nab v. catch, capture, arrest, put or place under arrest, seize,
apprehend, pick up, bring in, take into custody, Colloq pinch,
collar, run in, nail, Brit nick: They finally nabbed that cat
burglar in Hampstead.
nag° v. 1 Sometimes, nag at. annoy, irritate, irk, pester,
criticize, ride, scold, carp (at), upbraid, badger, harass,
harry, vex, henpeck, torment, hector, pick at, goad, pick on,
find fault with, berate, nettle, bully, provoke, plague, worry,
bother, Brit chivvy or chivy or chevy, Colloq needle: He nags
her day and night about going on a diet.
--n. 2 scold, harpy, pest, shrew, virago, termagant, fishwife:
You certainly can be a terrible nag, can't you?
nagэ n. jade, Rosinante; horse, hack, pony, dobbin, racehorse,
Thoroughbred, Slang gee-gee, US hayburner, plug, bangtail,
gee-gee: That old nag wouldn't be able to clear the fence.
nagging adj. distressing, chronic, continuous, continual, persistent,
unrelenting, relentless, recurring: He complains of a nagging
pain in his shoulder. I have a nagging feeling that I have an
appointment to be somewhere.
nail n. 1 fastener, fastening, spike, pin: The pieces were held
together by several nails. 2 fingernail, toenail, claw, talon:
The detective found some fibres under the victim's nails. 3
bite one's nails. worry, agonize, fret, lose sleep (over),
chafe, suffer, Colloq stew (over or about): Carl is biting his
nails over the result of his cholesterol test. 4 hard or tough
as nails. a tough, vigorous, hardy: After years of
mountain-climbing, Ren‚ is as hard as nails. b cold,
unsentimental, unsympathetic, unfeeling: The boss, as hard as
nails, doesn't care what you sacrifice to get the job done. 5
hit the nail on the head. be accurate, be correct, be precise,
be right, put (one's) finger on it: When you said they were
fools, you really hit the nail on the head. 6 on the nail.
immediately, at once, straight or right away, promptly, without
delay, on the spot, Colloq US on the barrel-head: He has always
paid his bills right on the nail.
--v. 7 attach, secure, join, pin, tack, clinch or clench;
fasten, fix, focus, rivet, glue: The door to the mysterious
room was nailed shut. His eyes were nailed to the pressure
gauge. 8 See nab, above. 9 hit, strike; punch; shoot: She
nailed him with a left hook and he sank like a stone. 10 nail
down. settle, secure, resolve, complete, conclude, make final;
finalize: Let's celebrate: I nailed down the order for 10,000
na‹ve adj. naive or na‹f, ingenuous, innocent, credulous, childlike,
born yesterday, unaffected, unsophisticated, inexperienced,
green, unworldly, unsuspecting, unenlightened, unsuspicious,
trusting, trustful, gullible, artless, guileless, simple,
simplistic, simple-minded, unpretentious, unpretending, candid,
natural: Is Chatterley na‹ve enough to believe that the
gamekeeper's meetings with his wife were to discuss fox-hunting?
na‹vety n. naivety, na‹vet‚ or na‹vet‚, ingenuousness, innocence,
credulity, credulousness, inexperience, (blind) trust,
gullibility, artlessness, callowness, guilelessness, simplicity,
unpretentiousness, candour, naturalness, frankness, openness,
sincerity: I hope that no one takes advantage of her na‹vety.
naked adj. 1 stark naked, unclothed, undraped, bare, exposed,
stripped, undressed, unclad, uncovered, bared, nude, in the
nude, Colloq in the altogether, in one's birthday suit, in the
buff, in the raw, au naturel, in a state of nature, Brit
starkers, in the nuddy: The two of them stood there, completely
naked. 2 unaided, unassisted: Stars of the seventh magnitude
or brighter are visible to the naked eye. 3 plain, unadorned,
unembellished, stark, overt, patent, obvious, conspicuous,
manifest, sheer, undisguised, unvarnished, unmitigated, evident,
palpable, unconcealed, in plain sight or view, blatant,
barefaced, undeniable, glaring, flagrant, unmistakable or
unmistakeable, unalloyed, unmixed, blunt, unadulterated, pure:
He told her the naked truth about how he felt. 4 unsheathed,
unprotected, bare, exposed: How dare he show a naked sword in
the presence of the Emperor?!
name n. 1 designation, label, appellation, term, tag, style, Colloq
moniker or monicker, handle: His name is Chauncy but they call
him Rusty. 2 reputation; repute, honour, esteem, (high) regard,
respect, rank, standing, rating, pre-eminence, superiority,
eminence, notability, prominence, prestige, favour, distinction,
renown, fame, popularity, celebrity: She has made a name for
herself as a clever business executive. He thinks he has to
protect his name as a ladies' man. 3 personage, somebody,
celebrity, star, superstar, hero, VIP, dignitary, luminary,
Colloq big shot, bigwig, big cheese, big name: The programme
included some well-known names in the entertainment world.
--v. 4 label, tag, style, entitle; call, dub, christen,
baptize: They named their book 'The Alien Tongue'. Why would
people want to name their child 'Quercus'? 5 choose, elect,
select, delegate, nominate, designate, appoint; identify,
denominate, pinpoint, specify: She has been named 'Woman of the
Year'. I asked her to name our wedding day. She refuses to name
her attacker. 6 name names. identify, specify, mention, cite:
In exchange for a lighter sentence, the witness agreed to name
nameless adj. 1 unnamed, innominate, unidentified, anonymous,
pseudonymous, incognito, unknown, unheard-of, unsung: How much
we owe the nameless inventor of the wheel! 2 inexpressible,
indefinable, unidentifiable, unspecified, unspecifiable: A
nameless dread seized him as he entered the cave. 3 ineffable,
unutterable, unspeakable, unmentionable, abominable, horrible,
indescribable, repulsive: Paganism allowed man to sink beneath
a flood of nameless sensualities.
namely adv. specifically, to wit, that is (to say), id est, i.e.,
videlicet, viz., scilicet, sc.; for example, for instance,
exempli gratia, e.g. or eg or eg.: We visited three countries,
namely, France, Italy, and Switzerland.
nap° v. 1 doze, nod (off), catnap, Colloq catch forty winks, drop
off (to sleep), get some shut-eye, snooze, zizz, US catch or log
a few zees (Z's): I nap every afternoon.
--adv. 2 napping. unawares, off guard, unexpectedly, in an
unguarded moment: The ball, hit to his backhand, caught him
--n. 3 doze, catnap, siesta, Colloq forty winks, shut-eye,
snooze, zizz, Brit lie-down: Take a short nap before dinner.
napэ n. pile, fibre, texture, weave, down, shag: Choose a carpet
with a short nap for areas of heavy wear.
narcotic adj. 1 soporific, stuporific, hypnotic, sedative, somnolent,
sleep-inducing, opiate, dulling, numbing, anaesthetic,
stupefacient, stupefying, stupefactive, tranquillizing, Lethean:
Most narcotic drugs may be sold only with a doctor's
--n. 2 drug, soporific, stuporific, hypnotic, sedative, opiate,
anaesthetic, stupefacient, tranquillizer: Many doctors are
reluctant to prescribe narcotics.
narrate v. relate, tell, recount, report, give an account (of), recite,
rehearse, repeat, review, unfold, chronicle, describe, detail,
reveal, retail: She narrated a bone-chilling story of intrigue
and murder. Please narrate the events leading up to your finding
the body, Mrs Easton.
narration n. 1 telling, relating, unfolding, recounting, chronicling,
recording, describing; report, recital, recitation, rehearsal,
relation, chronicle, description, portrayal, detailing,
revelation, story, tale, narrative: His narration was
accompanied by nervous gestures. Her narration disagrees with
her husband's in certain essential respects. 2 reading,
voice-over: The narration did not seem to be coordinated with
the pictures on the screen.
narrative n. 1 story, tale, chronicle, description, revelation,
portrayal, account, report, record, history, recital, statement:
The characterizations were poor, but the narrative was
--adj. 2 storytelling, chronicling, anecdotal: One of her
long, narrative poems has been published in a collection.
narrator n. reporter, storyteller, raconteur, taleteller, teller of
tales, anecdotist or anecdotalist, relator, annalist,
chronicler, describer, author; voice-over: We sat spellbound
waiting for the narrator to continue.
narrow adj. 1 constricted, slender, slim, thin, restricted,
straitened, attenuated, narrowed; narrowing, tapering: We
squeezed through the narrow passage to freedom. 2 confined,
confining, limited, cramped, close, meagre, pinched, tight,
incommodious: I awoke in a cell so narrow I could scarcely
move. 3 strict, careful, close, precise, exact, exacting,
demanding, finicky, finical, sharp, meticulous, scrupulous,
fussy, rigid, searching, critical: The suspected forgeries were
submitted to the narrow scrutiny of several experts. 4
restricted, limited, circumscribed, proscribed, denotative: I
learnt the meaning of charity in its narrowest sense. 5 See
narrow-minded, below. 6 close, hairbreadth, lucky: I'd had a
very narrow escape, for the bullet just grazed my scalp. 7
stingy, niggardly, parsimonious, miserly, tight, sparing,
tight-fisted, mean, mercenary Brit mingy, Dialectal near, Colloq
close: He was so narrow he barely allowed himself the
--v. 8 constrict, limit, qualify, reduce, lessen, diminish,
decrease: She narrowed her chances of winning by buying only
one lottery ticket. 9 limit, restrict, focus, confine,
concentrate, narrow down: They have narrowed the search for the
boy to the area near Chester.
--n. 10 narrows. strait(s), channel, passage: The vessel
approached the narrows at dead slow speed.
narrowly adv. 1 barely, (only) just, scarcely, hardly, by a hair's
breadth; by the skin of one's teeth, Colloq by a whisker: The
speeding lorry narrowly missed those children. 2 closely,
carefully, meticulously, scrupulously, searchingly, critically:
She regarded him narrowly before speaking.
adj. bigoted, prejudiced, illiberal, narrow, biased,
opinionated, one-sided, intolerant, non-objective, conservative,
reactionary, parochial, ultra-conservative, stiff-necked,
conventional, hidebound, fundamentalist, literal-minded,
narrow-spirited, mean-minded, mean-spirited, petty,
pettifogging, small-minded, puritanical, unprogressive,
old-fashioned, old-fogyish or old-fogeyish, strait-laced, Colloq
stuffy, US close-minded, square, screed-bound, red-necked: The
vote reflected a reasonable balance between broad-minded and
nasty adj. 1 foul, filthy, dirty, unclean, offensive, disgusting,
nauseating, revolting, horrible, loathsome, repugnant,
repellent, vile, odious, obnoxious, objectionable, nauseous,
sickening, vomit-provoking, fetid or foetid, noisome, mephitic,
rank, malodorous, rancid, noxious: The nasty stench of rotting
vegetation assailed our nostrils. 2 unpleasant, disagreeable,
unsavoury, painful, objectionable, annoying, untoward, awkward,
difficult, bad, serious: Lord Petherbridge had some very nasty
experiences in the war. 3 obscene, dirty, pornographic, blue,
smutty, lewd, vulgar, sordid, indecent, licentious, gross,
coarse, crude, rude, ribald, bawdy, risqu‚, off colour,
suggestive, Colloq X-rated, raunchy: The shops are selling some
rather nasty videos that I don't want the children to watch. 4
unpleasant, disagreeable, ugly, bad-tempered, vicious, currish,
surly, abusive, spiteful, irascible, ill-natured, ill-tempered,
cruel, inconsiderate, rude, churlish, obnoxious, crotchety,
curmudgeonly, cantankerous, crabbed, cranky, US and Canadian
mean: Why is your father so nasty to everyone who wants to go
out with you? 5 bad, severe, acute, painful, serious; dangerous,
critical: I got a nasty shock when I opened the cupboard door.
That's a nasty wound you have there.
nation n. country, state, land, political entity, polity, domain,
realm: The countries of Europe are unlikely to become one
national adj. 1 nationwide, country-wide, state, governmental, civil;
public, popular, US federal: It took years to enact national
clean-air laws. 2 nationalistic, nationalist, patriotic,
jingoistic, chauvinistic: During the war, national feelings ran
--n. 3 citizen, subject, inhabitant, resident; native:
Stephenson left England years ago and is now an Australian
adj. nationalist, patriotic, jingoist(ic), chauvinist(ic),
xenophobic, isolationist: As communications improved,
nationalistic feelings were eroded.
n. 1 citizenship: Some countries allow their citizens dual
nationality. 2 race, nation, ethnic group, ethnos, clan, tribe;
strain, stock, pedigree, heritage, roots, extraction, bloodline,
breed: The country became a melting-pot of myriad
native adj. 1 innate, natal, inborn, natural, inherent, congenital,
indwelling, inherited, hereditary, in the blood, intrinsic,
constitutional: Early in life, Carla demonstrated a native
ability for music. 2 domestic, local, home-grown; indigenous,
autochthonous, aboriginal: The native oysters in this area are
superb. 3 basic, first, best, original, exclusive: Can you
tell that my native language is Hungarian? 4 national, ethnic,
clan, tribal: We visited a Dutch town where the people wear
traditional native dress. 5 aboriginal, provincial, local: We
soon fell in with the native custom of taking a siesta. 6 born;
by birth: Are you a native Glaswegian?
--n. 7 aborigine, indigene, autochthon; national, citizen,
resident, inhabitant: It is not difficult to distinguish the
natives from the tourists in London.
natural adj. 1 ordinary, common, commonplace, normal, standard,
regular, usual, customary, unexceptional, routine, habitual,
typical, everyday; reasonable, logical, reasonable, sensible,
accepted: They say that Count Dracula could not die a natural
death. The natural thing to do in case of attack is to defend
oneself. 2 normal, ordinary, regular, expected; spontaneous:
The natural motion of the waves carried the bottle out to sea.
3 simple, basic, fundamental, real, unartificial, genuine,
unembellished, unadorned, unpretentious: She has great natural
beauty and needs no cosmetics. 4 unstudied, unconstrained,
candid, frank, spontaneous, unaffected, easy, honest, straight,
straightforward, artless, guileless, impulsive, unpremeditated,
unaffected, ingenuous, unsophisticated, unsophistic(al): His
kindness is quite natural. 5 See native, 1, above: She has a
natural gift for painting. 6 true, real, genuine, actual,
authentic, bona fide: That, believe it or not, is his natural
hair. 7 lifelike, true to life, realistic: Note the natural
colours of the sea in this painting by Whistler. 8
illegitimate, bastard: He was the duke's natural son and had no
claim on the estate. 9 consistent, consonant, consequent,
logical, reasonable, fitting, appropriate, proper, expected, not
incongruous, understandable: In the circumstances, it would
have been natural for her to despise Jonathan. 10 organic,
organically grown, non-chemical, health: They eat only natural
foods, which they grow themselves.
--n. 11 genius, artist, talent: When it comes to chess, Boris
is a natural. 12 Archaic idiot, imbecile, simpleton, fool,
halfwit: One would have to be a natural to give money to that
naturally adv. 1 (as a matter) of course, needless to say, to be sure,
certainly, surely, not unexpectedly, as expected or anticipated,
obviously, clearly, logically, consequently, as a consequence or
result: He treated her badly, so, naturally, she refuses to see
him again. 2 normally, by nature, by character, really,
actually, genuinely; inherently, instinctively, innately,
congenitally: My hair is naturally curly. He is not aloof, just
naturally shy. 3 unaffectedly, unpretentiously, easily,
candidly, openly, simply, plainly, honestly, straightforwardly,
uncomplicatedly: If only politicians expressed themselves
naturally and not pompously.
nature n. 1 quality, properties, features, character, personality,
make-up, essence, constitution, identity, attributes,
disposition, temperament, complexion: Only detailed analysis
will reveal the nature of this compound. It is not in his
nature to be envious. 2 universe, cosmos, world, creation,
environment: Science fiction deals with phenomena and
contrivances that defy the laws of nature. 3 scenery,
countryside, wildness, primitiveness, simplicity: I often
enjoyed sitting by the river, communing with nature. 4 kind,
variety, description, sort, class, category, type, genre,
species; stamp, cast, mould, feather, kidney, colour, stripe:
The duties of the position are largely of a ceremonial nature.
5 by nature. See naturally, 2, above.
naught n. nought, nothing, nil, zero, aught or ought; ruin,
destruction, disaster, collapse, failure: All my efforts had
come to naught.
naughty adj. 1 mischievous, impish, puckish, roguish, scampish,
devilish; frolicsome, playful: The children would get naughty
the minute the teacher turned her back to the class. 2
disobedient, refractory, insubordinate, bad, perverse, wicked,
fractious, unruly, wayward, unmanageable, ungovernable,
undisciplined, defiant, obstreperous: Naughty pupils in this
school are birched. 3 improper, offensive, vulgar, indecent,
immoral, risqu‚, off colour, ribald, bawdy, blue, pornographic,
smutty, lewd, obscene, dirty, Colloq X-rated, raunchy: The
teacher caught Keith reading a naughty book.
nauseate v. sicken, disgust, repel, revolt, offend: Your hypocrisy
nauseates me. When you get used to it, eating snails no longer
nauseated adj. sickened, disgusted, repelled, revolted, offended, sick
(to one's stomach), queasy, squeamish; seasick, carsick,
airsick: They were nauseated when they saw the cadavers. I
became nauseated by the rocking of the boat.
nauseous adj. nauseating, loathsome, sickening, disgusting, repellent,
vomit-provoking, offensive, revolting, repugnant, repulsive,
abhorrent, nasty, foul, unpleasant, stomach-turning, Technical
emetic: A nauseous odour emanated from the crypt.
nautical adj. maritime, marine, seafaring, seagoing; naval; boating,
yachting, sailing; navigational: Britain has always been a
nautical nation. One must observe the nautical rules of the
navel n. Technical umbilicus, omphalos, Colloq belly button: The
dancer wore a ruby in her navel.
navigable adj. 1 passable, traversable, negotiable, unblocked,
unobstructed, clear: The Thames is not navigable above
Lechlade. 2 manoeuvrable, sailable, controllable, steerable,
yare: My boat is navigable when under way at about four knots.
navigate v. 1 sail, voyage, cruise, journey; cross, traverse: After
navigating the Indian Ocean for a month, we reached the
Seychelles. 2 manoeuvre, handle, sail, guide, pilot, steer,
direct, skipper, captain, Nautical con: It was tricky
navigating through the shoals. Richard has navigated the company
through rough waters over the years.
n. pilotage, helmsmanship, seamanship, steersmanship, steering,
sailing: The navigation of a small vessel in such a storm is no
navigator n. pilot, helmsman, seaman, tillerman, wheelman, steersman,
skipper: The navigator without knowledge of local waterways
must engage a pilot.
navy n. fleet, flotilla, naval force(s), armada, Literary argosy:
The entire navy sailed across the Channel to Le Havre.
naysayer n. denier, refuser, disdainer, rejecter or rejector; prophet of
doom, pessimist, sceptic, dissenter, defeatist: Don't expect
any encouragement from a naysayer like Raymond.
near adv. 1 close (by or at hand), not far (off or away), nearby,
nigh, in or into the vicinity or neighbourhood, within (easy)
reach: Draw near and listen to my tale. 2 close to, next to:
Don't go near the edge! 3 nearly, almost, just about, wellnigh,
close to being; not quite, virtually: She was damn near killed
in the car crash.
--adj. 4 close, imminent, immediate, impending, looming,
coming, approaching, forthcoming; in the offing, at hand: We
hope to settle the pollution problem in the near future. The
time is near for me to go. 5 nearby, close, adjacent, next-door,
close-by, adjoining, abutting, neighbouring, contiguous: My
nearest neighbours live a mile away. 6 stingy, mean, niggardly,
miserly, parsimonious, penurious, cheap, penny-pinching,
cheese-paring, selfish, close, tight-fisted, close-fisted: He
is so near he begrudged me even a cup of tea. 7 close,
intimate, connected, related, attached: In case of emergency,
list the name and address of a near relative. 8 close, narrow,
hairbreadth: Although I escaped, it was a near thing.
--prep. 9 close to, in the vicinity or neighbourhood of, next
to, adjacent to, within reach of, within a mile of; a stone's
throw from, not far (away) from: She wouldn't allow the doctor
to come near her. I live near the railway.
--v. 10 approach, draw near or nigh, come close or closer,
verge on, approximate on, lean towards: As summer nears, I
think of going on holiday. The ship neared port. His estimate is
beginning to near mine.
nearby adv. 1 close by, close at hand, not far-off or -away, in the
vicinity or neighbourhood, within (easy) reach, about, around:
Hyenas loitered nearby waiting for the lions to leave the kill.
--adj. 2 close, within reach, handy, accessible, at or to hand,
adjacent: Nearby villagers helped put out the fire. We always
kept a gun nearby because of pirates.
nearly adv. 1 almost, not quite, about, approximately, all but, just
about, virtually, wellnigh, practically, as good as, more or
less; around, approaching, nearing, barely, hardly, scarcely,
close to: We were nearly there but couldn't make it. She was
nearly ninety when her first book was published. 2 closely,
identically, exactly, precisely: Her opinions agree most nearly
with his. His painting most nearly resembles Picasso's.
adj. 1 myopic, short-sighted: Being near-sighted, I must wear
spectacles for driving. 2 Chiefly US short-sighted,
narrow-minded, blinkered, narrow, close-minded, illiberal,
unthinking, heedless, insular, partial, one-sided, parochial,
unsophisticated, unimaginative, biased, unobjective,
opinionated, dogmatic, prejudiced, intolerant, bigoted: They
maintain a near-sighted attitude towards associating with anyone
outside their immediate clique.
neat adj. 1 tidy, orderly, clean, uncluttered, trim, spruce, natty,
fastidious, spick and span, shipshape (and Bristol fashion),
organized, well-organized, well-ordered, systematic, Brit
dialect trig, Colloq neat as a pin, Brit dinky: His room was
always neat - very odd for a teenager. 2 straight,
unadulterated, unmixed, undiluted, uncut, unblended, pure; on
the rocks: He drinks his whisky neat. 3 unembellished,
unadorned, unornamented, simple, elegant, graceful, smart,
uncomplicated, regular, precise, copperplate; calligraphic: An
invitation in her neat handwriting awaited my return from
abroad. 4 deft, adroit, clever, efficient, ingenious, expert,
practised, skilful, dexterous: He contrived a neat plan to
avoid paying taxes. 5 fine, wonderful, marvellous, great,
splendid, excellent, exceptional, capital, grand, first-class,
Colloq cool, smashing, keen, nifty, top-notch, A1 or A-1 or
A-one, Brit top-hole, Chiefly US A-OK or A-okay, Slang swell,
far-out, boss, Brit topping, US and Canadian spiffy: She found
a really neat way to get boys to ask her out. Gordon has a neat
neaten v. Often, neaten up. tidy (up), straighten (up or out), clean
(up), spruce up, (put in) order, Brit dialect trig: If you
don't neaten up your room, Mandy, you may not borrow the car.
nebulous adj. vague, hazy, clouded, unclear, obscure, indistinct, fuzzy,
muddy, ill-defined, shapeless, amorphous, blurred,
indeterminate, murky, opaque, turbid, dim, foggy, faint, pale:
He has only the most nebulous idea of what the lecture was
adv. inevitably, unavoidably, inescapably, axiomatically,
inexorably, ineluctably, irresistibly, incontrovertibly,
automatically, naturally, (as a matter) of course, as a result,
certainly, surely, to be sure, like it or not, willy-nilly,
perforce, of necessity, by definition: If you accept his
premise, then you must, necessarily, accept his conclusion. You
don't necessarily need to be rich to be happy.
necessary adj. 1 indispensable, essential, required, needed, compulsory,
requisite, vital, demanded, imperative, obligatory, needful, of
the essence, important, of the utmost importance, top-priority,
high-priority, urgent, exigent, compelling, life-and-death or
life-or-death: A good diet is necessary for good health. It is
necessary that you come at once. Take the necessary steps to get
the job done. 2 inevitable, unavoidable, inescapable,
ineluctable: In the circumstances, we find it necessary to ask
for your resignation. 3 sure, certain, predetermined,
predestined, fated, inexorable; resulting, resultant: The
necessary outcome of the affair was that the child was returned
to her natural parents.
--n. 4 See necessity, 1, below.
necessity n. 1 requirement, essential, necessary, requisite, need,
prerequisite, basic, fundamental, sine qua non, desideratum,
constraint: I was marooned for a year with only the bare
necessities of life. We regard honesty as a necessity in a bank
manager. 2 indispensability, unavoidability, needfulness,
inexorability: The necessity for exercise is often met by
private health clubs. 3 poverty, want, indigence, need,
destitution, penury, straits, difficulty, difficulties,
pauperism, neediness: The extreme necessity of the unemployed
demands that the government act quickly. 4 urgency, emergency,
crisis, misfortune, exigency, pinch, extreme, matter of life and
death: She has made a virtue of necessity. Electric power is no
longer a matter of choice but of necessity.
need v. 1 require, demand, want, be in want of, call for, have need
of or for; lack, miss, have occasion for: This room needs a
coat of paint. Although she may want more money, she doesn't
need it. Do you need anything to make you more comfortable?
--n. 2 necessity, requirement; call, demand, constraint:
There's no need to shout - I can hear you. There is a need to
keep this matter confidential. This facility will meet our
electricity needs for decades. 3 essential, necessary,
requisite, prerequisite, necessity, basic, fundamental, sine qua
non, necessary, desideratum: I am perfectly capable of taking
care of my family's needs. 4 distress, difficulty, trouble,
(dire or desperate) straits, stress, emergency, exigency,
extremity, neediness, needfulness; poverty, penury,
impecuniousness, destitution, privation, deprivation, indigence,
beggary: She was very supportive in his hour of need. The need
of the people in that district is heart-rending. 5 want, lack,
dearth, shortage, paucity, scarcity, insufficiency, desideratum:
The need for medical supplies was most sharply felt in areas
that were already ravaged by famine.
needless adj. 1 unnecessary, non-essential, unessential, unneeded,
unwanted, useless, uncalled-for, gratuitous, superfluous,
redundant, excess, excessive, tautological, dispensable,
expendable, supererogatory, de trop, pleonastic: He went to a
lot of needless trouble to change the tyre. It is needless to
raise further questions. 2 needless to say. naturally, (as a
matter) of course, obviously, it goes without saying: Needless
to say, he will have to resign when this comes to light.
needy adj. poor, indigent, poverty-stricken, destitute, impoverished,
penniless, impecunious, necessitous, underprivileged, deprived,
disadvantaged, below the poverty level, in dire straits, in or
on the way to the poorhouse, in reduced circumstances,
down-and-out, insolvent, Colloq on one's uppers, dead or flat or
stony-broke, hard up, strapped, pinched, on the breadline, up
against it, Brit on the dole, US dead broke, on welfare, on
relief: It is not enough to look after needy families only at
negative adj. 1 contradictory, anti, contrary, dissenting, dissentious,
disputing, disputatious, argumentative, adversarial,
adversative, antagonistic, antipathetic, adverse, US adversary:
He has adopted a very negative attitude towards his job. Few
negative voices were heard on the issue. 2 pessimistic,
unenthusiastic, cool, cold, uninterested, unresponsive: The
reaction to our offer has been largely negative. 3 nullifying,
annulling, neutralizing, voiding, cancelling: The laws are
mainly negative, listing only things one must not do. 4
negating, refusing, denying, gainsaying, opposing: The judge
came to a negative decision regarding bail. 5 in the negative.
negatively, 'No': Asked if she wanted to go, she replied in the
neglect v. 1 disregard, ignore, slight, pay no attention to, be
inattentive to, overlook, pass by, spurn, rebuff, scorn,
disdain, contemn, Colloq cold-shoulder: Scholars neglected his
work for years. 2 fail (in), omit; disregard, let slide or
pass, be remiss (about or in or regarding), abandon, lose sight
of, forget, shirk: Have I neglected telling you how much I love
you? Sybil has neglected her obligations.
--n. 3 disregard, disrespect, inattention, indifference,
slighting, unconcern, oversight, heedlessness, neglectfulness,
carelessness, inadvertence: We lost business to our competitor
through simple neglect. 4 negligence, laxity, laxness,
slackness, neglectfulness, passivity, passiveness, inactivity,
inaction, dereliction, default, failure, failing, remissness:
She has been accused of neglect in looking after her children
n. inattention, inattentiveness, indifference, carelessness,
unconcern, dereliction, failure, failing, heedlessness, laxity,
laxness, disregard, oversight, omission, inadvertence, neglect,
remissness, forgetfulness, oscitancy or oscitance: The car
crash was attributed to the lorry driver's negligence.
adj. insignificant, minor, unimportant, trifling, trivial,
inconsequential, piddling, inappreciable, small, slight, paltry,
nugatory, worthless, petty, niggling, not worth mentioning or
talking about: The differences between the two plans are
negotiate v. 1 deal, bargain, dicker, haggle, chaffer, palter; discuss,
debate, mediate, consult, parley, speak, talk, transact, come to
terms: A conglomerate is negotiating to buy our company. The
company asked me to negotiate on our behalf. 2 arrange (for),
organize, orchestrate, conduct, handle, manoeuvre, manage,
engineer, work out, settle, get, obtain, bring off or about,
carry off, accomplish, do, execute, effect, complete, conclude,
Colloq pull off: Will you be able to negotiate a loan for the
car? 3 manoeuvre, clear, get through or past or round or over,
pass, cross, Colloq make (it (through or past or round or
over)): Will you be able to negotiate the barbed-wire fence?
n. 1 discussion, mediation, arbitration, bargaining, parley,
parleying, talk, coming to terms: The disarmament negotiations
have dragged on for years. 2 deal, bargain, transaction,
agreement, arrangement, understanding, determination, decision,
settlement; contract, pact, compact, covenant, concordat,
treaty: All parties seem pleased with the final negotiation.
n. arbitrator, arbiter, mediator, moderator, diplomat,
ambassador, go-between, middleman, intercessor, interceder,
intervener, agent, broker: An independent negotiator was
invited to the bargaining table with the union and management
n. 1 locality, area, region, vicinity, vicinage, environs,
quarter, district, precinct(s), purlieus, locale; surroundings,
confines: Houses in the neighbourhood of the blast were
levelled. 2 in the neighbourhood of. approximately, about,
around, nearly, practically, close to, almost, more or less,
Colloq in the ballpark of, in the region of, Brit getting on
for, not far off, US within an eyelash of, Slang as near as
dammit to: The playground will cost in the neighbourhood of
adj. nearby, near, around, adjacent (to), surrounding,
adjoining, contiguous (to), touching, bordering (on), next (to),
nearest: Owners of properties neighbouring the nuclear power
plant worry about radiation. The neighbouring villages will
participate in the f€te at Long Norton.
adj. friendly, cordial, warm, amiable, agreeable, affable,
companionable, well-disposed, kindly, kind, well-wishing,
genial, sociable, social, harmonious, considerate, thoughtful,
helpful, gracious, courteous, civil: It was quite neighbourly
of the Constables to look after our cat.
neologism n. neoterism, coinage, neology, nonce-word; blend, portmanteau
word: Lexicographers must decide the neologisms to be added to
nerve n. 1 courage, coolness, boldness, bravery, intrepidity,
determination, valour, daring, fearlessness, dauntlessness,
pluck, mettle, spirit, fortitude, will, tenacity, steadfastness,
staunchness, firmness, doughtiness, resoluteness, Colloq guts,
grit, gumption, spunk, US sand, Brit bottle, US moxie , Taboo
slang balls: It took a lot of nerve to go back into that
burning building. 2 effrontery, brazenness, gall, impertinence,
brass, impudence, insolence, audacity, brashness, presumption,
presumptuousness, temerity, Colloq cheek, sauce, chutzpah, Slang
crust: You have a lot of nerve, talking to your mother that
way! 3 get on someone's nerves. annoy, irritate, upset: That
loud rock music gets on my nerves. 4 nerves. tension,
nervousness, hysteria, anxiety, fretfulness, stress, worry,
apprehension, fright, Colloq the jitters, Slang the willies, the
heebie-jeebies, US the whim-whams: I had a bad case of nerves
before learning the doctor's diagnosis.
adj. nerve-wracking, harrowing, agonizing, distressing, trying,
vexing, vexatious, troublesome, worrisome, irksome, irritating:
Waiting for the names of the survivors was the most
nerve-racking experience of my life.
nervous adj. 1 highly-strung, excitable, sensitive, tense, agitated,
wrought up, worked up, upset, flustered, ruffled, disturbed,
perturbed, distressed, worried, anxious, troubled, concerned,
disquieted, edgy, on edge, on tenterhooks, fidgety, fretful,
uneasy, apprehensive, frightened, fearful, shaky, scared,
skittish, US on a tightrope, Colloq jumpy, jittery, flappable,
in a stew, in a dither, in a sweat, in a tizzy, in a flap,
uptight, Brit nervy, US on pins and needles, Slang strung out:
Thomas is nervous because he has to give a speech. 2 difficult,
tense, critical: There were a few nervous moments before we
knew if the rope would hold.
nest n. 1 roost, perch, eyrie or US also aerie, den, lair: The
birds, which mate for life, return to the same nest each year.
2 snuggery, retreat, refuge, haunt, hideaway, hide-out; resort:
We have a little nest in the country which we escape to at
nestle v. cuddle (up), snuggle (up), huddle, curl up, nuzzle (up):
They nestled close together to keep warm.
net° n. 1 network, netting, mesh, mesh-work, web, webbing, openwork,
lattice, lattice-work, trellis, trellis-work, lace-work,
reticulum, reticle, rete, plexus, grid, grid-work, grille,
grate, grating, fretwork; sieve, screen, strainer, sifter: They
watched the fishermen mending their nets.
--v. 2 catch, capture, trap, entrap, snare, ensnare, bag: As I
bring the fish close to the boat, you net it with this.
netэ n. 1 nett, (net) profit, gain, earnings, return(s), Colloq US
take: The net for the first quarter was 15 per cent higher than
--adj. 2 clear, after deductions, after taxes, take-home,
final, bottom-line: The tax increase was greater than my salary
increase, so my net income was lower this year. 3 final, end,
closing, concluding, conclusive, effective, ultimate: The net
result of the advertising campaign was a sales increase of 18
--v. 4 make, realize, clear, take home, bring in, earn, pocket,
take in, get: How much did you net last year - after taxes,
network n. 1 See net°, 1, above. 2 system, arrangement, structure,
organization, complex, grid, criss-cross, web, plexus; maze,
labyrinth, jungle, tangle: She has developed a worldwide
network of contacts for her business. Before transistors, the
back of a radio was a network of multicoloured wires.
neurotic adj. psychoneurotic, unstable, disturbed, confused, irrational,
disordered, maladjusted, distraught, overwrought, anxious,
nervous, obsessive, deviant, abnormal: Many people are neurotic
neuter adj. 1 asexual, sexless, epicene: Worker bees are neuter,
neither male nor female.
