house this year.
celebrity n. 1 renown, fame, repute, reputation, prominence, eminence,
distinction, prestige, famousness, popularity, notability,
stardom; notoriety: Dr Johnson was not enriched in proportion
to his celebrity. 2 notable, dignitary, star, luminary, toast
of the town, personage, name, personality, superstar: The hotel
lobby was packed with celebrities from show business.
celestial adj. 1 heavenly, divine, spiritual, godly, paradisiac(al) or
paradisaic, sublime, empyrean, Elysian, ethereal, immortal,
supernatural: They worshipped Jupiter and other celestial
beings. 2 astronomical, astral: We studied celestial
navigation and how to use a sextant.
celibacy n. 1 bachelorhood, spinsterhood, singleness: People who say
they enjoy celibacy may simply have not met the right partner. 2
chastity, virginity, continence, (self-)restraint, abstinence,
purity: They have to take a vow of celibacy before entering the
celibate adj. 1 unmarried, single, unwed: Both brother and sister
remained celibate all their lives. 2 abstinent, abstemious,
continent, ascetic; virgin(al), pure, chaste, unsullied,
undefiled, virtuous, immaculate: He led the celibate life of a
monk for twenty years.
--n. 3 bachelor, spinster: She belonged to an order of female
cell n. chamber, room, apartment, cubicle; stall: As a friar, he
lived in a small, plain cell for most of his life.
cellar n. basement, vault: She led me down to the cellar to show me
her wine collection.
cement n. 1 mortar, bond, glue, gum, paste, solder; adhesive: You'll
need a special kind of cement to stick metal to glass.
--v. 2 stick, glue, paste, solder, weld, braze, bond; join,
bind, combine, unite; cohere, hold, cling, adhere: First cement
the tiles to the wall. The ashes and cinders cement readily into
a compact mass.
central adj. 1 middle, medial, median; inner, inside: The central
reservation between the carriageways will be planted with
bushes. 2 main, principal, important, chief, key, leading,
dominant, prime, primary, pre-eminent, cardinal, significant,
essential: Odysseus is the central figure of the poem.
centre n. 1 middle, core, heart; nucleus, focal point, hub, pivot,
nave; mid-point: He stood in the centre of the road. We
journeyed to the centre of the earth. The tower is at the centre
of the market square. The amount to be paid was at the centre of
the controversy. Mark the centre of the line.
--v. 2 focus, converge, meet, concentrate, cluster: The
business of the meeting centred on the nomination of a
chairperson. All my hopes were centred on getting the job as
adj. 1 ritual, celebratory, commemorative: We followed the
ceremonial procession. 2 formal, solemn, stately, dignified;
ceremonious, august: The ceremonial robes of his office were
white. The ceremonial rites of passage involve many
--n. 3 rite, ritual, formality, ceremony, service, observance:
These are the ceremonials prescribed in the Anglican service.
adj. 1 ceremonial, formal, dignified, solemn, Colloq stuffy,
stiff, starchy: There are many ceremonious procedures involved
in a coronation. 2 courtly, courteous, polite, civil, correct,
proper, conventional, punctilious, careful: He entered the room
and made a ceremonious bow.
ceremony n. 1 rite, observance, solemnity, service, ceremonial, ritual,
formality, function; obsequies: I had to attend my
grandmother's funeral ceremony and was absent from school. 2
motions, formalities or formality, conventions or convention,
niceties, proprieties, form, protocol; lip-service, appearances,
pro formas, etiquette, decorum: Going through the ceremony is
all they want - they don't care what you believe. Please sign
even if only for ceremony's sake.
certain adj. 1 determined, set, fixed, predetermined, decided, settled,
firm, stable, invariable, established, standard, constant,
unchanging, steady, unfluctuating, non-fluctuating, traditional:
He agreed to pay a certain yearly rent. She met him there every
day at a certain time. 2 sure, unerring, definite, dependable,
trustworthy, unfailing, infallible, reliable, assured,
guaranteed: How do you know that the dividend is certain? 3
sure, inevitable, inescapable, destined, predestined,
ineluctable, inexorable, unavoidable, definite, firm;
unchanging, changeless, infallible, permanent, Colloq on the
cards, a sure thing, US in the cards: It is not always certain
that justice will triumph. Nothing is certain but death and
taxes. 4 indubitable, indisputable, undisputed, undoubted, sure,
doubtless, unequivocal, incontestable, undeniable,
incontrovertible, absolute, irrefutable, unquestionable,
unquestioned, unarguable, valid: It is certain only that we
exist, according to Descartes. 5 confident; assured, sure,
positive, definite: I am certain that she did not steal the
money. 6 specific, particular, definite; unnamed, unspecified,
non-specified, non-specific: He gave us certain information
which we now have reason to doubt.
certainty n. 1 fact, actuality, reality, truth, Colloq sure thing: I
would not advise you to neglect a certainty for something
doubtful. 2 assurance, self-assurance, definiteness,
confidence, conviction, faith, authoritativeness, positiveness,
certitude: The certainty with which he played the card showed
he expected it to be a winner. 3 for a certainty. assuredly,
definitely, certainly, surely, positively; undoubtedly,
indubitably, without (a) doubt, undeniably, unquestionably,
absolutely, Colloq for sure: I know for a certainty that I
certify v. 1 confirm, attest (to), verify, testify (to), affirm, aver,
asseverate, corroborate, substantiate, endorse, guarantee,
warrant; swear (to), bear witness (to), vouchsafe, vouch (for):
I will certify the accuracy of the report. She certified that
she was the owner of the car. 2 declare, classify, establish,
confirm: The magistrate certified the man insane.
chafe v. 1 rub, warm (up), heat (up): I took the chill off my hands
by chafing them a bit. 2 rub, abrade, fret, gall, irritate,
make sore: The skin is very tender where it was chafed. 3
fume, rage, seethe; ruffle, vex, fret, irritate: I chafed in
impotent rage and exasperation at the ridiculous regulations.
To chafe and vex me is a part of her nature.
--n. 4 sore, abrasion, bruise, soreness, irritation: The
saddle caused a chafe on the inside of my thigh.
chaff n. 1 banter, raillery, ridicule, badinage, joking, teasing,
twitting, Colloq kidding, ragging, Chiefly US and Canadian
joshing: After the speech, he had to put up with a lot of
good-natured chaff from the audience.
--v. 2 banter, tease, twit, rail at, Colloq kid, rag, Chiefly
US and Canadian josh: When he was in the navy, his family
chaffed him for having a girl in every port.
chain n. 1 string, series, combination; sequence, succession, train,
course, set, concatenation: He owns a chain of bookshops.
Interruption of the food chain can cause serious ecological
consequences. A curious chain of circumstances led me to a small
hotel at Torquay in February. 2 restraint, check, trammel,
control, confinement, fetter, bond, manacle, shackle, gyve: The
family finally threw off the chains of poverty.
--v. 3 shackle, secure, fasten, bind, gyve; confine, fetter,
restrain, confine, restrict, tie, limit: Prometheus was chained
to a rock as punishment for having brought fire to man.
Marguerite felt chained after twenty years of marriage.
chair n. 1 seat, armchair, stool, bench, easy chair, rocking-chair:
He offered me a chair so I sat down. 2 throne, bench, position,
cathedra, authority; professorship, directorship: Sue has been
offered a chair on the board. 3 chairperson, chairman,
chairwoman, presiding officer, leader, moderator: The chair
ruled on the matter after due consideration.
--v. 4 preside, lead, govern, moderate, run, direct, manage,
oversee: Katherine will chair the meetings during the absence
of the president.
challenge v. 1 question, dispute, defy, object to, take exception to,
contest, doubt, call into doubt, call into or to question,
impugn: I challenge the validity of your accusation. 2 invite,
dare, summon, call out, provoke: The duke was challenged to a
duel. 3 brave, dare, confront, defy, contest: We could
challenge criticism with an easy confidence.
--n. 4 question, dispute, doubt: His opinions are open to
challenge. 5 invitation, dare, summons, provocation,
confrontation, defiance; ultimatum: An older opponent might not
have issued such a challenge. 6 problem, demand, stimulation,
trial, test: Are you sure that Mr Wilson will be able to meet
the challenge of the new position?
chamber n. 1 assembly, body, legislature, judicature, house, congress,
judiciary, senate, diet; consortium: She is entitled to sit in
the Upper Chamber. 2 meeting-hall, reception room, assembly
room: The council chamber was packed with people. 3
compartment, niche, nook, cavity: We hid the gold in a small
chamber in the cave. 4 room, apartment; bedroom, bedchamber:
On the first floor are the magnificent royal chambers.
champion n. 1 victor, winner, conqueror, title-holder, prizewinner,
titleist: She is the women's singles champion for the fourth
year in a row. 2 defender, guardian, protector, hero,
supporter, backer, protagonist, advocate: He acquired a
reputation as champion of the low-paid. 3 fighter, combatant,
hero, warrior, campaigner, veteran: A stouter champion never
handled a sword. The boar is often regarded as the champion
--v. 4 defend, protect, guard; support, back, stand up for,
fight for, maintain, sustain, uphold; espouse, forward, promote,
advocate: He has always championed the cause of the underdog.
chance n. 1 fortune, luck, fate: We met, as chance would have it, at
the supermarket. Life is but a game of chance for those who
cannot control their destiny. 2 opportunity, time, turn;
occasion: You have had your chance to return the money, now it
is too late. 3 Also, chances. likelihood, probability,
prospect, odds, certainty, predictability; conceivability,
possibility: Chances are that he'll be late. The chance of
winning the lottery is pretty remote. 4 Also, chances. risk,
speculation, gamble: You are taking a chance going out there
without a weapon. I'll take my chances. 5 by chance. a
accidentally, unintentionally, inadvertently: By chance the
witness saw him talking to the suspect. b perhaps, maybe,
possibly, conceivably: Have you by chance a match?
--adj. 6 casual, incidental, accidental, unintentional,
inadvertent; unplanned, unpremeditated, unexpected, unforeseen;
unlooked-for: The affair began with a chance meeting at a pub.
--v. 7 happen; occur, come to pass, take place, come about;
befall, betide: We chanced to see him jogging in the park. It
chanced that a passer-by called the police. 8 risk, hazard;
imperil, endanger, jeopardize, stake, bet, wager: Few would
chance severe penalties or jail by lying on a tax return. Don't
chance everything you've worked for!
change n. 1 substitution, replacement, exchange, interchange, switch:
You have five minutes for a change of costume. This sunny
weather is certainly a change for the better. 2 variation,
difference, switch, variety, novelty: We prefer to live where
there is a change of the seasons, not in the tropics. 3
variation, alteration, change-over, mutation, shift, modulation,
modification, transformation, metamorphosis, revolution: I
can't believe the change that has come over Betty since the
divorce. 4 coin(s), coppers, silver; (hard) cash: I need some
change for the coffee machine.
--v. 5 exchange, interchange, switch, trade; replace (with),
substitute, Colloq swap or swop: I won't be a minute, I just
want to change my shoes. I'd like to change this shirt for a
larger size. 6 modify, alter, modulate; mutate, transform,
metamorphose: Antoinette has changed since her marriage. I
never thought anyone would be able to make her change her mind.
7 fluctuate, shift, vary; vacillate: The temperature often
changes very rapidly here. 8 change to or into. turn into,
become, transform, mutate, transmute, convert, metamorphose:
The alchemists tried to change base metal into gold. Every
winter changes into spring - sooner or later.
adj. 1 variable, mutable, protean, inconstant, unstable,
unsettled, shifting, uncertain, irregular, uneven,
unpredictable, labile, capricious, erratic, fickle, unreliable,
undependable, mercurial, volatile: The weather has been
changeable for the past week. 2 alterable, modifiable,
transformable, convertible: Their meeting-places were
changeable and known only to them.
adj. 1 unchanging, unvaried, eternal, permanent, fixed, stable;
unchangeable, immutable, unalterable, inevitable, uniform: We
studied photographs of the changeless Martian landscape. The
fundamental truths of the Gospel are changeless. 2 abiding,
permanent, constant, perpetual, everlasting, steadfast,
unvarying, unchanging: Nothing could alter my changeless love
channel n. 1 watercourse, canal, waterway, ditch, aqueduct, sluice,
trench, trough, gutter, moat; river-bed, stream-bed: The
engineers dug a channel to drain the swamp. 2 strait, narrows,
neck: The English Channel connects the North Sea with the
Atlantic Ocean. 3 furrow, groove, flute: The channels cut into
this column are not straight. 4 course, means, way, approach,
avenue, medium, path, artery, conduit: We have to open a new
channel of communication with the terrorists.