--v. 2 desex or desexualize, doctor; castrate, emasculate,
geld, capon or caponize, eunuchize; spay, ovariectomize,
oophorectomize; Colloq fix, cut, US alter: We had our cat
neutered after her first litter.
neutral adj. 1 non-belligerent, non-combatant, unaligned, non-aligned,
unaffiliated, uninvolved, unallied, non-allied, non-partisan,
impartial, disinterested, indifferent, dispassionate, unbiased,
uncommitted, noncommittal, aloof, withdrawn, detached, remote,
removed: Switzerland has remained neutral during both world
wars. 2 dull, drab, colourless, achromatic, toneless,
indeterminate, washed out, pale, indefinite, indistinct,
indistinguishable, indeterminate, vague, drab, beige, ecru: A
neutral wallpaper colour won't clash with the paintings.
v. void, annul, cancel (out), nullify, invalidate, negate,
delete, undo, make or render ineffective, counterbalance,
counteract, offset, equalize, even, square, compensate for, make
up for: The forces on both sides of the sail, being equal,
neutralize each other.
never adv. 1 at no time, not ever, not at any time, on no occasion,
under no circumstances or condition(s), on no account, not at
all, Colloq not in a million years, not till hell freezes over:
You are never to use such language again! 2 in no way, not in
any way, not in the least, not in any degree, not under any
condition, not: Never fear, for I am near.
adv. still, notwithstanding, yet, in spite of that, despite
that, nonetheless, regardless, be that as it may, for all that,
even so, but, however, just or all the same, everything
considered, at any rate, anyway, in any case, in any event, at
all events, Literary withal: He said he dislikes sweets;
nevertheless, he ate a whole bar of chocolate.
new adj. 1 novel, original, unique, unusual, different, fresh,
creative, imaginative, brand-new: Ruth has a new idea for the
sales campaign. 2 latest, late, modern, contemporary, modish,
stylish, fashionable, chic, recent, advanced, up to date,
brand-new, late-model, Colloq trendy, Slang mod, hip: MacGregor
buys a new car every year: it has to be equipped with the newest
gadgets. 3 fresh, further, additional, supplemental,
supplementary: Has the new issue of Verbatim come out yet? 4
unfamiliar, unknown, strange, different; unique, unheard of: I
hear there's a new girl in your office. I want to introduce my
new friend, Dan Hammond. Every year they discover a new virus. 5
revitalized, reborn, renewed, rejuvenated, changed, altered,
redone, restored, redesigned, remodelled: I saw before me a new
Marie. They published a new version of the Bible. 6
inexperienced, green, fresh, callow, unfledged, budding,
immature, unripe, untrained: Let us look over the new recruits,
Sergeant. 7 late, young, recent: We found newer fossils at
higher levels. 8 uncharted, unexplored, untrodden, unknown,
experimental: Astronomers are breaking new ground in the
analysis of pulsars.
newcomer n. 1 alien, immigrant, foreigner, outlander, stranger, settler,
colonist, outsider: The newcomers quickly established
themselves and became self-sufficient. 2 beginner, amateur,
novice, proselyte, neophyte, tiro or tyro, initiate, trainee,
learner, fledgling or Brit also fledgeling, US freshman, Colloq
greenhorn: Though experienced in book publishing, he was a
newcomer to magazine publishing.
news n. 1 tidings, word, information, advice, intelligence; rumour,
talk, gossip, hearsay, dirt, scandal, expos‚, Colloq info,
low-down, scoop, US scuttlebutt, Slang dope: What's the latest
news about the situation in the Middle East? 2 dispatch or
despatch, report, account, story, communication, bulletin,
communiqu‚, announcement, information, message, word, statement,
(press) release, (news)flash: The news from our correspondent
contains no mention of finding a cache of arms. 3 newscast, news
broadcast or telecast, news programme; newsflash: Please be
quiet so that I can listen to the news. 4 (good) copy,
front-page news, (hot) item: The royal family is always news.
nice adj. 1 pleasant, agreeable, amiable, amicable, friendly,
cordial, warm, gracious, warm-hearted, kind, kindly, outgoing,
charming, genial, delightful, courteous, polite, refined,
gentlemanly, ladylike, winsome, likeable, attractive: They are
one of the nicest couples I have ever met. 2 good,
satisfactory, commendable, worthy, worthwhile: The manager said
that I had done a nice job in preparing the specifications. 3
good, fine, superb, superior, attentive, sharp, acute, keen,
careful, exact, exacting, rigorous; precise, accurate, unerring,
scrupulous, meticulous, punctilious, discriminating,
discriminative, perceptive, delicate, fastidious, flawless,
faultless, subtle, strict, close, small, slight, minute,
complex, complicated, intricate: A diamond cutter must have a
nice eye for detail. It is difficult to maintain nice
distinctions of meaning among certain words, given that people
are so careless with their speech these days. 4 delicate,
subtle, sensitive, exquisite, hair-splitting, over-nice, fine,
critical, ticklish, dangerous, precarious, perilous, Colloq
hairy: The matter of Hong Kong requires some nice political
negotiations. 5 trim, well turned out, tidy, neat, fine: Don't
you want to look nice for your birthday party? 6 nice and -
pleasantly, delightfully, pleasingly, agreeably, enjoyably,
gratifyingly, satisfyingly, comfortably: It's nice and warm by
niche n. 1 recess, hollow, alcove, nook: A small statue of Buddha
stood in a niche in the wall. 2 place, position, Colloq slot,
pigeon-hole: Humphrey has finally found a niche for himself
working as a tax inspector.
nick n. 1 cut, notch, chip, gouge, gash, scratch, dent, indentation,
flaw, mark, blemish, defect: Be careful of that nick in the rim
of the glass. 2 jail or Brit also gaol; police station: The
police took him to the nick to help them with their inquiries.
--v. 3 steal, purloin, take, appropriate, make off with, Colloq
pinch: Who nicked my biro? 4 arrest, nab, take in, Colloq
collar: Alan was nicked for possession of marijuana. 5 nick
off. depart, go or run off or away, take off, take to one's
heels, show a clean pair of heels, beat a (hasty) retreat,
Colloq scarper, make tracks, beat it: The cops were coming so I
nickname n. 1 pet name, sobriquet, epithet, agnomen, Colloq moniker or
monicker, handle: Her real name is Josephine, but her nickname
is Dusty. 2 diminutive: A common nickname for Terence is
nifty adj. 1 smart, stylish, modish, chic, spruce: I borrowed a
nifty outfit from Grandma for the flapper's costume ball. 2
healthy, in good form, spry, energetic, agile, quick: I'm not
as nifty as I was in 1950. 3 excellent, neat, great, splendid,
fine, clever, skilful, apt, suitable: Having a picnic was a
nifty idea. That was as nifty a bit of bargaining as I 've ever
seen. 4 satisfactory, satisfying, good, profitable, substantial,
considerable: He made a nifty profit on the sale of his house
niggle v. find fault, nag, carp, fuss, cavil, criticize; complain,
Colloq grouse, Slang bitch, US kvetch: I do wish she would stop
niggling when we cannot do anything about the situation.
niggling adj. 1 irritating, worrying, worrisome, irksome, vexing,
vexatious, annoying, troublesome: There are a few niggling
matters that I must see my accountant about. 2 petty, nugatory,
trifling, trivial, fussy, insignificant, unimportant,
inconsequential, frivolous, Colloq piddling, nit-picking, US and
Canadian picayune: Bill always ignores the core of a problem
and occupies himself with the niggling details.
night n. 1 (Stygian or Cimmerian) dark or darkness or blackness or
gloom; night-time, shades of night, Formal tenebrosity or
tenebrousness or tenebriousness: The strange creature slunk off
into the night. 2 nightfall, gloaming, twilight, dusk,
eventide, evening, evensong, edge of night, sunset, sundown, end
of day, vespers: When night comes, one can hear the frogs
calling from the pond. 3 night and day. all the time,
continually, incessantly, unceasingly, continuously, unendingly,
endlessly, round-the-clock, ceaselessly, non-stop: Those
animals keep up their caterwauling night and day.
nightly adj. 1 every night, each night, each and every night, night
after night: The watchman does his nightly rounds. 2
night-time, nocturnal, bedtime: A nightly glass of warm milk
promotes sound sleep.
--adv. 3 every night, each night, nights, after dark, after
sunset; nocturnally: The bird sings nightly outside my window.
adj. frightening, terrifying, alarming, horrific, horrible,
dreadful, awful, ghastly, dismaying, agonizing, worrisome,
exasperating, frustrating, Kafkaesque, Colloq creepy, scary:
Dealing with officialdom can be a nightmarish experience when
nil n. nothing, zero, nought or naught, aught or ought, Tennis,
table tennis, etc. love, Cricket duck, US goose-egg, Slang US
zip: Oxford United: 4; Queens Park Rangers: Nil.
nimble adj. 1 agile, lively, active, light, lithe, limber, spry,
sprightly, brisk, smart, energetic, rapid, quick, swift, adroit,
deft, dexterous; nimble-fingered; nimble-footed: She's as
nimble as a cat on a hot tin roof. 2 agile, alert, acute,
nimble-witted, quick-witted, ready-witted, intelligent, keen,
sharp; smart, brilliant, sparkling, scintillating, coruscating:
Despite his inability to make decisions, Desmond has quite a
nip° v. 1 bite, nibble; pinch, snip, clip, cut, snap, tweak, twitch,
trim, lop, crop, shear; grip, squeeze: The dog nipped the
postman's ankle. Nip off the suckers to promote healthy growth
of the tomatoes. 2 nip in the bud. stop, arrest, check, thwart,
frustrate, stymie, forestall; quash, squelch, suppress,
extinguish, put down: The revolt of the army officers was
nipped in the bud.
--n. 3 bite, nibble, morsel, pinch, snip: The deer had taken
nips off the tips of the shrubbery. 4 chill, coldness, iciness,
sharpness, tang, bite: There's a definite wintry nip in the air
nipэ n. taste, drop, sip, soup‡on, portion, swallow, gulp, mouthful,
finger, Brit peg, tot, draught, Scots dram, US draft, Colloq
snort, shot: I had a few nips of brandy to ward off the cold.
nobility n. 1 nobleness, dignity, grandeur, illustriousness, greatness,
glory, influence, authority, leadership, distinction, probity,
integrity, excellence, goodness, character, rectitude,
righteousness, ethics, honesty, honourableness, decency,
justness, high-mindedness, magnanimity, prestige, loftiness,
primacy, significance: The man's nobility was evident from his
mien and bearing. 2 rank, position, class, birth, blue blood:
Their nobility is recognized only at court and in fashionable
society. 3 the nobility. the gentry, the ‚lite, the aristocracy,
Colloq the upper crust, the ruling class(es), the Establishment,
US the Four Hundred: With a name like Hohenzollern, her family
must be from the European nobility.
noble n. 1 nobleman, noblewoman, aristocrat, patrician, lord, lady,
peer; gentleman, gentlewoman, Colloq blue blood: The nobles
united and forced King John to sign the Magna Carta.
--adj. 2 high-born, high-class, upper-class, aristocratic,
titled, high-ranking, lordly, patrician, Colloq blue-blood(ed):
She came from a noble Austrian family. 3 dignified, eminent,
distinguished, august, grand, lofty, elevated, illustrious,
prestigious, pre-eminent, noted, honoured, esteemed, celebrated,
renowned, acclaimed, respected, venerated: The noble Knights of
the Round Table have become legend throughout the world. 4
upright, righteous, honourable, honest, virtuous, incorruptible,
chivalrous, staunch, steadfast, true, loyal, faithful,
trustworthy, true, principled, moral, good, decent,
self-sacrificing, magnanimous, generous: The qualities that
make a noble friend make a formidable enemy. 5 splendid,
magnificent, imposing, impressive, stately, exquisite, sublime,
grand, striking, stunning, superb, admirable, elegant, rich,
sumptuous, luxurious: The Taj Mahal is probably one of the
noblest works of man.
nobody pron. 1 no one, not anyone, no person: We had to wait because
nobody was in the shop when we entered.
--n. 2 nonentity, unknown, zero, cipher, Colloq nothing:
Overnight, Tony went from being a celebrity to being a nobody.
nod v. 1 greet, acknowledge, recognize: The maЊtre d'h“tel nodded
to me as I entered the restaurant. 2 say yes; consent, assent,
agree, concur, acquiesce: Asked if she had seen Nick, the
barmaid nodded. I asked permission to leave the room and the
teacher nodded. 3 doze (off), nap, drowse, drop off, fall
asleep: Exhausted travellers nodded in their chairs waiting for
their flights to be announced. 4 slip (up), err, make a mistake,
be mistaken or wrong; be careless or negligent or lax or
inattentive: Sometimes, even Homer nods.
--n. 5 signal, sign, cue, indication, gesture: I saw him give
a nod to the barber, who suddenly held a cutthroat razor to my
throat. 6 approval; consent, acquiescence, concurrence, assent,
agreement, Colloq OK or okay: The company has given me the nod
to open an office in Acapulco.
nodding adj. casual, slight, superficial, distant; incomplete: I know
Graham slightly - he's a nodding acquaintance. It was clear that
the violinist had only a nodding acquaintance with Mozart's
noise n. 1 sound, clamour, crash, clap, clash, clangour, din,
thunder, thundering, rumble, rumbling, outcry, hubbub, uproar,
hullabaloo, racket, charivari or US and Canadian also shivaree,
rattle, caterwauling, rumpus, blare, blast, blasting, bawling,
babel; commotion, bedlam, fracas, tumult, pandemonium, turmoil;
discordance, dissonance, cacophony; Archaic alarms or alarums
and excursions, Colloq ruckus, ruction, ballyhoo: I couldn't
sleep because of the unbearable noise from the party next door.
You may call acid rock music, but she calls it noise. 2 sound,
disturbance: Did you just hear that strange noise? It's only
the noise of the crickets.
--v. 3 Often, noise about or around. circulate, spread, rumour,
bruit (about): It is being noised about that John and Marsha
are getting a divorce.
noisy adj. loud, deafening, ear-splitting, jarring, grating, harsh,
piercing, shrill, discordant, unmusical, dissonant, cacophonous
or cacophonic, resounding, clarion, clamorous, clangorous,
thunderous, uproarious, blaring, blasting, obstreperous,
vociferous, boisterous, tumultuous, riotous: I could hear
nothing over the noisy aeroplane engines. When she arose to
speak, the noisy crowd fell silent.
nominal adj. 1 titular, in name only, formal, pretended, so-called,
self-styled, soi-disant, professed, purported, supposed,
would-be, representational, represented, supposititious;
proposed, propositional; puppet: Elliot is the nominal
chairman, but Foster actually runs the company. 2
insignificant, trivial, trifling, minor, minuscule, tiny, small,
insubstantial, minimal, inconsiderable, token: We charge a
nominal fee for the analysis if you refuse our recommendation.
nominate v. choose, select, name, appoint, designate, suggest, offer,
submit, recommend, propose, present, put up or forward; forward;
Formal put forth: Baker has been nominated for the presidency.
nominee n. candidate, office-seeker, designee, selectee, appointee,
assignee: We must choose a nominee to run in the next election.
adj. uncommitted, non-allied, non-affiliated, unaligned,
unaffiliated, unallied; neutral, impartial: There are several
non-aligned nations that remain independent of the influence of
n. unbeliever, disbeliever, cynic, doubting Thomas, doubter,
sceptic, freethinker, agnostic, atheist, nullifidian; infidel,
heathen, pagan: During his reign, thousands of non-believers
were put to the sword.
adj. cool, unexcited, unexcitable, unperturbed, imperturbable,
undisturbed, untroubled, unflappable, unruffled, dispassionate,
unemotional, detached, distant, unconcerned, indifferent,
pococurante, insouciant, uninterested, aloof, blas‚, offhand,
calm, collected, composed, easygoing, free and easy,
happy-go-lucky, casual, relaxed, at ease; unenthusiastic,
apathetic; Colloq laid-back, together: How can you be so
nonchalant about important issues that affect all our lives?!
adj. wary, cautious, careful, gingerly, guarded, (playing it)
safe, circumspect, watchful, prudent, canny, tentative, on
guard, reserved, cool; precautionary or precautional,
precautious; Colloq playing it cool, playing it safe, playing it
or one's cards close to the chest: The company is still
noncommittal about the take-over of the American company.
n. non-fulfilment, unfulfilment, non-performance,
incompleteness, deficiency: We regret the non-completion of the
work on your house and will refund in full the amount already
n. disobedience, nonconformity, non-observance, disregard,
disregarding, failure, non-cooperation, uncooperativeness,
unresponsiveness, rejection, refusal, denial: If you fail to
provide the records requested by the tax inspector, you can be
charged with non-compliance.
n. 1 nonconformer, renegade, maverick, rebel, radical,
individualist, heretic, dissenter, dissident, iconoclast, loner,
exception, anomaly: In the 1960s, Alastair counted himself
among the nonconformists who wore unconventional clothes and
flouted conventional behaviour.
--adj. 2 nonconforming, renegade, maverick, rebellious,
radical, individualist(ic), heretical, dissentient, dissident,
iconoclastic: Suffragists were ridiculed for their
adj. indescribable, unclassifiable, unclassified, ordinary,
common-or-garden variety, common, commonplace, unremarkable,
colourless, drab, everyday, bland, uninteresting, insipid,
characterless, undistinctive, unexceptional: He was wearing
nondescript clothing and blended into the crowd.
none pron. no one, not anyone, nobody, no person; not one; not any;
nil: Of all the people I met, none impressed me more than
Kathy. I'd give you a sweet if I had one, but I have none. I'd
even give you money, but I have none.
adj. 1 non-vital, unessential, unneeded, unnecessary, needless,
inconsequential, insignificant, unimportant, superfluous,
dispensable, expendable, gratuitous, uncalled-for, extraneous,
peripheral, extra, de trop, adventitious, additional,
supplemental, adscititious, redundant, accessory, subordinate,
secondary, subsidiary: The non-essential industries were
converted to the war effort during the 1940s.
--n. 2 unessential, inessential, nonentity, cipher, zero,
nobody; extra, supernumerary, spear-carrier, Colloq nothing,
Slang US nebbish: She used him as a lackey, a non-essential
whom she could dispose of at will.
adv. See nevertheless, above.
non-event n. anticlimax, Colloq non-starter, lead balloon, dud, Brit damp
squib: Jeremy's party turned out to be the non-event of the
adj. unreal, imaginary, imagined, fictional, fictive, fanciful,
fancied, mythical, fabulous, fabled, illusory, chimerical,
delusive: Although the entire Graeco-Roman pantheon became
non-existent overnight, its gods and goddesses continue to
pervade our culture.
adj. non-combustible, incombustible, non-inflammable,
unburnable; fire-retardant: The government recently passed
regulations requiring that non-flammable materials be used in
adj. serious, unfrivolous, businesslike, practical,
non-trivial, untrivial: Customs officials take a no-nonsense
approach to drug trafficking.
nonpareil n. paragon, model, standard, ne plus ultra, exemplar, ideal,
Literary nonsuch or nonesuch, Colloq oner, one in a million,
Brit one-off: Annabelle was a nonpareil among the artists of
adj. 1 non-partizan, non-aligned, unaligned, unaffiliated,
independent, non-committed, uncommitted, neutral, uninvolved,
free, (sitting) on the fence: Choose between non-partisan and
coalition candidates. 2 impartial, even-handed, fair, just,
objective, unbiased, unprejudiced, equitable, dispassionate,
disinterested: One could not find a more non-partisan judge
than Sir Ronald.
--n. 3 independent, neutral, mugwump: I am a non-partisan on
the subject of privatization of public utilities.
nonplus v. confound, perplex, puzzle, confuse, dismay, baffle, stop,
check, stun, shock, dumbfound or dumfound, take aback, astonish,
astound, US faze, Colloq bring up short, flummox, stump: She
was nonplussed to learn that Simpson had been arrested.
adj. 1 unproductive, barren, sterile, infertile, unfertile,
unfruitful, infecund: Non-productive land was left
uncultivated. 2 ineffectual, bootless, ineffective,
impractical, unavailing, pointless, useless, worthless,
wasteful, time-consuming, time-wasting: Executives should spend
more time working and less in non-productive meetings discussing
the work to be done.
nonsense n. 1 rubbish, drivel, gibberish, gobbledegook or gobbledygook,
twaddle, trash, babble, balderdash, moonshine, bombast, fustian,
rodomontade, puffery, flummery, blather or blether, bunkum,
poppycock, stuff and nonsense, double-talk, jargon, mumbo-jumbo,
jabberwocky, cackle, gas, palaver, Colloq bunk, piffle, rot,
bosh, eyewash, hogwash, malarkey, bilge (water), boloney or
baloney, claptrap, hot air, Brit tosh, Old-fashioned Brit
gammon, waffle, US apple-sauce, horse feathers, garbage, bushwa;
Slang crap, tripe, bull, hooey, double Dutch, Taboo slang
bullshit, horseshit, Brit (a load of old) cobblers: Watson's
speech on the benefits of tobacco was unmitigated nonsense. 2
mischief, clowning, antics, capering, horseplay, pranks, tricks,
jokes, silliness, foolishness, inanity, frivolity, tomfoolery,
joking, jesting, waggishness, buffoonery, shenanigans, Colloq
monkey business, Brit monkey tricks, US monkeyshines: Keep up
this nonsense and you'll get into a lot of trouble!
adj. senseless, meaningless, absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous,
laughable, preposterous, irrational, warped, askew, crazy, mad,
silly, foolish, hare-brained, asinine, idiotic, moronic,
imbecilic, stupid, dumb, Colloq nutty, screwy, cock-eyed, fool,
screwball, Slang loony: What is your nonsensical excuse for
being late this time?
non-stop adj. 1 uninterrupted, continuous, unbroken, direct: Is this a
non-stop flight to New York? 2 unending, endless, interminable,
unceasing, ceaseless, continual, continuous, uninterrupted,
unbroken, persistent, relentless, constant, unremitting, steady,
round-the-clock, ongoing, continuing, unhesitating, unfaltering,
tireless,; regular, habitual: I told my neighbour that his
non-stop rock 'n' roll music was driving me mad.
--adv. 3 unendingly, endlessly, interminably, unceasingly,
ceaselessly, continually, continuously, uninterruptedly,
persistently, relentlessly, constantly, unremittingly, steadily,
round-the-clock, day in and day out, tirelessly; regularly,
habitually: He continues to play his hi-fi non-stop.
nook n. 1 cranny, recess, niche, alcove, corner, cavity, crevice,
crack, opening: Flowers grew from the nooks in the wall. 2
retreat, hide-out, hideaway, nest; inglenook: I curled up with
a book in my nook next to the fireplace.
noon n. twelve o'clock (noon), midday, 1200 hours, noontime, high
noon, Archaic noontide; noonday: We sit down to lunch promptly
at noon. The noon sun is terribly hot in the tropics.
norm n. 1 usual, average, mean, normal: The norm for the day is 12
degrees Celsius. 2 model, standard, type, pattern, criterion,
rule, measure, gauge, yardstick, benchmark: That style of
window became the norm for many years.
normal adj. 1 standard, regular, average, conventional, usual,
run-of-the-mill, ordinary, routine, universal, general, common,
customary, natural, typical, conformist, orthodox; healthy: If
living in this mess seems normal to you, we clearly have
different standards. His temperature and pulse are normal. 2
sane, stable, rational, reasonable, well-adjusted: After he had
set fire to his school, Julian's parents began to wonder if he
was quite normal.
normalize v. regularize, standardize, regulate, control; conform: The
program is directed at normalizing the codes used in keyboarding
nosy adj. nosey, curious, inquisitive, prying, meddlesome, spying,
peeping, eavesdropping, Colloq snooping, snoopy: Mind your own
business and don't be so nosy.
notable adj. 1 noteworthy, noted, famous, famed, well-known, renowned,
illustrious, important, prominent, eminent, outstanding, great,
distinguished, celebrated, acclaimed: Many notable people
attended my college. 2 remarkable, different, distinctive,
singular, unusual, uncommon, pre-eminent, peerless, matchless,
unmatched, unequalled, unparalleled, extraordinary, conspicuous,
outstanding, memorable, unforgettable, striking: She enjoyed a
notable reputation as a cellist. Last night's notable
performance was enjoyed by a capacity audience.
--n. 3 dignitary, personage, worthy, VIP; celebrity, luminary,
Colloq (big) name, big shot: Many notables attended the charity
notably adv. 1 particularly, especially, markedly, noticeably,
signally, distinctly, remarkably, unusually, uncommonly,
outstandingly, conspicuously, clearly, obviously, evidently,
manifestly, specifically, distinctly, curiously, oddly,
uniquely, strangely, strikingly, shockingly, surprisingly,
stunningly: In the temperate zones, the seasons vary notably in
length. 2 meaningfully, significantly, importantly,
prominently: The viruses changed in notably different ways.
notation n. 1 note, memorandum, jotting, record, reminder, minute(s),
abstract, Colloq memo: I shall make a notation of that in my
diary. 2 symbols, signs, code, characters, symbolism: In
musical notation, a minim represents two beats.
notch n. 1 nick, cut, dent, indentation, groove, cleft, score, mark,
gouge, gash: For every man he killed, the gunfighter cut a
notch in the barrel of his gun. 2 step, grade, level, rung, peg,
degree, stage, gradation: Gillian's promotion moves her up
another notch towards the chairmanship.
--v. 3 nick, cut, dent, indent, groove, score, mark, gash,
gouge: You notch the end of the arrow to admit the bowstring.
4 notch up. gain, win, accomplish, achieve, score, register,
mark (up): The All-India cricket team has notched up another
notched adj. serrate(d), sawtooth(ed), crenellate(d), crenate,
serriform, pinked, scalloped, zigzag, toothed, dentate,
denticulate(d), dentiform: The flower has notched yellow
petals. The vase was decorated with a notched pattern.
note n. 1 See notation, 1, above. 2 message, letter, communication,
(piece of) correspondence, memorandum, epistle, postcard or
(postal) card, fan letter, love-letter, billet doux,
bread-and-butter letter, word, line, thank-you note, Colloq
memo, US old-fashioned mash note: She sent Rob a note only last
week asking him to attend the meeting. 3 comment, commentary,
remark, observation, explanation, annotation, footnote,
side-note, marginalia (pl.), gloss, critique, criticism,
Literary scholium, exegesis, eisegesis, Technical shoulder-note:
Her notes on insect behaviour are of great interest. 4
banknote, money, bill, currency, treasury note; promissory note,
demand note, bill of exchange, letter of credit, (bank) draft,
note of hand; Colloq folding money: I found a packet of notes
dropped by the bank robbers. The bank is holding my note for
њ10,000. 5 theme, characteristic, motif, element, quality, mood,
tone, tenor: There is a note of angry frustration that runs
through her writing. 6 signal, cue, intimation, hint, inkling,
suspicion, clue, suggestion, idea, tip, Slang tip-off: Her
greeting, though warm, contained a note of suspicion. On that
note, I decided to leave. 7 heed, attention, notice, regard,
respect, thought, Colloq US mind: Note of the prosecutor's
objection to that line of questioning has been taken. 8 mark,
consequence, substance, importance, moment, weight, distinction,
merit, prestige, (high) rank or standing, eminence, prominence,
repute, reputation, renown: People of note have been
entertained at our table. 9 tone, sound; key: He knows the
music but gets the notes wrong. 10 notes. jottings,
impressions, record(s), report, (thumbnail) sketch, (rough)
draft, outline, synopsis: The entire account is based on the
notes she made during the trial.
--v. 11 notice, observe, perceive, see, mark, think about, give
thought to, consider, contemplate, study, pay attention to,
attend to; look into, investigate, check out: Have you ever
noted how people try to avoid you because of your bad temper?
Note how quickly the days seem to grow shorter towards the end
of summer. A detective has been assigned to note every move the
suspect makes. 12 record, register, write down, put or set down,
put on record, jot down, put in writing, chronicle: The traffic
warden noted down the number-plate of the car. 13 call
attention to, remark on or about, mention, report, touch on,
comment on or about: The report failed to note the
disappearance of the murder weapon.
noted adj. respected, eminent, distinguished, illustrious, esteemed,
acclaimed; well-known, famous, famed, prominent, celebrated,
notable, popular; notorious: We are pleased to welcome the
noted violinist, David Popov. Was it his aunt or his mother who
ran the noted house of ill repute near Brighton?
adj. notable, exceptional, extraordinary, out of the ordinary,
unusual, rare, uncommon, singular, unique, different: Miss
Byrne has made many a noteworthy contribution to our knowledge
of local Roman sites.
nothing n. 1 naught or nought, nothing at all or whatsoever, no thing,
not anything, Taboo slang Brit bugger-all, (sweet) Fanny Adams
or F.A., SFA: Nothing that you tell me can be held against you
in court. You may think it important, but I tell you it is
nothing. 2 cipher, zero, nobody, nonentity: If it weren't for
her, he would be nothing. 3 trifle, bagatelle, Colloq peanuts:
A million is nothing to him.
notice v. 1 note, take or make note (of), take notice (of), pay or
give attention to, attend (to), heed, take heed (of), give heed
to, mark, remark, mind, observe, perceive, see: Notice how
quickly he retracted his remarks when challenged. I waved to
them, but they didn't notice me. 2 mind, observe, perceive,
discern, see, detect, make out, identify, recognize, Colloq
spot: I noticed signs of illness when I visited her.
--n. 3 attention, awareness, consciousness, perception,
observation, cognizance: Let me bring to your notice the second
paragraph on page six. 4 regard, consideration, respect,
observation, attention, note, heed: They have published many
books worthy of notice. He considers matters of money beneath
his notice. 5 notification, announcement, information, advice;
warning, intimation: A notice showing the currency exchange
rates is posted in the bank. The company let Corbett go without
notice. 6 criticism, critique, review, comment, commentary: The
play has enjoyed excellent notices in the London newspapers. 7
give notice. warn, admonish, notify, announce, advise, inform:
British Rail gave notice of a curtailment of service to this
station. Barry gave notice today of his resignation.
adj. 1 discernible, perceivable, observable, perceptible,
recognizable, distinguishable, visible, palpable, manifest,
distinct, evident, clear, clear-cut, conspicuous, obvious;
patent, unmistakable or unmistakeable, undisguised, unconcealed:
Is the scratch noticeable? Wrinkles around the eyes are one of
the first noticeable signs of ageing. 2 noteworthy, notable,
significant, signal, remarkable, important, singular,
exceptional, pronounced, distinct, especial, considerable,
major: After the reprimand, there was a noticeable improvement
in his work.
notify v. 1 inform, tell, advise, alert, apprise, warn: She notified
us that she might come in late today. They wrote to notify
shareholders of the new share offer. 2 announce, publish,
declare, proclaim, give notice of; intimate, hint: The arrival
of the first salmon notified to us the change of season.
notion n. 1 idea, thought, concept, conception, image, impression,
general idea, (mental) picture, inkling: She has a pretty good
notion of who did it. I haven't the slightest notion of what you
are talking about. 2 fancy, whim, crotchet, whimsy, caprice,
impulse, inclination, vagary, conceit, quirk, kink: She
suddenly took a notion to fly to New York and left.
notoriety n. notoriousness, disrepute, dishonour, disgrace, infamy,
shame, discredit, scandal, stain, blot, obloquy, ignominy,
opprobrium: The notoriety attending his latest escapades
displeased the prime minister.
notorious adj. 1 disreputable, dishonourable, disgraceful, infamous,
shameful, shaming, embarrassing, discreditable, scandalous,
naughty, flagrant, ignominious, opprobrious: Charles was yet
again seen in public with a notorious arms dealer. 2
celebrated, renowned, famous, well-known, fabled, legendary,
memorable: Annie was notorious for riding her horse to victory
in every event.
adv. 1 nevertheless, nonetheless, despite that, in spite of
that, yet, anyway: He was refused permission to go but he left
--prep. 2 despite, in spite of, regardless of, in the face of,
against: Notwithstanding his mother's objections, George
--conj. 3 although, though, even though, despite the fact that:
The product was almost totally unknown, notwithstanding it had
been on the market for years.
nourish v. 1 feed, sustain, support, maintain, keep, provide for, care
for, take care of, look after, nurture, nurse: The child seems
to be thriving and well nourished. 2 foster, cherish, nurse,
maintain, harbour, keep, nurture, sustain: Iago nourished a
terrible hatred for Othello. 3 strengthen, fortify, encourage,
promote, stimulate, cultivate, help, advance, aid: These
malcontents continue to nourish trouble in the party ranks.
n. food, sustenance, nutriment, nutrition, victuals: You must
take nourishment to maintain your strength.
novel adj. 1 new, unusual, unfamiliar, unconventional, fresh,
different, original, creative; untested, untried: I have a
novel idea for the design of an ultralight aircraft.
--n. 2 story, tale, narrative, romance; novella, novelette,
best-seller, Colloq blockbuster: The members of our company
board behave like characters out of a novel.
novelty n. 1 originality, newness, uniqueness, freshness,
innovativeness: We are enthusiastic about the novelty of the
new sales campaign. 2 gimmick, gimcrack, trifle, gewgaw,
bauble, knick-knack, toy, trinket, ornament, plaything,
Brummagem, kickshaw: New subscribers receive as a premium some
novelty, like a ball-point pen or a cheap clock.
novice n. beginner, neophyte, newcomer, proselyte, tiro or tyro,
noviciate or novitiate, learner, amateur, initiate, apprentice,
trainee, probationer, fledgling or Brit also fledgeling, US
freshman, Colloq greenhorn, rookie: She is a mere novice at
now adv. 1 at present, just now, right now, at the present time or
moment, at this (very) moment or minute or second or instant:
He's in the shower and cannot come to the phone now. 2 these
days, nowadays, today, in these times, at the moment, in this
day and age, under or in the present circumstances or
conditions, in the present climate, things being what they are,
contemporarily, any more, any longer; for the time being, for
the nonce: What makes you say that the minimum wage is enough
to live on now? Selling now might bring the highest price. 3 at
once, immediately, right away, without delay, instantly,
promptly, Chiefly law instanter, Chiefly Brit straight away: I
want you here now - not in five minutes, but now! 4 now and
then or again. occasionally, from time to time, at times, on
occasion, sometimes, sporadically, once in a while, every now
and then or again, randomly, intermittently; infrequently,
seldom, rarely, once in a blue moon: There was a power cut now
and then. He visits his mother only now and then.
--adj. 5 contemporary, up to date, modern, stylish,
fashionable, trendy, Colloq in, with it: Advertisers must
appeal to the yuppies of the now generation.
nub n. 1 projection, protuberance, knob, boss, lump, bump, knop,
protrusion, bulge, node, knot; excrescence, swelling,
tumescence: Press the small nub on the side to open the door.
2 essence, core, heart, nucleus, crux, point, gist, pith,
kernel, nucleus, meat, (sum and) substance, main issue,
gravamen: Let's get to the nub of the argument.
nuclear adj. atomic: He joined the protest march against nuclear
nucleus n. core, heart, centre, kernel, pith, focus, nub: We already
have the nucleus of a very good team. The market square was the
nucleus around which many towns were built.
nude adj. unclothed, undressed, uncovered, au naturel, bare, naked,
in the nude, stark naked, undraped, without a stitch (on),
Colloq in the buff, in the altogether, in one's birthday suit,
Brit starkers, Brit and Australian in the nuddy: A nude man
streaked across the football pitch.
nudge v. 1 jog, poke, elbow, jab, dig, bump, prompt, shove; prod,
push, US encourage: I had to nudge him to stay awake for the
film's thrilling climax.
--n. 2 jog, poke, elbow, jab, dig, bump, shove; prod, push,
encouragement: Nigel just needs a nudge in the right direction.
nuisance n. 1 annoyance, inconvenience, trial, ordeal, burden,
irritation, irritant, thorn in the flesh or side, difficulty,
bother, US bur under the saddle, Colloq pain (in the neck or
rear), headache, hassle, Slang US and Canadian pain in the butt,
Taboo slang pain in the Brit arse, or US ass: Having to paint
the room again was a terrible nuisance. 2 bore, pest, nag,
tease, tormentor or tormenter: James has made a nuisance of
himself by telephoning every fifteen minutes.
numb adj. 1 numbed, benumbed, insensible, insensate, dead, deadened,
without feeling, sensationless, senseless; asleep: My feet are
numb from the cold.