--v. 5 direct, convey, pass, guide, lead, conduct: Their
grievances are being channelled through the information officer.
chant n. 1 song, psalm, hymn, canticle, plainsong, plainchant,
mantra, paean, dirge, monody, descant, carol; singsong: The war
chant of the natives, echoing over the water, struck fear into
--v. 2 sing, intone, descant, carol: The choir chanted the
verses of a lugubrious threnody.
chaos n. formlessness, disorder, confusion; pandemonium, bedlam,
turmoil, tumult; entropy: The universe arose out of chaos. If
you want to see chaos, look in any teenager's bedroom. There was
chaos as the bank closed its doors and ceased trading.
chaotic adj. 1 formless, shapeless, incoherent, disordered, disorderly,
disorganized, unorganized, unsystematic, unsystematized,
unmethodical, haphazard, irregular, helter-skelter, confused,
topsy-turvy, jumbled, higgledy-piggledy, Brit shambolic: The
present solar system is thought to have condensed from a chaotic
mass of nebulous matter. The rules may seem chaotic at first
sight. 2 tumultuous, noisy, clamorous, uproarious, wild,
riotous, frenzied, hectic, turbulent, unstuck: The press
conference became chaotic when the president announced his
chap n. fellow, lad, man, boy, Colloq guy, geezer, customer, gink,
Brit bloke, Australian cove, US buddy, gazabo or gazebo;
Old-fashioned Brit (old) egg, (old) bean, (old) crumpet, (old)
boy; Slang US bozo: I went with some of the chaps from the
character n. 1 brand, stamp, mark, symbol, monogram, insigne, badge,
emblem, sign, seal, label; letter, number, figure, type, sort,
arbitrary, peculiar, rune, hieroglyphic or hieroglyph: They
used to brand the character of a horse on the forehead of their
slaves. We shall need to obtain a set of Cyrillic characters if
we are going to print Russian texts. 2 characteristic, quality,
distinction, trait, feature, mark; sort, kind, type, nature,
description, attribute; idiosyncrasy, peculiarity: He now tried
to give the war the character of a crusade. It is the character
of some people to be curious. 3 morality, honesty, integrity,
respectability, rectitude, honour, courage, goodness: Everyone
agrees that she is a person of outstanding character. 4 person,
personage, personality, individual: Cobbett had more sagacity
and foresight than any other public character of his time. 5
role, part, personality, characterization, dramatis persona: He
played the character of Caesar. 6 eccentric, card, Colloq
oddball, nut, nutter, loony, bat, weirdo, nutcase, screwball,
crackpot, fruit cake, Australian and old-fashioned Brit cove:
She was regarded as quite a character because of her many
strange habits. 7 role, position, status, capacity: He assumes
the character of a Dutch uncle when he speaks to me. 8 in
character. fitting, proper, suitable, in keeping, typical,
normal, expected, characteristic: It is completely in character
for Len to criticize everything he encounters. 9 out of
character. untypical, atypical, uncharacteristic, abnormal,
unexpected, unfitting: It would be out of character for Janet
to refuse help to someone in need.
adj. 1 typical, representative; emblematic, symbolic,
distinctive, idiosyncratic, symptomatic: How characteristic it
is of them to refuse to go to the dance! These subjects are
characteristic of the early Impressionists.
--n. 2 mark, trait, attribute, feature, quality, property,
peculiarity, idiosyncrasy, character, earmark: It is a
characteristic of bees to swarm.
v. delineate, describe, portray, depict, represent, define,
brand, label, mark, note, identify: She has consistently
characterized him as a buffoon. 'Virago' is the term that would
best characterize Felicity.
charade n. travesty, absurdity, mockery, farce, parody: He has made a
charade of what could have been a serious relationship.
charge n. 1 load, burden, weight, onus, impediment; care, concern,
obligation: She feared that she would become a charge on her
children. 2 price, fee, cost: What is the charge for
admission? 3 debt, debit, expense, assessment, liability: Any
charge against the estate of the deceased will be paid in full.
4 care, custody, protection, guardianship, wardship,
supervision, jurisdiction, control, responsibility, safe
keeping: We left the children in the charge of Nanny and Nanny
in charge of the children. 5 order, mandate, injunction,
precept, command, dictate, direction, instruction, demand,
exhortation: The judge's charge to the jury was to ignore the
evidence given by the caretaker. 6 accusation, imputation,
indictment, allegation: The charge is murder. The police
decided to drop the charges against him. 7 attack, onset,
action, assault, sally, raid, foray, sortie: At the signal the
cavalry began their charge.
--v. 8 fill, imbue, load, instil, pervade, permeate, saturate,
suffuse: The air was highly charged with a stench from the
kitchen. 9 burden, entrust, commission, assign; afflict, tax:
He was charged with the supervision of all the military schools.
10 command, order, bid, enjoin, exhort, urge, require, instruct,
direct: I charge you not to speak of this matter to anyone. 11
blame, censure, accuse; indict, cite, name; allege, assert: She
charged him with being a hypocrite. He has been charged with
assault. It is charged that she was present at the commission of
the crime. 12 bill, invoice, assess, debit: Please charge these
items to my account. Do not charge me for merchandise not
shipped. 13 ask, demand, claim, require, expect: How much do
they charge for asparagus at the supermarket? 14 attack,
assault, storm, assail, do battle (with): Four thousand
horsemen stood ready to charge the enemy.
adj. 1 generous, liberal, bountiful, munificent, unselfish,
open-handed, magnanimous, philanthropic, public-spirited,
unsparing, eleemosynary: Despite her income, Irena has always
been most charitable when it comes to worthwhile causes. 2
well-disposed, kindly, kind, beneficent, benevolent,
well-wishing, lenient, tolerant, forgiving, indulgent,
understanding, compassionate, humane, sympathetic, considerate,
well-meaning, good: They took a charitable view of the matter
and decided not to press charges.
charity n. 1 generosity, alms-giving, munificence, liberality,
open-handedness, magnanimity, beneficence, philanthropy,
unselfishness, humanity, humanitarianism, good will: Your
charity towards this hospital has been unequalled by any other
donor, Sir Keith. 2 leniency, big-heartedness,
large-heartedness, benevolence, magnanimity, indulgence,
considerateness, consideration, compassion, understanding,
sympathy, kind-heartedness: We are all urged to show charity
towards those who wrong us. 3 alms, donation, contribution,
largesse, Colloq Brit dole, US welfare, relief: I want the
opportunity to work, not the government's charity.
charm n. 1 amulet, talisman, fetish, rabbit's foot, good-luck piece:
She wears a charm to ward off evil spirits. 2 attractiveness,
appeal, fascination, allure, magnetism, desirability, elegance,
urbanity, sophistication, sophisticatedness, suavity, grace,
refinement, cultivatedness, cultivation, culture, polish; magic,
enchantment, spell, sorcery: To Diderot we go not for charm of
style but for a store of fertile ideas. To get ahead Colin
relies more on his charm than on his ability. 3 charms. beauty,
attractiveness, pulchritude, prettiness, handsomeness, appeal,
allure, magnetism, pull, draw: For all her charm, I would not
trust her one inch. 4 like a charm. successfully, perfectly,
miraculously, marvellously, extraordinarily, especially well:
His appeal to their egos worked like a charm.
--v. 5 influence, control, subdue, bind, put a spell on,
bewitch, enchant, seduce, hypnotize, mesmerize, enthral or US
enthrall, captivate, delight, fascinate, Literary enrapture: He
charmed them with some tale and they gave him their money. 6
overcome, subdue, calm, soothe, allay, assuage, hypnotize,
mesmerize: Music is said to have qualities capable of charming
charmed adj. 1 bewitched, spellbound, enchanted, magical: Apollonius
considered the use of charmed rings essential to quackery. 2
fortified, protected: He must lead a charmed life to have
survived all those battles. 3 pleased, delighted, enchanted,
happy: I am charmed to meet you at last, Madam President.
charmer n. enchanter, enchantress, sorcerer, sorceress, magician; vamp,
siren, Circe, Cleopatra, Lorelei, temptress, seductress;
seducer, Romeo, Valentino, Don Juan, Lothario, Casanova,
lady-killer, ladies' man; flatterer; smooth talker, Colloq
(big-time) operator, con artist or man, Old-fashioned smoothie,
wolf: Charlotte has run off with some charmer she met at a
chart n. 1 sea-chart, map: According to the chart, we are fifty
miles west of the Lizard. 2 map, table, tabulation, graph,
diagram; blueprint: A weather chart appears on page 23. Here is
a chart of the highest-yielding unit trusts. She drew up a
genealogical chart of the descendants of Queen Victoria.
--v. 3 plot, plan, map (out), design: He charted a course of
action for the company. Have you charted the shortest route
between Gibraltar and Cyprus?
charter n. 1 document, contract, compact, agreement, covenant: This
year we again commemorate the signing of the United Nations
charter. 2 permit, permission, licence or US license, authority,
franchise, right, privilege, concession: He was given an
exclusive charter to export furs in 1679. 3 lease, contract:
We have the yacht under charter for the summer.
--v. 4 license, authorize, document, commission, approve,
certify, franchise, qualify; recognize: He is a chartered
accountant, she a chartered surveyor. 5 let, lease, rent, hire,
engage, contract: I chartered the sloop for three weeks.
chase n. 1 hunting, hunt, pursuit: Police dogs entered the chase and
the prisoner was finally caught. 2 run after, follow, pursue,
track, go (out) after; court, woo: The police were chasing a
man down the street. Stop chasing women and settle down. 3 chase
away, off, out, etc. rout, put to flight, hound; drive away,
off, out, etc.: I chased the cat away from the birdcage.
chaste adj. 1 pure, virginal, virgin, celibate, abstinent, continent,
virtuous, undefiled, stainless, unstained, unsullied,
unblemished, decent, clean, good, wholesome, moral: Only a
knight who was wholly chaste would find the Grail. 2 subdued,
severe, restrained, unadorned, austere, unembellished, simple,
pure, undecorated, clean: In some respects, modern architecture
emulates the chaste style of the ancient Egyptians.
chasten v. 1 discipline, correct, chastise, punish, castigate: He used
every means to chasten the unruly and disobedient. 2 moderate,
temper, subdue, curb, restrain, repress, tame, suppress: I am
not as sanguine as I was - time and experience have chastened
chastise v. punish, beat, thrash, belabour or US belabor, spank, whip,
flog, scourge, birch, cane; discipline, chasten, correct,
censure, berate, scold: Pupils are not being chastised as in
the old days.
chastity n. purity, continence, virginity, maidenhood, maidenhead,
virtue, celibacy, abstinence, abstention, abstemiousness,
restraint, self-restraint, forbearance: She was a nun and had
taken a vow of chastity.
chat n. 1 conversation, colloquy, talk, small talk, gossip, palaver,
chit-chat, t€te-…-t€te, heart-to-heart, Colloq gab, Chiefly Brit
chin-wag, confab, Brit witter, natter, US and Canadian rap,
gabfest, bull session: We'd get together for a chat every now
--v. 2 converse, gossip, talk, chit-chat, Colloq gab, chew the
fat or the rag, jaw, Brit witter, natter; Slang US and Canadian
rap, bullshit: We were just chatting when I smelt something
burning. 3 Brit chat up. flirt or dally with, persuade, induce,
prevail upon, tempt, lure, entice, inveigle, seduce,
proposition: Rick chats up every girl he meets.
chatter v. 1 prattle, gabble, jabber, prate, patter, gibber, cackle,
jibber-jabber, Brit chaffer, Colloq gab, jaw, Brit natter,
witter, rabbit on or away, waffle: He just kept chattering on
about nothing. 2 clatter, rattle: It was so cold my teeth were
--n. 3 prattle, prate, patter, gossip, cackle, jabbering,
chattering: I don't want to hear any more chatter in the
cheap adj. 1 inexpensive, low-priced, bargain-priced, low-cost,
sale-priced, cut-price, reasonable; economy, budget(-priced):
He was chewing on a cheap cigar. Everything used to be a lot
cheaper when I was younger. 2 economical; reduced: Eggs are
cheaper by the dozen. 3 shoddy, base, shabby, tawdry, sleazy,
tatty, seedy; inferior, low-grade, poor, second-rate, trashy,
worthless, Brit twopenny or tuppenny; Colloq tacky, Brit tinpot,
Slang US two-bit, lousy, chintzy: Those cheap pictures ruin the
look of the place. 4 stingy, miserly, penurious, niggardly,
penny-pinching, cheese-paring, frugal, tight, tight-fisted,
Scrooge-like, skinflinty: That cheap brother of yours wouldn't
give even a penny to a beggar.
--adv. 5 inexpensively, cheaply, for a song, Brit for twopence
or tuppence: You can buy those cheap from any street vendor. 6
cheaply, easily, reasonably, for a song, Brit for twopence or
tuppence: She has sold cheap that which she holds most dear.
--n. 7 on the cheap. inexpensively, reasonably, cheaply, at or
below cost, for a song, Brit for twopence or tuppence; Slang for
peanuts: We buy these watches on the cheap and sell them to
cheat n. 1 swindler, deceiver, impostor, fraud, faker, fake,
swindler, trickster, confidence man, con man, operator,
charlatan, mountebank, rogue, shark, Colloq phoney or US also
phony, US snake-oil artist: It is amazing how many cheats are
out there waiting to take advantage of you.
--v. 2 swindle, deceive, bilk, trick, con, take, fleece,
defraud, euchre, hoax, hoodwink, Colloq con, take in, rook,
flimflam, finagle, diddle, fiddle, move the goalposts,
bamboozle, take for a ride; Slang rip off: His own solicitor
cheated him out of his inheritance. If you paid ten pounds for
that painting, you were cheated.
check v. 1 stop, arrest, stay, halt, obstruct, block, limit; retard,
slow, brake, curb, hinder, hamper, impede, thwart: They are
trying to check the spread of the disease in West Africa. 2
restrain, control, repress, stay, inhibit, contain, curb,
restrict: The animal population is checked only by availability
of food. 3 authenticate, verify, confirm, substantiate,
validate, corroborate, check into, check out, check up on:
Please check his story to make sure he's not lying. 4 enquire
about or after or into, check into, check (up) on, examine,
investigate, inspect, make sure of, verify, monitor, test,
study, scrutinize: You'd best check the temperature in the
kiln. 5 correspond, coincide, agree, jibe, tally, conform,
check out, fit, mesh; compare: His alibi doesn't check with the
witness's statement. 6 check in. arrive, report: We check in
for work at 0800. 7 check in or into. register, sign in or on,
enrol, log in: We checked into the hotel. 8 check into.
investigate, check out, check up on, verify, check: The
detective checked into the backgrounds of all applicants. 9
check off. tick (off), mark, check: Check off the names in red.
10 check out. a depart, leave; go: He checked out of the hotel
and took a taxi to the airport. b investigate, research,
explore, enquire into, look into or at or over, scrutinize,
examine, inspect, probe, survey, check up on, check, check into,
check over: You had best check out her references before hiring
her. c pass, pass muster or scrutiny, meet approval, be
verified, check: According to our records, his story checks
out. d Slang cash in one's checks or chips, kick the bucket,
croak: Sam checked out last week - heart attack, I think. 11
check over or out. review, verify, authenticate, check: Please
check over my figures before I submit them to the accountant.
12 check up (on). a investigate, do research, probe, explore,
check: I don't know her name, but I'll check up and let you
know. b determine, discover, find out, look into, check: I
want you to check up on where they eat lunch.
--n. 13 stop, stopping, cease, surcease, hesitation, cessation,
stoppage, interruption, break, pause, balk or baulk,
discontinuity, discontinuation, discontinuance, suspension: The
visitors continued to arrive without check, far into the night.
14 restraint, repression, inhibition, limitation, curb,
restriction, control, constraint, hindrance, obstruction,
impediment, damper: He keeps a good check on the foreman. This
tax will serve as a check against free trade. 15 control, test,
inspection, examination, scrutiny, verification, substantiation,
authentication, confirmation, validation, corroboration: We do
a thorough check on the quality of every product. 16 US tick,
mark, dash, X: Place a check in the box alongside your choice.
17 token, receipt, counterfoil, stub; voucher, chit,
certificate: Don't lose your baggage check. 18 chip, counter:
Let's cash in our checks and go home. 19 Chiefly US bill, tab,
charge(s): In the U.S.A., people generally add 15 per cent to
the check for a tip.
cheeky adj. impudent, impertinent, insolent, audacious, disrespectful,
rude, uncivil, forward, brazen, pert, saucy: That cheeky little
brat told me to get lost!
cheer n. 1 disposition, frame of mind, spirit: They were of good
cheer, considering their predicament. 2 cheerfulness, gladness,
mirth, joy, gaiety, blitheness, happiness, buoyancy,
light-heartedness, merrymaking: There wasn't much cheer at the
pub when we learnt of what had befallen poor Grover. 3 comfort,
solace, encouragement, consolation: She brought in a little
breath of cheer from the outside world. 4 shout, cry, hurrah,
rah, huzzah, hurray or hooray: Three cheers for Penelope!
--v. 5 comfort, console, solace, encourage, inspirit, warm,
Colloq buck up: Your friendly note cheered me considerably. 6
gladden, enliven, cheer up, hearten, buoy up, brighten, elate,
brighten, uplift, lift up: Let thy heart cheer thee in the days
of thy youth. 7 applaud, shout, hurrah, clap, yell; Colloq Brit
and Australian and New Zealand barrack for: The crowd cheered
for five minutes when Mr Flews stood to speak.
cheerful adj. 1 joyous, glad, gladsome, blithesome, blithe, happy,
cheery, of good cheer, joyful, jolly, exuberant, jubilant,
gleeful, gay, light-hearted, merry: I am pleased to see that
Agatha is so cheerful. Why do you cry at weddings, which are
supposed to be such cheerful occasions? 2 cheering, gladdening,
animating, bright, enlivening, cheery, gay, buoyant,
invigorating: She has redecorated the bedroom in more cheerful
chequered adj. 1 chequer-board, checked; patchwork; plaid, tartan: You
cannot use a chequered tablecloth for a formal dinner. 2
variegated, diversified, alternating, variable, good and bad,
varying, fluctuating, up and down; uncertain: David Williams
had a rather chequered career in the army.
cherish v. 1 treasure, hold or keep dear, prize: I know that she
cherishes every moment you were together. 2 foster, tend,
cultivate, preserve, sustain, nurture, nourish, nurse, cosset:
For their sweetness gillyflowers are cherished in gardens. We
cherish little Edward and probably spoil him a bit too much.
chest n. 1 box, coffer, trunk, strongbox, caddy, casket, case: It
took four men to carry the chest outside, where we could open
it. Martha kept her jewels in a small chest on the dresser. 2
breast; thorax: The wrestler was pounding his chest and
shouting 'I am the greatest!'
chew v. 1 masticate, grind, munch; bite, gnaw: Make sure to chew
each mouthful thoroughly. The puppy chewed up my slipper. 2 chew
the fat or rag. gossip, palaver, chat, converse, talk, Slang US
and Canadian bullshit: We sat round the fire and chewed the fat
all evening. 3 chew out. scold, rebuke, reprimand: The
sergeant chewed out the recruit because his boots were dirty. 4
chew over. think about or on or over, consider, review, ponder,
ruminate on, meditate on or over: I'll chew over your proposal
and let you know.
chic adj. 1 stylish, fashionable, … la mode, modish, smart,
tasteful, elegant; sophisticated; Colloq trendy: Susanna was
always a chic dresser.
--n. 2 style, fashion, good taste, tastefulness, elegance,
stylishness, modishness: There is an air of chic about him that
repels many men but attracts many women.
chicanery n. trickery, sophistry, deception, quibbling, sharp practice,
cheating, deviousness, duplicity, pettifoggery, double-dealing,
artifice, skulduggery: They lost the case because of the
chicanery of their lawyers.
chief n. 1 head, leader, principal, superior, supervisor,
superintendent, manager, overseer, captain, master, ringleader,
chieftain, Dialect himself, Colloq boss, bossman, Brit governor,
gov., supremo, US man, kingpin, (head or chief) honcho, number
one, numero uno, headman, big White Chief, big Chief, Great
White Father, big Daddy, super; Slang big cheese, Brit gaffer,
Chiefly US Mr Big: You'd best ask the chief for permission to
fly to Rome.
--adj. 2 head, leading, ranking, superior, supreme, foremost,
premier, first, greatest, outstanding: Terry is your chief
competition for the singles trophy. 3 principal, most
important, essential, key, paramount, (first and) foremost,
primary, prime, main: The chief reason I came was to see you.
Here is a list of the chief crimes committed in the area last
chiefly adv. mainly, in particular, especially, particularly, above
all, most of all, pre-eminently, principally, primarily, mostly,
predominantly, largely, by and large, on the whole, in the main,
generally, in general, usually, as a rule: Inflation affected
chiefly the price of food. The Anatomy of Melancholy consists
chiefly of quotations.
child n. 1 offspring, descendant, son or daughter, little one,
youngster, Formal progeny, issue, Colloq kid, nipper, Slang Brit
sprog: How many children do you have? 2 foetus, newborn,
neonate, infant, baby, babe, toddler, boy or girl, lad or lass,
stripling, youngster, youth, juvenile, adolescent, teenager,
young man or woman, young gentleman or lady, Chiefly Scots
laddie or lassie: No children were born in the village for five
years. These miscreants are mere children, who should not be
punished as adults.
childhood n. infancy, babyhood, boyhood or girlhood, youth, puberty,
minority, adolescence, teens: During her childhood the family
moved to Kent. She spent most of her childhood dreaming about
travelling to the moon.
childish adj. childlike, juvenile, puerile, infantile, babyish;
immature, inexperienced, na‹ve, undeveloped, underdeveloped,
retarded; silly, US sophomoric: They thought his reaction to
their criticism was childish and petulant.
childlike adj. youthful, young, innocent, trustful, ingenuous,
unsophisticated, na‹ve, trusting, credulous, open,
undissembling, unassuming, guileless, artless: There is a
childlike simplicity to some primitive paintings.
chill n. 1 coldness, cold, coolness, sharpness, nip: We put on our
jackets to ward off the chill of the evening. 2 cold, flu,
influenza, (la or the) grippe, ague, Technical coryza, Colloq
(the) sniffles, sneezles and wheezles: Take off those wet
clothes before you catch a chill. 3 coolness, iciness,
frigidity, aloofness; unfriendliness, hostility: Mrs Marlow
felt the chill in the stare of her husband's ex-wife.
--adj. 4 cold, cool, numbing, chilling, chilly, raw,
penetrating, icy, frigid, wintry, frosty, arctic, polar,
glacial: A chill easterly wind made me shiver. 5 shivering,
chilled (through), numb, numbed, numbing, benumbed: She kissed
me with a lip more chill than stone. 6 cold, cold-blooded,
aloof, indifferent, insensitive, unemotional, unsympathetic;
chilly: The prison commandant viewed the corpses with chill
--v. 7 cool, freeze, refrigerate, ice: The fruit tastes better
if it has been chilled. 8 dampen, dispirit, depress, deject,
dishearten, distress: The news of mother's illness chilled us
chilly adj. 1 cool, coldish, cold, frigid, nippy, frosty, icy, crisp,
chill: The weather has been quite chilly for May. 2 chill,
unenthusiastic, unresponsive, unreceptive, frosty, unwelcoming,
crisp, cool, cold, unfriendly, hostile; distant, aloof: The
suggestion that the charity fair be held in her garden met with
a chilly response from Lady Griffiths.
chime n. 1 bell, set of bells, carillon, ring, peal: Our church has
a full chime of eight bells. 2 ringing, peal, chiming, tolling,
tintinnabulation, clanging, ding-dong, striking; tinkle, jingle,
jangle: We could hear the chimes of Big Ben from our hotel
--v. 3 ring, peal, toll, sound, tintinnabulate, clang, strike:
The clock chimed on the hour. 4 mark, denote, indicate,
announce: The carillon chimed the hour at noon. 5 chime in. a
join in, blend, harmonize: When singing this round, chime in at
the third bar. b interrupt, intercede, intrude, interfere,
break in, Colloq chip in; Slang butt in: I was about to speak
when he chimed in with some silly remark.
chink n. fissure, rift, crack, crevice, gap, opening, cleft, slit,
aperture, cranny: We could see daylight through a chink in the
chip n. 1 fragment, piece, shard or sherd, splinter, flake, sliver,
scrap, morsel, bit: A chip of slate rattled down off the roof.
2 counter, marker, token; plaque, US check: He put his chip on
--v. 3 chisel, whittle, hew: He chipped away at the stone till
it fitted perfectly into the hole. 4 chip in. a contribute;
participate: All the neighbours chipped in to pay for the
street decorations. b interrupt, break in, intrude, interfere,
intercede, interpose, Colloq chime in: Clive chipped in with
his usual silly comment.
chirp v. 1 tweet, peep, twitter, chirrup, warble, trill, cheep,
chitter, chirr, pipe: I was awakened by the birds, chirping
away in the forest.
--n. 2 tweet, peep, twitter, chirrup, warble, trill, cheep,
chitter, chirr: The canary gave two chirps and jumped onto its
chisel v. 1 carve, cut, pare, groove, shape, engrave, grave: He was
chiselling the figure of an eagle out of the board. 2 cheat,
defraud, swindle, bilk, trick, fool, dupe, gull, Colloq
bamboozle: The gamblers chiselled him out of a week's wages.
adj. courtly, gracious, courteous, polite, gallant, noble,
knightly, gentlemanly, considerate, kind, charitable,
magnanimous: It was quite chivalrous of you to drive me home.
chivalry n. knight-errantry; honour, bravery, courage, courtesy,
politeness, courtliness, gallantry, nobility, virtuousness,
righteousness, justness, fairness, impartiality, equitableness:
All the noble sentiments blended together constitute chivalry.
choice n. 1 selection, election, preference, choosing, pick,
acceptance: I don't care for his choice of language. 2 option,
realm of possibilities; alternative, voice, determination: She
was given no choice in selecting her husband. 3 pick, ‚lite,
flower, best, select, cream, crЉme de la crЉme: The king's
guard is made up from the choice of the kingdom.
--adj. 4 select, exquisite, special, superior, prime,
high-quality, excellent, pre-eminent, best, prize, first-rate,
exceptional, preferred, desirable, ideal, rare, Colloq Brit
plummy: She has the choicest wines in her cellar. 5 selected,
select, hand-picked, well-chosen, fit, appropriate, fitting:
The eulogy was disposed of in a few choice words.
choke v. 1 suffocate, asphyxiate, smother, stifle, strangle,
throttle, garrotte or garrote or garotte, burke: He choked his
elderly victims, then stole their money. 2 stop, fill (up),
block (up), obstruct, congest, clog, dam (up), constrict: The
channel is completely choked with weeds. 3 Also, choke off.
smother, suppress, stifle, prohibit, frustrate, deny, obviate,
cut off, stop, put a stop to; dissuade, discourage: His
policies choked off any chance for innovation. 4 choke back or
down. suppress, repress, stifle, restrain: He choked back the
tears when he saw the gravestone.
choose v. select, elect, pick (out), determine, judge; decide, prefer,
opt, settle upon or on: She had the right to choose the course
that seemed the best to her. Given the options, I chose to stay.
choosy adj. selective, discriminating, discerning, fastidious, finicky
or finical, particular, fussy, demanding, exacting, difficult,
hard to please , Colloq picky: If you weren't so choosy, you
wouldn't have to pay so much.
chop v. 1 Also, chop away or down or off. cut, hack, hew, lop, crop,
cleave, sever: Chop away that underbrush. I tried to chop off
the end. Don't chop down that tree! 2 Also, chop up. mince;
dice, cube; hash: Chop up the parsley very fine before adding
it to the sauce.
--n. 3 cut, blow, stroke: With a quick chop of the axe, the
branch was severed.
christen v. 1 baptize, anoint: They are going to christen the baby next
week. 2 name, call, dub: The child was christened Madelaine.
The highest peak in Wales is christened Snowdon.
chronic adj. 1 long-lasting, long-standing, lingering, inveterate,
persistent, continuing, lasting, long-lived: The doctor said
that the condition, for which there is no cure, is chronic. 2
inveterate, persistent, dyed in the wool, confirmed, habitual,
hardened: Abby is a chronic liar.
chronicle n. 1 record, history, diary, chronology, account, narrative,
description, report, register, annal(s), archive: She has
written a chronicle of the events leading up to the War of
--v. 2 record, register, list, enter, archive, document,
describe; tell, recount, narrate, report, relate, retail: In
the Iliad Homer chronicled the legends of the Trojan War.
n. account, record, calendar, almanac, journal, log; sequence:
Describe the chronology of events preceding your discovery of
chubby adj. podgy or US pudgy; stumpy, stubby, chunky, tubby, plump,
dumpy, thickset, heavy-set, heavy, ample, overweight: She was a
bit chubby when a teenager but became a professional model when
she was 21.
chuckle v. 1 laugh, chortle, crow, snigger, giggle, titter: Robin
always chuckled when the subject of embezzlement came up.