--v. 2 benumb, anaesthetize, drug, deaden, dull, freeze,
paralyse, immobilize, stun: The doctor numbed my hand before
removing the wart. Fear numbed her, and she felt nothing as the
number n. 1 numeral, integer, figure, digit: The columns of numbers
were entered in a neat hand. 2 few, handful, crowd, slew, gang,
bunch, party, bevy, covey, troop, company, platoon, swarm,
horde, multitude, mob, host, army, mass, hundred, thousand,
million, billion; several, many, numbers, legions, US and
Canadian slew(s) or slue(s), Colloq loads, tons: A number of
people attended the meeting. An enormous number of viruses could
fit on the head of a pin. 3 issue; edition, copy: The fourth
number of the quarterly is published at the end of the year.
--v. 4 count, enumerate, compute, calculate, tally, figure
(up), add (up), include, total, tot (up), reckon, sum (up): Who
can number the stars?
adj. uncountable, uncounted, countless, innumerable,
incalculable, immeasurable, numerous, untold, myriad, infinite:
Although seemingly numberless, the number of grains of sand in
the universe is calculable.
nuptial adj. bridal, matrimonial, wedding, spousal, wedded, marital;
connubial, conjugal, Literary hymeneal: The nuptial
arrangements have been made.
nurse n. 1 angel of mercy, Florence Nightingale, Brit sister: I
awoke to see two nurses bending over me.
--v. 2 care for, look after, tend, attend, minister to, treat;
nurture, foster, coddle, baby, pamper, cherish, preserve, keep
alive, cultivate, develop: During his illness, she nursed him
night and day. We nursed the company along through the first
year. 3 wet-nurse, suckle, breast-feed, nourish: Nursing
mothers must be careful about what they eat. 4 preserve,
harbour, keep alive, nurture, foster: She has nursed a grudge
against him for ten years.
adj. healthful, healthy, nutritive, wholesome, life-giving,
beneficial, salutary, nourishing, alimentary, nutrimental: Be
sure you eat a nutritious breakfast every day.
oar n. 1 paddle, scull: The ancient galleys sometimes had six men
on each oar. 2 oarsman, oarswoman, bencher, sculler, rower,
paddler: With Hanson out because of his back, we'll need a new
oar for tomorrow's race.
oasis n. 1 fertile patch, watering-hole: In the desert, you cannot
always be sure whether you are looking at an oasis or a mirage.
2 haven, refuge, (safe) harbour, sanctuary, retreat, asylum,
resort, sanctum: We escaped to the cottage, a tiny oasis away
from the city's frenetic activity.
oath n. 1 vow, avowal, pledge, promise, word (of honour), promise,
plight, guarantee or guaranty, warrant or warranty, (sworn)
statement, Archaic troth: She has taken an oath to tell the
whole truth. 2 curse, profanity, blasphemous language or
expression or word, imprecation, malediction, swear-word,
expletive, four-letter word, obscenity, dirty word: The door
slammed on his finger and he muttered a foul oath.
obedience n. compliance, dutifulness, observance, respect,
respectfulness, tractability, conformity or conformance,
yielding, conformability, adaptability, agreement, agreeability,
agreeableness, acquiescence, submissiveness, submission,
subservience, docility, passiveness, passivity: The abbot
demanded unquestioning obedience with regard to every rule of
the monastic order.
obedient adj. compliant, dutiful, duteous, observant, respectful,
tractable, yielding, conformable, adaptable, agreeable,
amenable, acquiescent, submissive, subservient, docile, passive,
timid, biddable, pliant: Prunella was always an obedient child.
All matter and energy is obedient to the laws of physics.
obeisance n. deference, respect, respectfulness, homage, submission,
reverence, honour: As she entered the chamber, she made
obeisance to the king.
obese adj. fat, overweight, stout, fleshy, gross, corpulent, heavy,
plump, portly, tubby, pudgy, chubby, paunchy, rotund,
pot-bellied, Rare abdominous: I sat down next to an obese
person who occupied nearly two chairs.
obesity n. corpulence, plumpness, tubbiness, chubbiness, grossness,
embonpoint, rotundity, portliness, paunchiness, size, bulk,
weight, avoirdupois: Risk factors with respect to heart disease
include smoking, bad diet, obesity, and family history of heart
obey v. 1 comply (with), agree (to), consent (to), submit (to),
abide (by), observe, respect, adhere to, follow, conform (to or
with), acquiesce (to or in), mind, accept, heed, defer to, yield
(to), knuckle under (to), give way (to), surrender (to), succumb
(to), give in (to), truckle to, bow to, bend to, take or accept
orders from: Unfortunately, Ogilvy has obeyed his baser
instincts in making the punishment fit the crime. Everything
must obey the laws of nature. Harold obeys Millie's slightest
whim. 2 discharge, execute, effect, carry out, fulfil, meet,
satisfy, do, perform; serve, act: We obeyed the colonel's
orders to the letter. It is your function to command, mine to
obituary n. necrology, death notice, eulogy, necrologue, Colloq obit:
Mark Twain is one of the few people ever to have read his own
object n. 1 thing, tangible, item; reality, entity, fact, phenomenon:
A number of objects lay on the table. Thoughts may be considered
as objects of the imagination. 2 focus, target, butt, aim,
destination, quarry, goal: The object of my affection has
married someone else. 3 purpose, end, intention, objective,
reason, intent, idea, goal: The object of our visit is to ask
you a few questions.
--v. 4 protest (to or against), interfere (with), raise
objections (to), argue (against), oppose, be against, take
exception (to), disapprove (of), draw the line (at), complain
(about), remonstrate (over or about), take a stand (against),
refuse: I won't object if you want to bring the wine. Would you
object to rereading that passage? If they ask me, I cannot
objection n. protest, opposition, exception, argument, challenge,
interference, demur or demurral or demurrer, question, doubt,
disapproval, interference, complaint, remonstration,
remonstrance, stand, refusal, dislike, antipathy: The meeting
proceeded without further objection from the audience. If you
have no objection, I'd like to leave now. The secretary has
raised an objection to the method of procedure.
objective adj. 1 fair, impartial, just, judicious, equitable, neutral,
disinterested, dispassionate, open-handed, open-minded,
detached, unbiased, unprejudiced, unbigoted, even-handed,
uncoloured, unjaundiced: How can you be objective about the
guilt or innocence of your own child?
--n. 2 target, goal, object, aim, purpose, end (in view),
intent, intention, design, aspiration, ambition, hope: If we
capture the flag, we shall have gained our objective. My
objective is to win the pentathlon.
n. impartiality, fairness, fair-mindedness, equitableness,
equitability, even-handedness, neutrality, disinterest,
detachment, indifference, dispassion: The jury's objectivity
was never in doubt.
obligate n. oblige, pledge, commit, bind; require, compel, constrain,
force: I feel deeply obligated to her for her kindness to our
children. We are obligated to do what we are told.
n. 1 responsibility, duty, charge, burden, onus;
accountability, liability, trust; demand, requirement,
compulsion, Literary devoir: It was Frank's obligation to get
the children home safely. Civil servants have an obligation to
serve the people. I could never fulfil all my obligations. 2
constraint, requirement, contract, promise, pledge, bond,
agreement, covenant: The company is under no obligation to
replace a product because the customer dislikes its colour. I am
under an obligation to her for introducing us. 3 debt,
liability: Denby may be unable to meet all his obligations.
adj. required, demanded, necessary, requisite, compulsory,
mandatory; incumbent; indispensable, essential: Has she been
able to meet all the obligatory qualifications?
oblige v. 1 accommodate, indulge, favour, serve, please, cater to,
gratify: The hotelier obliged us with every luxury he had to
offer. Please oblige us by keeping your dog on a lead. 2 make,
require, demand, force, compel, coerce, bind, obligate: What
hold has she over you that obliges you to do her housework?
obliged adj. 1 thankful, grateful, appreciative, beholden, indebted,
obligated: We are deeply obliged to you for lending us your
car. 2 bound, required, compelled, forced, made, obligated:
Under the terms of the agreement, I am obliged to repay the debt
obliging adj. accommodating, willing, indulgent, gracious, courteous,
civil, considerate, polite, agreeable, amenable, kind, kindly,
helpful, friendly, amiable, neighbourly, supportive: It was
very obliging of you to look after my cat while I was gone.
oblique adj. 1 slanting, slanted, sloping, aslant, inclined, diagonal,
inclining, angled, angling, canted, canting, banked, banking,
cambered, crooked, askew, divergent, diverging, tilted, atilt,
tilting: The roof joins the wall at an oblique angle. 2 awry,
devious, roundabout, indirect, circuitous, circumlocutionary,
evasive, sly, sidelong, offhand, surreptitious, furtive,
implied, clandestine, underhand(ed), deceitful, devious,
deceptive, false: She made some oblique comments about the
v. 1 erase, expunge, rub out, efface, eradicate, wipe out,
delete, dele, strike off or out, strike from, rule out,
eliminate, write off: After the scandal, that name was
obliterated from the roll of honour. 2 annihilate, destroy,
kill, exterminate, wipe out, eliminate, blot out, eradicate,
extirpate: The entrance to the cave was completely obliterated
by the explosion.
oblivion n. 1 blankness, blackness, darkness, obscurity, nothingness,
nihility, anonymity, extinction, non-existence, void, limbo:
The rock band enjoyed brief fame, then sank into oblivion. 2
unawareness, obliviousness, forgetfulness, heedlessness,
disregard, unconsciousness, insensibility: I sank back into the
sweet oblivion of deep sleep.
oblivious adj. unaware, unconscious, unmindful, disregardful, insensible,
insensitive, distant, unconcerned, detached, removed, unfeeling,
abstracted, absent-minded, forgetful, Lethean: Many are
completely oblivious to the plight of the starving millions in
obscure adj. 1 dark, unlit, gloomy, sombre, dismal, murky, dusky,
black, Cimmerian, tenebrous, dim, faint, blurred, veiled,
shadowy, subfusc, subfuscous, umbral, shady, hazy, foggy,
befogged, clouded, nebulous, overcast, cloudy: The traveller's
lantern was barely seen in the obscure reaches of the wood. 2
unclear, uncertain, ambiguous, vague, hazy, doubtful, dubious,
equivocal, indefinite, indistinct, fuzzy, blurred, confused,
confusing, Delphic, puzzling, enigmatic, perplexing, baffling,
mystifying, mysterious, cryptic, incomprehensible, unfamiliar,
foreign, strange: The sorcerer muttered some obscure words, and
a golden horse stood prancing before them. 3 secret, concealed,
hidden, remote, out-of-the-way, inconspicuous, unnoticeable,
secluded, unnoticed: The caped figure scurried down the alley
and disappeared into some obscure doorway. 4 unknown,
unheard-of, anonymous, unnamed, insignificant, unimportant,
inconsequential, humble, lowly, mean, inglorious, inconspicuous,
undistinguished, unnoticed, unsung, minor, little-known: Though
extremely popular, the song was written by an obscure composer.
5 abstruse, arcane, recondite, esoteric, intricate, complex,
occult, out of the ordinary, unfamiliar, Colloq far-out: He is
an authority on some obscure subject like Coptic calligraphy.
--v. 6 cover, conceal, hide, veil, shroud, cloak, mask, screen,
disguise, keep from: Her link with military intelligence was
obscured from her family. 7 dim, bedim, cloud, becloud, dull,
shroud, shade, adumbrate, overshadow, darken, obfuscate, block,
eclipse: The street lamp was obscured by trees.
obscurity n. 1 dimness, darkness, gloom, murk, murkiness, duskiness,
dusk, blackness, faintness, blurriness, shade, shadow, haze,
fog, cloudiness, nebulousness: The two of them vanished into
the obscurity of the night. 2 abstruseness, ambiguousness,
intricacy, complexity, unintelligibility; mystery, arcanum,
secret, esoterica (pl.): Can he truly believe that he has
fathomed all the obscurities of Scripture? 3 insignificance,
unimportance, ingloriousness, inconspicuousness, anonymity,
namelessness, limbo: After a fleeting surge of popularity, punk
rock sank into obscurity.
adj. low, cringing, toadying, toadyish, sycophantic(al),
sycophantish, unctuous, truckling, grovelling, crawling,
fawning, deferential, ingratiating, menial, flattering, servile,
slavish, subservient, submissive, abject, mealy-mouthed, slimy,
Colloq boot-licking, Chiefly Brit smarmy, Taboo slang
brown-nosing, Brit arse-kissing, arse-licking, US ass-licking,
ass-kissing: He is surrounded with obsequious followers who
cater to his every whim.
adj. perceptible, perceivable, noticeable, discernible,
recognizable, detectable, visible, apparent, distinct, evident,
manifest, plain, obvious, clear, explicit, transparent, patent,
tangible, unmistakable or unmistakeable: A marked change in
public sentiment became at once observable.
n. 1 observation, observing, obedience, obeying, compliance,
complying, conformity, conforming, adherence, adhering, keeping,
accordance, regard, recognition, recognizing, respect,
respecting, heed, heeding, attention: Observance of the rules
by everyone makes for a happier community. 2 ceremony,
celebration, ceremonial, practice, rite, ritual, service,
performance, form, custom, convention, tradition, formality,
usage, habit, wont, institution: Almost all the fine arts
derived their origin from religious observances. 3 observation,
examination, inspection, scrutiny, looking, watching: His
observance of the passing scene was chronicled in his diary.
observant adj. 1 watchful, alert, attentive, vigilant, on the lookout, on
the qui vive, on guard, wide awake, regardful, mindful, aware,
keen, keen-eyed, sharp-eyed, eagle-eyed, perceptive, sharp,
shrewd: Hannay was observant of all who passed him on the way
to the train. How very observant of you to spot the man in the
crowd! 2 Usually, observant of. obedient (to), compliant (with),
respectful (of), heedful(of), attentive (to or of), conformist
(to), adherent (to): One must be always be observant of the
rules of the road.
n. 1 watching, examination, scrutiny, inspection, viewing,
survey, surveillance; notice, discovery, attention, awareness:
The police put the house under 24-hour observation. The smuggled
weapon escaped the guard's observation. 2 comment, remark, note,
reflection, opinion, sentiment, point of view, impression,
feeling, commentary, criticism; utterance, word, announcement,
pronouncement, proclamation, declaration: She made a number of
trenchant observations concerning life in Britain today.
observe v. 1 obey, abide by, comply with, be heedful of, attend to,
conform to, regard, keep, follow, adhere to, respect, pay
attention to: We observed the prohibition against swimming. 2
watch, look at, examine, monitor, scrutinize, study, regard,
view, inspect, pore over, contemplate, consider , Colloq check
(out or up on), check over, size up, Slang case: The
naturalists went to the Arctic to observe the polar bears. 3
see, mark, notice, look, perceive: Observe how swiftly the skin
forms pustules when this substance is applied. 4 Sometimes,
observe on or upon. comment (on or upon), remark (on or upon),
mention, say, note, refer (to), make reference to, animadvert on
or upon or to; state, declare: It is impolite to observe on
others' manners. He couldn't help observing to his cell-mate how
easy it would be to escape. 5 celebrate, keep, solemnize,
respect, keep holy, mark, commemorate, memorialize, remember,
recognize: We always observe the sabbath.
observer n. witness, eyewitness, spectator, viewer, onlooker, beholder,
watcher, looker-on; non-participant: UN observers reported that
the battle was over.
obsess v. haunt, harass, plague, bedevil, torment, take over,
preoccupy, dominate, control, grip, possess, hold: He was
obsessed by the conviction that he could design a successful
obsession n. fixed idea, id‚e fixe, fixation, conviction, preoccupation,
prepossession, passion, mania, phobia, Colloq hang-up, thing:
Thoughts of death became his constant obsession.
obsessive adj. haunting, harassing, tormenting, dominating, controlling,
possessing, all-encompassing, passionate, unshakeable or
unshakable: She has an obsessive fear of heights.
adj. fading, waning, on the wane, declining, dying, on the way
out, on the decline, going or passing out of use or fashion or
style: Much of yesterday's newest slang is obsolescent today.
obsolete adj. out of date, out of fashion, out-dated, pass‚, out, dead,
outmoded, old, antiquated, antediluvian, ancient, superannuated,
dated, archaic, old-fashioned, d‚mod‚; unused, disused,
discarded, superseded, extinct, Colloq old hat: The expression
'tickety-boo' is obsolete. He plays his 78-rpm records on an
obstacle n. impediment, hindrance, obstruction, hurdle, hitch, catch,
snag, stumbling-block, barrier, bar, check: The obstacles in
the road prevented our proceeding further. One must often
overcome many obstacles before achieving success.
obstinacy n. obstinateness, stubbornness, doggedness, tenacity,
persistence or persistency, mulishness, pigheadedness,
wilfulness, contrariness, perverseness, perversity,
cantankerousness, recalcitrance, uncooperativeness,
rebelliousness, contumacy, contumaciousness, refractoriness,
intractability, intransigence, pertinacity, pertinaciousness,
obduracy, fixedness, stolidity, inflexibility, firmness, Archaic
frowardness, Colloq Brit bloody-mindedness: His obstinacy and
narrow-mindedness made it impossible to work in any cooperative
way with him.
obstinate adj. stubborn, dogged, tenacious, persistent, mulish, perverse,
headstrong, pigheaded, single-minded, wilful, strong-willed,
self-willed, contrary, recalcitrant, uncooperative, rebellious,
contumacious, refractory, intransigent, pertinacious, obdurate,
fixed, inflexible, stony, adamant, set, unmoving, immovable,
inexorable, intractable, unchangeable, resolute, steadfast,
unyielding, persevering, stiff, rigid, hard, Archaic froward,
Colloq Brit bloody-minded: The obstinate man does not hold
opinions - they hold him.
adj. vociferous, clamorous, noisy, loud, raucous, riotous,
uproarious, tumultuous, boisterous, rowdy, rumbustious,
tempestuous, unruly, disorderly, unmanageable, uncontrollable,
uncontrolled, unrestrained, irrepressible, out of control,
undisciplined, roisterous, wild, turbulent, Colloq rambunctious,
Brit mafficking: The party was getting rough and some of the
guests a bit too obstreperous.
obstruct v. 1 block, bar, check, prevent, stop (up), arrest, halt, clog,
make impassable; bring to a standstill: The vein is obstructed
by a large blood clot. A clogged drain is obstructing the water.
2 hamper, slow, impede, interfere with, retard, hinder,
interrupt, delay, stay, stall: An overturned truck obstructed
traffic on the motorway. 3 preclude, prevent, debar, block,
prohibit, forbid, stop, stand in the way of: They are
manoeuvring to obstruct her from taking over the company.
n. 1 obstacle, barrier, bar, check, stumbling-block, hindrance,
impediment, hurdle, hitch, snag, catch, bottleneck, limitation,
constraint, restriction: The fallen trees created an almost
impassable obstruction. 2 checking, stopping, cessation,
proscription, forbidding, forbiddance; hindering, impeding,
limiting, halting, slowing: The obstruction of the bill's
passage can be blamed on the Tories.
obtain v. 1 get, procure, acquire, come by, come into (the) possession
of, secure, get hold of or one's hands on, grasp, capture, take
possession of, seize; buy, purchase: She has been unable to
obtain the job she wants. You can obtain that kind of soap at
the supermarket. 2 earn, gain: We talked to the manager about
obtaining an increase in wages. 3 prevail, be in force, be in
vogue, exist, subsist, have (a) place, be prevalent, be
established, be customary, apply, be relevant, relate: A
different set of regulations obtains here.
obtrude v. thrust (oneself) forward or forth, intrude, impose
(oneself), force (oneself): The best writers never obtrude
between the reader and the story.
obtrusive adj. interfering, intrusive, meddling, officious, meddlesome,
importunate, forward, presumptuous, forceful, Colloq pushy: She
found him somewhat obtrusive - always giving advice when she
least needed it.
obtuse adj. 1 rounded, unpointed, blunt: When mature, the leaves
become more obtuse. 2 dull, insensitive, unfeeling,
imperceptive, thick-skinned, stolid, thick, dense, doltish,
cloddish, thickheaded, dull-witted, dim-witted, slow-witted,
(mentally) retarded, boneheaded, lumpish, loutish, oafish,
simple, simple-minded: Luke is a bit too obtuse to get the
point of the story.
obvious adj. clear, plain, apparent, patent, perceptible, evident,
self-evident, clear-cut, manifest, palpable, (much) in evidence,
conspicuous, open, visible, overt, ostensible, pronounced,
prominent, glaring, undeniable, unconcealed, unhidden, unsubtle,
distinct, simple, bald, bald-faced, straightforward, direct,
self-explanatory, indisputable, unmistakable or unmistakeable:
There are obvious flaws in the fabric. The reason you were
refused seemed obvious to me.
obviously adv. clearly, plainly, apparently, patently, evidently, simply,
certainly, of course, undeniable, unmistakably or unmistakeably,
indubitably, doubtless(ly): You are obviously the right person
for the assignment.
occasion n. 1 time, moment, circumstance, incident, occurrence,
opportunity, chance, opening, advantage: I took the occasion of
the inquiry to leave town. 2 reason, cause, call,
justification, ground(s), warrant, provocation, prompting,
impulse, stimulus, incitement, inducement: Tom gave David no
occasion to doubt his honesty. 3 event, function, happening,
affair, observance, commemoration, ceremony, celebration, gala,
party,: Grandpapa's ninetieth birthday was a great occasion.
This hall is saved for important occasions. 4 on occasion. See
--v. 5 give rise to, bring about, cause, bring on, effect,
prompt, provoke, evoke, call forth, elicit, call up, induce,
impel, create, generate, engender, produce, make (for): An
increase in the inflation rate occasions a decrease in the value
adj. 1 intermittent, irregular, periodic, random, sporadic,
infrequent, casual, incidental: They staged occasional raids on
the arsenal. He works as an occasional farm hand. 2 additional,
extra, spare, supplementary, incidental, auxiliary, accessory:
We bought a few occasional chairs in case we have company. 3
special, particular, ceremonial, ritual: She writes occasional
verses for memorial services.
adv. sometimes, on occasion, (every) now and then, from time to
time, at times, (every) now and again, once in a while, every so
often, periodically, intermittently, sporadically, irregularly,
off and on: We go up the Lake District for a weekend
occasionally. Trevor occasionally drops in at the local pub for
occult adj. 1 secret, dark, concealed, private, privy, hidden,
obscure, veiled, obscured, shrouded, vague, abstruse, shadowy,
mystical, mysterious, cabbalistic, esoteric, recondite, arcane:
Printing was kept an occult art for generations. 2 magical,
mystical, alchemic(al), unexplained, unexplainable,
inexplicable, puzzling, baffling, perplexing, mystifying,
mysterious, incomprehensible, inscrutable, indecipherable,
impenetrable, unfathomable, transcendental, supernatural,
preternatural, mystic: They dress in odd clothes and
participate in occult rituals at peculiar times of the day and
--n. 3 Usually, the occult. the supernatural, the unknown, the
black arts; arcana, cabbala or cabala or kabbala; cabbalism or
cabalism or kabbalism, occultism, sorcery, witchcraft, black
magic: Keith has studied the occult for many years.
occupant n. resident, inhabitant, occupier, tenant, lessee, leaseholder,
renter, owner, householder, indweller, dweller, denizen, lodger,
roomer, boarder; addressee; incumbent: The occupant of the flat
upstairs is rarely home.
n. 1 job, position, post, situation, appointment, employment,
vocation, line (of work), career, field, calling, trade, m‚tier,
craft, skill, profession, business, work: Claverton pursued his
occupation as a miniaturist for some fifty years. 2 possession,
tenure, occupancy, rule, control, suzerainty, subjugation,
subjection, oppression, bondage: Terrible atrocities were
committed while the land was under the occupation of the
Mongols. 3 conquest, seizure, appropriation, take-over:
Francisco Pizarro was responsible for the occupation of Peru.
occupy v. 1 capture, seize, take possession of, conquer, invade, take
over, overrun, garrison, dominate, hold: Rebel forces had
occupied the capital and toppled the governor. 2 live or reside
or dwell in, tenant, be established or ensconced or situated in,
establish or ensconce or situate oneself in, inhabit, be settled
in or into, settle in or into, take up residence in, make one's
home in, move in or into; be located in: She occupies a
luxurious flat in Belgravia. 3 engage, busy, absorb,
monopolize, hold, take up or over, catch, grab, seize, grip;
divert, amuse, entertain, distract, beguile, preoccupy, hold
(someone's) attention, interest, engross, involve: Other
matters occupied my attention last Sunday. While one man was
keeping the shopkeeper occupied, the other man was robbing the
till. 4 fill (in or up), take up, cover, extend over, consume,
use (up), Colloq eat up: The car occupies more garage space
than I thought it would. Housework occupies very little of my
occur v. 1 happen, take place, arise, come about, befall, come to
pass, chance, appear, surface, materialize, develop, become
manifest, manifest itself, Colloq transpire, crop up, come off,
turn up: We reported to the police all that had occurred. What
occurred to make you late this time? 2 occur to. dawn on,
strike, hit, come to, suggest itself to, cross (someone's) mind,
enter (someone's) head, be brought to (someone's) attention:
Has it occurred to you that she might not like opera?
n. 1 happening, event, incident, phenomenon, affair, matter,
experience: Earthquakes are frequent occurrences in California.
2 existence, instance, manifestation, materialization,
appearance, development: The occurrence of mutations
diversifies the species. 3 frequency, incidence, rate;
likelihood, chance: What is the recorded occurrence of typhoons
in the South China Sea?
ocean n. 1 (deep blue) sea, (bounding) main, high seas, the deep,
Davy Jones's locker, the depths, Colloq the briny, the drink:
The sails filled, and our tiny craft was swept out into the open
ocean. 2 Often, oceans. flood, abundance, multitude, profusion,
plethora, Colloq scads, loads, tons, lots, oodles, gobs,
zillions: The direct mail campaign yielded oceans of responses.
oceanic adj. marine, pelagic, thalassic; salt-water, deep-water,
aquatic, maritime, sea, ocean: These creatures are chiefly
oceanic, coming ashore only to breed.
odd adj. 1 strange, peculiar, unusual, uncommon, different,
unexpected, unfamiliar, extraordinary, remarkable, atypical,
untypical, exotic, out of the ordinary, unparalleled,
unconventional, exceptional, unique, singular, individual,
anomalous, idiosyncratic, rare, deviant, outlandish, uncanny,
queer, curious, bizarre, weird, eccentric, funny, quaint,
fantastic, freak, abnormal, freakish, Colloq offbeat, screwy,
kinky, freaky, Slang Brit barmy, bent, rum, US and Canadian
kooky or kookie: Ebenezer is an odd name for a dog. Where did
you get that odd hat? I cannot account for his odd behaviour. 2
occasional, casual, part-time, irregular, random, sporadic,
discontinuous, disconnected, various, varied, miscellaneous,
sundry, incidental: After being made redundant, he worked at
odd jobs for a year or so. The odd shower can be expected during
the afternoon. 3 leftover, surplus, remaining, unused, spare,
superfluous, extra: After the patterns were cut, we were
allowed to take the odd scraps of fabric. 4 uneven, unmatched,
unpaired: This gallery has an odd number of columns.
oddity n. 1 peculiarity, strangeness, unnaturalness, curiousness,
incongruity, incongruousness, eccentricity, outlandishness,
extraordinariness, unconventionality, bizarreness, weirdness,
queerness, oddness, unusualness, individuality, singularity,
distinctiveness, anomalousness, anomaly, Colloq kinkiness, US
and Canadian kookiness: What caught my attention was the oddity
of the clothes worn by the students. 2 peculiarity, curiosity,
rarity, freak, original, phenomenon, character, eccentric,
nonconformist, fish out of water, odd bird, rara avis, misfit,
square peg in a round hole, maverick, Colloq card, crank,
weirdie or weirdo, oner, Brit odd fish, US and Canadian kook,
oddball, screwball: The townspeople thought Albert an oddity,
but we knew he was a genius. 3 peculiarity, irregularity,
anomaly, idiosyncrasy, eccentricity, deviation, quirk,
mannerism, twist, kink, crotchet: I suppose people all have
their own oddities when it comes to food.
odds n.pl. 1 chances, likelihood, probability: The odds are that
Janet will finish the job in time. 2 edge, advantage, lead,
superiority: We have won before against greater odds. 3
difference, inequality, disparity, unevenness, discrepancy,
dissimilarity, distinction: It makes no odds who you are, you
may not go in there. 4 at odds. at variance, at loggerheads, at
daggers drawn, at sixes and sevens, at cross purposes, at each
other's throats, in disagreement, in opposition, on bad terms,
not in keeping, out of line, inharmonious, conflicting,
clashing, disagreeing, differing: Teenagers have been at odds
with their parents since time immemorial. 5 odds and ends.
oddments, fragments, debris, leftovers, leavings, remnants, bits
(and pieces), particles, shreds, snippets, scraps, rubbish,
litter, Colloq Brit odds and sods: We managed to pack
everything into boxes except for a few odds and ends.
odour n. 1 smell, scent, aroma, bouquet, fragrance, perfume,
redolence; stench, stink, fetor or foetor: The air was filled
with the odour of orange blossoms. The odour of rotting
vegetation assailed our noses. 2 air, breath, hint, suggestion,
atmosphere, spirit, quality, flavour, savour, aura, tone: She
would never allow the odour of scandal to touch her family.
off adv. 1 away, out, elsewhere: His secretary said that he'd gone
off for the weekend. 2 distant, away, afar, far-off: The
U-boat was a mile off. Christmas is only a month off.
--adj. 3 incorrect, wrong, inaccurate, in error, mistaken,
misguided, misled, off the mark: I'm afraid you're off on the
question of the best way to approach him. 4 mad, insane, crazy,
eccentric, touched (in the head), Colloq dotty, dippy, nutty,
potty: Underwood's aunt is slightly off. 5 remote, distant,
improbable, unlikely: He went to the station on the off chance
that she would be on the midday train. 6 off work, at leisure,
idle, free, open; on holiday: Can you get the day off tomorrow
to go on a picnic with me? 7 sour, mouldy, bad, rotten, rancid,
turned, high: The cream smells a bit off. 8 bad, unpropitious,
disappointing, unsatisfactory, disheartening, displeasing,
slack, slow, substandard, below par, below average, quiet: It
has been an off year for the local football team. 9 cancelled,
postponed: The meeting is off till next week. 10 situated,
fixed, supplied: Is he really that well off? She was much worse
off when they were married.
offbeat adj. strange, eccentric, bizarre, weird, peculiar, odd, queer,
unconventional, unorthodox, Bohemian, idiosyncratic, unusual,
unexpected, outr‚, outlandish, deviant, novel, innovative,
Colloq kinky, way-out, far-out, off-the-wall, freaky, weirdo:
Jasper's offbeat, satirical humour has made him a popular
adj. 1 unwell, ill, off form, out of sorts, queasy, sick, run
down, awful, seedy, Colloq under the weather, poorly, Slang
lousy, rotten: I have been feeling off colour since eating that
fish. 2 indelicate, risqu‚, ribald, bawdy, indecent,
suggestive, broad, indelicate, inelegant, improper,
inappropriate, unseemly, blue: My mother does not tolerate
off-colour remarks at the dinner table.
offence n. 1 violation, breach, crime, felony, misdemeanour,
infraction, transgression, trespass, wrong, wrongdoing, sin,
peccadillo, misdeed, fault, infringement, malefaction;
dereliction, lapse, slip, error: He was accused of offences
against the rights of others. Some regard the splitting of an
infinitive an offence against the Queen's English. 2 give
offence. incur displeasure, create annoyance or irritation or
resentment or pique, evoke indignation or anger; slight, injure,
hurt, harm, offend, insult, outrage, Colloq put (someone) down:
He denied that he meant to give offence in his criticism of the
play. 3 take offence. take umbrage, feel displeasure or
annoyance or resentment or pique or indignation, be angered or
enraged: Why should you take offence at what a fool says?
offend v. 1 hurt (someone's) feelings, affront, insult, slight, snub,
give offence, hurt, pain, displease, disgruntle, chagrin,
humiliate, embarrass; pique, fret, gall, vex, annoy, irritate,
nettle, needle, rankle, provoke, ruffle, outrage, rile, anger ,
Colloq miff, put (someone's) back up, put (someone's) nose out
of joint, tread or step on (someone's) toes, put (someone) out,
rattle: I hope you weren't offended by my saying that you could
do with losing some weight. 2 disgust, sicken, turn (someone's)
stomach, nauseate, repel, repulse, revolt, Colloq turn (someone)
off: I, for one, am offended by seeing explicit sex on
offender n. criminal, malefactor, lawbreaker, outlaw, wrongdoer,
culprit, miscreant, transgressor, sinner, evil-doer, Slang
crook: I don't know if they apprehended the offender.
offensive adj. 1 antagonistic, hostile, contentious, quarrelsome,
attacking, aggressive, threatening, provocative, combative,
martial, belligerent, warlike, bellicose: The minute the enemy
made an offensive move, we attacked. 2 insulting, rude,
disrespectful, uncivil, insolent, discourteous, impolite,
unmannerly, impertinent, impudent, objectionable, displeasing:
Nigel has been asked to leave because of his offensive
behaviour. 3 disgusting, unsavoury, unpalatable, nauseating,
nauseous, noisome, noxious, obnoxious, repugnant, repulsive,
repellent, revolting, abominable, foul, loathsome, vile,
sickening, fetid or foetid, rank, malodorous, mephitic, putrid,
putrescent, putrefying, rancid, rotten: An offensive stench
emanated from the stagnant pond.
--n. 4 attack, offence: At last, our team was on the
offensive. 5 attack, onslaught, drive, assault, offence, push:
The offensive to capture the arsenal will be launched at dawn
offer v. 1 proffer, propose, tender, bid: They offered twice what I
had paid for it. She offered to buy my old car. 2 make
available, present, tender, put on the market, sell, put up for
sale, put up, furnish: The supermarket is offering lettuce at
half price. 3 proffer, provide, submit, put forward or forth,
advance, tender, extend, make; suggest: Can you offer a
suggestion for improving office efficiency? He offered to forget
the whole thing if I paid him њ1000. 4 volunteer, present
oneself, step or come forward: I offered to help with her
--n. 5 proposal, bid, tender, offering: She said she would
double any offer we have already had for the painting. 6
proposal, presentation, proffer, proposition: The company said
they could entertain no offers past the deadline. My offer to
lend the money was contingent on being repaid.
offering n. sacrifice, oblation, contribution, donation, gift, present:
They made offerings to the gods in order to propitiate them.
offhand adj. 1 offhanded, casual, informal, nonchalant, cool, distant,
aloof, easygoing, blas‚, unceremonious, relaxed, easy, smooth,
unconcerned, insouciant, light-hearted, uninterested,
superficial, cursory, cavalier, careless: His offhand reaction
shows that he doesn't care as much about her as we thought. 2
curt, brusque, abrupt, perfunctory, ungracious, glib, smooth:
When asked when he expected to pay, he gave an offhand reply. 3
extempore, impromptu, unpremeditated, unstudied, extemporaneous,
informal, off the cuff, ad lib: She rose to make some offhand
comments about the accomplishments of the guest of honour.