--n. 2 chuckling, laugh, chortle, crowing, giggle; laughter,
snigger, sniggering: It was hard to resist a chuckle when we
saw the looks on their faces.
chum n. 1 friend, comrade, companion; confidant(e), familiar;
fellow, colleague, Colloq pal, sidekick, Chiefly Brit and
Australian and New Zealand mate, Chiefly US and Canadian buddy:
I invited a chum of mine for the weekend.
--v. 2 Often, chum around. associate, Colloq pal (around):
Yes, we used to chum around together in the army. 3 chum up
with. ally (oneself) with, be friendly with, go with, associate
with, Colloq pal (up or about or around) with, US team up with:
Lionel chummed up with Ashley to go swimming.
chummy adj. friendly, sociable, intimate, close, thick, Colloq pally,
US palsy-walsy, buddy-buddy: You were very chummy with Peter
once, weren't you?
chute n. 1 waterfall, rapid: The canoe skimmed down the chute with
lightning speed. 2 slide, shaft, channel, ramp, runway, trough,
incline: The parcels come down this chute and you have to sort
them by postcode.
circle n. 1 disc or chiefly US disk, ring, hoop, loop, band, wheel,
annulus, ringlet; cordon: Using a compass, he carefully drew a
circle. We formed a circle around the speaker. 2 set, coterie,
clique, class, division, group, crowd; society, fellowship,
fraternity, company: John and I don't move in the same circles.
--v. 3 encircle, circumambulate, go round or around, tour;
circumnavigate: For exercise, I circle the lake in the park
every morning. 4 encircle, surround, gird, enclose,
circumscribe: Twenty small diamonds circle each star sapphire.
circuit n. 1 compass, circumference, perimeter, periphery, girth,
border, boundary, edge, limit, ambit, margin, outline,
confine(s), bound, pale: The circuit of the area amounts to 72
miles. 2 round, tour, ambit, circle, orbit, course, lap: The
rider completed the circuit of the ranch, mending the fence as
circular adj. 1 round, disc-shaped or chiefly US disk-shaped, disc-like
or chiefly US disk-like, discoid; ring-shaped, ring-like,
annular: Notice the circular pattern of growth of this ivy. 2
roundabout, indirect, circuitous, tortuous, twisting, twisted,
anfractuous; periphrastic, circumlocutory; devious: We had to
take a circular route because the road was closed. Why can't she
say what she means instead of being so circular? 3 illogical,
inconsistent, redundant, fallacious, irrational, Formal
sophistic or sophistical: To say that you exist because you
think and that you think because you exist is an example of
circulate v. 1 move or go about or round or around, orbit, flow, course,
run, circle: The blood circulates from the heart through the
arteries and veins and back to the heart. 2 spread, distribute,
disseminate, issue, publish, air, announce, proclaim, make
known, noise abroad, bruit about, report, broadcast, reveal,
divulge, advertise, publicize, promulgate, put about, bring or
put out, pass out or round or around: He has been circulating
the story that his ex-wife cheated on her income tax. 3 spread,
go round or around, be bruited about, come out: A rumour has
been circulating about your behaviour at the office party.
n. 1 circuit, course, orbit, flow, flowing, motion: It was
Harvey who discovered the circulation of the blood. 2 spread,
spreading, dissemination, transmission, passage, distribution,
diffusion, publication, advertisement, announcement, issuance,
issuing, pronouncement, proclamation, promulgation, broadcast,
broadcasting: The state has again forbidden the free
circulation of information.
n. 1 Often, circumstances. situation, condition(s), state (of
affairs); status, station, resources, income, finances: In the
circumstances, all leave is cancelled. Each person will be
helped according to the individual circumstance. 2 event,
incident, episode, occurrence, affair, happening, occasion: Any
unforeseen circumstance could set off a shooting war.
adj. 1 indirect, presumptive, evidential or evidentiary,
interpretive, deduced, presumed, presumptive, presumable,
implicative, implied, inferred, inferential: Some
circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a gun
in the suspect's house. 2 accidental, incidental, hearsay,
indirect, unimportant, adventitious, provisional, secondary,
unessential, non-essential, fortuitous, chance, extraneous:
Such circumstantial trivia have no bearing on the case. 3
detailed, particular, precise, explicit, specific: We cannot
believe that he invented so circumstantial a narrative.
citizen n. 1 voter; native; householder, resident, inhabitant, denizen,
dweller, freeman; Brit patrial, ratepayer; US taxpayer: All
citizens are entitled to certain rights. 2 city-dweller,
town-dweller, townsman, townswoman, villager, burgess, oppidan:
She considers herself a citizen of Oxford.
city n. metropolis, municipality, borough, burgh; conurbation,
megalopolis; Brit urban district; see, diocese, bishopric; New
Zealand urban area; Colloq town, US burg, big apple: We gave up
our flat in the city and moved to the country.
civil adj. 1 civilian, non-military, lay, laic, laical, secular:
There is a distinction between civil law and canon law. 2
domestic, internal; public: The economic conditions have led to
civil strife. 3 polite, courteous, respectful, well-mannered,
proper, civilized, cordial, formal, courtly, urbane, polished,
refined: They are civil enough, but I always have the feeling
they really despise tourists.
civility n. courtesy, politeness, respect, comity, urbanity, amiability,
consideration, courteousness, cordiality, propriety, tact,
diplomacy, politesse, protocol: Despite his rude behaviour at
her dinner-party, she treats him with great civility.
n. 1 culture, refinement, cultivation, enlightenment,
edification, sophistication, polish: The Romans brought
civilization to many peoples who had been quite barbarous. 2
culture, mores, custom(s): He has studied Egyptian civilization
all his life.
civilize v. 1 enlighten, refine, polish, edify, educate, acculturate:
Civilized people do not behave in such a boorish way. 2 tame,
domesticate; broaden, elevate, acculturate: The claim that they
civilized the Aborigines means only that they forced them to
conform to the White man's notion of civilization.
claim n. 1 demand, assertion, request, requisition, petition,
application; requirement: As far as the land is concerned, his
claim has been denied. 2 right(s), call, title: What possible
claim could the Miss Dashwoods have on his generosity?
--v. 3 demand, seek, ask or call (for), exact, insist (on or
upon), require, command, be entitled to: She has every right to
claim a share in the estate. 4 declare, assert, allege, state,
put or set forth, affirm, contend, maintain: These measurements
lack the degree of accuracy claimed for them. She claims that
she was the first person to ring the police.
clammy adj. 1 moist, sticky, gummy, pasty, viscous, slimy: In the
swamp the police found a clammy pistol that they believe to be
the weapon. 2 moist, damp, humid, close, muggy, wet, misty,
foggy: It was the kind of clammy summer's day when your shirt
sticks to your back.
clamp n. 1 clasp, vice, brace, clip, fastener: Use a clamp to hold
the pieces together till the glue dries.
--v. 2 fasten (together), clip (together), bracket, make fast,
clasp: You should clamp the planks together and plane the edges
clan n. 1 tribe, family, dynasty, line, house: There had been a
feud of long standing between the two clans, which culminated in
the massacre of Glencoe. 2 fraternity, brotherhood, party, set,
clique, coterie, circle, crowd, group, fellowship, society,
faction, family, tribe; band, ring, gang: He regards social
scientists as a clan quite separate from other scientists.
clap v. 1 applaud; cheer, acclaim: Everyone clapped when the boxer
climbed into the ring. 2 slap, strike, pat: He clapped me on
the shoulder in the friendliest way. 3 put, place, slap, fling,
toss, cast , Colloq stick: He had no sooner set foot in the
town when he was clapped in jail. 4 impose, lay, apply: The
magistrate clapped a severe fine on me for speeding.
--n. 5 crack, slap, report, crash, bang, snap: There was a
loud clap of thunder, making the house shake.
clapper n. tongue: We attached a rope to the clapper of the bell.
clarify v. 1 elucidate, make clear, simplify, make plain, clear up,
explain, shed or throw light on or upon, illuminate, explicate:
She offered to clarify any points about which we had questions.
2 clear, purify, clean: The trout should be lightly basted with
clarity n. 1 clearness, transparency, limpidity, pellucidity: The
clarity of the sea in the tropics is owing to a lack of
plankton. 2 lucidity, definition, definiteness, distinctness;
comprehensibility, understandability, intelligibility,
unambiguousness: One cannot argue with the clarity of her
explanation of Hegelianism.
clash n. 1 crash, clang, clank, clangour: The concerto ends with a
clash of cymbals. 2 collision, smash, (hostile) encounter,
conflict, engagement, fight, battle, disagreement, difference,
argument, dispute, altercation, quarrel, squabble: He has
witnessed many a clash between the prime minister and
--v. 3 conflict, fight, battle, disagree, differ, argue,
dispute, quarrel, squabble, feud, wrangle, cross swords: My
brother and I always clash on the question of who should pay our
father's hospital bills. 4 conflict, disharmonize, jar, be at
odds or out of keeping: The pink of the blouse and the fuchsia
of the skirt clash badly.
clasp n. 1 fastener, fastening, hook, catch, clip, pin, brooch: The
ends were fastened together with a diamond clasp. 2 embrace,
hug, hold, grasp, grip: He held her tight in his clasp.
--v. 3 fasten, secure, close, hold, hook, clip, pin, clamp:
The robe was clasped by an emerald pin. 4 hold, embrace, take
hold of, hug, enclose, envelop: The beggar clasped my hand, his
eyes seeking mine in piteous supplication. 5 grab, grasp,
seize, clutch, grip: They clasped hands in friendship.
class n. 1 rank, grade, level, order, stratum; caste, lineage, birth,
pedigree, stock, extraction, descent: He was born in the l940s
into a family of the middle class. 2 category, division,
classification, group, genre, league, realm, domain; kind, sort,
type: As a dancer, she in a class by herself. 3 excellence,
merit, refinement, elegance, prestige, importance, taste,
discernment, distinction, bearing, presence, savoir faire,
savoir vivre, breeding: He may be a good drinking companion,
but he has no class whatsoever. 4 year, form, US grade: We
were in the same class at school.
--v. 5 classify, group, arrange, assort, type, categorize,
rank, grade, rate, order: They are classed as self-employed for
classic adj. 1 standard, leading, outstanding, prototypical,
definitive, model, ideal, archetypal, paradigmatic: His
military career is a classic example of what family connections
can achieve. 2 legendary, immortal, enduring, deathless,
ageless, timeless, undying, venerable, time-honoured;
outstanding, first-rate, superior, excellent, noteworthy,
notable, exemplary: By the time she was ten, she had read most
of the classic works of English literature. He collects classic
--n. 3 paragon, epitome, outstanding example, exemplar, model,
paradigm, prototype: When it comes to comedians, Ronnie is a
classic. 4 masterpiece, master-work: The Rolls-Royce Silver
Ghost is regarded as a classic by collectors.
classical adj. 1 standard, model, exemplary, traditional, established,
influential, authoritative, serious, weighty: Classical authors
are those who are regarded as being of good credit and authority
in the schools. Montaigne is the earliest classical writer in
the French language. 2 Greek, Latin, Roman: Architectural
styles of the 18th century harked back to Classical designs.
claw n. 1 talon, nail: The cat had scratched her badly with its
--v. 2 scratch, tear, scrape, rake, slash: She clawed at his
face to break his grip on her throat. 3 grapple, grab, catch,
scrape, scrabble: He tried to climb up the embankment, clawing
at the steep wall.
clean adj. 1 pure, undefiled, unsullied, unmixed, unadulterated,
uncontaminated, unpolluted, uninfected, unspoiled or unspoilt,
sanitary, disinfected; antiseptic, decontaminated, purified,
sterile: The laboratory reports that our well water is
absolutely clean. You must use a clean bandage. 2 unsoiled,
untainted, unstained; unsullied; cleansed, cleanly, (freshly)
laundered or washed, scrubbed; spotless, immaculate: She puts
on clean underwear every day in case she's involved in an
accident. 3 clean-cut, neat, simple, definite, uncomplicated,
smooth, even, straight, trim, tidy: The edges of the fracture
are clean and will mend quickly. 4 innocent, blameless,
inoffensive, respectable; decent, chaste, pure, honourable,
good, undefiled, virtuous, moral: The suspect was completely
clean - he was out of town at the time of the robbery. 5
non-radioactive: They say they've produced a clean bomb, but I
don't believe it. 6 unarmed, weaponless: Frisk that suspect
and make sure he's clean.
--adv. 7 completely, entirely, thoroughly, fully, totally,
wholly, altogether, quite, utterly, absolutely: Geoff's clean
out of his mind if he believes that. With one blow he cut the
orange clean through. 8 come clean. confess, acknowledge, make a
clean breast, admit, make a revelation, reveal, Colloq own up,
spill the beans; US dialect fess up; Slang sing: In the end he
saw that he was trapped and decided to come clean.
--v. 9 cleanse, wash, lave, (take a) shower, sponge, mop,
scrub, scour, sweep, dust, vacuum, polish, launder, dry-clean,
Brit hoover; tidy, neaten, do up, straighten up or out,
unclutter; Brit bath; US and Canadian bathe: When we cleaned
the urn, we could read the inscription. I have told Richard a
thousand times to clean his room. 10 clean out. a exhaust,
deplete: The gambler cleaned her out of every penny she had in
the world. b empty, leave bare, clear out, evacuate: We must
clean out the larder before it can be painted. 11 clean up. a
clean, cleanse, wash, (take a) shower, Brit bath; US take a
bath, bathe, wash up: Clean up, please, dinner is almost ready.
It took us a week to clean up the stables. b purge, purify,
disinfect, depollute, decontaminate, clear, sanitize: The
council has led the way towards cleaning up the wetlands of
cleanse v. 1 clean, absterge, deterge, wash, scour, scrub: You need a
scrubbing brush to cleanse the tub. 2 purify, depurate; purge,
wash away, expiate: Each prayer repeated has a certain value in
cleansing away sin.
clear adj. 1 unclouded, cloudless, sunny, fair, sunlit, fine: On a
clear day, you can see the lighthouse several miles away. 2
transparent, limpid, crystalline; translucent, uncloudy,
unclouded, pellucid: The water was clear enough to see the
bottom. 3 bright, lustrous, shining, shiny, sparkling, Formal
nitid: We painted the bathroom a lovely clear blue. 4 bright,
fresh, unblemished, unscarred: She has a lovely clear
complexion. 5 distinct, sharp, well-defined, definite; legible,
readable; acute, vivid: The notes were written in a large clear
hand. 6 understandable, intelligible, perspicuous, lucid,
comprehensible, apprehensible, discernible, plain, obvious,
unambiguous, unequivocal, explicit, definite, unmistakable,
indisputable, undisputed, unquestionable, incontrovertible: He
has made himself very clear on that point. 7 distinct,
unclouded, unconfused, explicit, plain, definite, clear-cut,
palpable: I have a clear recollection of her words. 8 evident,
plain, obvious, patent, manifest, apparent: It became clear
that someone was trying to compromise her. 9 perceptive, acute,
sensitive, perspicacious, discerning, keen: It was only his
clear vision of the situation that saved us all. 10 certain,
sure, convinced, confident, positive, determined, definite,
assured: I am not clear that the subject was a good one. 11
pure, unwavering, well-defined, distinct, clarion, bell-like:
We heard father's clear voice calling from below. 12 pure,
guileless, unsophisticated, innocent, blameless, faultless; not
guilty: I still cannot look her in the eye with a clear
conscience. 13 unencumbered, free, net: In our first year we
made a clear profit of 25 per cent. 14 unlimited, unqualified,
unquestioned, unquestionable, absolute, complete, entire; pure,
sheer, perfect: You must allow three clear days for the ascent.
15 disengaged, disentangled, unentangled, free, freed, rid,
quit, loose, unencumbered, released: When the line is clear of
any obstruction, hoist sail and let's be off. 16 open,
unencumbered, free, unblocked, unobstructed, unimpeded, direct:
There is a clear view of the park from here.
--adv. 17 brightly, effulgently, radiantly, luminously,
lambently: The stars were shining clear in the night sky. 18
distinctly, clearly, starkly, perceptibly, discernibly,
understandably, prominently: When you see the reef, sing out
loud and clear. 19 completely, utterly, entirely, cleanly,
clean, wholly, totally: The thief got clear away in the
--v. 20 clarify, cleanse, clean, purify: The chemical soon
cleared the water of all sediment. 21 exonerate, absolve,
acquit; excuse, forgive: He has been cleared of all charges and
released. 22 Also, clear up. explain, elucidate, explicate,
clarify, make plain or clear, disambiguate: We should be able
to clear up the mystery by this evening. 23 Also, clear up.
become fair or cloudless or sunny: I hope the weather clears in
time for the game. 24 open (up), free; unblock, unclog, unstop;
disencumber, dislodge: We were able to clear a path through the
jungle. He cleared his throat and began to speak. 25 empty:
Clear the land of trees before farming it. 26 Also, clear away
or out. remove, eliminate, take; cut away or down: Clear those
branches from the paths. 27 disburden, unburden, purge, free,
rid: He has cleared his conscience of any responsibility in the
matter. 28 leap or jump over, vault: She cleared the fence
easily. 29 Also, clear up. settle, discharge, pay, square,
defray, satisfy: The company has cleared all its debts. 30
clear off or out. leave, depart, decamp, go or run off, get out,
withdraw, Slang beat it, scram, Taboo Brit sod off, Chiefly
Australian shoot through, US and Canadian take a (run-out)
powder: I told them to clear off and stop bothering me. 31
clear up. a eliminate, remove, settle; clarify: I hope we can
clear up any misunderstanding between us. b tidy (up), neaten
(up), put or set in order, clear: I'll clear up after dinner.
--n. 32 in the clear. innocent, not guilty; exonerated,
forgiven, absolved; unburdened, disburdened, unencumbered, free:
The other chap confessed, leaving me in the clear.
clearance n. 1 space, gap, hole, interval, separation, room, margin,
leeway, allowance: You must allow a clearance of 2 millimetres.
2 approval, endorsement, authorization, consent; licence, leave,
permission: He cannot get security clearance with his prison
clearly adv. 1 distinctly; starkly, plainly: With spectacles, I can
see everything more clearly. 2 evidently, apparently,
manifestly, obviously, certainly, definitely, positively,
unequivocally, unquestionably, incontestably, without doubt,
undoubtedly, indubitably, demonstrably, absolutely, utterly:
His statement is clearly untrue. 3 audibly, distinctly,
understandably: I wish she would speak more clearly.
cleave v. split, divide, cut, cut or chop or hew in two or asunder,
bisect, halve, separate, slit, rive: With a mighty blow the log
was cleaved cleanly in two.
clergyman n. 1 ecclesiastic, churchman, cleric, reverend, divine, man of
the cloth, holy man, priest, minister, chaplain, father, rabbi,
pastor, parson, rector, vicar, dean, canon, presbyter,
prebendary or prebend, deacon, sexton, sacristan, guru,
ayatollah, imam: In his black frock coat he looked like a
clergyman. 2 monk, friar, brother, monastic, religious: A
clergyman was responsible for his religious education. 3
preacher, gospeller, evangelist, revivalist, missionary,
sermonizer: She was moved by the clergyman's sermon.
clerical adj. 1 ecclesiastical, churchly, pastoral, sacerdotal,
priestly, hieratic, rabbinical, ministerial, monastic,
apostolic, prelatic, papal, pontifical, episcopal, canonical:
He was wearing his clerical vestments. 2 white-collar, office,
professional, secretarial, stenographic, accounting,
bookkeeping: He runs the shop and his wife has the clerical
clever adj. 1 skilled, talented, skilful, adroit, dexterous, gifted,
agile, quick-witted, intelligent, perceptive, discerning, sharp,
sharp-witted, adept, able, Colloq brainy: She was very clever
at mathematics. 2 shrewd, cunning, guileful, canny, artful,
crafty, sly, wily, foxy: It was a clever move to sound out the
chairman before the meeting. 3 intelligent, wise, sage,
sagacious; ingenious, original, resourceful, Daedalian,
inventive, creative, smart, imaginative: It was very clever of
her to memorize the record-book for the competition. 4 deft,
adroit, nimble-fingered, dexterous, handy, skilful: The old
woman is clever with her hands.
clich‚ n. stereotype, bromide, trite saying, old saw or maxim, truism,
platitude, commonplace, banality, Colloq chestnut: The report
was full of clich‚s and convinced no one.
client n. customer, patron, shopper; patient: She opened a law
practice and already has a number of clients.
clientele n. clients, patrons, customers; custom, business, trade,
patronage, following: What sort of clientele do you expect to
cliff n. precipice, bluff, escarpment, scarp, crag, rock-face,
cuesta, scar or Scots scaur: The commandos are trained to scale
a 100-foot cliff.
climate n. 1 weather, Literary clime: We are retiring to the Maldives
because we like a sunny climate. 2 atmosphere, ambience or
ambiance, air; feeling, mood, aura, milieu, feel: In the
present climate of opinion, we'd best delay introducing the
climax n. 1 culmination, height, acme, apex, summit, zenith, apogee,
peak, high point, maximum, supreme moment: The war reached its
climax at the battle of Arbela. 2 turning-point, crisis,
crossroads: The climax of the play occurs in the third act. 3
orgasm: She told her psychiatrist that she had never reached a
climax with her husband.
--v. 4 culminate, peak, crest, come to a head: The week's
events climaxed with the presentation of the gold medal.
climb v. 1 Also, climb up. mount, ascend, go up, scale, shin (up),
clamber up, US shinny (up): In one of the games we had to climb
a greased pole. Two Japanese teams have climbed Mount Everest. 2
creep, trail, twine; grow: The ivy has climbed all over the
garden wall. 3 rise, arise, ascend, go up, mount; advance:
Watch the smoke climb into the sky. 4 climb along. creep, edge,
clamber, crawl, inch: The cat burglar climbed along the ledge
till he reached the window. 5 climb down. a descend, go down:
We shall need a rope to climb down from here. b Usually, climb
down from. retreat (from), withdraw (from), back away (from),
give up, abandon, renounce: He has climbed down from his
earlier position regarding women in the priesthood.
--n. 6 grade, incline, route, pitch; ascent; descent: It was a
steep climb to Camp Four.
clinch v. 1 secure, settle, confirm, determine, conclude, dispose of,
complete, wind up, finalize Colloq sew up: He clinched the
argument by resigning.
--n. 2 close quarters, hug, clasp, embrace; cuddle: The boxers
went into a clinch to regain their breath.
clincher n. finishing touch, pay-off, punch-line, coup de grѓce, final
or crowning blow: The point about saving costs proved to be a
clincher, and we were given the go-ahead.
cling v. 1 stick, adhere, attach, fasten, fix: The detectives found
that one of the victim's hairs had clung to the suspect's lapel.
2 favour, be or remain devoted or attached to, embrace, hang on
to, retain, keep, cherish: He still clung to his old-fashioned
notions of honour. 3 cling together or to one another. embrace,
hug, cleave to one another, clasp one another, clutch one
another, hold (fast) to one another, grasp one another: The
children clung together in the darkness.
clip° v. 1 clasp, fasten, fix, attach, hold, clinch; staple: Please
clip these papers together.
--n. 2 clasp, fastener: That clip isn't strong enough to hold
all these papers.
clipэ v. 1 trim (off), lop (off), cut (off), crop, bob, snip: The
barber clipped my hair short. Roger has clipped two seconds off
the record. 2 shorten, reduce, abbreviate, diminish, cut
(short): The film was clipped by fifteen minutes for
television. In her rapid-fire way of speaking, she clipped each
word. 3 strike, hit, punch, smack, box, cuff, whack, Colloq
wallop, clout; Slang sock: He was clipped on the jaw and
knocked out. 4 cheat, swindle, bilk, overcharge, Slang rook:
They clipped him out of a week's wages. She was clipped for a
ten per cent 'service fee'.
--n. 5 segment, interval, section, part, portion, extract,
cutting, excerpt, cutting, bit, snippet, scrap, fragment: We
were shown a film clip of the cheese-making process. 6 blow,
cuff, punch, hit, strike, smack, whack, box, Colloq wallop,
clout; Slang sock: She gave him a clip at the side of the head
and he went down. 7 pace, rate, speed: I was riding along at a
good clip when my horse shied and I was thrown off.
clique n. set, coterie, crowd, circle, group: There was the usual
clique from the Sales Department standing round the bar.
cloak n. 1 mantle, cape, robe, wrap, poncho; coat, overcoat: She
pulled her cloak around her in the chill night air. 2 mantle,
concealment, cover, screen, shroud, veil: He stole away under
the cloak of darkness.
--v. 3 conceal, hide, mask, screen, veil, shroud, cover up;
disguise: All of the spies' activities were cloaked in secrecy.
clod n. 1 lump, mass, gob, wad, hunk, chunk; piece of sod or turf;
Colloq glob: A clod of earth was stuck between the spikes of my
golf shoes. 2 idiot, fool, dolt, blockhead, simpleton, dunce,
dope, oaf, Neanderthal, lout, ass, boor, clown, ninny,
ninny-hammer, bumpkin, clodhopper, Slang vegetable, US and
Canadian jerk: He felt a bit of a clod standing there with no
idea which way to go.
clog v. hamper, encumber, impede; obstruct, choke (up), block,
congest, jam: The road was clogged with returning
holiday-makers. A piece of orange peel had clogged the sink
close v. 1 shut, close up, seal; close off, lock, padlock, secure,
fasten: I closed my eyes. Please close the door behind you. 2
make inaccessible, shut, Chiefly US place off limits: The
Bodleian Library will be closed for a week. 3 conclude, end,
finish, complete, bring to a close or end, terminate, climax,
Colloq wind up: A brilliant flourish closes the first movement
of the symphony. 4 conclude, sign, seal, make, settle, clinch,
agree, arrange, work out, establish: Union and management
closed a deal, and the strike was called off. 5 Also, close
down. discontinue, terminate, stop, suspend, shut down, go out
of business, cease operations, close (up), Colloq wind up, shut
up shop, put up the shutters: Competition from the supermarket
forced the greengrocer to close down. 6 Also, close off. seal,
make inaccessible, shut (off), obstruct, obturate: This wing of
the museum has been closed off temporarily. 7 close one's eyes
to. ignore, overlook, disregard: You have always closed your
eyes to his faults. 8 close up. a close, shut (up), lock up,
close (down): It's time to close up for the night. b close,
come or draw or bring together, unite, join; connect: We closed
up ranks and stood at attention.
--adj. 9 near; adjacent, proximate, proximal: He claims to
have had a close encounter with an extraterrestrial. There
certainly is a close resemblance between Kathy and her daughter.