--adv. 4 extempore, impromptu, extemporaneously, informally,
off the cuff, ad lib, on the spur of the moment, at the drop of
a hat: That was a pretty good speech considering it was made
offhand. 5 casually, informally, incidentally, by the way,
offhandedly, by the by, parenthetically, in passing, en passant,
cursorily, superficially: Offhand, I'd say that the two of them
deserve each other.
office n. 1 business, organization, department, firm, house,
establishment, company, corporation: Whenever I'm travelling, I
always try to phone the office once a day. 2 commission,
department, branch; section, division: He was with the overseas
office for years. 3 workplace, offices; room, area: Our new
office is completely air-conditioned. My office is next to the
board room. 4 duty, obligation, responsibility, charge,
commission, service, employment, occupation, position, post,
appointment, assignment, chore, task, job, place, berth, work,
role, function, purpose, part, bit, Colloq thing, Slang shtick:
He was appointed to the office of Minister of Health. In her
office as Minister of Finance, she wields great power. 5
offices. indulgence, intermediation, auspices, support,
advocacy, aegis, help, aid, intercession, mediation, patronage,
favour, backing, backup: She appealed to the police chief's
good offices to allow her to visit her son.
officer n. 1 (public) official, dignitary, office-holder, public
servant, office-bearer, (political) appointee, (government)
agent, bureaucrat, functionary, commissioner, administrator,
manager, director; apparatchik: He was stopped by customs
officers who demanded to search his baggage. The bailiff is an
officer of the court. 2 policeman, policewoman, police officer,
officer of the law, constable, Old-fashioned catchpole, US
lawman, peace officer, G-man, T-Man, Colloq gendarme, Slang cop,
copper, fuzz, US dick, narc, Brit Old Bill, tec: The officer
standing at the door was there to serve a writ.
official adj. 1 authorized, legitimate, lawful, legal, authentic, bona
fide, proper, true, accredited, valid, documented, licensed,
sanctioned, endorsed, certified, verified, recognized, accepted:
I won't believe I've won till I hold the official notification
in my own hands. 2 ceremonial, formal, solemn, ritualistic,
ceremonious, pompous, stiff, proper, seemly, decorous: She has
to make an acceptance speech at the official dinner.
--n. 3 See officer, 1, above.
officiate v. preside, direct, manage, chair, conduct, oversee, head (up),
run, lead, supervise, superintend; umpire, referee, judge,
adjudicate, moderate, mediate: Who will officiate at the annual
meeting? Dennis has been invited to officiate at the football
match on Saturday.
officious adj. dictatorial, intrusive, intruding, meddlesome, meddling,
obtrusive, forward, bold, interfering, aggressive, insistent,
persistent, demanding, importunate: Hamish is one of those
officious little men who are always ready to give unasked-for
offset v. 1 compensate, counterbalance, countervail, counterpoise,
counteract, balance (out), equalize, even (out or up), square,
cancel (out), neutralize, nullify, make up (for), atone (for),
redress; recompense, repay, make amends or restitution, make
good, reimburse, indemnify: The votes from the Centre offset
those lost to the Far Left. How are you going to offset losses
resulting from pilferage by shop assistants?
--n. 2 compensation, counterbalance, counteraction, check,
equalizer, neutralizer: The bank manager considered the money
owed to the company as sufficient offset for the money owed by
offshoot n. 1 branch, spur; shoot, limb, bough, twig, stem, appendage,
sucker, sprout, sprig, tendril, scion: There is an offshoot of
this road that goes up the hill. The offshoots are trained to
grow along the arms of the espalier. 2 descendant, relation,
relative, kin, kindred, offspring, scion, heir: One offshoot of
the family later emigrated to the United States. 3 outgrowth,
development, branch, spin-off; by-product, derivative: An
offshoot of the company manufactures optical instruments. The
sale of gravel for concrete is an offshoot of our mining
offspring n. (Often used as plural) child, progeny, issue, seed,
youngster, brood, young, successor, heir: None of the earl's
offspring ever amounted to much.
often adv. frequently, regularly, much, many times, usually,
habitually, commonly; ordinarily, again and again, over and over
again, time after time, repeatedly, time and (time) again, in
many cases or instances, on numerous occasions, day in (and) day
out, continually, Literary oftentimes, oft: How often do you
visit your mother? We often went to the seaside for our summer
holiday. She was often warned not to go too near the edge.
ogle v. 1 leer, eye, make eyes at, Colloq give (someone) the glad
eye, give (someone) the once-over, make sheep's eyes at: The
old lecher is always ogling the pretty young secretaries. 2
gape, gaze, goggle, gawk, stare, Slang Brit gawp or gaup: We
took turns ogling the rings of Saturn through the telescope.
--n. 3 leer, stare, gape, goggle, oeillade, Colloq once-over,
glad eye: They all crowded round the paper for an ogle at the
ogre n. ogress, monster, giant, fiend, demon, troll, man-eater,
bogey, bogeyman, bugbear, spectre, Minotaur, Cyclops, Gorgon,
Caliban; brute, sadist, villain, cad, scoundrel: The ogre
chased Jack to the beanstalk. The persistent ogre of poverty
threatened him all his life.
oil n. 1 lubricant, grease, lubricator, unguent: A little oil will
stop that squeak. 2 fuel: Miraculously, the lamp burned for
eight days with only one day's supply of oil.
--v. 3 lubricate, grease: Oil the bearings or they will burn
oily adj. 1 greasy, oleaginous, fat, fatty, adipose, pinguid,
sebaceous, soapy, saponaceous, buttery, butyraceous, lardaceous;
slippery, slimy, slithery, smooth, unctuous: The cars slid
about as the tyres failed to grip the oily surface. 2 glib,
smooth, unctuous, servile, obsequious, sycophantic,
ingratiating, flattering, hypocritical; suave, urbane,
sophisticated, Colloq smarmy: Sarah found Curtis's approach
ointment n. unguent, balm, salve, emollient, embrocation, demulcent,
pomade, pomatum, petrolatum; lotion, cream: A little ointment
will keep the sore moist till it heals.
OK interj. 1 O.K.!, Okay!, Fine!, Yes!, Definitely!, Agreed!, Very
well!, All right!: 'Would you have dinner with me?' 'OK!' 'I
think you ought to leave.' 'OK!'
--adj. 2 satisfactory, acceptable, correct, suitable, all
right, fine, good, in order: Is it OK if I go the cinema
tonight? That dress is OK to wear to the dance. 3 adequate,
mediocre, fair, middling, passable, tolerable, Colloq so so,
pretty good, not bad, not great: The film was OK, I suppose. 4
well, healthy; sound, in good condition, in fine fettle, fine,
all right: Now that he's on the proper medication, Sam is OK.
The mechanic assured me that my car would be OK.
--v. 5 approve, sanction, ratify, authorize, endorse, support,
agree to, allow, consent to, agree to, Colloq give the go-ahead
or green light to, give the thumbs up or the nod to,
rubber-stamp: A department head must OK your expense account
before you can be reimbursed.
--n. 6 approval, sanction, ratification, authorization,
endorsement, agreement, support, permission, consent: You need
an OK from the security guard to enter the restricted area.
--adv. 7 all right, satisfactorily, well (enough), adequately:
She can get along OK without me.
old adj. 1 elderly, ageing, aged, advanced in years or age,
long-lived, past one's prime, grey, full of years, getting on
(in years), hoary, superannuated, Colloq over the hill, past it:
Bill is too old to continue working in the mine. 2 ancient,
antiquated, antediluvian, fossil, prehistoric, Noachian,
obsolete, antique, outdated, out of date, old-time, dated,
archaic, stale, out-moded, pass‚, Literary Ogygian: The
archaeological dig has turned up some interesting old artefacts.
3 time-worn, decayed, dilapidated, ramshackle, disintegrated,
crumbling, shabby, worn out, dusty, broken-down, tumbledown,
disused, unused, cast off, cast aside: They have torn down the
old mill near the river. 4 long-standing, well-established,
enduring, lasting, age-old, time-honoured: It is hard to see an
old friendship die. 5 former, olden, bygone, early, primordial,
primitive: In the old days, it took a week to travel from
London to Edinburgh. 6 previous, preceding, prior, former,
quondam, erstwhile, one-time, ex-: The West End was my old
stamping-ground when I lived in London. 7 experienced, veteran,
practised, (well-)versed, knowledgeable, proficient,
accomplished, adept, skilled, expert, old-time: Charles is an
old hand at steam engines. 8 dear, beloved, loved, esteemed,
valued, precious, well-known, intimate, close, familiar:
Penelope is an old friend of the family's.
adj. antiquated, antique, pass‚, out-moded, out-dated,
unfashionable, stale, out-dated, dated, out of date, tired,
old-time, obsolete, obsolescent, dead, superseded, replaced,
disused, out, old-fangled, old hat: Whoever thought we would
see the day when miniskirts were old-fashioned?
omen n. portent, augury, sign, token, foretoken, indication,
harbinger, forewarning, premonition, foreshadowing, writing on
the wall, prognostic, presage: Solar eclipses were once
regarded as omens, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
ominous adj. 1 foreboding, threatening, fateful, dark, black, gloomy,
lowering or louring, menacing, sinister; unpropitious,
unfavourable, ill-omened, ill-starred, unpromising,
star-crossed, inauspicious: With ominous solemnity, the judge
placed a black cloth square on his head before passing the death
sentence. 2 minatory, warning, admonitory, cautionary: The
whispering had taken on ominous overtones. 3 portentous,
prophetic, oracular, vaticinal, predictive, prognostic, augural,
mantic, sibyllic, meaningful, premonitory, foreshadowing,
foretelling, foretokening, indicative: Virtually everything was
regarded as ominous in ancient times.
omission n. 1 non-inclusion, omitting, leaving out or off, excluding,
eliminating, dropping, skipping; exclusion, exception, deletion,
elimination, excision: The omission of your name from the list
was a mistake. Allowing for inadvertent omissions, the inventory
is complete. 2 failure, default, neglect, dereliction,
oversight, shortcoming, negligence: She is being punished for
her innocent omission in failing to notify the police while he
is at liberty despite his deliberate commission of a crime.
omit v. 1 leave out, exclude, skip, except, pass over; delete,
erase, cancel, eradicate, edit out, strike (out), dele, cut
(out), cross out, obliterate: She was offended because he
omitted any mention of all that she had contributed. 2 neglect,
disregard, fail, forget, overlook, let slide, ignore: I omitted
to tell you that your sister telephoned yesterday.
once adv. 1 once upon a time, formerly, (at) one time, on a former
occasion, previously, before, in days gone by, in olden days, in
the (good) old days, long ago, some time ago, years or ages or
aeons ago, in days of yore: Your hair is as long as mine once
was. He was once a famous film star. That once revered leader
has fallen. 2 one time, on one occasion, a single time: He has
visited his family only once in all these years. 3 once and for
all. finally, positively, definitely, decidedly, conclusively,
for good: We must settle the itinerary once and for all before
we can make the bookings. 4 once in a while. occasionally,
(every) now and then, now and again, at times, sometimes,
periodically, from time to time, at intervals, sporadically: We
go to the theatre once in a while.
--conj. 5 (if) ever, as soon as, at any time: Once the bus
comes, you'd best get on it straight away.
--n. 6 at once. a immediately, straight away, right away,
directly, without delay, promptly, instantly, post-haste; in a
wink, in the twinkling of an eye, in a minute or moment or
second or split second, in no time (at all), before you can turn
around, before you can say 'Jack Robinson', in a trice, Colloq
in a jiffy, in two shakes of a lamb's tail: Watson, come here
at once. I'll be there at once. b together, at the same time,
simultaneously, at a stroke, in the same instant, in the same
breath, Colloq at one go, at a go, in one go: You cannot be in
two places at once.
oncoming adj. 1 advancing, arriving, coming, nearing, approaching,
onrushing, imminent: He swerved and just managed to avoid the
--n. 2 onset, beginning, nearing, arrival, advance, approach:
With the oncoming of spring, the birds returned.
one adj. 1 single, lone, solitary, individual, sole, only: The one
time I kissed Margie it was heaven. 2 unified, united,
inseparable, joined, undivided, one and the same, identical,
equal, at one, harmonious, in unison, whole, entire, complete:
When he went into a trance, he felt one with his God. 3 a
particular, a certain, a given, a specific: I recall one
occasion when she brought all her dogs into work.
--pron. 4 a person, an individual, a man or a woman, everybody,
everyone, anybody, anyone; people; Possibly offensive man: One
ought to treat others as one would like to be treated. One
cannot be too careful these days.
--n. 5 joke, story, anecdote, chestnut, one-liner; limerick,
rhyme, ditty, song; bromide: Have you heard the one that
begins, 'There was a young man from Loch Ness'?
one-sided adj. 1 partial, biased, partisan, prejudiced, bigoted, unfair,
unjust, inequitable, close-minded, narrow-minded, intolerant:
His is a one-sided view of the problem. 2 lopsided, unbalanced,
unequal, unequalized, uneven, disproportionate, Slang cock-eyed:
The swelling on his left cheek made Tom's face look very
one-sided. 3 unilateral, independent, exclusionary, exclusive:
They made a one-sided decision to halt production of nuclear
ongoing adj. 1 continuing, continued, continuous, continual, ceaseless,
unbroken, uninterrupted, constant, perpetual, non-stop,
relentless, persistent, unending, endless, interminable,
running: There has been an ongoing dispute with the museum over
the authenticity of the sculpture. 2 developing, evolving,
growing, successive, unfolding, progressing, progressive:
Rather than come to a hasty decision, we decided to monitor
onlooker n. spectator, observer, looker-on, eyewitness, witness,
watcher, viewer; bystander, passer-by: She was merely an
onlooker, not a participant. Onlookers reported that the driver
had run away from the accident.
only adj. 1 sole, single, solitary, lone, one and only, exclusive:
He is the only one who can identify the murderer.
--adv. 2 solely, just, exclusively, alone: He has a face that
only a mother could love. They have been here only twice. She
gets her own way only because she has a tantrum if anyone
crosses her. Harry was correct in one respect only. 3 merely,
simply, barely, at best, at worst, at most, just, purely, not or
no more than, not or no greater than: She is only seventeen. I
received your note only today. Don't get excited, it's only a
--conj. 4 but, however, on the other hand, on the contrary,
contrariwise: The flowers are lovely, only they have no scent.
onset n. 1 attack, assault, onrush, onslaught, charge, strike, hit,
raid, storming, sally, sortie: These troops had to bear the
brunt of the onset. 2 beginning, start, outset, initiation,
inauguration, commencement, inception, dawn, birth, origin,
genesis, appearance, debut: We must leave before the onset of
the monsoon season. The sudden onset of a new policy will throw
the ministers into a panic.
onward adj. forward, advancing, progressive, progressing, moving
onward or forward: They resumed their onward march, laying
waste to the countryside as they went.
onwards adv. onward, forwards or forward, ahead, in front, on, forth:
They marched onwards through the dismal valley. From this day
onwards afternoon visiting hours will be from two to four
opacity n. 1 opaqueness, darkness, murkiness, dimness, obscurity,
impermeability, impenetrability: The opacity of the lens
increases automatically in the presence of sunlight. 2
obscurity, density, impenetrability, unintelligibility,
indefiniteness, vagueness, reconditeness, abstruseness,
ambiguity, equivocation, mystification: For centuries
scientists were unable to penetrate the opacity of the question
of what occurred when substances burned. 3 stupidity, dullness,
denseness, thickness, obtuseness: A light finally dawned
through the thick opacity of his brain.
adj. opaline, iridescent, nacreous, pearly, lustrous: The sea
was opalescent in the moonlight.
opaque adj. 1 dark, murky, dim, turbid, muddy, cloudy, obscure,
obscured, obfuscated, black, impermeable, impenetrable, clouded,
non-transparent, untransparent, non-translucent, hazy, blurred,
blurry, smoky: Solar eclipses should be viewed directly only
through special opaque glass. 2 unclear, vague, indefinite,
obscure, unfathomable, unplumbable, baffling, mystifying,
ambiguous, equivocal, impenetrable, cryptic, enigmatic,
puzzling, perplexing, mysterious, elusive, abstruse, arcane,
recondite: Despite years of study, the inscriptions on the tomb
have remained opaque to scholars. 3 unintelligent, dense, thick,
dull, obtuse, stupid, dull-witted, stolid, thickheaded,
dunderheaded, dunderpated, slow, doltish, backward, cloddish:
He was too opaque to notice the jeers of his colleagues.
open adj. 1 ajar, gaping, agape, unfastened, unlocked, unbarred,
unbolted, unlatched, unclosed: Come on in - the door is open.
2 yawning, agape, uncovered, revealed, unsealed, exposed, bare:
Her uncle escaped by hiding for three nights in an open grave.
3 unwrapped, unsealed, unfastened: The package was open and the
contents gone. 4 free, accessible, public, available;
obtainable; unrestricted, unobstructed, unencumbered or
unincumbered, unimpeded, unhindered, unhampered, unregulated,
unconditional, unqualified: The parks are open to all. We were
allowed open access to the library stacks. 5 unprotected,
unenclosed, unsheltered, bare; uncovered, exposed: They spent a
week in an open boat before being rescued. The roof can be
retracted, leaving the interior completely open to the sky. 6
unsettled, unagreed, unsigned, unsealed, unclinched,
unestablished, unconcluded, undecided, pending: As far as I am
concerned, the deal is open till the contract is signed. 7
undecided, unsettled, unresolved, debatable, arguable,
problematic, moot, US up in the air: Whether they should get
married is a question that will remain open until he returns
from abroad. 8 unscheduled, unbooked, unspoken for, unreserved,
uncommitted, free, unpromised: The doctor has an hour open at
noon on Friday. 9 clear, unobstructed, wide open, uncluttered,
roomy, spacious, extensive, expansive; treeless, uncrowded,
unfenced, unenclosed; ice-free, navigable, unblocked, passable:
We travelled through open country for days. In the spring the
shipping lanes will again be open. 10 available, unfilled,
vacant, untaken: There are not many jobs open in this part of
the country. 11 receptive, open-minded, flexible, amenable,
persuasible or persuadable, pliant, willing, responsive: The
management is open to suggestions for improving its products and
services. 12 exposed, public, well-known, widely known,
unconcealed: That they are living together is an open secret.
13 evident, obvious, conspicuous, manifest, clear, unconcealed,
unequivocal, plain, palpable, apparent, patent, downright, out
and out, blatant, flagrant, glaring, brazen: He operates with
open disregard for the law. 14 generous, liberal, charitable,
unreserved, open-handed, liberal, munificent, magnanimous,
big-hearted, beneficent, bounteous, unselfish, unstinting,
humanitarian, altruistic: They are quite open when it comes to
giving to charity. 15 unreserved, candid, frank, outspoken,
straightforward, forthright, direct, honest, sincere, guileless,
artless, fair: He found it difficult to be open with his wife.
16 free, unrestrained, unconstrained, uninhibited, unreserved,
unrestricted: They have an open marriage, each aware of the
other's affairs. 17 unfolded, extended, spread (out),
outstretched, outspread: She ran into my open arms. 18 liable,
subject, susceptible, exposed, inclined, predisposed, disposed:
These fraudulent shipping documents may well leave the captain
open to prosecution for barratry. 19 unprotected, undefended,
unfortified, exposed: With the invaders at the gates, Paris was
declared an open city.
--v. 20 begin, start, initiate, commence, get under way,
inaugurate, launch, put in or into operation, activate, get
going, set in motion; establish, set up; Colloq get or start the
ball rolling, get or put the show on the road, kick off: The
minister opened the proceedings with an interminable speech.
Jeremy is planning to open a restaurant in Pebble Lane. The show
opens in Manchester next week. 21 unlock, unbar, unlatch,
unbolt, unfasten; uncover; uncork, unseal; undo, untie, unwrap;
pull out: Open the door. Open the box. Open the bottle. Open
your present. He opened the drawer. 22 unblock, clear,
unobstruct, unclog, unstop: They had to dig up the yard to open
the drain. The new law has opened the way for increased exports.
23 disclose, unveil, uncover, expose, display, show, exhibit,
reveal, divulge, bring to light, communicate, bring out,
unbosom, explain, present, announce, release, publish, air, make
known, advertise: The wonders of the language were opened to me
by my first dictionary. 24 expand, spread (out), stretch out,
open up or out, unfurl, extend: The flag opened to the breeze.
25 present, offer, furnish, provide, afford, yield, reveal,
uncover, raise, contribute, introduce: Expansion of technology
opens new business opportunities every day.
opening n. 1 break, breach, rent, rift, cleft, crack, crevice, fissure,
cranny, chink, pit, gap, split, slit, slot, aperture, hole,
orifice, separation: Flowers grew from openings in the wall. 2
opportunity, chance, occasion, toe-hold, foothold, Colloq break,
toe or foot in the door, Brit look-in: I was waiting for an
appropriate opening to make my presentation. 3 job, position,
opportunity, vacancy: Is there likely to be an opening in the
art department of your company? 4 beginning, commencement,
start, birth, origin, outset, onset, inauguration, launch,
send-off, initiation, presentation, debut; vernissage, US
start-off, start-up: The opening of the autumn social season
was marked by Malcolm's birthday party. Aren't you going to the
opening at the museum tonight?
openly adv. 1 brazenly, brashly, flagrantly, unabashedly, unashamedly,
unreservedly, boldly, audaciously, flauntingly: She has openly
defied the direct orders of her employer. 2 frankly,
unreservedly, plainly, forthrightly, candidly, directly,
outright, freely, outspokenly: The man admitted openly that he
had stolen the plans for the missile.
operable adj. workable, practicable, serviceable, usable, functional,
fit, operational, in working order or condition: Aircraft
engines that rely on oxygen for burning fuel are not operable
where the air is too thin.
operate v. 1 go, run, perform; work, function, serve, act: This watch
operates even under water. The drug operates to reduce blood
pressure. 2 manage, run, direct, conduct, control, carry on,
ply, manipulate, handle; US drive: Katherine has been operating
as an antiques dealer for years. It is unsafe to operate this
machinery without goggles.
operation n. 1 function, functioning, working, running, performance,
action, motion, movement: The operation of the internal
combustion engine is very simple. 2 manipulation, handling,
direction, running, control, management, managing; manoeuvring:
The operation of the aircraft is under the control of the
captain. 3 undertaking, enterprise, venture, project, affair,
deal, procedure, proceeding, (day-to-day) business, transaction:
Who will be in charge of the operation while the president is
abroad? 4 Often, operations. action, manoeuvre, mission, task,
campaign, exercise: The generals directed military operations
from positions close to enemy lines. 5 in or into operation.
functioning, operative, in effect, in force, operating,
operational, functional, effective, efficacious: Is the factory
in operation yet? The new regulations went into operation last
operative adj. 1 See operation, 5, above.
--n. 2 worker, hand, employee; craftsman, craftswoman, artisan,
mechanic, machinist: We hired two more lathe operatives today.
3 private detective, (private) investigator, Colloq private eye,
sleuth, Brit sleuth-hound, US P.I., gumshoe, Slang (private)
dick, US shamus, eye: Our operatives reported that Jones had
been seen in the company of a known enemy agent. 4 espionage or
intelligence agent, counter-espionage or counter-intelligence
agent, spy, counter-spy, undercover agent or man, (FBI or CIA)
agent, US G-man, Colloq US company man, member of the firm: We
had an operative at the top level of the NKVD.
operator n. 1 (bus or taxi or train) driver; worker, operative,
manipulator, practitioner: These operators are required to take
safety courses. 2 director, administrator, manager, supervisor,
superintendent: Shaughnessey is the operator of a roofing
business in Tring. 3 machinator, faker, fraud, manipulator,
manoeuvrer, Colloq finagler, wise guy, Slang smooth or slick
operator, smoothie, wheeler-dealer, big-shot, big-time operator,
Chiefly US and Canadian big wheel: Claude is a cunning operator
who always gets what he goes after.
opinion n. 1 belief, judgement, thought, sentiment, (point of) view,
viewpoint, conviction, way of thinking, perception, idea,
impression, notion, conception, theory, id‚e re‡u; mind: It is
my opinion that sickness benefits ought to be increased. In her
opinion all men are chauvinists. 2 evaluation, estimation,
estimate, appraisal, appreciation, impression: Myra has a very
low opinion of Ray's taste in architecture.
adj. 1 stubborn, pigheaded, obstinate, doctrinaire, inflexible,
dogmatic, single-minded, cocksure, obdurate, dictatorial,
dogged, mulish, bull-headed, overbearing: Felix is too
opinionated to change his mind even if he knows he is wrong. 2
prejudiced, biased, bigoted, one-sided, jaundiced, coloured,
partial, partisan: You can count on Joan for an opinionated
view of social values.
opponent n. antagonist, adversary, disputant, contestant, competitor,
contender, rival, foe, enemy; the opposition: He may be my
opponent in the chess competition, but we are the best of
opportune adj. 1 favourable, advantageous, auspicious, good, felicitous,
happy, propitious, beneficial, helpful, fortunate, lucky,
profitable: As I need money, and you have it to invest, our
meeting is most opportune. 2 timely, well-timed, seasonable,
apt, appropriate, germane, pertinent, convenient, fitting,
suitable, becoming: If this is not an opportune time to bring
up the matter of the money you owe me, just say so.
adj. expedient, selfish, taking advantage, exploitive or
exploitative, unprincipled, Machiavellian, opportunist: Don't
you agree that it was opportunistic of him to inform on his own
brother for a reward?
n. chance, occasion, opening, possibility, moment, time, Slang
break: She has taken advantage of every opportunity to vilify
oppose v. 1 resist, counter, object (to), defy, take a stand against,
withstand, resist, combat, contest, attack, counter-attack,
fight, grapple with, contend with or against: If it comes to
that, we must oppose force with force. 2 check, bar, obstruct,
block, hinder, impede, stop, slow, curb, restrain, inhibit,
interfere with, restrict, prevent, obviate, preclude, thwart,
foil, frustrate: Labour seeks to oppose the privatization of
industry. 3 match, offset, counterbalance, contrast, pit or set
against, play off (against), set off: What can they call upon
to oppose the power of the Devil?
opposed adj. Often, opposed to. against, in opposition (to), opposing,
in conflict (with), antipathetic, conflicting, contrary (to), at
variance (with), antithetical (to), hostile (to), inimical (to),
opposite (to), contrasting: Harvey is among those opposed to
abortion. All those who are opposed to the motion raise your
opposing adj. opposite, conflicting, contrary, antithetical,
antagonistic, antipathetic, hostile, inimical, contrasting,
rival, contradictory, incompatible, irreconcilable, dissident,
discrepant: Those with opposing views will be heard from later.
opposite adj. 1 facing, vis-…-vis, en face: The sniper was on the roof
of the building opposite. 2 opposing, conflicting, contrary,
contrasting, contradictory, antithetical, differing, different,
divergent, diverse, antagonistic, inconsistent, irreconcilable:
William and his wife hold diametrically opposite political
--n. 3 reverse, converse, contrary, antithesis: Whatever you
tell teenagers to do, their first reaction is to do the
n. 1 hostility, antagonism, unfriendliness, resistance,
counteraction, disapproval, objection, conflict, defiance,
contrast, antipathy, adversity, Colloq flak: There is strong
opposition to plans for an amusement arcade. 2 competition,
opponent, adversary, competitor, antagonist, enemy, foe, rival,
other side: We must overcome the opposition in order to win. 3
in opposition. competing, competitive, antagonistic, hostile,
conflicting, in conflict, antithetic(al), opposed, at daggers
drawn, in deadly embrace: Although they agree on some points,
the parties are in opposition on others.
oppress v. 1 burden, afflict, trouble, weigh down, overload, encumber,
wear (down), press, weary, overburden, overwhelm, Brit
pressurize, US pressure: He was oppressed by the heavy burden
of responsibility. 2 crush, repress, put down, suppress,
subjugate, tyrannize (over), subdue, overpower, enslave,
persecute, maltreat, abuse, harry, harass, trample underfoot,
ride roughshod over: The Russian serfs had been oppressed for
centuries before they finally rose up against tyranny.
n. repression, suppression, subjugation, subjection, tyranny,
despotism, enslavement, persecution, maltreatment, abuse,
torment, torture, hardship, injury, pain, anguish, injustice:
People who have not known oppression cannot imagine the agonies
suffered by the oppressed who once were free.
adj. 1 burdensome, overpowering, overwhelming, onerous, heavy,
cumbersome, exhausting, racking, unbearable, intolerable,
agonizing, unendurable, harsh, brutal, severe, tyrannical,
repressive; dispiriting, depressing, disheartening,
discouraging, grievous, distressing, dolorous, miserable,
harrowing, wretched: The conquerors resorted to oppressive
measures to keep the people subjugated. 2 suffocating, stifling,
stuffy, close, airless, unventilated, uncomfortable: The
atmosphere in the tiny cell quickly became oppressive, and a
couple of people fainted.
oppressor n. bully, tyrant, taskmaster, taskmistress, despot, autocrat,
persecutor, slave-driver, dictator, overlord, iron hand,
scourge, tormentor, torturer, intimidator: The citizens finally
banded together and overthrew their oppressors.
adj. sanguine, positive, cheerful, buoyant, bright, hopeful,
expectant, confident, bullish, idealistic, Pollyannaish: We
have every reason to be optimistic that the venture will
optimum n. 1 best, finest, most favourable, ideal, perfection, model,
paragon, exemplar: In all work, the optimum is difficult to
--adj. 2 best, finest, most favourable, ideal, perfect,
choicest, optimal, first-rate, first-class, sterling, prime,
capital, excellent, exceptional, superlative, extraordinary,
unique, peerless, unequalled, unexcelled, unsurpassed: These
instruments keep the chamber at the optimum temperature. After
months of training, Guy is in optimum condition to win the
option n. 1 choice, selection, alternative, recourse, opportunity, way
out: There are fewer employment options open to the uneducated.
2 choice, privilege, election, opportunity, chance: Investors
pay for the option to buy at a fixed figure if the price of the
shares goes up.
optional adj. voluntary, discretionary or discretional, elective,
facultative, free, spontaneous, uncoerced, unforced,
non-compulsory, uncompulsory, non-mandatory, unmandatory,
non-requisite, unrequisite: Life insurance is optional for
those who have our hospitalization policy.
opulent adj. 1 wealthy, affluent, rich, prosperous, well-to-do, well
off, comfortable, Colloq flush, well-heeled, loaded, rolling in
it, made of money, in clover, on Easy Street, Brit on velvet, US
in velvet, in the chips: Timothy was fortunate in having met
and wed an opulent widow. 2 luxurious, lavish, sumptuous: That
poor little rich girl was raised in the most opulent of
surroundings. 3 abundant, copious, bountiful, plentiful,
prolific, profuse, plenteous: We enjoyed a most opulent harvest
opus n. work, composition, production, oeuvre, creation; magnum
opus: Her most important opus will be performed at the Albert
Hall next week.
oracle n. 1 prophet, sibyl, seer, soothsayer, augur, fortune-teller,
diviner, prognosticator, US reader (and adviser or advisor),
Cassandra, Nostradamus; authority, guru, mastermind, mentor,
wizard: He insists on consulting his oracle before making any
final decision. 2 prophecy, augury, prediction, divination,
advice, prognostication, answer, message, divine utterance:
According to the oracle, the travellers would survive the perils
of the journey.
oral adj. spoken, said, verbal, uttered, voiced, vocal, vocalized,
enunciated, pronounced, articulated, word-of-mouth, viva voce:
Tomorrow James must make an oral presentation of his plan to the
oration n. speech, declaration, address, lecture, recitation,
discourse, monologue, declamation; valedictory, eulogy, homily,
panegyric; Colloq spiel: Bentley delivered a long oration on
the future of the economy.
oratory n. public speaking, speech-making, eloquence, rhetoric, way
with words, command of the language, fluency, glibness,
grandiloquence, magniloquence, declamation; elocution, diction,
enunciation, articulation, address; Colloq gift of the gab: The
crowds who thronged to hear Churchill's oratory were seldom
orb n. sphere, ball, globe: The golden orb of the sun sank into
orbit n. 1 circuit, course, path, track, revolution, circle, round,
cycle: The earth's orbit round the sun is elliptical.
--v. 2 revolve, go round, circle, encircle, turn: The earth
orbits the sun in a year. Electrons orbit the nucleus of an
ordeal n. trial, test, tribulation(s), hardship, affliction,
trouble(s), suffering, distress, anguish, nightmare, misery,
grief, misfortune, adversity, tragedy, disaster: She never
fully recovered from her ordeal at the hands of the kidnappers.
order n. 1 organization, arrangement, grouping, disposition, form,
structure, categorization, systematization or systemization,
classification, codification, disposal, layout, array, sequence,
Colloq set-up: The order of the library is of crucial
importance if we are to find anything. 2 organization,
uniformity, regularity, system, pattern, symmetry, harmony,
tidiness, orderliness, neatness: Some believe that there is an
order of things in the universe, others that the universe tends
to chaos. 3 category, class, caste, level, kind, sort, rank,
group, scale, importance, hierarchy, position, status, degree,
Colloq pecking order: Gregory's musical talents are of a very
high order. 4 command, direction, directive, instruction,
commandment, dictate, mandate, edict, behest, request, demand,
ukase, decree, fiat, proclamation, pronouncement,
pronunciamento; rule, regulation, law, ordinance, statute,
requirement: The police have issued an order to surrender all
hand guns. 5 procedure, proceeding(s), discipline, conduct:
The order of the meeting was breached by some rowdies. 6
condition, state (of affairs): Please leave everything in the
order in which you found it. 7 purchase order, request,
requisition, commitment, commission, instruction: We received a
large order for office furniture. 8 calm, peace, peacefulness,
tranquillity, quiet, serenity, law and order, discipline,
lawfulness: After a brief commotion, order was restored. 9
brotherhood, fraternity, sisterhood, sorority, fellowship,
sodality, association, organization, society, guild, sect,
company, community, lodge, body, knighthood: One of her
ancestors was a Knight of the Teutonic Order. 10 in order. a
neat, clean, tidy, shipshape, orderly, (well-)organized, ready,
prepared, arranged: Is everything in order for the wedding
tomorrow? b fitting, suitable, appropriate, correct, right,
apt, called-for; required, demanded, needed: I think that an
apology is in order for the way you behaved. 11 in order that.
so (that), with the aim or purpose that, to the end that: We
invited him in order that you might meet him. 12 in order to.
to, for the purpose of: In order to get there, you have to
drive up the hill. 13 out of order. a disordered,
non-sequential, out of sequence, non-alphabetical, disorganized,
unorganized, in disorder: The cards in this catalogue are out
of order and I cannot find anything. b unseemly, out of place,
improper, uncalled-for, unsuitable, indecorous, Colloq chiefly
Brit not cricket: Your remark about her religion was completely
out of order. c out of commission, broken, in disrepair,
non-functioning, non-functional, not working, broken-down,
inoperative, out of kilter or Brit also kelter, Colloq (gone)
haywire, kaput, bust(ed), US out of whack, on the fritz, shot;
Slang on the blink, Brit wonky, gone phut: The telly is out of
--v. 14 direct, command, instruct, charge, tell, bid, require,
enjoin; demand, ordain; force, make: The sergeant ordered the
men to run around the drill field with full packs. The council
ordered that garden rubbish should be packed in special bags. 15
requisition, ask for, send (away) for, call for, apply for,
reserve, engage, commission, contract for; purchase, buy: Have
you ordered breakfast for tomorrow? Let's order a take-away from
the Chinese restaurant. 16 organize, systematize, arrange,
classify, categorize, codify, lay out, sort (out), straighten
(out or up): The bottles were ordered in neat rows along the
orderly adj. 1 in (good) order, (well-)organized, neat, shipshape,
tidy, arranged, methodical, systematic, systematized or
systemized, harmonious, symmetrical, regular, uniform: Before
you leave, make sure that your room is orderly. 2 well-behaved,
disciplined, decorous, law-abiding, well-mannered, peaceable,
tranquil, mannerly, polite, courteous, civil, civilized,
non-violent: Everyone left the burning theatre in an orderly
--n. 3 assistant, adjutant, attendant, messenger; menial,
servant; nurse's aide; Brit military batman; US candystriper;
Slang US and Canadian gofer: An orderly arrived with dispatches
from the general. She has a job as a hospital orderly.
adv. usually, normally, as a rule, commonly, generally, in
general, customarily, routinely, typically, habitually, by and
large, for the most part: Ellie is ordinarily at her desk by
ordinary adj. 1 usual, normal, expected, common, general, customary,
routine, typical, habitual, accustomed, traditional, regular,
everyday, familiar, set, humdrum: This wine is quite good for
ordinary drinking. Just display ordinary good manners when you
meet the queen. 2 common, conventional, modest, plain, simple,
prosaic, homespun, commonplace, run-of-the-mill, everyday,
average, unpretentious, workaday, mediocre, fair, passable, so
so, undistinguished, unexceptional, unremarkable, uninspired,
pedestrian, bourgeois, peasant, provincial, unrefined, Colloq
Brit common or garden, US common-or-garden variety,
garden-variety: They bought a rather ordinary house in an
--n. 3 standard, norm, average, status quo, convention,
expected: Saint-Gaudens' architectural designs are far from the
ordinary. 4 out of the ordinary. extraordinary, unusual,
uncommon, strange, unfamiliar, different, unexpected,
unconventional, curious, eccentric, peculiar, rare, exceptional,
original, singular, unique, odd, bizarre, weird, offbeat,
outlandish, striking, quaint, picturesque: She was looking for
a gift that was a little out of the ordinary, so I suggested a
organ n. 1 device, instrument, implement, tool; member, part,
element, unit, component, structure, Technical process: The
eye, come to think of it, is a truly miraculous organ. 2
medium, vehicle, voice, mouthpiece, forum, publication, paper,
magazine, newsletter, house organ, newspaper, annual,
semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, fortnightly, weekly,
hebdomadal, daily, journal, periodical: The official organ of
the Society is published in Abergavenny.
organic adj. 1 living, natural, biological, biotic, animate, breathing:
Though coal may seem to be a mineral, it is organic, for it was
formed from plants. 2 basic, elementary, essential, innate,
inborn, natural, native, ingrained, primary, fundamental,
visceral, constitutional, inherent, structural, integral: The
organic differences between the styles of writing are obvious.
3 organized, systematic, coherent, coordinated, integrated,
structured, methodical, orderly, consistent: The various
elements of the painting blend into an organic whole.
organism n. living thing, structure, body; being, creature: It is the
work of natural scientists to classify all kinds of organisms.
n. 1 organizing, structuring, assembling, assembly, putting
together, coordination, systematizing, systematization,
classifying, classification, categorizing, categorization,
codifying, codification: The organization of the school
timetable took hours to complete. 2 structure, pattern,
configuration, design, plan, scheme, order, system, organism,
composition, arrangement, constitution, make-up, grouping,
framework, format, form, shape: One must consider the
organization as a whole, not merely its constituent elements. 3
body, system, institution, federation, confederacy,
confederation, society, group, league, coalition, conglomerate,
combine, consortium, syndicate, organism: The organization is a
coherent structure made up of an enormous number of disparate
organize v. 1 structure, coordinate, systematize, systemize, order,
arrange, sort (out), classify, categorize, codify, catalogue,
group, tabulate, pigeon-hole, standardize: These files ought to
be organized so that you can find something when you need it. 2
form, found, set up, establish, institute, start, begin, create,
originate, initiate, put together, build, develop, US pull
together: In 1969, we organized a company to publish reference
orgy n. 1 bacchanalia, bacchanal, Saturnalia, Dionysia, debauch,
carousal, carouse, spree, revel, party, Colloq binge, bender,
drunk, bust, Slang jag, US and Canadian toot, tear: The
journalist represented the earl's party as a wild orgy. 2
overindulgence, splurge, spree, fling, Slang US bender: Trying
to lift himself out of depression, Roger went on a spending
orient n. 1 east: Harriet is in the orient on business.
--adj. 2 Literary oriental, eastern: The grass was sown with
--v. 3 adjust, adapt, acclimatize or acclimate, habituate,
accommodate, condition, accustom, familiarize, feel one's way,
assess, get one's bearings, Colloq orientate: It is a new job
and she needs a few days to orient herself.
n. 1 placement, bearings, attitude, alignment, lie, placing,
situation, layout, location, position, positioning, arrangement,
set-up: The orientation of the buildings is such that the
windows face south. 2 introduction, training, initiation,
briefing, familiarization, assimilation, acclimatization,
preparation, instruction: The orientation of the new employees
is scheduled for next week. We were given orientation lectures.
origin n. 1 source, derivation, rise, fountain-head, foundation,
basis, base, well-spring, fount, provenance, Chiefly US
provenience: The origins of many English words are unknown. 2
creation, genesis, birth, birthplace, cradle, dawning, dawn,
origination, start, beginning, commencement, outset, launch,
launching, inception, inauguration: The origin of the notion of
democracy can be traced to ancient Greece. 3 Often, origins.
parentage, ancestry, extraction, descent, lineage, pedigree,
genealogy, stock, heritage: We have traced our family's origins
back to the Middle Ages.
original adj. 1 initial, first, earliest, primary, beginning, starting,
basic: The original report made no mention of any missing
jewellery. 2 native, indigenous, autochthonous, aboriginal,
primordial, primeval, primitive: At first, we could find only
slight traces of the original inhabitants. 3 master, actual,
primary, authentic, true, genuine, real, basic; prototypic(al),
archetypal, source: I have the original document and my lawyer
has a copy. 4 creative, novel, innovative, unique, imaginative,
unusual, inventive, ingenious; firsthand, fresh, underived,
unprecedented: The film is based on a highly original story by
Daphne du Maurier. The author has some original insights into
Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia.
--n. 5 prototype, archetype, source, model, pattern; master:
The original hangs in the National Gallery. 6 eccentric,
nonconformist, individualist, Colloq case, card, character, Brit
queer fish: True to his reputation as an original, Wilde
sauntered down the Strand with a lily in his hand.
n. creativeness, creativity, inventiveness, ingenuity,
innovativeness, innovation, novelty, newness, unorthodoxy,
unconventionality, cleverness, daring, resourcefulness,
independence, individuality, uniqueness, nonconformity: One
must admire Dali for his originality.
adv. in or at or from the beginning, (at ) first, from the
first, initially, to begin with, at or from the outset, at or
from the start, in the first place or instance, Colloq from the
word go, from day one: Originally, we were to have gone in
originate v. 1 create, bring about, engender, give birth to, beget,
conceive, initiate, inaugurate, start, begin, introduce, launch,
found, set up, institute, establish, invent, coin, devise,
pioneer, design, contrive, concoct, mastermind, compose,
organize, formulate, form, generate, produce, develop, evolve:
Wasn't it the Chinese who originated free public health schemes?
2 arise, rise, begin, start, come, spring, stem, flow, issue,
emerge, emanate, proceed, grow, develop, evolve, derive, result:
Where did the idea of the democratic form of government
ornament n. 1 enhancement, embellishment, adornment, decoration,
ornamentation, gingerbread, trimming, garnish, garnishment,
frill, embroidery, beautification, accessory; frippery;
knick-knack, furbelow, bauble, gewgaw, Slang US tchotchke: We
spent a pleasant afternoon putting ornaments on the Christmas
tree. The ornaments on the mantelpiece needed dusting.
--v. 2 decorate, embellish, enhance, adorn, trim, garnish,
embroider, elaborate, beautify, accessorize, deck (out), dress
up: The cabinet is ornamented with ormolu fittings in the
adj. decorative, beautifying, adorning, garnishing,
embellishing: Nothing in the house is ornamental, everything is
ornate adj. elaborate, florid, overdone, laboured, rococo, baroque,
gingerbread, arabesque, fancy, lavish, rich, flowery, busy,
fussy, frilly, intricate; high-flown, euphuistic, Ossianic,
bombastic, pompous, pretentious, affected, grandiose, fulsome,
highfalutin or hifalutin, grandiloquent, flamboyant: Louis
Quinze style is far too ornate for my tastes. We find his
writing, with its contorted artificialities, far too ornate to
appeal to the modern reader.
orthodox adj. conformist, accepted, authoritative, authorized,
recognized, received, official, standard, prevailing, prevalent,
common, regular, popular, ordinary, doctrinal, established,
traditional, traditionalist, accustomed, conventional,
customary, conservative: The orthodox view is that he was
killed by an assassin acting on his own.
oscillate v. fluctuate, vibrate, waver, see-saw, swing, sway; vacillate,
equivocate, shilly-shally, hem and haw, tergiversate: The
needle is oscillating between the 'Safe' and 'Danger' marks. I
wish he'd stop oscillating and make up his mind.
adv. outwardly, externally, superficially, patently,
ostensively, demonstrably, apparently, evidently, seemingly;
clearly, plainly, manifestly, conspicuously, obviously,
patently, noticeably, prominently: Ostensibly, he was visiting
his aunt, but we all know he went to see Stella.
n. show, display, exhibition, exhibitionism, showing off,
pretension, pretentiousness, flaunting, flashiness, flourish,
flamboyance, parade, window-dressing: His clothes are elegant
adj. showy, boastful, braggart, vaunting, vain, vainglorious,
flaunting, pretentious, flamboyant, theatrical, Colloq flash:
It's terribly ostentatious of Lady Penny to wear her diamond
tiara to the disco.
ostracize v. blackball, blacklist, banish, exile, boycott, isolate,
segregate, exclude, excommunicate, snub, shun, avoid, Chiefly
Brit send to Coventry, Colloq cut, cold-shoulder, give (someone)
the cold shoulder: Marcus has been ostracized at the club ever
since the court case.
otherwise adv. 1 if not, or else, under other circumstances, in another
situation, on the other hand: I learned something about you
tonight that otherwise I should never have guessed. 2
differently, in another manner or way: You may travel unless
the doctor advises otherwise.
out adv. 1 outside, outdoors, in or into the open air: If you go
out take an umbrella. 2 away (from), abroad, elsewhere, not
(at) home, gone (from), gone away (from), absent (from): She
was out of the house when I phoned. 3 in or into the open, to
or into public notice, for all to see, out of the closet:
Everything will be brought out at the trial. 4 revealed,
exposed, visible, discernible, manifest, in sight, in view: Are
the stars out tonight? 5 short, minus, missing, in default, out
of pocket: He is out the њ2000 he invested in a Welsh diamond
mine. 6 free, at liberty, at large, loose, unconfined: They
let Matilda out after she served her sentence. 7 completely,
thoroughly, effectively, entirely: I was tired out after that
--adj. 8 unconscious, senseless, insensible, Colloq out cold,
out like a light: He has been out for almost an hour. 9 dated,
out-dated, out-moded, pass‚, old-fashioned, antiquated, old hat,
d‚mod‚, obsolete, unfashionable: Longer skirts were out in the
mid-1960s. 10 outlying, distant, far-off, peripheral: He was
planning to travel to the outer reaches of his empire. Let's
sail to some of the out islands. 11 exhausted, gone, finished,
ended; over, completed: Our food was out. Rescue came before
the day was out. 12 inaccurate, incorrect, wrong, at fault,
faulty, off, wide of the mark: Your figures are out by a factor
of four. 13 unacceptable, forbidden, prohibited, not allowed,
Colloq not on: Smoking is out in the dining room. 14
extinguished, unlit; off, doused; inoperative, non-functioning,
out of order or commission, unserviceable, broken: Make certain
that all camp-fires are completely out. The light is out in the
--n. 15 alibi, excuse, escape, loophole, evasion: She used
your visit as an out to avoid calling on her mother.
adj. complete, unmitigated, unalloyed, undiluted, pure, utter,
perfect, consummate, outright, total, downright, unqualified,
thorough, thoroughgoing, through-and-through, dyed in the wool:
She was an out-and-out fool to turn down his marriage proposal.
outburst n. outbreak, eruption, explosion, blow-up, flare-up,
fulmination; upsurge, surge, outpouring, welling (forth),
upwelling, outflow(ing), rush, flood, effusion, effluence or
efflux; fit, access, attack, spasm, paroxysm, seizure, tantrum:
Another outburst like that, young man, and you'll be sent home.
outcast n. pariah, exile, reject, persona non grata, leper,
untouchable, expatriate, refugee, displaced person, DP, evacuee:
In 1946, Europe swarmed with outcasts, the detritus of the war.
outcome n. result, consequence, end (result or product), after-effect,
effect, upshot, sequel, development, outgrowth, aftermath, wake,
follow-up, Medicine sequela (usually pl. sequelae), Colloq
pay-off, bottom line: One outcome of the new safety regulations
will be higher fares. We eagerly awaited the outcome of the
outcry n. protest, protestation, decrial, complaint, indignation,
uproar, vociferation, clamour, clamouring, commotion, outburst,
noise, hullabaloo, howl, howling, hoot, hooting, boo, booing,
hiss, hissing: The public outcry against terrorism was heard
round the world.
outdo v. exceed, surpass, excel, transcend, beat, outstrip, outshine,
top, cap, trump, overcome, defeat, outweigh: Their prices are
lower because they outdo us in cheapness of labour.
outdoor adj. outside, out of doors, alfresco, open-air: Both of them
enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and bicycling.
outfit n. 1 gear, rig, equipment, equipage, apparatus, accoutrements
or US also accouterments, paraphernalia, trappings, tackle,
tack, utensils: His mountain-climbing outfit turned out to be
extremely expensive. 2 clothes, costume, ensemble; attire,
garb, clothing, dress; Colloq get-up, togs: She was wearing a
very weird outfit that attracted a lot of stares. 3 firm,
concern, business, organization, company, (military) unit,
corporation; party, set, group; Colloq set-up: I joined the
outfit when it consisted of only a hundred people.
--v. 4 fit (out or up), equip, kit out, provision, stock,
accoutre or US also accouter, rig (out or up), supply, furnish:
The shop is prepared to outfit anyone for anything from a walk
in the country to an African safari or an Arctic expedition.
outgoing adj. 1 departing, retiring, ex-, former, past, emeritus,
leaving, withdrawing: It is our custom to honour the outgoing
president with a banquet. 2 genial, friendly, amiable, cordial,
warm, expansive, approachable, affable, accessible, amenable,
easygoing, amicable, sociable, congenial, extrovert, familiar,
informal, communicative: Because of his outgoing attitude,
Keith gets along well with most people.
outing n. jaunt, junket, excursion, trip, expedition, tour, ride,
Colloq spin: This year, the annual church outing will again be
adj. unfamiliar, strange, odd, queer, offbeat, peculiar,
curious, exotic, foreign, alien, unknown, unheard-of, different,
exceptional, extraordinary, quaint, eccentric, bizarre, outr‚,
weird, fantastic, unusual, singular, unique; freakish,
grotesque, barbarous; Colloq far-out, camp(y), kinky: Those
youngsters wear the most outlandish hair-dos you have ever seen.
outlast v. survive, outlive; outwear; weather: Considering her
condition, it seems doubtful that she will outlast her husband.
outlaw n. 1 criminal, gangster, robber, desperado, bandit, highwayman,
brigand, footpad, picaroon, pirate, fugitive (from justice or
the law), renegade, US road-agent: In Westerns, the sheriff
always wins out over the outlaws.
--v. 2 forbid, disallow, ban, interdict, bar, exclude,
prohibit, proscribe: Some countries have outlawed prostitution,
but with little effect.
outlay n. expense, cost, expenditure, spending, disbursement, payment:
The city council refused to approve the outlay for a new
outlet n. 1 way out, exit, egress, loophole, relief, escape, escape
hatch, vent, opening, release, safety-valve, discharge: There
seemed to be no outlet for his anger but to throw the cushion at
her. The main outlet of the Great Lakes is the St Lawrence
river. 2 retailer, shop, store, market: The company is having
difficulty finding outlets that will stock its products.
outline n. 1 profile, silhouette, contour, periphery, boundary,
footprint: This outline is of the desk area occupied by the
keyboard and monitor. 2 pr‚cis, synopsis, r‚sum‚, summary,
digest, abstract, conspectus, survey, overview, run-down,
recapitulation, review, (thumbnail) sketch, skeleton, (overall)
plan, layout, framework, draft, scenario: O'Brien presented an
outline of what his company planned to do after the take-over.
--v. 3 trace, draft, sketch, rough out, profile, block (out),
plan (out), lay out, define, delineate: None of the divers was
particularly enthusiastic about the procedure outlined for
bringing up the wreckage.
outlook n. 1 view, position, point of view, viewpoint, prospect,
perspective, slant, angle, standpoint, attitude, opinion: His
outlook on the situation in the Middle East is bound to be
somewhat biased. 2 prospect, forecast, expectation(s): What is
the outlook for the value of the pound sterling over the next
outlying adj. distant, far-off, far-flung, outer, outermost,
out-of-the-way, remote, far-away, peripheral, furthest or
farthest: In those days it took weeks for the news to reach the
outlying parts of the empire.
adj. 1 untravelled, unfrequented, isolated, lonely, outlying,
obscure, hidden, secluded, inaccessible: She now lives in some
out-of-the-way village in the Himalayas. 2 unusual, odd,
peculiar, extraordinary, far-fetched, remarkable, outr‚,
exceptional, outlandish, strange, rare, uncommon, exotic,
unheard-of, unconventional, queer, weird, bizarre: His latest
book is a treatise on some out-of-the-way subject.
n. effusion, outflow, flow, outburst, flood, deluge, torrent,
spate, emanation, spouting, spurt, gushing, efflux, effluence,
outrush, tide, cascade, cataract, Niagara, Technical
debouchment: We scarcely expected such an outpouring of grief
at her death. This writing appears to reflect the outpourings
of his soul.
output n. 1 production, result, yield, crop, harvest: Nobody was
quite ready for such a massive output. 2 productivity,
achievement, efficiency: Job insecurity has diminished her
--v. 3 put out, produce, generate, create, manufacture, yield,
achieve: Our new laser printer outputs about ten pages a
outrage n. 1 violence, atrocity, inhumanity, barbarism, enormity, evil,
barbarity, savagery, brutality, malignity, malefaction,
wrongdoing, evil-doing, maltreatment, abuse, cruelty, injury,
harm, damage: Wherever there is war there is misery and
outrage. 2 resentment, affront, bitterness, indignation, hurt,
shock, anger, wrath, ire: The minister felt outrage at being
given a parking ticket. 3 insult, indignity, slight:
Contributors to the charity considered it an outrage that the
fund-raisers should keep so much of the money.
--v. 4 offend, insult, affront, vex, displease, distress,
nettle, chafe, infuriate, anger, enrage, madden, make one's
blood boil, raise (someone's) hackles, rile: He was outraged to
discover that the wretch had proposed to his daughter. 5
violate, desecrate, defile, do violence to, injure, harm, abuse,
damage: Such deeds outrage human feelings. 6 rape, violate,
ravage, ravish, deflower, attack: He seized the unhappy girl
and outraged her.
adj. 1 excessive, extravagant, immoderate, exorbitant,
enormous, unreasonable, preposterous, shocking, extreme,
unwarranted, exaggerated, unconscionable, inordinate,
intolerable, disgraceful, shameful, scandalous: The prices at
that restaurant are absolutely outrageous. 2 vicious, cruel,
heinous, atrocious, barbaric, inhuman, abusive, beastly,
horrible, horrid, horrendous, iniquitous, villainous, wicked,
evil, egregious, flagrant, grievous, infamous, execrable,
abominable, grisly, hideous, monstrous, vile, unthinkable, foul,
awful, unspeakable, appalling, offensive, indecent: The
captives suffered the most outrageous treatment at the hands of
their conquerors. 3 indecent, offensive, immoral, rude,
indelicate, obnoxious, profane, obscene, dirty, filthy, lewd,
salacious, foul, smutty, scatological, pornographic,
objectionable, repellent, repulsive, nauseating, nauseous,
nasty, gross, revolting, shocking, repugnant, disgusting,
fulsome, perverted, depraved, dissolute, degenerate, dissipated,
debauched, profligate; explicit, unrestrained; foul-mouthed,
thersitical, insulting; unseemly, inappropriate, indecorous,
improper, naughty, appalling, embarrassing; Literary Fescennine,
US shy-making: The sermon denounced the outrageous films,
books, magazines, and television programmes to which children
are exposed. Warren sometimes says the most outrageous things.
outr‚ adj. unconventional, unusual, extravagant, bizarre, weird,
strange, odd, peculiar, grotesque, outlandish, freakish,
out-of-the-way: The attention of the media was turned upon the
singer's outr‚ behaviour on stage.
outright adj. 1 unqualified, total, unreserved, unrestricted, full,
complete, unconditional, unequivocal, clear, direct, definite,
unmistakable or unmistakeable: The duke is the outright owner
of the property. 2 undisguised, unmitigated, utter, consummate,
pure, out-and-out, all-out, sheer, absolute, stark, bald,
thorough, arrant, thoroughgoing, through-and-through, downright,
direct, definite, unmistakable or unmistakeable: Her outright
refusal to provide further help was met with dismay.
--adv. 3 directly, at once, immediately, instantaneously,
instantly, then and there or there and then, straight or right
away, on the spot, right off: One passenger was killed
outright, the other died later in hospital. 4 completely,
entirely, exactly, precisely, totally, in toto, utterly, baldly,
starkly, consummately, purely, thoroughly, directly,
unhesitatingly, quite, absolutely, explicitly, categorically,
straightforwardly, plainly, openly, forthrightly, unequivocally,
unambiguously, candidly: I wish that Henry wasn't so reticent
and would say outright what he means. 5 unrestrictedly,
unqualifiedly, unreservedly, unconditionally: The duke owns the
outset n. beginning, start, inauguration, inception, first, Colloq
kick-off: Had you let them know who you were at the outset,
this wouldn't have happened.
outside n. 1 exterior, face, facing, shell, skin, case, casing,
surface, front; fa‡ade: What is that on the outside of the box?
The outside of the house is painted white. 2 aspect, appearance,
look, demeanour, face, front, fa‡ade, mien, mask, disguise,
false front, pretence: One cannot tell what people are really
like from the outside they present to the world. 3 extreme,
limit, most, maximum, utmost, best, worst, longest: At the
outside, you shouldn't pay more than half your income for
housing. I'll wait for her for an hour at the outside. 4 the
world at large: We had to bring in someone from the outside to
complete the work.
--adj. 5 exterior, external, out of doors, outdoor: They have
added an outside swimming-pool to the house. 6 maximum,
maximal, highest, best, worst, greatest, most, largest, longest,
furthest or farthest: What was their outside estimate for
replacing the roof? The outside time for driving here from
London is about an hour. 7 private, home, cottage, secondary,
peripheral, independent, freelance: Her outside job pays more
than her regular work. 8 unlikely, remote, faint, Colloq slim:
He has an outside chance of beating the world record. 9
foreign, alien, outward; unconnected, excluded, uninvolved,
disinvolved, independent, separate, different: I'm worried that
Phil might be subject to outside influences. An outside
contractor is doing the work.
--adv. 10 outdoors, out of doors: Perhaps you'd like to step
outside to discuss the matter further?
outsider n. non-member, non-initiate, foreigner, alien, outlander,
stranger, newcomer, guest, visitor, trespasser, interloper,
intruder, squatter, invader, Colloq gatecrasher: The others
always treated Peter as an outsider. Why do I feel an outsider
in my own home?
outskirts n.pl. periphery, edge, environs, outer reaches, vicinity,
border(s), suburb(s), exurb(s), general area or neighbourhood,
purlieus, fringes, vicinage, faubourg(s): The university is on
the outskirts of the city.
outsmart v. outwit, outfox, out-think, outmanoeuvre, outmanipulate,
outplay, steal a march on, get the better or best of, trick,
dupe, hoodwink, fool, deceive, hoax, gull, make a fool of;
swindle, cheat, defraud, cozen, Colloq put one over on, pull a
fast one on, take in, make a monkey (out) of, bamboozle, con,
Brit nobble, Slang slip or put one or something over on
(someone): 'I have been outsmarted by bigger fools than you!',
Mr White shouted.
outspoken adj. candid, frank, open, free, direct, unreserved, unreticent,
straightforward, forthright, explicit, specific, plain-spoken,
plain-speaking, unequivocal, unceremonious, unambiguous,
unsubtle, uninhibited, unshrinking, blunt, bold, brusque, brash,
undiplomatic, tactless, crude: Linda was always quite outspoken
in her opinions of her neighbours. Her outspoken observations
are a fruitful source of gossip.
adj. 1 prominent, eminent, renowned, famous, famed,
unforgettable, memorable, celebrated, distinguished, special,
choice, noteworthy, notable, noted, important, conspicuous,
exceptional, excellent, superior, first-class, first-rate,
superb, remarkable, extraordinary, marvellous, sensational,
Colloq smashing, super: Liszt was the outstanding
pianist-composer of his time. 2 unsettled, on-going,
unresolved, unpaid, due, owed or owing, receivable or payable;
remaining, leftover: The company has a few outstanding debts.
outstrip v. overcome, surpass, outdo, outperform, outshine, outclass,
better, beat, transcend, best, worst, exceed, excel,
outdistance, overtake, top, cap, put in the shade, eclipse:
Bannister again outstripped everyone in the race.
outward adj. external, exterior, outer, outside, outlying, manifest,
obvious, evident, apparent, visible, observable; superficial,
surface, extrinsic, skin-deep, shallow, pretended, false,
ostensible, formal, physical, bodily, fleshly, carnal, mundane,
worldly, secular, temporal, terrestrial, material,
non-spiritual: She gave every outward sign of being the
bereaved widow. Whatever outward trappings money may buy, A
man's true wealth lies deep inside.
outwardly adv. externally, apparently, visibly, superficially,
ostensibly, evidently, seemingly, on the surface, to all
appearances, to all intents and purposes: Though the town was
outwardly quiet, we had a feeling of ominous foreboding.
outwards adv. outward, outside, away, out, without: The towns of the
early twentieth century centred on the railway station and
outweigh v. overcome, outbalance, overbalance, overweigh, tip the
scales, preponderate (over), surpass, prevail (over), override,
take precedence (over), compensate (for), make up for: His
feeling for his wife outweighed all else in his life.
oval adj. egg-shaped, ovoid, ovate, oviform, obovoid, obovate;
elliptical, ellipsoid(al): His mother's picture hung in an oval
frame over the mantel.
ovation n. applause, acclamation, acclaim, plaudits, cheers, cheering,
clapping, laudation, praise, kudos, Colloq (big) hand: At the
conclusion of the concerto, the pianist was given a standing
over prep. 1 above, on, upon, on top of, atop (of): She spread a
tarpaulin over the boat to protect it. 2 more than, greater
than, upwards or upward of, in excess of, (over and) above,
(over and) beyond; exceeding: Of the 2000 people questioned in
our survey, over half said they think prunes are funny. The
thieves took over њ50,000-worth of paintings. 3 across, to or
from or on the other side of; beyond: The children crossed over
the river to play in the woods on the other side. 4 for, during,
in or over or during the course of, through, throughout: Over
the next week she will be working in the Paris office. 5 (all)
through, throughout, (all) about, all over: We travelled over
the entire country in the course of our holiday. Have you gone
over the manuscript I left with you?
--adj. 6 done (with), finished, terminated, concluded, ended,
past, settled, closed, at an end, over with: I'm afraid it's
all over between us, Carrie.
--adv. 7 to, onto, past, beyond, across: This room looks out
over the sea. 8 remaining, as a remainder, as surplus,
outstanding: When we finished eating, there wasn't much left
over. 9 (once) again, once more, one more time: This pot will
have to be cleaned over again. 10 down, to the ground or floor:
You almost knocked over the lamp.
overall adj. total, complete, comprehensive, all-inclusive, inclusive,
whole, entire, all-embracing, blanket: The overall cost,
including materials and labour, came to more than I had
overawe v. overwhelm, intimidate, cow, daunt, awe, bully, hector,
browbeat, dominate, domineer, frighten, scare, terrify,
disconcert, discomfit, upset, abash: The children were overawed
by their father's slightest sign of displeasure.
adj. repressive, domineering, bullying, imperious, officious,
high and mighty, high-handed, overweening, magisterial, lordly,
authoritarian, wilful, despotic, dogmatic, autocratic,
tyrannical, dictatorial, peremptory, arbitrary, assertive,
arrogant, cavalier, haughty, superior, supercilious,
pretentious, Colloq bossy, pushy, hoity-toity, highfalutin or
hifalutin, snooty, Slang snotty: His temper was harsh and
severe, his manner haughty and overbearing.
overcast adj. cloudy, clouded, sunless, moonless, starless, murky, grey,
louring or lowering, dull, dark, darkened, dreary, sombre,
gloomy, dismal, threatening, menacing: The sky was overcast
this morning, but the sun is now beginning to shine through.
overcome v. 1 beat, defeat, conquer, overpower, subdue, worst, best,
triumph over, win (out) (over), prevail (over), overthrow,
overwhelm, vanquish, get the better or best of, whip, drub,
rout, break, subjugate, suppress, crush, master, Colloq lick:
If we do not overcome these temptations, they will overcome us.
The superior force easily overcame the tiny group of defenders.
--adj. 2 beaten, defeated, overwhelmed, subdued, worsted,
bested; affected, speechless, swept off one's feet, rendered
helpless, overpowered, moved, influenced, at a loss (for words),
Colloq bowled over: The victim's parents were overcome with
grief when the casualty list was published. Colin was too
overcome to speak at the award presentation.
adj. 1 brash, arrogant, cocksure, cocky, brazen, hubristic,
swaggering, audacious, overbearing, vainglorious, Colloq pushy:
It is harmful for a sportsman's morale to be overconfident of
winning. 2 heedless, foolhardy, thoughtless, short-sighted,
hasty: Rock-climbers should not be overconfident and rely
entirely on their ropes.
adj. supercritical, hypercritical, captious, carping, niggling,
cavilling, querulous, fault-finding, finicky, fussy,
hair-splitting, difficult, fastidious, harsh, severe, demanding,
exacting, small, small-minded, US and Canadian picayune, Colloq
picky, nit-picking, pernickety or US also persnickety: You
should not be overcritical of Maddy - she's only a child.
adj. jammed, packed, congested, populous, over-populous,
jam-packed, overpopulated; swarming, crawling, choked, packed to
the gunwales: The planet is becoming overcrowded. We squeezed
into an already overcrowded train.
overdo v. 1 carry to excess, overindulge, be intemperate, go or carry
to extremes, overact, exaggerate, carry or go too far,
overreach, not know when to stop, paint the lily, gild refined
gold, out-Herod Herod, Colloq go overboard, do to death, lay it
on thick, lay it on with a trowel; go off the deep end:
Exercise a little judgement and try not to overdo it. 2
overwork, do too much, overtax, exhaust, fatigue, overload,
overburden, Colloq bite off more than one can chew, burn the
candle at both ends: Don't overdo it or you'll feel the results
overdue adj. late, tardy, behindhand, behind, unpunctual, belated, US
past due: As it is now December, payment is long overdue. I've
got an overdue library book to return.
overeat v. gorge, binge, gormandize, stuff oneself, overindulge,
guzzle, feast, wolf down, overfeed, do the gavage, Colloq pack
away, Brit pig, US pig out: People not only overeat but they
tend to eat the wrong foods.
overgrown adj. covered, overrun, overspread, luxuriant, weedy, abundant:
The walls are all overgrown with ivy.
overhang v. 1 jut (out), beetle, bulge (out), project (out), protrude,
stick out, loom (out), extend (out), hang (out) over: The
balcony overhangs the sea. 2 impend, threaten, menace, imperil,
loom: His life was overhung by the threat of blackmail.
--n. 3 ledge, projection, bulge, protrusion, extension: A
swallow nested under the overhang of the roof.
overhaul v. 1 overtake, pass, gain on or upon, draw ahead of, catch up
with, get ahead of, outstrip, outdistance, leave behind, lap:
We overhauled the ketch and were beginning to close on the yawl
when the squall hit us. 2 renovate, refurbish, recondition,
rebuild, restore, repair, service, adjust, patch (up), mend, fix
(up): The car engine needs to be thoroughly overhauled.
--n. 3 reconditioning, overhauling, refurbishing, rebuilding,
renovation, servicing, adjustment, mending, fixing (up): The
overhaul of the die-stamping machine will require two months to
overhead adv. 1 (up) above, (up) in the air or sky, high up, on high,
aloft, skyward: The aeroplanes passed overhead at dawn.
--adj. 2 elevated, raised, upper: The crane travels on an
--n. 3 Brit overheads, US overhead. (basic or fixed) costs,
operating cost(s), expense(s), outlay, disbursement(s), running
cost(s), expenditure(s), maintenance, cost(s) of doing business:
One way to increase profits is by reducing overheads.
overjoyed adj. delighted, ecstatic, elated, happy, rapturous, euphoric,
jubilant, thrilled, cock-a-hoop, transported, Colloq tickled
pink, in seventh heaven, on cloud nine, Brit over the moon: We
were overjoyed to hear your news and to receive the invitation
to your wedding.
overlap v. 1 lap (over), overlie, overlay, shingle, Technical
imbricate, strobilate: Note how the upper tiles overlap the
lower to keep the rain out. 2 coincide, correspond, intersect:
Our work shifts overlap by four hours.