10 closed, shut (up), fixed, fast, secure, tight: The hostages
spent a month in close confinement. 11 dense, compact, tight,
cramped, compressed, tiny, minuscule, minute: I could hardly
read the close writing on the matchbox. 12 stuffy, musty,
stale, fusty, confining, oppressive, airless, unventilated,
confined, stifling, suffocating: They locked me in a room that
was so close I could hardly breathe. 13 nearly equal or even,
close-matched, neck and neck, tight: It was a close race, but
Flanagan won by a hair. 14 careful, assiduous, precise,
detailed, concentrated, strict, rigorous, minute, searching,
attentive, alert, intent, intense, thorough, painstaking: Close
analysis has revealed that the handwriting is that of a
left-handed adult. 15 attached, intimate, devoted, familiar,
inseparable, close-knit, solid, confidential; fast; Colloq
thick, thick as thieves, pally, US and Canadian palsy-walsy,
buddy-buddy: They are a very close family. She and her father
are very close. 16 private, privy, secret, guarded, closely
guarded, confidential: Although it should have been a close
secret, the press managed to get hold of it. 17 secretive,
reticent, taciturn, reserved, close-mouthed, tight-lipped,
silent: She is very close about the whereabouts of her husband.
18 stingy, mean, miserly, niggardly, tight-fisted, close-fisted,
parsimonious, penurious, penny-pinching, cheese-paring,
Scrooge-like, skinflinty, Colloq near, Brit mingy: He's so
close he charges his own mother rent. 19 secluded, concealed,
shut up or away, hidden: The fugitives decided to lie close
--adv. 20 near, in the neighbourhood (of), not far (from),
adjacent (to); alongside; at hand, nearby, close by: The murder
took place close to my house. I'm frightened, so please stay
close by. 21 close to or on or onto. nearly, almost, about,
practically, approximately, nigh unto, approaching: For close
to two thousand years the site lay untouched.
--n. 22 end, termination, conclusion, finish, completion,
cessation; culmination: By the close of trading, share prices
had risen again.
cloth n. 1 fabric, material, textile, Chiefly Brit stuff: The
curtains are made of cloth, not plastic. 2 the cloth. the
clergy, the (religious) ministry, the priesthood: He is a man
of the cloth.
clothe v. 1 dress, attire, garb, apparel, outfit, fit out or up,
accoutre or US also accouter, Brit kit out or up, Colloq tog up
or out: He earns barely enough to clothe and feed his family.
2 endow, invest, caparison, endue: They tried to clothe their
transactions with the raiment of honesty.
clothes n.pl. clothing, apparel, attire, wear, dress, garments,
raiment, wardrobe, outfit, ensemble, vestment(s), Old-fashioned
duds, Colloq togs, gear, get-up Slang glad rags, Brit clobber;
Slang US (set of) threads: Put on some old clothes and make
clown n. 1 jester, fool, zany, comic, comedian, funny man: Of all
the performers at the circus, I like the clowns best. 2
buffoon, boor, rustic, yahoo, oaf, lout, clod, dolt, bumpkin,
clodhopper, provincial, peasant, yokel, Colloq lummox; Slang
chiefly US jerk; Old-fashioned galoot or galloot; Slang chiefly
US and Canadian hick: That's the kind of language we expect to
hear only from the most ignorant clowns.
--v. 3 Often, clown around or about. fool (around), play the
fool, horse around or about, caper, cut a caper or capers,
engage in high jinks or hijinks, US cut up, cut didos: Stop
clowning around with that hose and help water the garden.
club n. 1 cudgel, bat, bludgeon, mace, billy, truncheon, baton,
staff, stick; cosh, Chiefly US and Canadian blackjack: The blow
from the club required six stitches. 2 association, society,
organization, fraternity, sorority, fellowship, brotherhood,
sisterhood, federation, union, guild, lodge, alliance, league,
order, consortium, company: Our sailing club holds an annual
race. 3 clubhouse: The society's club is near Pall Mall. 4
nightclub, cabaret, Colloq nightspot: After the theatre, we
stopped at Oscar's club for a nightcap.
--v. 5 beat, cudgel, bludgeon, bat, belabour or US belabor;
lambaste, baste, thrash, trounce: The guerrillas caught the
traitor and clubbed him to death. 6 Often, club together. band
or join or league (together), team (up), join forces, combine,
ally, associate, confederate, cooperate: We clubbed together to
purchase the antique clock.
clue n. 1 hint, suspicion, trace, intimation, suggestion, inkling,
indication, pointer, lead, tip, tip-off, evidence, information,
advice; key, answer, indicator: There is no clue pointing to
anyone in particular. Any clue to the solution of the mystery
disappeared in the fire.
--v. 2 clue someone in or Brit also up. hint, suggest, imply,
intimate, inform, advise, indicate: She clued us in as to who
might have sent the letter.
clump n. 1 lump, mass, clod, chunk, hunk, wad, gob, Colloq glob: As
the soup cooled, clumps of fat formed on its surface. 2 bunch,
cluster; thicket, copse; wood, Chiefly Brit spinney: The deer
disappeared into a clump of trees. That clump will provide good
cover for us.
--v. 3 lump, mass, heap, collect, gather, bunch, pile: She
wore her hair clumped on top her head.
clumsy adj. awkward, ungainly, unwieldy, ungraceful, gawky, maladroit,
unhandy, unskilful, inept, bungling, bumbling, cloddish,
ox-like, bovine, uncoordinated, lubberly, oafish; gauche, Colloq
butter-fingered, ham-fisted, ham-handed, cack-handed: He made a
clumsy attempt to put the key in the lock. She gave a clumsy
excuse for being in the bank after hours.
cluster n. 1 collection, bunch, clutch, tuft, bundle: Notice that
cluster of flowers near the top of the plant. 2 collection,
bunch, group, knot, body, band, company, gathering, crowd,
assembly, congregation, throng, flock, assemblage, swarm: A
cluster of well-wishers stood talking with the minister.
--v. 3 collect, bunch, group, band, gather, crowd, congregate,
throng, assemble, accumulate, mass, aggregate: A number of
people clustered round the new sculpture. Why do these flowers
cluster at this tree?
clutch v. 1 seize, snatch, grab, grasp, take or lay hold of; hold; US
snag: She clutched feebly to the rope before losing her grip
and plunging into the abyss below. He clutched the child to his
--n. 2 clutches. a grasp at, hold; embrace: We watched as the
gazelle deftly eluded the cheetah's clutches. b influence,
control, power, domination, dominance, possession: He fell into
the clutches of the Triads.
clutter n. 1 mess, litter, jumble; mishmash, olla podrida, confusion,
hash, gallimaufry, hotchpotch or US also hodgepodge, muddle,
farrago, medley: I must insist that you clear up the clutter in
your room at once. That philosophy is a clutter of competing
ideas. 2 confusion, tangle, chaos, disarray: The town was a
clutter of narrow, crooked, dark, and dirty lanes.
--v. 3 Often, clutter up. mess up, litter, strew, make a
shambles of: Please don't clutter up my desk with newspaper
coach n. 1 carriage, bus, omnibus, motor coach: The sightseeing
coach broke down near Exeter. 2 tutor, trainer, instructor,
teacher, mentor, Brit crammer: Her voice coach says she's not
yet ready for grand opera.
--v. 3 tutor, train, instruct, guide, direct, drill, prepare,
prompt, school, exercise, Brit cram: Her lawyers have coached
her in what to say in court.
coagulate v. congeal, gel, jell, clot, curdle, set: The white of the egg
had coagulated, but the yolk was still runny.
coarse adj. 1 rough, uneven, scratchy, prickly, bristly; crude,
rough-hewn, unfinished, unrefined: He has a three-day coarse
growth of beard. The surface on the furniture is still too
coarse. 2 rude, boorish, loutish, crude, ill-mannered,
unpolished, rough, uncouth, impolite, uncivil, unrefined:
Nigel's behaviour is coarse, and he spits when he talks. 3
rude, indecent, improper, indelicate, obscene, lewd, vulgar,
gross, smutty, dirty, filthy, foul, offensive, lascivious,
ribald, bawdy; foul-mouthed: Don't use that kind of coarse
language with me. 4 inferior, low-quality, second-rate, shoddy,
tawdry, trashy; kitschy: That shop stocks only the coarsest
coast n. 1 seaside, seashore, shore, sea-coast, strand, beach,
littoral, coastline, seaboard: Be careful of rocks if you sail
near the coast.
--v. 2 glide, skim, slide, sail: The children coasted down the
hill on the toboggan.
coat n. 1 overcoat, greatcoat; jacket, anorak, parka, Brit cagoule,
Colloq Brit cag: Put on your coat, it's cold out. 2 coating,
layer, covering, overlay; film: Two coats of paint ought to be
enough. There was a coat of dust on everything.
--v. 3 cover, paint, spread: We coated the floor with three
layers of varnish.
coax v. persuade, urge, wheedle, cajole, beguile, charm, inveigle,
jolly, manipulate: She coaxed me into spending a weekend with
her at Blackpool.
cocky adj. overconfident, arrogant, haughty, conceited,
self-important, egotistical, proud, vain, prideful, cocksure,
saucy, cheeky, brash: Since she won the beauty contest, Claire
has been entirely too cocky.
coddle v. pamper, baby, cosset, mollycoddle, indulge, humour, spoil,
Brit cocker: Give him a cold bath and don't coddle him so much.
code n. 1 law(s), regulation(s), rule(s), jurisprudence, jus
canonicum 'canon law', jus civile 'civil law', jus divinum
'divine law', jus gentium 'universal law', jus naturale 'natural
law', corpus juris, pandect, lex non scripta 'common law,
unwritten law', lex scripta 'statute law': In the present code
there is no statute that forbids keeping a pet gnu. 2 cipher or
cypher, cryptogram: Our agents send all their messages in code.
3 system, practice(s), convention(s), standard(s), criterion
(criteria), principle(s), rule(s), maxim(s), custom(s),
pattern(s), structure, tradition(s), organization, protocol,
orthodoxy: Our code of behaviour is completely foreign to the
--v. 4 encode, encipher or encypher, encrypt: It took an hour
to code the information.
coffin n. casket, pall, (pine) box; sarcophagus: The coffin was
slowly lowered into the grave.
cog n. 1 tooth, gear-tooth, sprocket, ratchet: Stripping the gears
means breaking the cogs off them. 2 underling, pawn,
subordinate, nonentity, zero, cipher or cypher, nothing, nobody,
small fry: He's only a small cog in the organization - we're
after the big wheel himself.
n. knowledge, awareness, knowledge, perception, notice,
consciousness, mindfulness: They ran the gambling den with the
full cognizance of the police.
coherent adj. 1 consistent, orderly, organized, well-organized, logical,
rational, reasonable, well-ordered: The MP set forth a coherent
argument against an excise tax. 2 understandable, sensible,
comprehensible, intelligible, articulate, lucid, clear: He was
so frightened and hysterical that he was unable to tell a
cohort n. 1 troop, squad, squadron, platoon, brigade, unit, cadre,
wing, legion, detachment, contingent: Ten select Roman cohorts
were sent against the Mitanni. 2 company, band, group, faction,
set, body, corps: She was a member of a small cohort of
suffragettes. 3 companion, confederate, accomplice, associate,
fellow, comrade, friend, confrЉre: Gerald then arrived with a
few of his cohorts.
coil v. 1 wind, twist, coil, snake, wrap, enwrap, spiral, Nautical
fake or flake (down): The rope is coiled round a capstan.
--n. 2 winding(s), circle(s), loop, whorl, spiral, helix,
twist: His foot caught in the coil of rope and he was carried
coin n. 1 specie, money, currency; change, cash, silver: I have
only a few coins in my pocket. As he had no notes he had to pay
--v. 2 mint, stamp: The US government has stopped coining
silver dollars. 3 invent, create, conceive, originate, start,
make up, fabricate, frame, concoct, think or dream up: James
Joyce coined the word 'quark'. 4 coin it in or US only coin
money. earn or make money, become wealthy, enrich oneself,
Colloq rake it in: Those rock stars really coin it in from
their record sales.
coincide v. fall or come or go together, line up, co-occur, correspond,
synchronize, match, tally, agree, (be in) accord, equal, jibe:
This year, Easter and Passover coincide. The southern boundary
coincides with the Thames.
n. 1 co-occurrence, simultaneity, correspondence, concurrence,
consistency, contemporaneity, synchronism, synchrony,
coextension, coevality, coinstantaneity: The coincidence of
twelve by the clock with noon by the sundial is exact only four
times in the year. 2 congruence, matching, jibing, agreement,
concord, accord, harmony, accordance, conformity, congruity,
consonance, concomitance: Fortunately there was a coincidence
of views on the main issues. 3 chance occurrence, fluke,
chance, accident, luck, fortuity, fortuitousness, US and
Canadian happenstance: By sheer coincidence, I met my next-door
neighbour on the train from Glasgow.
adj. chance, lucky or unlucky, fortuitous, accidental,
unexpected, unpredicted, unpredictable, unforeseen: It was
entirely coincidental that we were on the same train.
cold adj. 1 chill, chilly, frosty, icy, keen, nippy, freezing,
frigid, ice-cold, stone-cold, bitter, bitter-cold, raw, biting,
biting-cold, numbing, gelid; wintry, hibernal, brumal; arctic,
glacial, polar, hyperborean or hyperboreal, Siberian: It was so
cold that the canal had completely frozen over. 2 chilly,
chilled; unheated, heatless: The room is cold; we'd better put
the heating on. 3 indifferent, apathetic, chilly, chilling,
cool, icy, dispassionate, unsympathetic, aloof, unresponsive,
spiritless, frigid, unfriendly, uncordial, lukewarm, frigid;
cold-blooded, insensitive, uncaring, unemotional,
undemonstrative, reserved, unmoved, spiritless, callous, remote,
distant, standoffish, unapproachable, stony-hearted,
emotionless, unfeeling, cold-hearted: My ideas received rather
a cold reception. Because she had offended him, he was quite
cold to her. 4 depressing, cheerless, chilling, gloomy,
dispiriting, deadening, disheartening, bleak, dismal,
discouraging: The sweat stood out on his brow in cold
apprehension. 5 unmoving, stale, trite, stereotyped; dead: The
coldest word was once a glowing new metaphor. 6 weak, faint,
stale, old, dead: The trail of the tiger had grown cold. 7
unprepared, unready: She hadn't studied and went into the exam
cold. 8 Often, getting cold. far, distant, remote, off the
track: As I searched for the weapon, I felt I was getting cold
the further I went from the kitchen.