--n. 3 lap, flap, overlay, fly (front) or Brit flies,
imbrication: The overlap conceals the buttons that close the
skirt on the side.
overload v. 1 weigh down, burden, overburden, load (up), overtax, saddle
with, tax, strain, impede, handicap, oppress, encumber, cumber,
overcharge: They overloaded me with so much work that I'll
--n. 2 surcharge, overcharge, overburden, dead weight,
oppression, handicap, tax, load, encumbrance, impediment,
hindrance: We had to hire extra people at Christmas to help
deal with the overload.
overlook v. 1 miss, slip up on, omit, neglect, slight, disregard, fail
to notice, ignore, pass over, leave out, forget, Colloq pass up:
You overlooked an error on the first page. 2 blink at, wink at,
let go (by), let pass, let ride, turn a blind eye to, shut
(one's) eyes to, pretend not to notice, take no notice of,
ignore, disregard, forgive, pardon, excuse, permit, allow,
forget about, write off, condone, make allowances (for), let
bygones be bygones, gloss over: I shall overlook your slowness
if you will work late to compensate for it. 3 front on (to),
face, give upon, command or afford a view of, look out on or
over, have as a vista or view: My room overlooks the lake.
overly adv. excessively, too, exceedingly, immoderately,
disproportionately, unduly, inordinately, extraordinarily, very,
Colloq damned: She seemed overly anxious for us to leave.
overpower v. 1 overcome, overwhelm, beat, vanquish, conquer, defeat,
crush, put down, worst, best, prevail, master, quell, subdue,
subjugate: The thugs easily overpowered the elderly couple and
took their money. 2 overcome, overwhelm, dumbfound or dumfound,
daze, stagger, amaze, stun, stupefy, nonplus, strike, Colloq
floor: I was quite overpowered by the grandeur of the house.
adj. overwhelming, irresistible, powerful, telling, compelling,
unendurable, unbearable, oppressive: They presented an
overpowering argument against the use of asbestos as an
overrate v. overvalue, make too much of, exaggerate the worth or value
of, attach too much importance to, overprize, assess too highly:
They insist that his value to the company is overrated and that
he should be dismissed.
overreact v. exaggerate, make much ado about nothing, make too much of
(something), make a mountain out of a molehill, lose all or
one's sense of proportion, blow (up) out of (all) proportion:
I'd say that she overreacted by leaving him because he forgot
adj. dominant, dominating, predominant, predominating,
compelling, prevailing, primary, prime, most important,
overruling, overwhelming, paramount, preponderant, principal,
cardinal, main, chief: His overriding reason for buying the
larger dictionary was that it made a better doorstop.
overrun v. invade, defeat, attack, ravage, destroy, overwhelm, conquer,
harry, vandalize, plunder, maraud, scourge, despoil, sack,
strip, pillage, storm, Colloq blitz: Within a week the armies
had overrun the country and captured the capital city.
overseas adv. abroad: Did you serve overseas during the war?
oversee v. direct, manage, watch (over), keep an eye on, administer,
superintend, run, supervise, operate, manipulate, handle,
control: We employed Gertrude to oversee our offices in
overseer n. superintendent, supervisor, manager, foreman, forewoman,
superior, Colloq boss, chief, super, Brit gaffer, US straw boss,
(head or chief) honcho: Simon is too hard a taskmaster to be
overseer of that sensitive operation.
v. 1 dominate, outshine, eclipse, dwarf, diminish, minimize,
put in or throw into or leave the shade, steal the limelight
from, tower over or above, excel: The Crown, overshadowed by
the great barons, turned for aid to the Church. 2 spoil, blight,
ruin, mar, take (all) the pleasure from, put a damper on, take
the edge off, impair, take the enjoyment out of: The news from
the east overshadowed everyone's spirits at the party.
oversight n. 1 omission, inadvertence, neglect, laxity, laxness, fault,
failure, dereliction, error, mistake, blunder, carelessness,
heedlessness: It was owing to an oversight by a clerk that the
flight booking was not made. 2 supervision, superintendence,
surveillance, management, direction, guidance, administration;
charge, care, custody, keeping, hands, protection, auspices:
The matter of expenses must be left to the oversight of the
committee established to deal with such things.
overstate v. exaggerate, magnify, hyperbolize, embroider, overstress,
colour, make (too) much of, overdraw, overemphasize, stretch,
enlarge, inflate, blow up: They might have overstated the
problem by asking for a 24-hour police guard.
overstep v. exceed, transcend, surpass, go beyond: Again Hortense has
overstepped the bounds of propriety by inviting herself to the
overt adj. apparent, evident, plain, clear, obvious, manifest,
clear-cut, unconcealed, patent, open, visible, observable,
public: Moving the troops to the border may be considered an
act of overt hostility.
overtake v. 1 catch (up with or to), reach, draw level or even with,
overhaul, gain on or upon, move by or past, pass, leave behind,
outstrip, outdistance: The express train overtakes the local
one at Amersham. 2 come upon, seize, catch (unprepared),
befall, strike, hit, overwhelm: The weaknesses of old age
overtook the actress before she could finish writing her
overthrow v. 1 defeat, beat, rout, conquer, overpower, master, bring
down, depose, oust, overwhelm, unseat, unhorse, topple,
overturn, dethrone, thrash, worst, best: The new leader was
overthrown by the partisans in two weeks. Cotswold Rangers
overthrew Kent United in last night's match at Hurley.
--n. 2 defeat, rout, conquest, deposing, ousting, unseating,
toppling, overturn, overturning, downfall, end, ruin, fall,
collapse, destruction, suppression, quashing, crushing,
subjugation, US ouster: The overthrow of the military regime
was followed by weeks of rioting and looting.
overtone n. undertone, connotation, hint, suggestion, innuendo,
insinuation, intimation, indication, implication: Do I detect
overtones of regret now that you are finally leaving?
overture n. Often, overtures. approach, advance, offer, proposal,
proposition, tender: While they were winning, they rejected all
overturn v. 1 turn over, knock down or over, tip over, capsize, up-end,
upset, turn turtle, turn upside down, turn topsy-turvy, invert:
The tanks overturned when they tried to drive past the huge
concrete barriers. On his first day as a waiter, he overturned
the soup in a guest's lap. 2 bring down, overthrow, throw over,
upset, depose, unthrone, unseat, oust, eject: The dictatorship
was overturned and the country returned to being a democratic
--n. 3 overturning, overthrow, unseating, ousting, toppling,
fall, destruction, ruin, defeat, US ouster: Could the overturn
of the present regime be effected without force of arms?
overwhelm v. 1 overpower, overcome, overtax, devastate, stagger, crush,
defeat, destroy, subdue, suppress, quash, quell, conquer, beat,
bring down, prostrate, weigh down, oppress: Overwhelmed by
grief, she dissolved into tears. 2 inundate, overcome, engulf,
submerge, flood (over); deluge, swamp, bury, immerse: A feeling
of terror suddenly overwhelmed me as I watched my safety rope
fray and break. In only a few hours the rising waters had
completely overwhelmed the house. 3 overcome, stagger, astound,
astonish, dumbfound or dumfound, shock, stun, bewilder, confuse,
confound, nonplus, surprise, take aback, Colloq bowl over, knock
off one's feet or pins, blow one's mind, discombobulate, Brit
knock for six: We were overwhelmed by the friendly reception
that awaited our return.
adj. 1 overpowering, uncontrollable, irresistible, devastating,
unendurable, unbearable, crushing, burdensome, formidable: He
had an overwhelming sense of shame for what he had said. 2
awesome, awe-inspiring, stupefying, astounding, astonishing,
staggering, bewildering, mind-shattering, prodigious,
mind-boggling, Colloq mind-blowing: When I first went to live
in London, I found its sheer size totally overwhelming.
overwork v. 1 overexert, overstrain, overburden, oppress, overtax,
overload, overuse: We were so overworked that the quality had
to suffer. 2 slave (away), burn the midnight oil, lucubrate:
She insisted on overworking in order to get the project finished
--n. 3 overexertion, overstrain, strain: I was ready to drop
adj. 1 tense, nervous, jittery, jumpy, fidgety, touchy, in a
dither or twitter, all a-twitter, overexcited, on edge,
over-stimulated, frantic, frenetic, distracted, Brit strung up,
US strung out, Colloq (all) worked up, edgy, in a tizzy, wound
up, uptight: They were quite overwrought worrying about the
children's safety. 2 overworked, ornate, elaborate, baroque,
rococo, florid, flowery, fussy, ostentatious, busy, gaudy,
garish: Some of the Victorian houses were characterized by
overwrought gingerbread decoration. A few of his poems are
overwrought and difficult to digest.
owe v. 1 be in debt to, be indebted to, be beholden to: It must be
a good feeling not to owe anyone any money at all. 2 owing to.
because of, on account of, thanks to; through, as a result of,
resulting from, Colloq due to: Owing to my schedule, I cannot
stay the night. The higher tides are owing to the positions of
the sun and moon.
owner n. possessor, holder; proprietor, proprietress: The papers
have been returned to their rightful owner. Who is the owner of
pace n. 1 step, stride: Please walk forward two paces. 2 rate (of
speed), tempo, speed, velocity, Colloq clip: We were proceeding
at a pace of five miles per hour.
--v. 3 walk, stride, tread; traverse: Alistair paced up and
down nervously, waiting for word from the surgeon. 4 measure,
gauge or gage, judge, rate, estimate, determine, reckon, figure,
compute: I was trying to pace myself to conserve some energy
for a sprint finish.
pack n. 1 parcel, package, packet, bundle, bale, backpack, knapsack,
rucksack, haversack, kitbag, kit, duffle or duffel bag: The
stranger hoisted his pack onto his shoulder and loped off. 2
load, lot, bunch, multitude, heap, pile, accumulation, mass,
amassment, mess, barrel, peck: She told the jury a pack of
lies. 3 group, collection, assembly, assemblage, congregation,
gathering, crowd, number, throng, horde, mass, crew, gang, body,
lots, loads, band, company, party, set, flock, herd, drove, mob,
swarm, bevy, covey, circle, coterie, clique: A huge pack of
people were waiting at the stage door for the star to emerge. 4
deck: We ought to have two packs of cards for bridge.
--v. 5 Often, pack in or into. package, bale, bundle, compact,
crowd, cram, jam, fill, stuff, squeeze, ram, press, wedge, tamp:
They packed us into the train like sardines. I packed as much as
I could into the short time I had left. 6 pack it in. stop,
cease, end, finish, quit, wind up, terminate, give up, call it a
day, Colloq chuck: Edward finally packed it in because they
were giving him too much trouble. 7 pack off. dismiss, send off
or away, bundle off or out, hustle off or out or away, get rid
of, drive off or away, order off or away or out, send (someone)
about his or her business: At the beginning of the war, Sally's
mother packed her off to America to stay with her aunt. 8 pack
up. a get or gather together, put away, store: Pack up your
troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. b quit,
stop, break down, fail, give out, stall, die, give up the ghost,
Colloq conk out, have had it: After three days crossing the
desert, the engine finally packed up.
package n. 1 packet, parcel, box, container, case, carton, bundle: I
am donating a package of clothing to the relief fund. 2
combination, unit, package deal: Included in the package from
the car dealer are several luxury features.
--v. 3 wrap, pack, containerize, carton, case, encase, enclose,
include; combine, unite, coupled, incorporate: More and more
merchandise comes packaged in plastic these days. A special
sponge is packaged with the cleaning liquid.
packed adj. filled, full, loaded, crowded, stuffed, jammed, crammed,
brim-full, chock-a-block, chock-full, jam-packed, overloaded,
overflowing, loaded or filled to the gunwales, up to there,
bursting, groaning, swollen, replete, Colloq wall-to-wall: The
gallery was packed with the soprano's relatives, who cheered
every note. The publicity for the show promised a packed
programme of mirth and merriment.
packet n. 1 package, parcel, pack, batch: We found a packet of your
old love-letters in a trunk in the lumber room. 2 loads, lot(s),
great deal, fortune, mint, Colloq bundle, pretty penny, pile(s),
tidy sum, king's ransom, Brit bomb: He lost a packet on that
property when they built a sewage plant alongside it.
pact n. agreement, treaty, bargain, alliance, contract, compact,
concord, covenant, concordat, entente, understanding,
arrangement, deal: The companies entered into an illegal pact
not to compete in the same markets.
pad n. 1 cushion, pillow, wad, wadding, stuffing, padding, filling,
filler: Wrap a soft cotton pad over the wound to protect it. 2
writing-pad, note-pad, memo pad, block (of paper), jotter, US
filler: You'd best take a pad with you to make notes at the
lecture. 3 flat, apartment, room(s), home, place, quarters,
Colloq hang-out, Brit digs or diggings, Slang US flop: A few
friends are crashing at my pad while they're in town.
--v. 4 cushion, wad, stuff, fill; upholster: The chair seats
are padded with foam rubber, but the arms are bare. 5 Sometimes,
pad out. expand, inflate, stretch, dilate, lengthen, protract,
extend, blow up, flesh out, puff up, augment, spin out, amplify:
He pads his weekly newspaper column with trivia in order to fill
paddle n. 1 oar, sweep, scull: A 'crab' occurs when you catch the
water with the paddle blade on the return stroke.
--v. 2 row, scull, oar: Deftly she paddled the canoe over to
the pier. 3 wade: The children were paddling at the water's
edge. 4 spank, paddywhack, thrash, beat, whip, flog: Dad
threatened to paddle me if he caught me playing hookey again.
paddy n. rage, (fit of) temper, fit, tantrum, Colloq Brit paddywhack
or paddywack, wax: She was in a proper paddy when she found out
what you'd done.
pagan n. 1 heathen, unbeliever, idolater, polytheist, infidel,
Gentile: He joined the religion of the pagans and worshipped
the golden calf.
--adj. 2 heathen, infidel, idolatrous, polytheistic,
heathenish, Gentile: Many churchmen condemned Renaissance
scholars for their interest in pagan and pre-Christian writers.
page° n. 1 leaf, folio, side, sheet, verso or recto: On which page
does the index begin? 2 episode, phase, period, time, stage,
point, era, epoch, age, chapter: The early 1940s were among the
darkest pages in Britain's history.
--v. 3 paginate, folio, number: Roman numerals were used in
paging the preface to the book.
pageэ n. 1 attendant, page-boy, servant, errand-boy, messenger, Brit
foot-boy, US bellman, bellhop, Offensive used of an adult
bellboy: Please have a page deliver this message to Mr
--v. 2 announce, summon (forth), send for or after, call, call
for, call out: They are paging your wife now to give her your
pageant n. spectacle, display, grandeur, tableau, show, parade,
procession, ceremony, formality, ritual, event, affair,
extravaganza, presentation, gala: The children stage a medieval
mystery play as a part of the annual Christmas pageant.
pageantry n. pomp, ceremony, display, magnificence, extravagance,
panorama, showiness, show: The pageantry of the Oberammergau
passion play should be experienced at least once.
pain n. 1 hurt, suffering, discomfort, soreness, ache, aching, pang,
spasm, smarting, cramp: I feel the pain in my back from lifting
that box. 2 anguish, agony, affliction, distress, grief, woe,
suffering, misery, travail, wretchedness, despair, torment,
tribulation, trial, torture, dolour, discomposure, ordeal,
disquiet: No one who has not experienced it can imagine the
pain of losing a child. 3 irritation, vexation, annoyance,
bother, nuisance, pest, Colloq pain in the neck, headache, drag,
bore, Taboo slang pain in the Brit arse or US ass: What a pain
it is that you have forgotten your keys again! David can really
be a pain when he goes on about the book he's writing. 4 pains.
effort, trouble, exertion, toil, labour: She went to great
pains to make our stay comfortable.
--v. 5 hurt, distress, grieve, wound, injure; trouble, depress,
sadden, sorrow, cut to the quick: It pained us to learn of Mrs
painful adj. 1 hurting, grievous, hurtful, sore, distressing,
distressful, excruciating, torturous, agonizing, smarting,
stinging, aching, achy, throbbing, burning, piercing, stabbing,
sharp, tender, sensitive, raw, bitter, Formal nociceptive: The
bullet caused a painful wound in the knee. Mother's arthritis
can be quite painful at times. 2 vexing, vexatious, annoying,
harassing, irritating, irksome, aggravating, galling,
exasperating, unpleasant, afflictive, harrowing, worrisome,
worrying, troubling, disquieting, disturbing, distressing:
Fighting in the front lines was a painful experience for Rupert.
3 painstaking, laborious, careful, rigorous, arduous, assiduous,
sedulous, diligent, earnest, conscientious, meticulous,
scrupulous, detailed, thorough, thoroughgoing, exacting,
demanding: A great deal of painful research went into
discovering the cause of yellow fever.
painfully adv. agonizingly, distressingly, disagreeably, unpleasantly,
unfortunately, sadly, woefully, lamentably, ruefully, unhappily:
I became painfully aware that much of the relief destined for
the poor never reached them.
n. anodyne, analgesic, anaesthetic, sedative, palliative: When
he wrenched his back, the doctor gave him a painkiller so that
he could walk.
painless adj. trouble-free, easy, simple, comfortable, effortless,
Colloq easy as 1, 2, 3 or as ABC, easy as pie, a piece of cake,
pushover, child's play, Slang cinch, no sweat: The procedure
for assembling the bicycle is relatively painless.
adj. See painful, 3, above.
paint n. 1 colour, tint, dye, colouring, pigment, stain: I bought
the paint and brushes, and started work on the kitchen walls. 2
coating, coat, surface; enamel: The rust has come through the
paint here and there. 3 make-up, cosmetics, maquillage,
greasepaint, Colloq warpaint, face: Sheila is in her room
putting on some paint before we go out.
--v. 4 depict, portray, picture, show, represent, delineate,
render, draw, limn, characterize, describe: Whistler painted a
portrait of my grandmother. Correspondents painted a very grim
picture of the plight of the hostages. 5 coat, brush, apply,
cover, daub: The doctor painted the area with some medication
that soothed the pain. 6 colour, tint, dye, stain, decorate: We
are planning to paint the nursery pale blue. 7 paint the town
red. make merry, carouse, revel, go on a spree, go out on the
town, Colloq whoop it up, live it up, (go on a) pub-crawl, step
out, Slang make whoopee, go on a bender or drunk or binge, booze
it up: Saturday nights a few of the boys would go out and paint
the town red till the wee hours.
pair n. 1 couple, twosome, two of a kind, set of two, matched set,
duo, dyad, twins, double, doublet; brace, span, yoke, team,
tandem: A pair of silver candelabra disappeared during the
--v. 2 match (up), mate, pair off or up, team (up), put
together, partner, twin, double, join, unite, yoke; wed, marry,
join in wedlock or in holy matrimony: Pair these gloves for me,
would you? Husbands may not pair off with wives for the next
pal n. 1 friend, consort, comrade, alter ego, crony, companion,
amigo, playmate, classmate, Colloq chum, sidekick, mate, Chiefly
US and Canadian buddy: Jim left a little while ago with a few
of his pals.
--v. 2 pal (up) with or about or US around (with). associate
(with), be or become friendly or friends (with), be or get or
become on friendly or intimate terms (with), go (around or
about) with, fraternize (with), consort (with), spend time
together or with, keep company (with), Colloq hang out or about
or around (with), knock about or around (with): Fiona and
Isabel palled up last year. Do you still pal about with Timothy?
palace n. mansion, castle, stately or palatial home or residence,
manor (house), (country) estate, chѓteau, palazzo, villa: After
the wedding, they went to the prince's palace and lived happily
palatial adj. luxurious, de luxe, magnificent, splendid, stately,
sumptuous, opulent, majestic, magnificent, grand, elegant,
palatine, Slang posh, ritzy, swanky, classy: After winning the
pools, they moved into a palatial house in Belgravia.
palaver n. 1 nuisance, procedure, red tape, to-do, rigmarole or
rigamarole, Colloq song and dance, bother, nonsense, business,
carry-on, performance: He lost the certificates, so she now has
to go through all the palaver of getting new ones. 2 chatter,
babble, jabber, (empty or small) talk, blather or blether,
gossip, prating, prattle, prattling, palavering, Brit natter,
nattering, Scots clishmaclaver, Colloq jawing, hot air, Colloq
Brit witter, wittering: There is so much palaver at the annual
meeting that nothing important ever gets said. 3 parley, talk,
conference, discussion, colloquy, conversation, confabulation,
meeting, get-together, round table, powwow, Colloq confab,
huddle, chin-wag: The annual palaver of the regional general
managers is scheduled for next week.
--v. 4 chatter, babble, jabber, blather or blether, gossip,
prattle, prate, chit-chat, gabble, Brit natter, witter, Colloq
jaw, chin-wag, US and Canadian shoot the breeze, Slang yack,
yackety-yack: Peter and I were palavering outside the
supermarket when Sophie came along. 5 confer, consult, discuss,
parley, talk, converse, powwow, meet, get together, sit down
(together), confabulate, negotiate, Colloq confab, huddle, chew
the fat or the rag: Management and union representatives will
pale° adj. 1 colourless, white, wan, sallow, waxen, livid, ashen,
ashy, pallid, bloodless, whitish, pasty, whey-faced, washed out,
anaemic, blanched, drained, ghostly, ghastly, peaky or peakish,
peaked, cadaverous: If you had been through an ordeal like
that, you'd look pale, too. 2 faint, light, dim, washed out,
pastel: She was wearing a pale green evening gown tonight. 3
feeble, weak, flimsy, meagre, enfeebled, ineffective,
ineffectual, puny, insignificant, paltry, lame, poor,
inadequate, half-hearted, tame, spiritless, whey-faced, empty,
sterile, lifeless, uninspired, anaemic, Colloq half-baked: The
sequel was a pale imitation of the original film.
--v. 4 blanch, blench, dim, whiten: He paled when they told
him of the car crash. 5 diminish, lessen, fade (away),
decrease, abate: The works of most modern writers pale in
comparison with those of the Elizabethans.
paleэ n. 1 paling, palisade, picket, upright, post, stake: The pales
are attached to horizontal rails to form a fence. 2 boundary,
limit(s), restriction, bounds, border(s), confines: Nothing is
outside the pale of the imagination of a great novelist. 3
beyond the pale. improper, irregular, unseemly, unsuitable,
indecent, unacceptable, inadmissible, forbidden, anathema,
disallowed, prohibited, verboten, interdicted; US unusual,
bizarre, peculiar, outr‚, weird, abnormal, strange: The
committee have found your behaviour to be beyond the pale,
Frances, and we demand your resignation.
pall° n. 1 shroud, covering, mantle, cloth, veil: A black velvet
pall covered the coffin. 2 gloomy or melancholy or sombre or
grave or depressing air or mood or atmosphere; damper, cold
water, Colloq wet blanket: The recently uncovered scandals have
cast a pall over his successes in office.
pallэ v. 1 Often, pall on or upon. bore, tire, weary, jade, irk,
irritate, sicken: His position lost all its charm when the work
began to pall on him. 2 sate, satiate, cloy, glut, surfeit,
gorge: I had reached the point where even the finest foods
began to pall me.
paltry adj. trifling, trivial, petty, small, insignificant, worthless,
pitiful, pathetic, pitiable, puny, sorry, wretched, miserable,
inconsequential, inconsiderable, unimportant, meagre, mean,
beggarly, base, low, contemptible, Colloq piddling, Brit
twopenny, twopenny-halfpenny, mingy, US penny-ante, Slang Mickey
Mouse: Despite his wealth, his charitable contributions are
paltry. We all recognize Denison for the paltry pedant he is.
pamper v. baby, coddle, cosset, (over)indulge, spoil, mollycoddle,
cater to, pet, Rare cocker, Irish cosher: The Simpsons pamper
their children far too much.
pamphlet n. booklet, brochure, tract, essay, folder, leaflet, circular;
handbill, bill, notice, bulletin, advertisement, hand-out, ad,
Brit advert, US flyer, throw-away: He was arrested for printing
a pamphlet that denounced the government's repression of free
speech. Yesterday we received our sixteenth pamphlet promoting
pan n. 1 saucepan, frying-pan, skillet, pot, casserole, US spider:
Melt a teaspoonful of butter in the pan, add the mixture, and
stir briskly over a medium heat. 2 face, visage, mien, fa‡ade,
Slang kisser, mug, puss: The worst part of Alf's not working is
that I have to look at his ugly pan all day. 3 depression,
indentation, concavity, cavity, hollow, pit, hole, crater: In a
rain-shower, the pans fill with water and the desert blooms.
--v. 4 wash, separate, sift: For years prospectors have panned
for gold in these hills. 5 criticize, censure, find fault, put
down, reject, flay, excoriate, Brit hammer, Colloq knock, roast,
slate, Slang Brit rubbish, US trash: The critics panned the
play and it closed after a week. 6 pan out. succeed, thrive,
prosper, flourish, fare well, make it; work out, turn out,
result, come out, end (up), conclude, culminate, eventuate:
Your grandiose plans for irrigating the Sahara didn't pan out,
either! How did the election pan out?
panache n. flourish, dash, ‚lan, ‚clat, chic, sophistication, savoir
faire, savoir vivre, flamboyance, verve, style, cultivation,
(good) taste, flair, smartness, boldness, self-assurance,
swagger, vigour, liveliness, spirit, brio, gusto, zest,
animation, enthusiasm, energy: Whatever needs to be done, you
can count on Irena to carry it off with panache.
n. bedlam, chaos, turmoil, disorder, tumult, frenzy, uproar,
Brit furore or US furor, confusion: Pandemonium reigned after
the first bomb struck.
pander v. 1 Usually, pander to. satisfy, gratify, humour, indulge,
fulfil, bow to, yield to, truckle to, cater to: She is tired of
pandering to his every wish. 2 procure, pimp, solicit: I
didn't believe he would sink so low as to pander for his
--n. 3 panderer, pimp, procurer, solicitor, whoremonger, White
slaver, Slang flesh-pedlar or US also flesh-peddler or
flesh-pedler, Brit ponce, mack: The word pander is an eponym
for Pandarus, who acted as a sycophantic go-between for Troilus
in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde .
pane n. panel, sheet, glass, window-pane, light, quarrel,
bull's-eye: Ring up the glazier and have that pane replaced in
pang n. 1 pain, stab, ache, pinch, twinge, stitch, spasm: I felt a
sharp pang of hunger. 2 qualm, hesitation, scruple, misgiving,
remorse, regret, contrition, contriteness, self-reproach,
mortification, guilt, anguish, discomfort, malaise: Does Claire
feel the slightest pangs for treating him badly?
panic n. 1 terror, alarm, fear, fright, dread, horror, dismay,
consternation, hysteria; anxiety, apprehension,
apprehensiveness, nervousness: As the speeding car veered
towards us, a feeling of panic gripped me.
--v. 2 be terrified or alarmed or fearful or frightened or
terror-stricken or terror-struck, dread, fear, lose one's nerve;
frighten, scare; Colloq go to pieces, fall apart, Brit lose
one's bottle: I panicked, turned the wheel the wrong way, and
crashed the car into a tree. Gregory panics at the slightest
sign of danger. 3 frighten, scare, alarm, terrify, unnerve:
Something panicked the horses and one kicked out his stall door.
adj. panic-struck, terrified, alarmed, horrified, aghast,
terror-stricken or terror-struck, panicky, frenzied, in a
frenzy, hysterical, besides oneself with fear or terror,
fearful, afraid, scared (stiff), petrified, horror-struck or
horror-stricken, frightened or scared out of one's wits,
appalled, stunned, stupefied, perturbed, unnerved, nervous,
distressed, upset, jittery, jumpy, (all) worked up, Colloq in a
cold sweat, in a flap, in a tizzy, Taboo slang scared shitless,
shitting green: At the news of the leak at the nuclear plant,
hundreds of panic-stricken people fled from the area.
panoramic adj. sweeping, commanding, extensive, comprehensive, wide,
overall, scenic, far-reaching, all-embracing, far-ranging,
all-encompassing, inclusive, bird's-eye, general: This room
affords a panoramic view of the sea-coast.
pant v. 1 gasp, huff (and puff), blow, heave, breathe hard, wheeze:
He was panting when he came into the room, having run up the
stairs. 2 Usually, pant for or after. crave, hanker after,
hunger or thirst for or after, yearn for, ache for, want,
desire, covet, wish for, long or pine or sigh for, have one's
heart set on, die for, be dying for, Colloq have a yen for, give
one's eye-teeth or right arm for: Margery was the girl that all
the boys panted after when we were ten.
pants n.pl. 1 In Britain (men's) drawers, small-clothes, smalls,
drawers, underpants, boxer shorts, trunks, undershorts,
Y-fronts, briefs, Colloq smalls; (women's) knickers,
camiknickers, panties, drawers, bloomers, pantalettes, tights,
pantihose, undies: The baby was dressed in a frilly dress and
matching pants. 2 In US: trousers, slacks, breeches, (Oxford)
bags, knickerbockers, flannels, shorts, Bermuda shorts or
Bermudas, pedal pushers, bell-bottoms, peg-tops, hip-huggers,
(blue) jeans, dungarees, denims, Trade Mark Levis, Scots trews;
Scots and No. Eng. breeks, US knickers, Colloq cut-offs:
Americans who go into British shops asking for a pair of pants
are embarrassed to be offered only underwear.
paper n. 1 newspaper, tabloid, daily, weekly, journal, gazette,
publication, periodical, newsletter, organ, Colloq rag, sheet:
She is feature editor of a paper in Manchester. 2 Often,
papers. a document(s), instrument, legal papers, form,
certificate, deed, ownership papers; credential(s),
identification: Bring the papers to my office for signing. His
papers are not in order. Many people lost their papers during
the war. b docket, files, dossier, record(s), archive(s): Your
papers seem to have disappeared from our office. 3 stationery,
letterhead, writing-paper, letter-paper, notepaper; foolscap;
scrap or US also scratch paper; wrapping paper; gift-wrapping,
gift-wrap; wallpaper: She wrote to me on the most beautiful
engraved paper. We buy our Christmas paper from a museum shop. 4
article, composition, essay, assignment, report, thesis, study,
tract, analysis, critique, exegesis, treatise, dissertation,
disquisition, manuscript, MS or ms, autograph, holograph,
typescript, script, speech: Adelaide will present her paper at
the meeting of the Royal Academy this year.
--v. 5 (hang) wallpaper, line; post, distribute: The entire
area was papered with posters announcing the meeting.
par adj. 1 standard, normal, average, expected: A success rate of
two per cent is par for these candidates.
--n. 2 level, rank, standing, scale, standard: How can you
place yourself on a par with her as a tennis player? 3 above
par. above average, superior, outstanding, excellent,
exceptional; choice, select, prime: Since I stopped taking that
medication, I've been feeling above par. I am pleased to
announce that the test results were above par for the school as
a whole. 4 at par. average, level, even, equal, equivalent,
standard; par value: The shares are selling at par, or below
their true market value. 5 below or under par. a below
average, substandard, inferior, second-rate, mediocre, middling,
not up to par, poor, inadequate, unsatisfactory, wanting, bad,
wretched, miserable, awful, terrible, Colloq lousy, not up to
snuff or scratch: Ian's goal-keeping has been below par all
season. b ill, sickly, unhealthy, unwell, not (very) well, not
oneself, not in good or the best shape, in bad shape, Brit off
form, off colour; Colloq under the weather, poorly, not up to
snuff: I was feeling below par. 6 up to par. all right,
adequate, average, satisfactory, good enough, passable,
acceptable, Colloq OK or okay, up to scratch or snuff, fair to
middling: If your game had been up to par, Davis would not have
parable n. allegory, fable, lesson, morality tale: When we first read
Aesop's Fables we didn't know they were parables.
parade n. 1 procession, march, train, file, promenade, cortЉge,
column; entourage: They held a parade to celebrate the
soldiers' safe return from the war. 2 exhibition, (ostentatious)
display, show, spectacle, array, pomp, splash: She often makes
a parade of her knowledge of architecture. 3 promenade, walk,
(pedestrian) way, mall, esplanade: Let's meet in the Parade
when you have finished shopping.
--v. 4 march, pass in review, promenade, walk, file: The
generals saluted smartly as the troops paraded past. 5 strut,
flaunt, show (off), brandish, wave, vaunt, display, air: Why
does he feel it necessary to parade every new girlfriend in
front of all the neighbours?
paradise n. 1 heaven, City of God, Zion, Elysium, Elysian Fields, happy
hunting-grounds, Abraham's bosom, heavenly kingdom, Promised
Land, Celestial City, New Jerusalem, Avalon, Valhalla,
Hesperides, Isles or Islands of the Blessed, seventh heaven:
People all have their own ideas of paradise, but everyone agrees
it's a nice place to be. 2 heaven on earth, (Garden of) Eden,
(land of) Goshen, Utopia, Shangri-La, Land of Beulah: Early
settlers of California thought it a paradise. 3 bliss,
happiness, rapture, heaven, delight, blessedness, ecstasy,
seventh heaven, joy, dreamland, nirvana: Being with you has
been sheer paradise.
paradox n. contradiction, self-contradiction, incongruity,
inconsistency, absurdity, ambiguity, enigma, puzzle, mystery,
quandary, problem, dilemma: Can you explain away Zeno's paradox
of Achilles and the tortoise? The paradox was that although it
was Edward's fifth birthday, he was 20 years old.
adj. contradictory, self-contradictory, conflicting,
oxymoronic, impossible, improbable, incongruous, illogical,
inconsistent, absurd, ambiguous, confusing, equivocal,
enigmatic, puzzling, baffling, incomprehensible, bewildering,
perplexing, mysterious, problematic: It would be true, though
it might sound paradoxical, to say that the Norman Conquest made
paragon n. epitome, archetype, model, prototype, quintessence, pattern,
standard, exemplar, ideal, beau id‚al, criterion: He had
previously regarded Michael as a paragon of virtue and was
deeply shocked by the revelations.
parallel adj. 1 similar, corresponding, congruent, analogous,
analogic(al), correspondent, like, matching, homologous,
coordinate, equivalent, coequal, proportional, proportionate,
pari passu, mutatis mutandis, in proportion, uniform;
contemporary or cotemporary, contemporaneous or cotemporaneous:
The situation in Northern Ireland could be compared with a
parallel situation in Lebanon.
--n. 2 analogue, match, homologue, equivalent, complement,
counterpart, equal, coequal: Campbell found many parallels
among the legendary heroes of other cultures. 3 analogy,
parallelism, equivalence, complementarity, relationship,
kinship, correspondence, resemblance, likeness, similarity,
symmetry, equality, coequality, parity, correlation; proportion,
balance, equiponderance, equipoise, counterbalance, offset: One
can draw parallels between the human arm, the fish's fin, and
the bird's wing. By way of parallel, consider the flood in the
Bible and that in the Gilgamesh epic.
--v. 4 correspond to or with, match, equate to or with, be
likened to, correlate to or with, compare with or to, imitate,
repeat, echo, iterate, reiterate, duplicate, follow, agree with;
keep pace with, conform (to), balance, set off, offset, even off
or up, be accompanied by, coincide with, Colloq jibe with: In
many respects, your attitudes towards life parallel mine when I
was your age. A decrease in the rate of inflation supposedly
parallels a rise in interest rates.
paralyse v. 1 immobilize, inactivate, deactivate, transfix; halt, stop:
The stroke paralysed his entire left side. As the thing
approached, the children became paralysed by fear. 2 deaden,
numb, freeze, anaesthetize, benumb, render insensible: This
injection will paralyse your thumb so that we can operate on it.
3 disable, cripple, incapacitate, disenable: His left leg was
paralysed in the accident.
paramount adj. pre-eminent, chief, supreme, dominant, main, predominant,
cardinal, first, prime, primary, principal, essential, vital,
requisite, basic: The company feel that the independence of
researchers is paramount. It is of paramount importance that
you study trigonometry before calculus.
paramour n. lover, love, inamorato or inamorata, amorist, mistress,
gigolo, concubine, cicisbeo, kept woman, Colloq flame,
sugar-daddy, US POSSLQ (= 'Person of the Opposite Sex Sharing
Living Quarters'), Slang fancy man or woman: At eighty, she
liked to reminisce about her many paramours.
n. usually pl equipment, apparatus, accessories, outfit,
appliances, utensils, gear, rig, material(s), mat‚riel, things,
tackle, equipage, accoutrements, effects, chattels, possessions,
belongings, appurtenances, trappings, property, baggage,
impedimenta, supplies, stuff, Colloq junk, Brit rubbish,
clobber, Slang crap, Taboo slang US shit: Bring along your
scuba paraphernalia. It took us a month just to pack up all the
paraphernalia we had in the flat.
n. 1 rephrasing, rephrase, rewording, restatement, rewriting,
rewrite, rehash, rendition, rendering, version, Technical
paraphrasis: The editor wanted a revision, not merely a
paraphrase of the original.
--v. 2 rephrase, reword, restate, rewrite, explicate, explain:
Please paraphrase the specialized jargon to make it
understandable to non-professionals.
parasite n. leech, hanger-on, Colloq freeloader, sponger or sponge,
bloodsucker, cadger, scrounger or scrounge, barnacle, jackal,
hyena or hyaena: That parasite lives off Gemma's money and has
never worked a day in his life.
parcel n. 1 package, packet, carton, box, container, case: We are
sending food parcels to the needy. 2 portion, plot, plat, lot,
piece, section, tract: We have bought a small parcel of land
and plan to build on it next year. 3 lot, group, batch,
collection, pack, bundle, set: She gathered a parcel of
drawings and published them as a travel sketchbook.
--v. 4 Often, parcel out. apportion, allot, deal (out), dole
(out), mete (out), hand out, distribute, share (out), divide,
Colloq divvy (up): Before he died he parcelled out his fortune
amongst his grandchildren.
parch v. dry (out or up), desiccate, dehydrate, exsiccate; scorch,
sear, burn, bake; shrivel (up), wither: The earth was parched
by the unrelenting sun.
pardon n. 1 forgiveness, forgiving, amnesty, remission, release,
reprieval, absolution, indulgence, excuse, excusal, allowance,
overlooking, condonation, exoneration, exculpation: Should
there be any pardon for crimes against humanity?
--v. 2 forgive, remit, release, reprieve, absolve, indulge,
allow, overlook, let off, excuse, condone, exonerate, exculpate:
There are some crimes that ought not be pardoned.
pare v. 1 trim, peel, skin, shave (off), shuck; decorticate,
excoriate: Pare the apples and then grate them coarsely. 2
Often, pare down. reduce, diminish, decrease, cut (back or
down), curtail, slash (back), lower, lessen: Since his illness,
Bob has pared down his time at the office. We'll have to pare
our prices to stay competitive in the present climate.
parent n. 1 father or mother, progenitor, progenitrix, procreator,
begetter, materfamilias or paterfamilias; foster-parent,
stepmother or stepfather, guardian, Colloq old lady or old man,
Brit old-fashioned or facetiousmater or pater: Most teenagers
clash with their parents sooner or later. 2 source, origin,
originator, well-spring, fountain-head, root: The liturgy of St
James is undoubtedly the parent of the Armenian Rite.
parentage n. lineage, ancestry, line, family, extraction, descent,
origin, pedigree, stock, birth, strain, bloodline, heritage,
roots: As he was separated from his mother at birth, he knows
nothing of his royal parentage.
parenting n. (of children) rearing, upbringing, raising, nurturing:
Brian and Betty take their parenting very seriously.
parity n. 1 equality, equivalence, consistency, uniformity, par,
likeness, similarity, analogy, congruity, similitude,
conformity, congruence: The ministers agreed that they would
observe parity of power amongst themselves at the conference. 2
proportion, parallelism, analogy, balance, correspondence: We
are trying to maintain parity between the Deutschmark and the
park n. 1 garden, green(s), common(s), preserve, reserve,
greensward, parkland, woodland, estate, Chiefly Brit
reservation: Twice a day he strolls through the nearby park. 2
Brit car park, US and Canadian and New Zealand parking-lot: I
shall meet you in the car park at the railway station.
--v. 3 leave, put, deposit, store: It is illegal to park in
parlance n. way or manner of talking or speaking, fa‡on de parler,
phrasing, phraseology, speech, wording, language, idiom,
dialect, jargon, Colloq lingo: In the parlance of the yuppies,
that's a ballpark figure.
parley n. 1 conference, discussion, dialogue, palaver, deliberation,
meeting, colloquy, colloquium, confabulation, powwow, talk(s),
Colloq huddle, confab: The issue will be decided at the
executive council's parley.
--v. 2 confer, discuss, palaver, deliberate, talk (over),
negotiate, deal, Colloq huddle: Would Sitting Bull parley with
n. 1 Parliament. Houses of Parliament, House of Lords and House
of Commons, Westminster, the House, Mother of Parliaments: The
new health bill got its second reading in Parliament today. 2
legislature, council, congress, diet, council, assembly, Upper
and Lower House or chamber: The United States parliament
consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
adj. formal, ordered, orderly, procedural, conforming,
conformist, US according to Roberts Rules of Order: The debate
must follow parliamentary procedure.
parlour n. living-room, Old-fashioned or Brit drawing-room, Chiefly
Brit sitting-room, reception (room), lounge: She invited us
into the parlour where tea was laid out.
parlous adj. perilous, risky, precarious, uncertain, dangerous,
hazardous, difficult, ticklish, awkward, Colloq chancy, iffy,
Slang hairy: These are parlous times in the Middle East.
parody n. 1 burlesque, lampoon, satire, caricature, mockery, mimicry,
Colloq take-off, spoof, Brit send-up: The more serious the
intent of the original author's work, the easier it is to write
a parody of it. 2 travesty, mockery, feeble or poor imitation,
distortion, perversion, corruption, debasement: The Inquisition
was a parody of justice and of religion.
--v. 3 burlesque, lampoon, satirize, caricature, mock, mimic,
ape, ridicule, deride, laugh at, poke fun at, guy, scoff at,
sneer at, rib, tease, twit, roast, pillory, make a
laughing-stock (of), make sport of, make fun of, make a monkey
(out) of, Archaic fleer, Colloq take off, spoof, kid, Brit send
up: Swift parodied English political figures and policies of
the day in Gulliver's Travels .
paroxysm n. fit, convulsion, spasm, throe, seizure, spell, outburst,
eruption, explosion, Colloq flare-up: At the sight of George
dressed as Madame Pompadour Melissa rolled on the floor in a
paroxysm of hysterical laughter.
parrot n. 1 imitator, mimic, Colloq copycat: She never has an
original idea of her own: she's a mere parrot of others'
fashions and fancies.
--v. 2 imitate, mimic, ape, copy, echo, repeat, reiterate:
Mick doesn't understand the issues and just parrots what he
hears on TV.
part n. 1 piece, portion, division, allotment, share, percentage,
participation, interest; parcel, fragment, scrap, shard; some:
I bought a part of the company when it was available. I want no
part of the deal now. 2 portion, component, factor, constituent,
element, ingredient: A part of her problem is that she doesn't
speak Japanese. 3 role, function, duty, responsibility, share;
say, voice, influence, participation, involvement, business:
Every man must do his part. Don't thank me! I had no part in
your getting the contract. 4 role, character: He plays the part
of Tweedledum in the school play. 5 side, interest, cause,
behalf, faction, party: Which part did you support in the
argument? No explanation has been offered on either part. 6
neighbourhood, quarter, section, district, region, area, corner,
vicinity, vicinage, Colloq neck of the woods: I come from the
same part of the country as you. 7 piece, portion, segment,
section; department, division, component, unit: Which part of
the turkey do you prefer? In which part of the company do you
work? 8 for the most part. mostly, generally, usually, mainly,
in the main, by and large, on the whole, chiefly, principally,
essentially, for all practical purposes, to all intents and
purposes, in most cases or instances: The shops are for the
most part closed on Sunday. 9 in part. partly, partially, to
some extent or degree, in some measure, relatively,
comparatively, somewhat: He is himself in part responsible for
the present state of affairs. 10 on the part of (someone) or on
(someone's or one's) part. by, on or US also in behalf of, (as)
for, as regards, as far as (someone) is concerned, in the name
of, for the sake of, in support of: Tyrannical acts on the part
of the king were not condoned. For my part, I want nothing to do
with it. 11 take (a) part (in). participate (in), join (in), be
(a) party to, play a part or role (in), be involved (in or
with), associate oneself (with), have or take a hand in, partake
(of), contribute (to): Why insist that she take part in your
nefarious plot? People began to sing, but she didn't feel like
--v. 12 separate, part company, split up, go his or her (or
their) separate way(s), break up, say or bid goodbye (or adieu,
etc.); leave, depart, go (away or off): We parted on the best
of terms. 13 separate, divide, put or pull apart, put asunder:
I saw a pale hand part the curtains for a brief moment. A fool
and his money are soon parted. 14 part with. give up, yield,
relinquish, release, sacrifice, forgo, renounce, forsake, let
go, surrender: I doubt that you'll persuade Rover to part with
--adj. 15 partial, fractional, limited: Ronald is a part owner
of the company.
partake v. 1 Usually, partake in. share (in), participate (in), take
(a) part (in), enter (in or into): We share each other's
burdens and partake in each other's joys. 2 Usually, partake
of. a receive, get, have a share or portion or part (of),
share: We were invited to partake of a meagre repast. b evoke,
suggest, hint at, intimate, imply, possess or have the quality
of: Greater knowledge often partakes of insolence.
partial adj. 1 incomplete, fragmentary, not total or whole, imperfect:
They were able to afford only a partial restoration of the
house. There will be a partial solar eclipse at noon. 2
prejudiced, biased, partisan, inclined, influenced, one-sided,
jaundiced, unfair, discriminatory: It will be difficult to find
a judge who is not partial. 3 partial to. in favour of,
predisposed to, fond of, having a soft spot or weakness for,
having a liking or taste or predilection for, having a fondness
for, feeling an attraction or affinity to or toward(s), finding
enjoyment in: She used to be partial to punk rockers. I am
partial to Scotch beef.
n. 1 prejudice, bias, inclination, favouritism, predilection,
predisposition, leaning, preference: The losers of the contest
accused the judges of partiality. 2 preference, taste, relish,
liking, fondness, appreciation, fancy, love, eye, weakness, soft
spot, penchant; fetish or fetich: Alas, my wife has acquired a
partiality for emeralds.
partially adv. partly, in part, to some extent or degree, to a limited or
a certain extent or degree, not totally or wholly or entirely,
restrictedly, incompletely, in some measure, relatively,
comparatively, moderately, (up) to a (given or certain) point,
somewhat: Jon found the meal only partially satisfying and
ordered another bread pudding.
n. 1 participator, partaker, sharer, party, contributor, prime
mover: The chief participants in the recent terrorist attack
are in custody.
--adj. 2 Usually, participant in or of. participating,
partaking, sharing: As a shareholder, he will be participant in
v. Often, participate in. take part (in), share (in), partake
(in or of), join (in), engage (in), get or become involved (in),
be or become associated (with), enter (in or into), contribute
(to): We invited her to join the group, but she refuses to
participate. I would like to participate in the venture.
particle n. atom, molecule, scintilla, spark, mote, suggestion, hint,
suspicion, gleam, bit, crumb, jot, tittle, whit, mite, speck,
dot, spot, iota, grain, morsel, shred, sliver, scrap, Colloq
smidgen or smidgin: There isn't the slightest particle of
evidence linking them with the murder.
adj. 1 certain, specific, special, peculiar, singular, single,
isolated, individual, distinct, discrete, separate, definite,
precise, express: These are not his particular sentiments but
those of thousands of his followers. In this particular instance
your theory does not apply. 2 marked, special, especial,
exceptional, remarkable, noteworthy, notable, outstanding,
unusual: The commendation is for her particular contribution to
the treatment of nervous disorders. Vintage port is a particular
favourite of mine. 3 detailed, itemized, item-by-item, thorough,
minute, precise, exact, exacting, painstaking, nice, rigorous,
close, blow-by-blow: The inscriptions reveal the particular
care taken in keeping daily records. 4 fussy, meticulous,
finicky, finical, fastidious, discriminating, selective,
demanding, hypercritical, critical, Colloq pernickety or US also
persnickety, choosy, picky: Daphne is very particular about
whom she invites to dinner.
--n. 5 Usually, particulars. detail, minutia, fine point, item,
specific, element, fact, circumstance, information: The
particulars may never be revealed, but we know in general what
took place that fateful night. 6 in particular. particularly,
specifically, precisely, exactly, especially, specially;
particular, specific, special, definite: I told mother that I
was just going out, not anywhere in particular.
adv. 1 especially, specially, exceptionally, peculiarly,
singularly, distinctively, uniquely, unusually, uncommonly,
notably, outstandingly, markedly, extraordinarily, very,
extremely, strikingly, surprisingly, amazingly: Susannah went
through a particularly bad patch but she's better now. Holroyd
is a good writer, particularly of biography. 2 in particular,
specifically, especially, principally, mainly, exceptionally,
expressly, explicitly, notably, markedly; only, solely:
Maeterlinck was particularly interested in bees.
parting n. 1 separating, splitting, dividing, breaking (up or apart),
sundering, cleaving; separation, split, division, break-up,
rift, rupture: The high point of the film was the parting of
the Red Sea. The parting between Harriet and Sam after twenty
turbulent years was to be expected. 2 leave-taking, farewell,
saying goodbye, departure, leaving, going (away), making one's
adieus or adieux; valediction: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
--adj. 3 closing, final, concluding, last, departing,
valedictory; deathbed, dying: Her parting comment was, 'If
you're leaving, take the rubbish'.
partisan n. 1 partizan, devotee, follower, supporter, adherent, backer,
champion, enthusiast, fan, zealot, fanatic, Chiefly US and
Canadian booster, Colloq US rooter: He has long been a partisan
of surrealism. 2 guerrilla or guerilla, freedom fighter,
underground or resistance fighter, irregular: During the war
the Yugoslav partisans were led by Marshal Tito.
--adj. 3 one-sided, factional, biased, tendentious, sectarian,
opinionated, partial, bigoted, prejudiced, parochial, myopic,
short-sighted, near-sighted, narrow, narrow-minded, limited:
She refuses to become involved in partisan politics. 4
guerrilla or guerilla, freedom, underground, resistance,
irregular: They were both members of the Maquis, the French
partisan group who fought against the Nazis.
partition n. 1 separation, division, splitting (up), split-up,
partitionment, break-up, breaking up, segmenting, segmentation:
One of the results of World War II was the partition of Germany.
2 allotment, allotting, apportionment, apportioning,
distribution, distributing, meting out, doling out, rationing
(out), sharing (out), dividing (up), giving or handing or
passing out, parcelling out, Colloq divvying up: The partition
of the estate is in the hands of our solicitors. 3 (room)
divider, (dividing) wall, barrier, screen, separator: Let's put
up a partition to divide this office into two. 4 compartment,
room, chamber, section, part, area, division, subdivision, cell,
stall, booth: In open floor planning, furniture, plantings, and
other movables are used to create the partitions where people
--v. 5 divide (up), separate, cut up, subdivide, split (up):
It is always a mistake to partition a country into smaller,
potentially quarrelsome units. 6 Often, partition off. divide,
separate, subdivide, wall off, screen (off), fence off: We must
partition off the machine room so that the office staff are not
disturbed by the noise.
partly adv. See partially, above.
partner n. 1 sharer, partaker, associate, colleague, participant,
accomplice, accessory, confederate, comrade, ally, collaborator,
companion, team-mate, fellow, alter ego, friend, Colloq pal,
sidekick, mate, US and Canadian buddy, cohort: His partner in
the bank robbery was arrested this morning. 2 wife or husband,
spouse, mate, helpmate, helpmeet, consort: She became my life
partner more than 50 years ago. 3 companion, fellow-dancer:
Won't you change partners and dance with me?
party n. 1 (social) gathering, (cocktail or dinner) party,
celebration, f€te or fete, function, reception, soir‚e, levee,
festivity, festivities, festival, frolic, spree, romp, carousal
or carouse, saturnalia, bacchanalia, debauch, orgy, Colloq
get-together, bash, bust, shindig or shindy, ball, at-home, do,
Brit beanfeast, beano, knees-up, US blow-out, Slang Brit rave or
rave-up, Chiefly US and Canadian wingding, bust-up, US hop:
Campbell said he had a marvellous time at your birthday party.
2 group, company, band, body, corps, gang, crew, team, squad,
troop, platoon, detachment, detail, cadre, unit, Colloq bunch,
outfit: A small party of men is trapped on the other side of
the river. 3 side, interest, faction, league, club, coalition,
bloc, division, sect, denomination, clique, coterie, set, cabal,
junta or junto, partisans, adherents, confederacy,
confederation, federation, Chiefly US and Canadian caucus: The
proliferation of political parties confuses the electorate. 4
participant, participator, confederate, associate, ally,
accomplice, accessory, approver, ratifier, upholder,
contributor, supporter, advocate, backer, aid, helper, seconder,
promoter, partisan, defender, exponent, proponent, champion: I
refuse to be a party to any illegal act. 5 individual, person,
litigant, plaintiff, defendant, side, interest, signer,
signatory, co-signatory, participant, US co-signer: The party
of the first part accuses the party of the second part of
infidelity. How many parties are there to this contract?
parvenu n. 1 parvenue, upstart, arriviste, nouveau riche, intruder,
adventurer, social climber: Usually one generation has to pass
before a parvenu is accepted by the class with which his money
--adj. 2 nouveau riche, upstart, intrusive: This parvenu
industrialist tried to use his wealth to make up for his lack of
pass v. 1 Often, pass by. proceed or move past, go by or past: She
passed me in the street. I didn't recognize her till she had
passed. We met like ships that pass in the night. 2 proceed,
move (onwards), go (ahead), progress, extend, lie, run, flow,
fly, roll, course, stream, drift, sweep: A flock of geese
passed overhead. 3 let pass, let go (by), overlook, disregard,
ignore, pay no heed, omit, skip: I think I'll pass on making a
decision till the proper time comes. 4 qualify (in), pass
muster (in), get or come through, succeed: Deirdre didn't
believe she would pass chemistry, but pass she did. 5 spend,
devote, use (up), expend, employ, occupy, fill, while away, take
(up); dissipate, waste, fritter away, kill: He passed his time
on Devil's Island planning ways to escape. 6 surpass, exceed,
outdo, transcend, go beyond, overshoot, outstrip, outrun,
surmount, outdistance: She passed her own expectations in
winning the scholarship. How Alan ever got a degree passes all
comprehension. 7 allow, tolerate, permit, approve, sanction,
accept, authorize, endorse, carry, agree to, confirm: The
customs inspectors passed my luggage without question. The bill
passed the committee and came up for voting. 8 give, hand round
or along or over, transfer, pass on or over, deliver, convey,
Sports US hand off, Colloq toss, throw, reach: Please pass the
salt. The sweeper passed the ball back to the goalkeeper. 9
utter, express, issue, declare, pronounce, deliver, set forth,
offer: Who is she to pass judgement on abstract paintings? 10
go away, disappear, vanish, evaporate, fade away, melt away,
evanesce, cease (to exist), (come to an) end, die out, go by the
board, terminate, Literary evanish, Colloq blow over: For an
instant I was gripped by a horrible fear, but the feeling
passed. 11 go (by), expire, elapse; slip by or away, fly; crawl,
creep, drag: Weeks have passed since we last met. Time passes
quickly when you're having fun. 12 evacuate, void, eliminate,
excrete, defecate, urinate: The tests showed that he had passed
some gravel in his urine. 13 come to pass. befall, happen,
occur, take place, come about, arise, Colloq come off: And it
came to pass that a great pestilence was abroad in the land. 14
pass away. a die, expire, perish, succumb, breathe one's last,
pass on, go to one's reward, go to one's final or last
resting-place, (go to) meet one's Maker, Colloq go west, give up
the ghost, Slang croak, kick the bucket, Chiefly US bite the
dust, turn up one's toes: He was the sole beneficiary when she
passed away. b vanish, disappear, go away, stop, cease, end:
The feeling of vertigo simply passed away when the plane landed.
15 pass by. See 1, above: The strikers were urging people to
pass by the shop. 16 pass for or as. a be taken for, be
mistaken for, be regarded as, be accepted as: He wrote a book
about being a man who passed for a woman. b impersonate,
imitate, mimic, pass (oneself) off as, come or go as, be
disguised as, disguise oneself as, assume the guise of,
masquerade as, pose as, assume the role of, act the part of, act
like, pretend to be, play: Using her best cockney accent, she
tried to pass as a Londoner. 17 pass off. evaporate, disappear,
evanesce, be emitted: The water passes off as steam, leaving
the distillate in the flask. 18 pass on. a proceed, continue,
progress: Let us now pass on to the next lesson. b bequeath,
hand down or on, transfer, make over, will, cede, give: The old
gambler passed on to me the secret of never losing - Don't
gamble. c See 14, (a), above. 19 pass (oneself) off as. See 16,
(b), above. 20 pass out. a faint, collapse, swoon, black out,
drop, Colloq conk out, keel over: When they told her of the
accident, she passed out on the spot. b distribute, dole out,
mete out, deal (out), hand out: After we took our seats, the
cabin staff passed out glasses of champagne. 21 pass over. See
3, above: I shall pass over his latest misdeeds without
comment. 22 pass up. reject, decline, refuse, waive, turn down,
dismiss, spurn, renounce; deny (oneself), skip, give up, forgo,
let go (by), abandon, forswear, forsake, let pass, ignore, pay
no heed, disregard, pay no heed, omit: If you don't buy this
car, you are passing up an opportunity of a lifetime.
--n. 23 defile, gorge, col, cwm, cut, canyon or ca¤on, notch,
gap, gully, couloir; passage, opening, way, route, road: We had
mined the pass to prevent the enemy's advance. 24
authorization, permit, licence, approval, safe conduct, green
light, go-ahead; permission, freedom, liberty, authority,
clearance; Colloq OK or okay: He bribed an official for a pass
to leave the country. 25 free pass, complimentary ticket, Slang
US twofer, Annie Oakley: I have two passes to the opera tonight
- Want to go? 26 state (of affairs), condition, situation,
stage, juncture, status, crux; predicament, crisis: At that
critical pass, it was too late to change policy. Things had come
to a pretty pass. 27 attempt, trial, try, effort, endeavour:
Anita's first pass at a perfect score resulted in disaster. We
made a pass at docking while under sail. 28 (sexual or indecent)
overture or advance(s), proposition, indecent proposal: That
lecher has made a pass at every secretary he's ever had. 29
manoeuvre, approach; passage, flight, fly-by, transit: The
pilot's first pass over the airfield was at 500 feet. 30
transfer, toss, throw, US hand-off: A forward pass is illegal
passable adj. 1 satisfactory, acceptable, tolerable, all right,
adequate, admissible, allowable, presentable, average, fair
(enough), fair to middling, fairly good, middling, not bad,
unexceptional, sufficient, indifferent, Colloq OK or okay, so
so: I thought the play passable, but not up to his usual
standard. 2 traversable, navigable, open, unobstructed,
unblocked: The channel is passable till October, when the river
passage n. 1 movement, moving, going, transition, transit, traversal,
traverse, progress, crossing, passing: The queen's passage
through the town was attended by much jubilation. We observed
the passage of Mercury across the sun's disc. 2 extract,
excerpt, selection, section, part, portion, text, paragraph,
canto, stanza, verse, line, sentence, phrase, citation,
quotation: I recognize this passage from The Faerie Queene . 3
way, route, avenue, course, channel; road, thoroughfare:
Amundsen found a navigable passage between the Atlantic and
Pacific across North America. 4 corridor, hall, passageway,
hallway, vestibule, lobby, foyer: As I stepped into the passage
outside my room I heard a door slam. 5 change, mutation, shift,
conversion, progression, passing: In sublimation, the passage
is directly between the solid and gaseous or vaporous states,
without an intermediate liquid stage. 6 passing, elapse,
progress, progression, flow, march, advance: She may become
more tractable with the passage of time. 7 voyage, trip,
journey, cruise, crossing, sail, run, travel, travelling; Brit
accommodation or US accommodations, arrangement(s), facilities:
In 1942 the trans-Atlantic passage was fraught with danger. The
refugees were guaranteed safe passage to the border. We have
been unable to book a passage to Majorca for tomorrow. 8 safe
conduct, permission, privilege, liberty, freedom, visa,
authorization, allowance: Our troops were denied passage
through Nepal. 9 enactment, ratification, sanction, approval,
acceptance, passing, adoption, endorsement, endorsing,
legitimatization or legitimization, legalization, legislation,
constitutionalization, ordainment: It appears that there is
enough support to ensure passage of the bill. 10 traffic,
trafficking, dealing, shipment, shipping, commerce, trade,
exchange, transaction: Representatives of several governments
discussed putting a halt to the passage of narcotics from
Colombia. 11 aperture, hole, orifice, opening; entry, access,
inlet; exit, outlet: We found a tiny passage through which the
termites were entering and leaving.
pass‚ adj. old-fashioned, unfashionable, dated, out of date, behind
the times, outmoded, obsolete, obsolescent, antiquated, archaic,
d‚mod‚, quaint, antique, superseded, Colloq out, not or no
longer in, old hat, back number: She persisted in dressing in a
style that had been pass‚ at the turn of the century.
passenger n. rider, fare, traveller, voyager, commuter: The cruise ships
have very comfortable accommodation for their passengers.
passing adj. 1 disappearing, vanishing, ephemeral, brief, going, fading
(away), slipping away, short-lived, expiring, transient,
transitory, temporary, momentary, fleeting, transitional,
impermanent: I hope that Anne's obsession with acid rock is a
passing fancy. 2 hasty, superficial, cursory, casual, quick,
fleeting, brief, summary, abrupt, dismissive; glancing: The
speaker paid only passing attention to those he disagreed with.
3 in passing. by the way, incidentally, by the by,
parenthetically, en passant: I might mention, in passing, that
my train was late owing to the strike.
--n. 4 death, dying, demise, end, loss, expiry, expiration,
dying out, extinction, disappearance, vanishment: Her passing
is a great sorrow to all of us. Who thought we would live to see
the passing of the steam engine?
passion n. 1 Often, passions. ardour, ardency, eagerness, intensity,
fervour, fervency, fervidness, zeal, zealousness, avidity,
avidness, zest, zestfulness, vivacity, vivaciousness, gusto,
verve, emotion, feeling, animation, spirit, spiritedness,
vigour, enthusiasm, eagerness; zealotry, fanaticism,
feverishness: The passions of the mob are uncontrollable.
Passion and prejudice govern the world. Passions ran high at the
political convention. 2 fit, outburst, frenzy, paroxysm,
seizure, spasm, convulsion, eruption, whirlwind, tempest, storm,
ferment, fury, furore or US furor: Henry fell on his knees in a
passion of grief. 3 infatuation, mania, obsession, craze,
craving, lust, (unquenchable) thirst, (insatiable) hunger, itch,
yearning, longing, desire, concupiscence, love, affection,
enthusiasm, compulsion, fondness, predilection, keenness, fancy,
fascination, partiality, liking, interest, weakness, Colloq yen:
Would the world be a better place if the passion for spiritual
values were as great as for material things? She has a passion
for chocolates. 4 love, heart's desire, beloved, idol, hero or
heroine, obsession, Colloq heartthrob, dream-girl or dream-boy:
He may not look much to you but he is the passion of every
teenage girl. 5 Usually, Passion. pain, suffering, agony,
martyrdom: Christ underwent his Passion at Calvary.
adj. 1 ardent, eager, intense, fervid, zealous, avid, eager,
earnest, zestful, feverish, fanatic(al), vehement, impassioned,
emotional, animated, spirited, enthusiastic, vigorous,
invigorated, energetic: Passionate environmentalists campaign
for better governmental control of carbon dioxide emissions. 2
aroused, lustful, lecherous, erotic, sexual, amorous, sensual,
Colloq hot: She tried to resist his passionate advances. 3
quick-tempered, irascible, hotheaded, fiery, testy, huffy or
huffish, peevish, cranky, peppery, choleric, touchy, bilious,
snappish, volatile, cross, temperamental, irritable,
quarrelsome, pugnacious, argumentative, contentious,
belligerent, Rare atrabilious or atrabiliar: Valerie gets into
a passionate mood whenever she thinks she is being treated
passive adj. 1 inactive, non-aggressive, inert, motionless,
unresponsive, quiet, calm, tranquil, serene, placid, still,
idle, unmoving, unmoved, impassive, untouched, cool,
indifferent, phlegmatic, uninterested, uninvolved,
dispassionate, apathetic, lifeless, listless, quiescent,
unperturbed, unaffected, imperturbable, unshaken, Colloq
laid-back, out of it: The comic was unable to get a reaction
from the passive audience. 2 submissive, repressed,
deferential, yielding, compliant, complaisant, receptive,
flexible, malleable, pliable, tractable, docile, subdued,
sheepish, ovine, lamblike, cow-like, bovine, tame, gentle, meek,
patient, unresisting, unassertive, forbearing, tolerant,
resigned, long-suffering, Colloq US excuse-me-for-living:
People tend to bully those of a more passive nature. 3
unexpressed, tacit, unrevealed, undisclosed, implicit,
unasserted: We can no longer take a passive position regarding
crime. Your passive support, while welcome, is not as effective
as active campaigning.
password n. watchword, shibboleth, open sesame, countersign: If you
don't know the password, the guard won't let you in.
past adj. 1 over, done, finished, (over and) done with, gone (and
forgotten), dead (and buried or gone), defunct: The day of the
horse and carriage is past. 2 late, former, one-time, sometime,
previous, prior, erstwhile, quondam, whilom; last, recent: Past
owners of the house had no idea that this treasure was buried in
--adv. 3 on, (close) by, nearby: I was standing here when he
ran past. 4 ago, before, heretofore, since: The previous
owners moved out two years past.
--n. 5 history, background, life, lifetime, existence, career,
lifestyle, biography: She reveals all about her past in her new
book. 6 days or years or times gone by, days of yore, old
times, olden times or days, former times, (good) old days, days
of old, days beyond recall: In the past, life proceeded at a
more leisurely pace.
pastiche n. mixture, medley, blend, compound, composite, patchwork, olla
podrida, pot-pourri, motley, miscellany, omnium gatherum,
m‚lange, gallimaufry, farrago, mishmash, hotchpotch or US and
Canadian hodgepodge, tangle, Colloq mess: The room was
furnished in a pastiche of styles from every imaginable period.
pastime n. hobby, avocation, recreation, diversion, distraction,
amusement, entertainment, fun, play, leisure-time activity,
relaxation, leisure, sport, divertissement: As a pastime, she
pastor n. vicar, clergyman, clergywoman, parson, minister, churchman,
churchwoman, rector, canon, reverend, father, divine,
ecclesiastic, priest, bishop: The pastor led the congregation
pastoral adj. 1 bucolic, idyllic, Edenic, innocent, simple, tranquil,
serene, quiet, restful, peaceful, peaceable, placid, pacific,
harmonious, simple, uncomplicated, Literary Arcadian, georgic:
After a week in those pastoral surroundings, she felt inspired.
Theocritus is noted for his pastoral poetry. 2 country, rural,
rustic, provincial, farming, agricultural, agrarian; humble: He
has chosen a pastoral setting for the play, which contrasts
sharply with the emotional intensity of the characters. 3
clerical, ministerial, ecclesiastic(al), church(ly): Our vicar
discharges his pastoral duties with energy and sincerity.
--n. 4 idyll, eclogue, georgic: Flambeau did these marvellous
engravings for a book of pastorals.
pasture n. meadow, meadow-land, pasture land, grassland, grass, lea,
range; pasturage: How much pasture is needed for 200 head of
pasty adj. wan, pallid, pasty-faced, sallow, pale, pale-faced,
whey-faced, sickly, anaemic: He had the pasty complexion of a
child raised in an industrial city.
pat° v. 1 tap, touch, dab, pet, stroke, caress: Being short, he
hated it when people affectionately patted him on the head. Pat
down the coverlet to smooth out the wrinkles. 2 pat on the back.
congratulate, commend, praise, compliment, encourage, reassure:
The sales manager patted me on the back for clinching the
--n. 3 tap, touch, dab, stroke, caress: Give the dog a pat and
he'll leave you alone. 4 (small) piece, patty, lump, cake,
portion; patty: The waiter put a pat of butter on my plate. 5
pat on the back. commendation, praise, compliment, flattery,
encouragement, credit, reassurance, approval, endorsement,
recognition; honeyed words: I was expecting a big bonus, but
all I got was a pat on the back.
patэ adv. 1 perfectly, exactly, precisely, faultlessly, flawlessly,
just so or right, Brit off pat: She has the new technique pat.
2 aptly, suitably, appositely, readily, appropriately,
fittingly, relevantly: His reply came out a little too pat.
--adj. 3 apt, suitable, apposite, ready, appropriate, fitting,
relevant: The poet made a very pat comparison.
patch n. 1 piece, scrap, reinforcement; shred, snip, snippet, tatter;
pad: Mother sewed colourful patches over the holes in my jeans.
2 area, section, segment, plat, plot, lot, tract, ground,
parcel, field: All he ever wanted was a little house on a
little patch of land. 3 responsibility, area, bailiwick,
territory: The handling of customer complaints is in your
patch, Gordon. 4 period, interval, spell, stage, episode, time;
experience: She went through a bad patch shortly after Starkey
--v. 5 patch up or over, mend, repair, vamp, revamp, darn, sew
(up), reinforce, cover: I had my trousers patched where the dog
bit me. Her father always wore the same patched jacket to the
club. 6 Often, patch up. fix (up), doctor, jury-rig, improvise,
knock together or up: Can you patch it up so I can drive it
home? 7 patch up. settle, set right or straight, straighten
out, reconcile, resolve, heal; come or bring to terms, bury the
hatchet, kiss and make up, call a truce: Will the two girls
ever patch up their differences?
patchwork n. pastiche or pasticcio, mixture, confusion, hotchpotch or US
also hodgepodge, gallimaufry, olio, olla podrida, mishmash,
jumble, m‚lange, medley, hash, US crazy quilt, Colloq mixed bag:
The landscape is a patchwork of ploughland and pasture, with
little copses and rivers. The concerto by Lindslade is
'derivative' - that is, it is a patchwork.
patent n. 1 certificate of invention, letters patent, trade name,
trade mark, copyright, US service mark; licence, permit,
charter, franchise, grant; control: My brother holds the patent
on a new piece of laboratory equipment. You think you have a
patent on misery, but I have news for you.
--adj. 2 obvious, clear, transparent, manifest, apparent,
plain, evident, self-evident, unmistakable or unmistakeable,
unequivocal, explicit, palpable, tangible, physical,
conspicuous, flagrant, blatant, prominent: The results are as
patent as the fact that two and two make four.
paternal adj. 1 fatherly, kindly, indulgent, solicitous, fond,
concerned, devoted, loving; patriarchal: Uncle Charles takes a
paternal interest in the welfare of his nieces and nephews. 2
patrilineal or patrilinear, patriclinous or patroclinous or
patriclinal or patroclinal or patriclinic or patroclinic,
patrilateral, patrimonial: She resembles her paternal
grandmother. His fortune is partly paternal, partly acquired.
paternity n. fatherhood, fathership; parentage, descent, heritage, line,
lineage, extraction, family, stock, strain, blood, patrilineage:
The child's paternity was established through DNA tests.
path n. 1 footpath, pathway, tow-path, track, trail, walk, walkway,
Brit footway: A little kitten was sitting on the garden path.
2 way, course, track, route, road; orbit, trajectory, circuit:
She had to overcome many obstacles in her path to the
directorship. The path of the missile will take it outside the
atmosphere. 3 course, approach, channel, direction, procedure,
process, way, avenue, means, method, technique, strategy,
scheme, plan, Colloq US game plan, scenario: What path would
you follow to accomplish your ends?
pathetic adj. 1 moving, stirring, affecting, affective, touching,
emotional, emotive, poignant, tragic, heart-rending,
heart-breaking, pitiful, pitiable, piteous, plaintive, wretched,
miserable, sorrowful, grievous, sad, doleful, dolorous,
mournful, woeful, lamentable: The boat people told a pathetic
tale of the hardship of weeks in the open sea. 2 meagre, paltry,
feeble, inadequate, poor, petty, puny, sorry, piddling, Colloq
measly, Slang crummy: He made a pathetic effort to pull himself
together. A return of three per cent a year is pathetic.
patience n. 1 tolerance, forbearance, restraint, toleration, sufferance,
leniency, submission, resignation, self-control,
imperturbability, even temper, unflappability, composure,
calmness, serenity, equanimity: Many parents lose their
patience when dealing with children. 2 diligence, tenacity,
doggedness, indefatigability, endurance, assiduity,
perseverance, constancy, persistence, steadfastness,
pertinacity, determination, resolve, resolution, firmness,
stoicism, fortitude, Colloq US stick-to-it-iveness: Where do
you get the patience to wait in those long queues?
patient adj. 1 resigned, submissive, stoical, long-suffering,
compliant, acquiescent, passive, self-possessed, philosophical,
serene, unaggressive: The staff who handle complaints must be
extremely patient. 2 diligent, dogged, tenacious, persistent,
assiduous, sedulous, steadfast, staunch, perseverant,
unwavering, unswerving, constant, unfaltering, unfailing,
untiring, tireless, indefatigable, pertinacious, determined,
resolved, resolute, firm, unyielding: Be patient, and don't do
anything rash. 3 forbearing, tolerant, forgiving, lenient,
accommodating: We have been patient long enough and must now
put a stop to the vandalism.