--n. 9 coldness, frigidity, iciness: Last winter, the cold
killed off many of our shrubs. 10 head or chest or common cold,
influenza, ague, (la or the) grippe, Technical coryza, gravedo,
Colloq sniffles, the flu, bug, sneezles and wheezles: I caught
a cold waiting for you in the rain.
--adv. 11 completely, thoroughly, entirely, absolutely,
unhesitatingly, promptly, immediately, unreservedly, abruptly:
His application to join the police was turned down cold.
adj. 1 Technical poikilothermic or poikilothermal: Reptiles
are cold-blooded. 2 unexcited, unemotional, cool,
unimpassioned, unfeeling, callous, thick-skinned, insensitive,
heartless, uncaring, stony, steely, stony-hearted, cold-hearted,
imperturbable, unmoved, indifferent, unresponsive,
unsympathetic, apathetic, dispassionate: The murder appeared to
be the act of a cold-blooded killer. 3 cruel, brutal, savage,
inhuman, barbarous, vicious, barbaric, merciless, pitiless,
ruthless: They were victims of a cold-blooded policy of
adj. insensitive, unsympathetic, apathetic, indifferent,
unfeeling, uncaring, callous, thick-skinned, cold, cool, frigid,
hard-hearted, heartless, unkind, thoughtless, unthoughtful,
uncharitable, ruthless, pitiless, unmerciful, cruel, merciless,
mean: Putting that kitten out on a snowy night is the most
cold-hearted thing you ever did.
v. cooperate, join (forces), work together, team up: We
collaborated in writing both the lyrics and music.
collapse v. 1 fall (down or in or apart), crumple, cave in, deflate,
crumble, tumble down, break down, go: When he opened the valve,
the balloon collapsed. Hundreds of buildings collapsed in the
earthquake. 2 fail, (come to an) end, fall through, peter out,
disintegrate, dissolve, fall flat, founder, come to naught or
nought, break up or down; decline, diminish; disappear,
evaporate, go up in smoke, go bankrupt, go under, Brit go to the
wall, Colloq fizzle out: After the imprisonment of their
leader, the entire movement collapsed. Owing to the recession,
many businesses collapsed. 3 pass out, faint, drop, Colloq keel
over; Old-fashioned or literary swoon: He collapsed on-stage
and they took him to his dressing-room. 4 break down
(mentally), have a (nervous) breakdown, go to pieces, come or
fall apart , Colloq crack up, US also crack: She finally
collapsed from overwork and is now in a sanatorium.
--n. 5 cave-in, breakdown: The collapse of the house was
attributed to termites. 6 failure, downfall, ruin;
disappearance, disintegration, dissolution, bankruptcy: Will he
be able to survive the collapse of his financial empire? 7
(mental) breakdown, prostration, Colloq crack-up: He suffered a
mental collapse when his family was killed in a car crash.
colleague n. team-mate, fellow-worker, co-worker; associate, comrade,
ally, confrЉre, mate, consociate, Chiefly Brit and Australian
mate, US buddy: I have asked some of my colleagues from the
office to join us for dinner.
collect v. 1 gather (together), get or bring or come or together,
amass, accumulate, assemble, compile, pile up, heap up, rack up;
convene, congregate, converge, rally, meet: A crowd had
collected outside the mayor's home. They were collecting
evidence for their case. 2 summon (up), draw (up), muster,
gather (up), concentrate: She collected all her courage to ask
for an increase in salary.
collected adj. calm, serene, controlled, cool, sedate, composed,
nonchalant, poised, unruffled, unperturbed, at ease,
comfortable, tranquil, unexcited; imperturbable; confident:
Considering what she's just gone through, Tanya seems quite
n. 1 collecting, gathering, solicitation, garnering, gleaning,
accumulation, amassment, aggregation, Colloq Brit whip-round:
The collection of donations in this neighbourhood is going well.
2 accumulation, hoard, store, assemblage, omnium gatherum;
anthology, chrestomathy: Would you like to come up to see my
collection of etchings? They have published some very
collector n. gatherer, accumulator; connoisseur, art-lover: The rent
collector is coming tomorrow. We are collectors of paintings by
collide v. 1 crash, strike or dash together: The cars collided at the
bridge. 2 collide with. crash into, smash into, run into, bump
into, smack into: The car collided with the bus at the
collision n. smash-up, smash, crash, wreck, pile-up, Colloq Brit prang;
US crack-up: There has been a major collision on the Tring
colossal adj. 1 huge, vast, enormous, gigantic, giant, mammoth, massive,
gargantuan, Cyclopean, Brobdingnagian, immense, monumental,
titanic, Herculean, elephantine, jumbo: Mystery surrounds the
exact methods used in moving the colossal stones used in the
pyramids. 2 spectacular, stupendous, wonderful, awe-inspiring,
staggering, extraordinary, incredible, overwhelming,
unbelievable: The old Hollywood extravaganzas were described by
press agents as 'colossal'. I think you have made a colossal
mistake in failing to hire Cynthia.
colour n. 1 hue, tint, tincture, shade, tone, cast, tinge,
pigmentation; pigment, dye: The colours of the curtains don't
match the wall. 2 colours. a flag, ensign, standard, pennant,
banner, burgee: The sloop hoisted the British colours. b
device, badge, emblem, insigne or pl insignia, symbol(s),
identification; identity, appearance, face; loyalties: The
investigators found he'd been operating under false colours.
She has shown her true colours at last.
--v. 3 tint, dye, stain, paint, crayon, tincture, tinge;
pigment: These sections will stand out better if you colour
them red. 4 influence, affect, distort, falsify, taint, warp,
twist, slant, pervert, bias: Jealousy colours his opinion of
his supervisor. 5 blush, redden, flush: After their affair,
she visibly coloured whenever they met. 6 falsify, distort,
misrepresent, disguise, mask, conceal: He feigns confusion when
he wishes to colour his true feelings.
adj. 1 pale, pallid, blanched, white; wan, ashen, sallow,
waxen, sickly, washed out: You could see from his colourless
complexion that he had not been outside for months. 2 dull,
drab, uninteresting, vacuous, vapid, lifeless, boring, tedious,
spiritless, dry, dry-as-dust, dreary, characterless, insipid,
bland, namby-pamby, lacklustre, uninspiring, uninspired: She
has led a colourless life. Few people have so colourless a
personality as he.
combat n. 1 fight, encounter, engagement, duel, battle, conflict, war,
warfare; skirmish: The two men were locked in single combat. 2
struggle, contest, strife, controversy, dispute, quarrel,
disagreement, altercation, vendetta, feud: There was endless
combat between father and son. 3 opposition, difference,
confrontation: The combat between good and evil can never end.
4 action, fighting, battle, war: He was in combat on three
occasions. Have you seen any combat?
--v. 5 fight, (do) battle, war, clash, contend, duel, joust,
wrestle, come to blows, spar, grapple (with): The soldiers are
combating hand to hand in the trenches. 6 fight, struggle or
strive against, contest, oppose, defy, enter the lists against,
withstand: There was broad support for measures to combat crime
n. 1 union, conjunction, mixture, mix, grouping, set, array:
They always serve the same combination of foods. 2 association,
alliance, coalition, union, federation, confederation, combine,
syndication, syndicate, consortium, trust, bloc, cartel, party,
society, organization, league, cabal, conspiracy, clique;
claque: When they get together they form an unbeatable
combination. 3 mixture, amalgam, compound, compounding, mix,
alloy, conglomerate, conglomeration, aggregate, aggregation,
amalgamation, blend, emulsion, suspension, colloid, solution,
composition, Technical parasynthesis, parathesis; mosaic,
patchwork: From a combination of ingredients the witch made a
slimy love potion. A combination of every colour of the rainbow
covered the walls.
combine v. 1 unite, unify, join, connect, relate, link, conjoin, band,
ally, associate, integrate, merge, pool: Combine forces, and
we'll win. 2 blend, mix, amalgamate, mingle, consolidate,
compound, incorporate, put together: Combine the water, butter,
and salt in a saucepan. 3 blend, fuse, synthesize, bind, bond,
compound, unite, coalesce, come together, commingle, mingle:
When heated, the silver combines with the chlorine.
come v. 1 approach, advance, (draw) near, move, Archaic or literary
draw nigh: The car came towards us. She has come to me for
comforting words. Winter is coming. 2 arrive, appear, make or
put in an appearance, Colloq blow in, report (in), turn or show
up, check in, sign in, clock on or in, roll in: Winter has
come. When Cora comes, we'll ask her. 3 enter: Come into the
light, where I can see you. 4 come about. a occur, happen,
take place, come up; befall, Loosely transpire: I cannot
imagine how this state of affairs came about. b Nautical tack,
go about: After the marker, come about and hoist the spinnaker.
5 come across. a find, discover, encounter, meet (up or up
with), run across or into, happen or chance upon or on, hit or
light on or upon, stumble upon or on, Colloq bump into: I came
across some information about Charles. b pay (up), settle;
yield, give up, submit: Frank owes me money but refuses to come
across. c be communicated or understandable, penetrate, sink
in: I am not sure that my points came across. 6 come along.
fare, do, progress, move along: How is William coming along at
his new school? 7 come apart. disintegrate, crumble, fall or
fly to pieces, separate, break (apart or up or down): The
carburettor came apart in my hands. 8 come at. attack, assault,
charge, rush (at), fly at, descend upon or on, Colloq go or make
for: She came at me waving her umbrella. 9 come by. a
acquire, obtain, get, procure, secure, find, take or get
possession of, get or lay hold of, get or lay or put (one's)
hands or US also fingers on; be given: The tax inspector
wondered how she came by such valuable property. b win, earn,
attain; be awarded: I came by that trophy fair and square. 10
come clean. See clean, 8, above. 11 come down on or upon.
pounce on or upon, rebuke, criticize, revile, reprimand, bear
down on, blame: Mother really came down on us when she
discovered who had taken the pie. 12 come down with. succumb to,
contract, catch, be stricken or afflicted with, acquire: He's
come down with pneumonia. 13 come in. a win, succeed; Colloq
finish (in the money): My horse came in. b be, prove, turn out
or prove to be: Knowing someone on the council can come in
handy. c finish, end up, arrive: Donald came in first in the
backstroke. d enter: Don't come in, I'm dressing. 14 come
off. a occur, happen, come to pass, take place , Loosely
transpire: I doubt that the performance will ever come off. b
emerge, result as: We came off the winners in Saturday's game.
15 come out. a be revealed, become public or known or common
knowledge, get about or around, get or leak out, emerge: The
story has come out that he tried to bribe the inspector. b be
published or issued or produced or distributed, be shown, be in
print, premiЉre: The new edition of the dictionary has just
come out. c end, conclude, turn out, terminate, finish: How
did the chess match come out? 16 come over. a go over,
communicate, come across, be communicated, succeed, be received:
How did my speech come over? b affect, influence, possess: I
can't imagine what's come over Louis. c visit, drop or stop by
or in: Quentin and his wife came over for dinner last night.
17 come through. a recover (from), recuperate (from), get well
or better: He came through his operation with flying colours.
b conclude or end (up) or finish or wind up successfully or
satisfactorily, succeed, arrive, not fail or disappoint: I knew
he'd come through. 18 come to. a amount to, add up to, total,
aggregate: My bill came to more than I had with me. b regain
or recover consciousness, awake(n), revive, wake up, come
(a)round: When I came to, I was on the floor with a terrific
headache. c regard, concern, relate to, be a question of,
involve, be relevant to, be involved: When it comes to real
ale, Mario is the expert. 19 come up. a arise, surface,
present itself, be brought up, be broached, come about, turn up,
rise, Colloq crop up: The question of religion never came up.
b grow, thrive, appear: None of my tulips came up this year. c
rise, arise: The moon came up just as the sun was setting.
comedian n. humorist, comic, wit, wag, jokesmith; clown, buffoon, funny
man, funster, jester, fool, zany, merry andrew: The new
comedian at the variety show is very funny.
comely adj. good-looking, pretty, bonny, lovely, fair, beautiful,
handsome, attractive, appealing, wholesome, winsome, buxom: She
is a comely woman who has had no shortage of suitors.
come-on n. lure, attraction, enticement, inducement, temptation, bait;
loss-leader: The free glassware is a come-on to buy a tankful
comfort v. 1 console, solace, soothe, assuage, reassure, relieve,
hearten, cheer, gladden: It might comfort you to know that
Roderick has recovered completely. He comforted her when the
pain became unbearable.
--n. 2 consolation, solace, relief, cheer: I derived some
comfort from knowing that my attacker had been caught. 3 ease,
luxury, security, abundance, plenty, opulence: Cordelia lived
out her days in comfort after inheriting a fortune from her
adj. 1 at ease, easy, tranquil, serene, relaxed, contented,
untroubled, undisturbed: After the operation, the nurses did
everything they could to make me comfortable. 2 well off,
carefree, insouciant, contented, satisfied; self-satisfied,
complacent, smug: They don't have a lot of money, but they're
comfortable enough. 3 likeable, easy, congenial, amiable,
cordial, warm, pleasant, agreeable, enjoyable, relaxing: Daphne
is a very comfortable sort of person to be with. 4 suitable,
acceptable, adequate, satisfactory, reasonable: The radio was
on very loud, so I turned down the volume to a more comfortable
comic adj. 1 funny, droll, comical, humorous, hilarious,
side-splitting, mirthful, jocose, jocular, witty, waggish,
clever, facetious, amusing: Barry's comic routines have made
him a popular performer for years.
--n. 2 See comedian.
command v. 1 order, direct, bid, enjoin, charge, request, require,
demand, instruct; say, prescribe, decree: What the Queen
commands must be done. 2 control, dominate, have or maintain or
wield authority or control or sway or influence over, hold sway
over; lead, rule, govern, have under one's thumb, call the tune;
head (up): Whoever commands the sea commands the town. He
commanded a battalion during the war. 3 master, draw upon or on,
control, summon: The work required all the skill the sculptor
could command. 4 attract, earn; exact, compel, demand: Gunga
Din's bravery commanded the respect of the entire regiment. 5
dominate, control, overlook, look down on; have, enjoy, possess:
The tower commands a view of the entire valley.
--n. 6 order, direction, behest, mandate, charge, bidding,
instruction: Your wish is my command. 7 control, authority,
power, sovereignty, dominion, regulation, direction, management,
government, oversight, leadership, charge, sway, stewardship,
jurisdiction: The unit is under the command of the colonel. 8
mastery, control, (thorough) grasp or knowledge: He has a good
command of three languages.
v. memorialize, remember, celebrate, observe, dedicate,
consecrate, solemnize, sanctify, hallow, reverence, revere,
honour, venerate, pay tribute or homage to, salute; immortalize:
We are here to commemorate deeds of valour and the men who
commence v. 1 begin, enter upon, start, initiate, launch, embark on or
upon: Tomorrow morning, we commence the ascent of Mont Blanc.
2 begin, start, open: The ceremonies are about to commence. 3
begin, start, initiate, launch, inaugurate, establish: We
commenced operations at this plant last year.
comment n. 1 remark, reference, animadversion, note, annotation,
criticism, exposition, explanation, expansion, elucidation,
clarification, footnote: The author's comments on his sources
appear in the appendix. 2 commentary, opinion, remark, view,
observation, reaction: The judge's comments are not for
--v. 3 remark, observe, opine, say: He commented that he knew
nothing about the minister's private life. 4 comment on or
about. discuss, talk about, remark on; reveal, expose: She
declined to comment on what had happened the previous night.
commerce n. trade, business, mercantilism, marketing, merchandising,
traffic, trafficking: All commerce consists in the exchange of
commodities of equal value. My husband is in commerce.
commit v. 1 entrust, consign, transfer, assign, delegate, hand over,
deliver, give; allot, pledge, allocate: They committed the
goods to traders with strong distribution facilities. 2
sentence, send (away), confine, shut up, intern, put away,
imprison, incarcerate: The judge committed her to prison. You
can be committed for such behaviour. 3 perpetrate, do, perform,
carry out: They committed murder for money. 4 commit oneself.
pledge, promise, covenant, agree, assure, swear, give one's
word, vow, vouchsafe, engage, undertake, guarantee, bind
oneself: He committed himself to buying the company after
seeing the books.
committee n. council, board, cabinet, panel, body, commission: They have
set up a committee to oversee park planning.
common adj. 1 ordinary, everyday, commonplace, prosaic, usual,
familiar, customary, prevalent, frequent, run-of-the-mill,
general, normal, standard, conventional, regular, routine,
stock, average, proverbial; plain, simple, garden-variety,
common or garden, workaday, undistinguished, unexceptional:
Intermarriage is a common occurrence among the members of the
sect. We planted a common variety of carrot. 2 mutual,
reciprocal, joint, shared: Our common heritage must be
protected. 3 low-class, ordinary, plain, simple, plebeian,
bourgeois, proletarian, run-of-the-mill, vulgar, unrefined:
Kings avoid dealing with the common people. 4 inferior,
low-grade, mean, cheap, base: He was smoking a cigar of the
commonest type. 5 public, general, community, communal,
collective, non-private, universal; well-known: The contents of
the library are the common property of everyone. Their romance
is common knowledge in the village. 6 trite, stale, hackneyed,
worn out, banal, tired, overused, stereotyped, clich‚d,
stereotypical: The term 'yuppie' has become too common to have
much impact any longer.
v. 1 make known, impart, confer, transmit, transfer, hand on or
down, share, pass on or along, send on, spread; tell, divulge,
disclose, reveal, announce, transmit, promulgate, proffer,
tender, offer, convey, deliver, present, give, yield, supply:
Moral qualities are sometimes thought to be communicated by
descent. I communicated to them the information that I had
about the missiles. 2 Also, communicate with. be in
communication (with), converse (with), talk (with), chat (with);
correspond (with); associate (with), be in contact or touch
(with), reach: Donald and I haven't communicated in years.
Instead of communicating with him by telephone, she did so via
personal notices in the newspaper. 3 get or put across, make
understandable; get through to, reach, be of one mind, be in
tune, relate, be in or en rapport, make oneself understood ,
Slang be or vibrate on the same frequency or wavelength: He has
difficulty in communicating his ideas to his students. We might
talk, but are we communicating?
compact adj. 1 packed, compacted, closely-knit, condensed,
concentrated, consolidated, compressed; dense, solid, firm,
thick: The sesame seeds are mixed with honey and pressed into a
compact block. 2 tight, small, snug, little: The table folds up
into a compact unit for storage. 3 condensed, terse, laconic,
close, pithy, succinct, concise, brief, compendious, laconic,
epigrammatic, aphoristic: The information is given in a compact
form with many abbreviations and symbols.
companion n. 1 fellow, associate, comrade, colleague, confrЉre, Colloq
chiefly Brit and Australian mate, US and Canadian buddy: For
ten years they had been constant companions. 2 vade-mecum,
manual, handbook, guide, reference book, enchiridion: They
publish a pocket companion listing the month's events. 3
escort, chaperon(e), attendant, (in Spain, Portugal) duenna:
Aunt Dinah is too old to be alone, so we have engaged a
companion for her.
n. fellowship, camaraderie, comradeship, company, society,
amity, friendship, fraternity: I often enjoy the companionship
of an older person.
company n. 1 companionship, society, fellowship; attendance, presence;
associates, friends, companions, comrades: It was a stormy
night, and I was only too glad to have his company. A man is
known by the company he keeps. 2 assemblage, party, band, group,
retinue, entourage, suite, train, coterie, ensemble, troop,
followers, following, flock; circle, assembly, gathering,
convention, body, crowd, throng, Theatre troupe, cast, players,
actors, performers: The king arrived with his company at the
gate of the city. The speaker addressed the assembled company.
The company leaves today for a month on the road. 3 guest(s);
visitor(s), caller(s): Are you having company for dinner
tonight? 4 firm, business, house, concern, institution,
establishment, enterprise; proprietorship, partnership,
corporation, Brit public limited company, plc, Australian and
New Zealand and South African private limited company, Pty: The
company was founded in 1867.
compare v. 1 liken, associate, make (an) analogy (with), refer,
analogize: How can you compare your collection to mine? 2
compare with. resemble, be or look like, be on a par with, be in
a class or the same class with, correspond, match, parallel,
approach, approximate, bear or merit comparison (with); rival,
compete with or against, be a match for: Your paintings compare
well with Picasso's. The new recordings don't begin to compare
with the old ones. 3 contrast, measure against, weigh,
juxtapose, set side by side, relate, correlate: We need to
compare the results of the two surveys.
n. 1 contrasting, contrast, juxtaposing, juxtaposition,
balancing, balance, weighing: His comparison of the candidates
is prejudiced. 2 match, similarity, resemblance, likeness,
comparability, relation, relationship, commensurability,
kinship, point of agreement or correspondence: There is no
comparison between a racing car and a family car.
n. division, section, partition, part, space, chamber, bay,
alcove, cell, pigeon-hole, locker, cubby-hole, niche, cubicle,
slot: Each specimen is in its own separate compartment.
v. 1 recompense, make up (for), make restitution or reparation,
offset, make good, indemnify, repay, reimburse, redress,
requite; expiate, atone, make amends (for): The company
compensated us for the loss of the car. Arriving at school early
today, Gerard, does not compensate for having been late
yesterday. 2 balance, counterpoise, counterbalance, equalize,
neutralize, even (up), square, offset: Deduct six ounces to
compensate for the weight of the container. 3 pay, remunerate,
reward, repay, recompense: Two pounds does not compensate me
adequately for an hour's work.
adj. compensative, remunerative, restitutive or restitutory,
expiatory, reparative or reparatory, piacular: His huge
donation to the church was a compensatory offering for his past
compete v. contend, vie, struggle, strive, conflict, joust, fence;
fight, battle, clash, collide: They are competing to see who
will become chairman of the company. These two designs compete
with one another for the viewer's attention.
competent adj. 1 adequate, suitable, sufficient, satisfactory,
acceptable, all right, Colloq OK or okay: Colquhon will make a
competent bureau chief. 2 qualified, fit, capable, proficient,
able, prepared: Do you really think that fellow Johnson
competent to write a dictionary?
n. 1 rivalry, contention, striving, struggle: The competition
for newspaper circulation becomes keener every day. 2 contest,
match, meet, game, tournament, event; championship: We entered
the competition as underdogs. 3 See competitor.
n. rival, opponent, competition, opposition, adversary;
antagonist, contestant, contender: Our main competitor has just
announced a new product.
compile v. collect, put together, gather, accumulate, assemble, amass,
collate, organize, order, systematize; anthologize, compose: He
has compiled a large butterfly collection. Every year she
compiles a volume of the best stories.
complain v. grumble, moan, groan, wail, grouse, carp (at), whimper, cry,
lament, bemoan, Colloq gripe, squawk, grouch, Brit whinge, Slang
bitch, beef, US kick: What are you complaining about now?
complaint n. grumble, grievance, grouse, Colloq gripe, squawk , Slang
beef, US kick: I have no complaints about my treatment while I
was in hospital.
v. 1 completion, perfection, confirmation, finishing touch,
consummation: The grand tour was considered the necessary
complement of an English education in the 18th century. 2 crew,
team, company, band, outfit; quota, allowance, quorum: The
regiment's full complement was attained by selecting from among
--v. 3 complete, perfect, round out or off, set off, top off;
flesh out: The setting was complemented by a huge floral
arrangement. His argument was complemented by evidence from rare
documents. 4 supplement, enhance, add to: These are facts that
complement but do not contradict her story.
complete adj. 1 entire, whole, intact, uncut, unbroken, undivided,
unabridged, full, undiminished, unabated, unreduced: The
complete works of Dickens are available in paperback. They
performed the complete opera, a six-hour marathon. 2 finished,
ended, concluded, over, done, accomplished, terminated; settled,
executed, performed: The company's figures are not yet
complete. When will your building plan be complete? 3 entire,
total, thorough, absolute, utter, unqualified, unmixed,
unalloyed, pure, unmitigated, rank: I attribute the disaster to
a complete breakdown of communication, together with the
complete incompetence of the site manager. 4 perfect,
consummate, exemplary, ideal, model, superior, superlative,
superb, faultless, flawless: Her dissertation is a work of
--v. 5 conclude, finish, end, bring to an end, accomplish,
achieve, do, Colloq wrap up; finalize: He stopped after
completing ten ciruits of the track. Have you completed the
prospectus? 6 round out, round off, perfect; crown, culminate:
The unit was completed by the addition of five platoons. A
golden cupola completed the top of the dome.
adv. 1 entirely, fully, quite, wholly, totally, altogether, in
toto, thoroughly, perfectly, exactly, precisely, down to the
ground, from start to finish, from beginning to end, from A to
Z, from the word go, in full; lock, stock, and barrel; hook,
line, and sinker; heart and soul; root and branch; en masse:
The currency does not completely represent the wealth of the
country. 2 unqualifiedly, unconditionally, thoroughly, utterly,
totally, absolutely, quite, altogether, unreservedly: He's
completely mad if he thinks that thing will fly. 3 clearly,
expressly, explicitly, unambiguously, entirely, fully, totally,
wholly, altogether, unequivocally, truly, categorically, flatly:
I am completely in agreement with your policy.
n. 1 conclusion, end, close, termination, fulfilment,
culmination, realization, accomplishment, finish: The
completion of the building phase is scheduled for next July. 2
finishing, finalization, wind-up, finishing-off, completing:
The completion of the house is scheduled for next October.
n. 1 complication, convolution: We are finding it difficult to
understand the complexities of the agreement. 2 intricacy,
involvement, complicatedness; inscrutability: The complexity of
her theory makes it difficult to interpret.
v. 1 mix up, entangle, snarl, tangle, confound, muddle,
confuse: You only complicate matters by bringing up the
question of religion in a discussion of money. 2 make
complicated or complex, make involved or intricate, make a
shambles or mess or muddle of, mess up, Colloq screw up: The
phenomena of tides and currents greatly complicate coastwise
adj. involved, intricate, complex, compound, elaborate; ornate,
Byzantine, Daedalian, tangled, knotty, confused, labyrinthine:
In birds the eye is a more complicated organ than in our own
species. His plan is too complicated to understand.
n. 1 complexity, involvement, intricacy, convolution: The
complications of the diagram make it almost impossible to
understand. 2 difficulty, problem, predicament, dilemma,
obstacle, obstruction, snag, drawback: Asking for more money
might create complications.
n. 1 praise, homage, commendation, honour, tribute, flattery,
bouquet, favour: The greatest compliment given to my work has
been its success. 2 Usually, compliments. respects, regards,
good or best wishes, felicitations, salutations, greetings: I
stopped by to pay my compliments to your mother.
--v. 3 honour, praise, pay homage or tribute to, commend, laud,
congratulate, felicitate; flatter: She came backstage to
compliment me on my performance.
adj. 1 laudatory, commendatory, encomiastic, panegyrical,
eulogistic, congratulatory, flattering: The duke was most
complimentary about my s