--n. 4 invalid, sufferer, case, valetudinarian: Doctors were
called in to treat patients who developed the symptoms.
patriot n. nationalist, loyalist; flag-waver, jingo, jingoist,
chauvinist: She was among the patriots ready to do battle for
patriotic adj. nationalist(ic), loyalist; flag-waving, jingoist(ic),
chauvinist(ic): The fact that they criticize the government may
show that they are more rather than less patriotic.
patrol n. 1 guard, sentry, watch, watchman, sentinel, patrolman: The
patrol passes here once every hour. 2 rounds, policing,
patrolling, beat; protecting, protection, guarding,
safeguarding, defending, watchfulness, vigilance: The patrol
must be maintained night and day.
--v. 3 police, guard, protect, defend, watch over, walk a beat,
make (the) rounds, stand or keep guard or watch (over), keep
vigil: Some of the local residents have taken to patrolling the
neighbourhood at night.
patron n. 1 patroness, benefactor, benefactress, philanthropist,
Maecenas, protector, supporter, defender, advocate, champion,
guardian (angel), sponsor, backer, promoter, sympathizer,
friend, US booster; friend at court; Colloq angel: Lady Agnes
is a well-known patron of the arts. 2 customer, client,
purchaser, buyer, patronizer, habitu‚, regular, frequenter: The
patrons habituate her shop because of the bargains to be found
patronage n. 1 sponsorship, support, backing, promotion, encouragement,
boosting, aid, help, sympathy, financing, auspices, protection,
guardianship, aegis: The exhibition was organized with the
duke's patronage. 2 trade, business, custom, trading, traffic:
The shop could never succeed with our patronage. 3
condescension, disdain, scorn, contempt, contumely, superiority,
patronizing, stooping, deigning, humiliation: There is an air
of patronage about him when he finally does allow me a visit. 4
favouritism, partiality, preference, bias, nepotism, political
patronage, granting of indulgences, US spoils (system):
Politicians have always used patronage to reward support.
patronize v. 1 look down on, scorn, look down one's nose at, treat
condescendingly, talk down to, treat as (an) inferior, disdain,
demean, put down, humiliate, Formal contemn: He patronizes
people by patting them on the head. 2 bring trade to, deal or
trade or do or transact business with, buy or purchase from,
frequent, shop at, be a customer or client of: You should
patronize the local merchants in your town. 3 sponsor, support,
back, promote, encourage, boost, aid, assist, help, fund,
contribute or subscribe to, underwrite, foster: The fund has
patronized the arts in this town for many years.
patter° v. 1 tiptoe; scurry, scuttle, skip, trip: I could hear the
squirrels pattering across the metal roof. 2 spatter,
pitter-patter, tap, pit-a-pat; beat, pelt: The rain pattered on
the tent with increasing intensity.
--n. 3 spatter, spattering, pit-a-pat, pitter-patter, tattoo,
drum, thrum, beat, beating, tap, ratatat, tap-tap: The
rhythmical patter of the rain lulled me to sleep.
patterэ n. 1 pitch, sales talk, spiel, line: Anyone listening to his
patter might be inclined to buy a time-share holiday. 2 chatter,
prattle, prate, babbling, babble, gabble, gabbling, cackle,
cackling, palaver, jabber, jabbering, chit-chat, small talk,
gossip, blather or blether, gibberish or gibber, Chiefly Brit
natter, nattering, Scots clishmaclaver, Colloq gab, gabbing,
Slang gas, hot air, yackety-yack, yack: The chap tapping our
phone had to listen to the teenagers' patter for hours on end.
--v. 3 chatter, prattle, prate, babble, gabble, cackle,
palaver, jabber, rattle (on), chit-chat, chaffer, gossip,
blather or blether, gibber, Chiefly Brit natter, witter (on),
Colloq gab, Slang gas, yackety-yack, yack, jibber-jabber: They
just patter on about nothing in particular.
pattern n. 1 model, original, archetype, prototype, exemplar, paragon,
ideal, standard, yardstick, criterion, gauge, measure: Their
life together could serve as a pattern for any couple. 2
figure, motif, design, device, decoration, ornament: The
pattern of the wallpaper clashes with that of the curtains. 3
system, order, arrangement, plan, theme; repetition,
consistency, orderliness, regularity, sequence, cycle: By
carefully noting the movements of the heavenly bodies, ancient
observers were able to detect a pattern. 4 blueprint, diagram,
plan, layout, design, draft, guide, template or templet,
stencil, mould, matrix: These new lighting fixtures are made to
a 19th-century pattern. 5 sample, example, instance, specimen,
representation: Were you able to match up your fabric pattern
with one of those in the tailor's book? 6 layout, configuration,
figure, formation, composition: The geese often flew in a
--v. 7 Often, pattern on. model on, imitate, copy, mimic,
duplicate, follow, emulate, simulate: She tried to pattern her
behaviour on that of her older sister. 8 decorate, figure,
ornament: Cynthia's gifts were wrapped in a beautifully
paunch n. belly, pot-belly, Colloq corporation, US bay window, Slang
beer-belly: Capitalism is often conventionalized as a
top-hatted older man, in tails, with a huge paunch and a cigar.
pauper n. have-not, indigent, down-and-out(er), bankrupt, insolvent;
beggar, mendicant; tramp, hobo, vagrant, US bum: The mortgage
payments on such a lavish house soon made him a pauper.
pause v. 1 hesitate, interrupt, delay, hold up, discontinue, break,
wait, mark time, suspend, intermit, falter, rest: He paused for
a moment to allow late-comers to take their seats.
--n. 2 hesitation, interruption, delay, lull, lapse,
moratorium, hold-up, wait, break, breather, breathing-space,
discontinuity, lacuna, hiatus, abeyance, discontinuation,
discontinuance, Prosody caesura, Music fermata, Colloq let-up:
There was a brief pause, then the altercation in the
neighbouring flat resumed.
pave v. 1 macadamize, tarmac, asphalt, tile, flag, concrete, cover,
surface: Europeans thought that the streets of America were
paved with gold. 2 pave the way for or to. prepare or smooth the
way for, open the door for, make easy or easier for; facilitate,
ease: If I talk to him first, perhaps I can pave the way for
you to make your proposal.
pawn° v. 1 pledge, mortgage, hypothecate, plight, deposit, Formal
pignorate, Archaic gage, Colloq Brit pop, Chiefly US and
Canadian hock: I had to pawn my watch to get enough money to
eat. 2 venture, stake, risk, gamble, hazard, chance,
jeopardize: By agreeing to donate one of his kidneys, he pawned
his life to save hers.
--n. 3 collateral, guaranty or guarantee, pledge, surety,
security, assurance, bond, bail, deposit: She gave her jewels
as pawn for the safe return of the children.
pawnэ n. tool, cat's-paw, puppet, instrument, dummy, dupe, Colloq
stooge: He's not important: he's just being used as a pawn by
the powerful interests involved.
pay v. 1 recompense, compensate, remunerate, reward, indemnify;
repay, refund, reimburse; pay off, pay out, pay up, satisfy,
clear, remit, discharge, liquidate, settle, honour, meet: Do
you think that nurses are poorly paid? You have 30 days to pay
this invoice. 2 reward, benefit, recompense, requite,
compensate: Thurlew has been amply paid by having his name
engraved on the roll of honour. 3 extend, bestow, transmit, pass
on, give, deliver: Please pay my respects to your wife. 4
benefit, profit, avail, (turn out to) be or prove profitable or
worthwhile, yield a return, be advantageous, produce results,
pay off: It no longer pays to complain about the service in the
shops. Honesty pays. 5 pay back, repay, retaliate, settle
(accounts) (with), even the score or a score, reciprocate,
requite, take or get revenge on, avenge oneself for or on, treat
in kind, hit or strike or get back (at), settle or pay off or
even a score or the score (with), exact one's pound of flesh
(from), make (someone) pay (for), punish, chastise, castigate,
Brit pay out, Colloq get even (with): If I catch him, I'll pay
him for turning informer. 6 suffer (the consequences), answer
(for), make amends (for), atone (for), get one's (just) deserts,
undergo punishment (for), be punished (for): If I catch him,
I'll make him pay. Society requires that he pay for his crime. 7
produce or make or generate or earn money, yield a return, pay
off: His vending-machine business certainly pays well. 8 pay
back. a recompense, compensate, remunerate, reward, indemnify;
repay, pay off, refund, reimburse: I paid back every penny I
borrowed from the bank. I'll pay her back if it's the last thing
I do. b See 5, above. 9 pay for. See 6, above. 10 pay off. a
See 4 and 7, and 8(a), above. b bribe, suborn, buy off, grease
(someone's) palm, give (someone) a bribe or a rebate, Colloq
give (someone) a kickback, slip (someone) something: Did he
really pay off the judges to select his daughter as Miss
Tyneside? 11 pay out. a distribute, deal out, give out,
disperse, disburse: The managing director paid out bonuses to
the entire staff. b disburse, expend, spend, contribute, Colloq
shell out, lay out, US and Canadian and Australian and New
Zealand kick in with, Slang cough up, fork out or over or up:
In the office, we are forever paying out for leaving presents.
c release, loosen, let out, slack or slacken off (on): Pay out
more rope so that he can reach it. d See 5, above: We'll pay
him out for everything he's done to you, never fear!
--n. 12 payment, compensation, recompense, settlement, return;
remuneration, consideration, reward, money, wages, salary, fee,
honorarium, remittance, stipend, income, takings, take-home
(pay), gain, profit, Colloq US take: His sole pay for painting
the kitchen was a big hug and a kiss. The work is tedious, but
the pay isn't bad.
payable adj. due, owed, owing, outstanding, unpaid, receivable, mature:
This bill is payable at the end of the month.
payment n. 1 See pay, 12, above. 2 expenditure, disbursement,
distribution, outlay, fee, contribution, charge, expense,
payout: You are not authorized to make payment of any amount
pay-off n. 1 See pay, 12, above. 2 result, outcome, upshot,
conclusion, wind-up, settlement, final reckoning, Colloq
punch-line, crunch, grand finale, Slang US and Canadian kicker:
The pay-off was that permission to march on Sunday was denied.
3 bribe, graft, rebate; ransom, blood-money, Colloq kickback,
hush money, Chiefly US payola, US plugola: The pay-off was
always made in cash, in used notes.
peace n. 1 serenity, tranquillity, calm, calmness, placidity or
placidness, peace of mind, quiet, peacefulness, peaceableness,
stillness: For a summer holiday, we enjoy the peace of the
Lakes. 2 harmony, accord, harmoniousness, concord, amity,
peacefulness, peacetime; cease-fire, armistice, truce: Since
the Second World War, Europe has enjoyed more than 45 years of
peaceable adj. 1 See peaceful, 1, below. 2 pacific, inoffensive, dovish,
peace-loving, mild, non-violent, non-belligerent, unbelligerent,
unwarlike, non-warring, non-combative, temperate, agreeable,
compatible, congenial, genial, friendly, amiable, amicable,
cordial, civil: Despite cultural differences, the two countries
maintained peaceable relations.
peaceful adj. 1 peaceable, serene, placid, calm, quiet, quiescent,
gentle, restful, tranquil, untroubled, undisturbed, unruffled:
After our week-end guests left, the house was again peaceful. 2
See peaceable, 2, above.
n. conciliator, pacifier, reconciler, propitiator, placater,
pacificator, mediator, arbitrator, intermediator, intermediary,
diplomat, appeaser, interceder, go-between, referee, umpire,
adjudicator; peacemonger: The ambassador was called upon to act
as peacemaker between the warring nations.
peak n. 1 top, pinnacle, crest, ridge, tor, mountain top, summit,
mountain, eminence, elevation, hill: We were just able to make
out the snow-capped peaks in the distance. 2 top, tip, tiptop,
apex, acme, culmination, apogee, zenith, high point, crown,
extreme, utmost, uttermost, perfection, ne plus ultra,
consummation, climax: Irene has brought the office to a peak of
efficiency. 3 visor, brim, US bill, nib: The peak of the
fisherman's cap serves as an eyeshade.
--v. 4 rise, crest, culminate, (reach a) climax, top (out):
Prices peaked during the Christmas shopping season.
peaky adj. peakish, pinched, unhealthy, sickly, ailing, ill, unwell,
infirm, unwholesome, pale, pallid, wan, waxen, anaemic, pasty,
sallow, whey-faced, ashen, washed out, drained, emaciated,
wasted, gaunt, hollow-eyed, haggard, drawn, weak, feeble, US
peaked: Paul has been looking a bit peaky of late.
peal n. 1 ringing, ring, carillon, chime, chiming, toll, tolling,
clang, clangour, tintinnabulation, clamour, reverberation;
knell; clap, crash, roar, rumble, thunder: The constant peal of
the bells nearly drove him mad. The doleful peal rang out for
yet another fisherman lost at sea. A resounding peal of thunder
shook the house.
--v. 2 ring, toll, chime, clang, tintinnabulate, reverberate,
resonate, resound; knell; boom, crash, roar, roll, rumble,
thunder: The cowbells pealed plaintively, reminding me of my
youth in the Alps. Lightning flashed, and the echoing thunder
pealed through the valley.
pearl n. gem, treasure, prize, cream, flower, wonder, nonpareil:
Wasn't Cuba once called the Pearl of the Antilles?
pearly adj. nacreous, pearl-like, perlaceous, lustrous,
mother-of-pearl: The dress was trimmed with pink lace and
little pearly buttons.
peasant n. rustic, countryman, countrywoman, farmer, provincial, (farm)
worker, (country) bumpkin, bucolic; peon, fellah, muzhik or
mouzhik or mujik; Historical esne, serf, Archaic swain, hind,
churl, Derogatory yokel, hill-billy, bog-trotter, oaf, lump,
lout, boor, churl, clod, clodhopper; Colloq US and Canadian
hick, galoot or galloot, Derogatory hayseed, rube, Derogatory
and offensive US poor white (trash): Regimes came and went, but
the life of the medieval peasant endured.
n. slip, error, lapse, mistake, infraction, violation, misdeed,
shortcoming, misstep, blunder, faux pas, indiscretion, gaffe,
botch, stumble, fault, petty sin, (minor) transgression,
trespass, Colloq slip-up, goof: We have to forgive the
peculiar adj. 1 odd, curious, strange, queer, bizarre, weird, unusual,
abnormal, anomalous, aberrant, deviant or deviate, eccentric,
uncommon, outlandish, exceptional, extraordinary, out of the
ordinary, offbeat, unorthodox, atypical, idiosyncratic,
unconventional, out-of-the-way, quaint, unique, singular, one of
a kind, sui generis, distinct, distinguished, special,
particular, quirky, funny, freakish, Slang far-out, freaky, Brit
rum: Don't you agree that anyone who by choice goes barefoot in
winter is a bit peculiar? She enjoys a peculiar immunity to
colds. 2 Usually, peculiar to. typical of, characteristic of,
characterized by, natural to, symptomatic of, appropriate to or
for, distinctive of, restricted to, specific to, indicative of,
denotative of, limited to, individual to, personal to, special
to, unique to; seen or observed (only) in, local to, native to,
indigenous to: Such behaviour is peculiar to those who have
served long prison sentences.
--n. 3 Typography arbitrary, sort: Characters with diacritical
marks are called 'peculiars' in the printing trades.
n. 1 idiosyncrasy, oddity, eccentricity, abnormality,
irregularity, quirk, kink, crotchet, caprice: Keeping
alligators was only one of Jess's peculiarities. 2 feature,
characteristic, property, quality, trait, attribute, earmark,
hallmark, mark, particularity, singularity, Brit speciality, US
specialty: One of the peculiarities of the books is their wide
pedantic adj. 1 didactic, doctrinaire, donnish, pedagogic, pedantical,
preachy, professorial, bookish, ostentatious, pretentious,
sententious, pompous, vain, stuffy, stilted, stiff, dry: A
pedantic approach to marketing may be all right in the
classroom, but it doesn't sell products. 2 perfectionist,
scrupulous, overscrupulous, finicky or finical, fussy,
punctilious, fastidious, meticulous, exact, chop-logic,
hair-splitting, quibbling, Colloq nit-picking: His secretary
left because of his pedantic criticisms of her work.
peddle v. sell, hawk, market, vend, huckster, Colloq push, flog: He
is a publishing tycoon today, but he started by peddling books
pedestal n. 1 foundation, base, platform, stand, substructure, mounting,
pier, foot, mounting, support, Technical plinth, socle, dado:
The statue crumbled away and only its pedestal remained. 2 put
or place or set on a pedestal. glorify, exalt, worship, deify,
revere, idolize, dignify, apotheosize, ennoble, elevate, raise:
No woman is worth putting on a pedestal.
n. 1 walker, stroller, ambler, rambler, footslogger; itinerant,
peripatetic: A special crossing has been installed for
--adj. 2 boring, dull, banal, tiresome, commonplace, mundane,
tedious, unimaginative, uninteresting, monotonous,
run-of-the-mill, humdrum, stock, prosaic, insipid, dry, flat,
jejune, colourless, dreary, pale, ordinary, hackneyed, trite,
(as) dull as ditch-water or US also dishwater, vapid, stale,
uninspired, uninspiring, spiritless, lifeless, dead: The dean
delivered his customary pedestrian lecture to the new students.
3 walking, strolling, ambulatory, on foot, rambling,
peripatetic: We were exhausted after taking a pedestrian tour
pedigree n. (line of) descent, ancestry, genealogy, blood, bloodline,
line, extraction, lineage, stock, heritage, family, derivation,
birth, parentage, strain, roots: His pedigree is all right, but
does he have brains as well as money?
pedlar n. hawker, (door-to-door) salesman or saleswoman or
salesperson, vendor, huckster, seller, colporteur, US peddler,
drummer, Archaic chapman, Colloq cheapjack: How can you expect
the watch to work if you bought it from a street pedlar?
peek v. 1 peer, peep, glimpse, look, squint (at), squinny (at),
Scots keek, Colloq take or have a gander (at), Brit take a dekko
(at): A small boy peeked out from under the blanket.
--n. 2 look, glimpse, peep, glance, Scots keek, Colloq gander,
look-see: I've had a peek at what Father hid in the cupboard.
peel v. 1 Sometimes, peel off. skin, strip (off), pare, flay, flake
off, descale, decorticate; shuck, hull, bark, scale; desquamate:
Beulah, peel me a grape. 2 strip, undress, disrobe; do a
striptease: In the last act, everyone peels to the bare skin.
3 peel off. take off or doff, strip off: I peeled off my coat
and dived into the canal to save her.
--n. 4 skin, rind, coating, peeling: Don't you like candied
peep v. 1 chirp, tweet, cheep, squeak, twitter, pipe, chirrup: The
birds peeped excitedly when they saw the cat.
--n. 2 chirp, tweet, cheep, squeak, twitter, pipe, chirrup,
chirr or chirre or churr: The night was filled with the peep of
the frogs at the pond. 3 sound, complaint, outcry, protest,
protestation, grumble, murmur: The students didn't let out a
peep when ordered to remain after class.
peer° n. 1 noble, nobleman or noblewoman, lord or lady, aristocrat;
duke or duchess, marquess or marchioness, earl or countess,
viscount or viscountess, baron or baroness: As a peer of the
realm, she had certain rights. 2 equal, coequal, compeer, like,
match, confrЉre, associate, colleague: Under law, he is
entitled to trial by a jury of his peers.
peerэ v. 1 peep, peek, squint (at), squinny (at), look, examine; spy:
Scrooge peered closely at the accounts ledger. 2 appear, peep
through or out, break through, show, become visible, emerge:
Now and then, the moon peered through the clouds.
peerless adj. without equal, unequalled, matchless, unmatched,
unrivalled, unique, incomparable, beyond compare, unparalleled,
nonpareil, inimitable, unexcelled, unsurpassed, superior,
superb, excellent, supreme, superlative, finest, best, ne plus
ultra, sovereign, consummate, pre-eminent, paramount: James's
mother was a peerless beauty and the toast of her generation.
peevish adj. irritable, testy, touchy, fretful, ill-humoured, waspish,
petulant, crabbed, churlish, querulous, short-tempered,
ill-natured, tetchy, cross, bad-tempered, ill-tempered,
fault-finding, captious, carping, cavilling, crusty,
curmudgeonly, crotchety, cantankerous, grumpy or grumpish,
pettish, acrimonious, splenetic, Colloq bilious, US and Canadian
and Irish cranky: He's very peevish today, so don't get on his
peg v. 1 pin, dowel, rod, stick, bolt; thole or thole-pin;
clothes-peg, hook: Pegs and glue are often used for fastening
good furniture together. Hang your coat on the peg. 2 off the
peg. ready-made, ready-to-wear, stock: As bespoke clothing is
so dear, I buy mine off the peg. 3 take down a peg (or two).
humble, diminish, lower, subdue, suppress, downgrade, dishonour,
mortify, humiliate, put down, abase, debase, devalue or
devaluate: He was acting a bit high and mighty, so she took him
down a peg or two.
--v. 4 fasten, secure, make fast, fix, attach, pin: They
pegged the tent firmly to the ground. 5 fix, attach, pin, set
(by), control by, limit by, restrict, confine, freeze, bind,
regulate, govern: In indexing, the rate of inflation is often
used for pegging wages. 6 toss, throw, shy, flip, sling, cast:
I'll bet a fiver you can't peg that stone across the river. 7
peg away or US also along. work (away) (at), persevere (at),
apply oneself (to), persist (in or at), go to or at (it), keep
at (it), stick to or with or at (it), stay with or at (it),
carry on (with or at), Colloq plug away (at), beaver away (at),
hammer or bang or peck away (at): Trevor pegs away at his
homework every evening.
pell-mell adv. 1 helter-skelter, slapdash, rashly, feverishly,
incautiously, confusedly, chaotically, wildly, impulsively,
recklessly, slap-bang, impetuously, hastily, hurriedly,
precipitately, spontaneously: The ice-cream vendor pedalled
down the street with the children running pell-mell after him.
--adj. 2 helter-skelter, slapdash, rash, feverish, incautious,
confused, disordered, disorderly, disorganized, wild, mad,
chaotic, tumultuous, panicky, impulsive, reckless, precipitate,
impetuous, hasty, hurried: Quick action by the soldiers was
responsible for the pell-mell rout of the attackers.
--n. 3 confusion, disorder, chaos, tumult, pandemonium,
turmoil, m€l‚e or melee, furore or US furor, commotion, bedlam,
brouhaha, hubbub, excitement: In the pell-mell that followed,
several bystanders were injured.
pelt° v. 1 bombard, shower, bomb, pepper, strafe, batter, shell,
assail, assault, attack, US pummel or pommel, belabour, pound,
Old-fashioned lay about, Slang US clobber, wallop, paste, work
over: The hooligans pelted the crowd with sticks and stones. 2
Often, pelt down. beat, dash, pound, hit; come down, teem, pour,
Colloq rain cats and dogs, bucket down, US rain pitchforks: The
rain came pelting down just as we were ready to go out. 3 pelt
along or over. hurry, rush, run, dash, shoot, scoot, scurry:
The constables pelted along after the escaping thief.
--n. 4 stroke, blow, whack, hit, smack, slap, thwack, bang,
thump, Colloq wallop, belt: Chris received a pelt on the head
from a rock.
peltэ n. skin, hide, coat, fur, fleece: The trappers traded the fox
pelts for supplies.
pen° n. 1 writing instrument, fountain-pen, ball-point (pen), Brit
trade mark Biro, Old-fashioned quill: Dearest, I have finally
found time to put pen to paper. I prefer a pen with a fine
--v. 2 write (down or up or out), jot down, (make a) note (of),
draft, draw up, compose, put on paper, commit to paper, commit
to writing, put in writing, scribble, scrawl, scratch, Formal
indite: While he was in prison, he penned letters to many men
penэ n. 1 coop, enclosure, hutch, (pig)sty, pound, fold, stall,
confine, US and Canadian corral: We kept the geese in a pen by
--v. 2 Often, pen up. enclose, confine, coop up, shut up,
impound, round up, US and Canadian corral: It took three of us
to pen the sheep. During the blockade, the ships remained penned
up at Gibraltar.
penal adj. correctional, punitive, disciplinary: Crime and its
punishment are covered in the penal code. He was sent to a penal
colony for life.
penalize v. punish, discipline, mulct, amerce, fine, handicap, impose or
invoke a penalty against, impose a penalty on, Formal amerce;
sentence: This judge penalizes speeders mercilessly.
penalty n. punishment, discipline, penance, sentence; forfeit, fine,
handicap, price, mulct, Formal amercement; imprisonment,
incarceration: The prosecution demanded the maximum penalty
allowable under law for the crimes.
penance n. 1 punishment, penalty, reparation, amends, atonement,
self-punishment, self-mortification, regret, repentance,
contrition, suffering, penitence: A year of public service was
fair penance for the offence. 2 do penance. pay, suffer, make
amends or reparation(s), atone, wear sackcloth and ashes or a
hair-shirt: She has done penance enough for her crime.
penchant n. inclination, bent, proclivity, leaning, bias,
predisposition, predilection, partiality, proneness, propensity,
tendency, affinity, liking, preference, fondness, taste: Agnes
has a penchant for tennis and for men who play tennis.
pendant n. ornament, tassel, lavaliere or lavaliЉre, medallion, locket,
necklace, riviЉre, ear-drop, tear-drop, drop, Old-fashioned
carcanet: I recognized the pendant she wore at her neck as my
pending prep. 1 awaiting, waiting (for), depending on, till, until,
'til, till such time as; while, during: Pending the outcome of
the trial, he was remanded in custody.
--adj. 2 unsettled, undetermined, undecided, unconfirmed,
unfinished, inconclusive, up in the air, hanging fire, in the
balance, in abeyance; forthcoming, imminent, impending, in the
offing, Colloq US in a holding pattern, on hold: The pending
negotiations on the rent will determine whether we stay or move
house. While the matter is pending, we can do nothing.
pendulous adj. 1 pendent, hanging, drooping, sagging, dangling,
suspended, pensile: The weaver-bird's pendulous nest is a
marvel of engineering. 2 swinging, swaying, waving, undulating,
undulatory, oscillating, oscillatory: I was hypnotized by the
pendulous motion of the bell.
penetrate v. 1 enter, go or pass through or into, pierce, bore (into),
lance, spear, go through or into, probe, stab, puncture,
perforate, drill: The shell penetrated the tank's heavy armour.
2 permeate, diffuse, suffuse, pervade, filter or seep through,
percolate through: The soothing balm penetrated my aching body
and I relaxed into a deep sleep. 3 reach, get to, get at, touch,
affect, hit, strike: Her cruel words penetrated the darkest
recesses of my soul. 4 sink in, be absorbed, be understood,
register, come or get through, become clear, come across, be
realized, Colloq soak in, seep in: It took a while for it to
penetrate that she did not wish to see him again. 5 understand,
sense, become aware or conscious of, see (through), gain insight
(in)to, discern, uncover, discover, find (out), comprehend,
grasp, work out, unravel, fathom, perceive, Colloq get, figure
out, dig, Brit suss out: Will we ever penetrate all of nature's
adj. 1 incisive, trenchant, keen, searching, deep, acute,
sharp, perceptive, perspicuous, percipient, quick,
discriminating, intelligent, sensitive, clever, smart,
discerning: This is a penetrating analysis of the situation
which clarifies many of the issues. 2 piercing, shrill,
strident, ear-splitting, ear-shattering, pervasive; pungent,
harsh, biting, mordant, strong, stinging: I was awakened by a
penetrating scream. The penetrating odour of ammonia assailed my
n. 1 piercing, perforation, puncturing, incision, puncture,
penetrating; inroad, entry, entrance: Penetration of the skull
required great effort on the part of the surgeon. Tentatively we
attempted the penetration of the jungle. 2 insight, keenness,
perception, percipience, intelligence, perspicacity,
perspicuity, perspicaciousness, perceptiveness, acuteness,
incisiveness, sensitivity, sentience, understanding, acuteness,
discernment, discrimination, cleverness, shrewdness, wit,
quick-wittedness: We all admired the penetration that was shown
by the examiner in the questions she asked.
penitence n. penance, contrition, regret, repentance, regretfulness,
compunction, remorse, sorrow, sorrowfulness, ruefulness, grief,
sadness, shame, self-reproach: Brendan's penitence for his
former misdeeds was shown by his selfless devotion to good
penitent adj. contrite, regretful, repentant, remorseful, sorrowful,
sorry, rueful, grief-stricken, sad, shame-faced,
self-reproachful, apologetic, conscience-stricken: He said that
he was truly penitent for all the heinous crimes of his youth.
n. calligraphy, hand, fine Italian or Italic hand, handwriting,
script, writing, longhand, chirography: One must admire the
penmanship of the medieval scribes.
pennant n. flag, banner, pennon, streamer, banderole, gonfalon, ensign,
colours, standard, labarum, Chiefly nautical jack, Nautical and
yachting burgee, Technical vexillum: We saw from her pennant
that she was a Spanish frigate.
pension n. 1 benefit, allowance, annuity, subsistence, superannuation,
allotment, old-age pension, US social security, Colloq golden
handshake: She finds that her pension is not enough to live on.
--v. 2 Usually, pension off. (cause to) retire, superannuate;
dismiss; Colloq shelve, put out to pasture: The company cut
back on staff by pensioning off everyone over 60.
pensioner n. retiree, veteran, senior citizen, Brit OAP (= 'old-age
pensioner'), US golden-ager, Colloq Brit wrinkly: The housing
units were specially designed for pensioners' needs.
pensive adj. thoughtful, meditative, musing, in a brown study,
cogitative, contemplative, reflective, preoccupied, ruminative,
wistful, day-dreaming, in a trance, in a reverie, brooding,
sober, serious, grave: I found the professor in a pensive mood,
staring out the window.
pent-up adj. restrained, constrained, repressed, stifled, bottled-up,
corked-up, held in, checked, held back, curbed, inhibited,
restricted: After weeks of frustration, he wanted to release
his pent-up emotions in a scream. They went jogging to try to
work off their pent-up energy.
penurious adj. 1 stingy, mean, penny-pinching, miserly, tight,
tight-fisted, close-fisted, cheese-paring, niggardly, cheap,
ungenerous, parsimonious, skinflinty, thrifty, begrudging,
grudging, Scrooge-like, Colloq near, Brit mingy, US chintzy:
Even today, he is so penurious that he gives his children an
allowance of only 50 pence a week. 2 poor, poverty-stricken,
destitute, impoverished, penniless, indigent, needy,
impecunious, necessitous, beggarly, bankrupt, Colloq (dead or
flat) broke, stony-broke, hard up: They lived in penurious
people n.pl. 1 persons, individuals, men and women, ladies and
gentlemen, males and females, living souls; mortals; bodies:
How many people can this aeroplane carry? 2 relations,
relatives, kin, kinsmen, kinsfolk or US and Canadian kinfolk,
family, kith and kin; ancestors, forebears: His people left
Russia in 1917. 3 masses, (general) public, hoi polloi,
consumers, multitude, populace, common people, common man,
commoners, subjects, citizenry, plebeians, grass roots,
proletariat, rank and file, the crowd, commonalty or
commonality, mobile vulgus, bourgeoisie; man or woman in the
street, Everyman, Everywoman, Mr or Mrs Average, Brit A. N.
Other, Joe Bloggs, man or woman on the Clapham omnibus, US John
Doe, Mary Doe, Richard Roe, John Q. Public; Colloq and often
derogatory proles, the rabble, ragtag and bobtail, silent
majority, common herd, Brit plebs, admass: Politicians unable
to communicate with the people are seldom elected.
--n.sing. 4 race, community, clan, tribe, folk, nation,
population, society: On the subject of religion, they were a
people divided. The anthropologists were studying the peoples
south of the Sahara.
--v. 5 populate, colonize, settle, occupy: The area was once
peopled with Berber tribesmen.
pep n. 1 vigour, vim (and vigour), spirit, animation, vivacity,
energy, verve, zest, fire, sprightliness, life, effervescence,
sparkle, ebullience, dash, enthusiasm, brio, ‚lan, Colloq zip,
zing: He certainly has a lot of pep for an octogenarian.
--v. 2 pep up. stimulate, invigorate, animate, enliven,
vitalize, vivify, energize, exhilarate, quicken, arouse, breathe
(some) life into, inspire, activate, actuate, fire, cheer up,
Colloq buck up, spark, work or fire up, US wind up: After those
defeats, the team needed to be pepped up.
pepper v. sprinkle, scatter, dot, speckle, fleck, spot, spray,
bespeckle, speckle, spatter, stipple, mottle: The letter was
peppered with ink-spots. Their speech was peppered with
perceive v. 1 see, make out, discern, catch sight of, glimpse, spot,
espy, apprehend, take in, notice, note, discover, descry,
observe, mark, remark, identify, distinguish, detect: I
perceived his hesitation when a solo flight was suggested. She
perceived a strange odour emanating from the cupboard. 2
appreciate, grasp, feel, sense, apprehend, understand, gather,
comprehend, deduce, infer, figure out, ascertain, determine,
conclude, decipher, Colloq dig, catch on: She perceived that he
was going to renege on his promise to take her to the Riviera. 3
Often, perceive of. regard, view, look on, consider,
contemplate, judge, deem, believe, think: Calthorpe perceives
of himself as a great actor, but he is dreadful. This gesture
is often perceived as threatening.
n. share, part, portion, proportion, interest, piece, Colloq
cut: We are to get a percentage of the profits in return for
adj. discernible, detectable, observable, perceivable,
noticeable, distinguishable, recognizable, apparent, evident,
notable, obvious, patent, manifest, palpable, plain, clear,
prominent, unmistakable or unmistakeable: There are perceptible
differences between your playing and Heifetz's.
n. 1 appreciation, grasp, apprehension, understanding,
comprehension, knowledge, perspective, view: Mrs Hart's
perception of the situation is quite different from mine. 2
intuition, insight, instinct, feel, feeling, sense, impression,
awareness, idea, notion, consciousness, realization: Norton
hasn't the slightest perception of what is going on behind his
back at the office.
adj. astute, alert, attentive, quick, alive, quick-witted,
intelligent, acute, sharp, sensitive, sensible, percipient,
discerning, observant, perspicacious; on the qui vive; Colloq on
the ball: No one was sufficiently perceptive to predict the
full extent of the recession. She is perhaps the most perceptive
journalist writing on French politics today.
perch n. 1 roost, rest, seat; spot, location, position, place, site,
vantage point, perspective: From his perch at the top of the
cliff, Martin had a clear view of the cave entrance.
--v. 2 roost, rest, sit, nest; place, put, set, situate,
locate, position, site: The owl was perched in the tree,
waiting for the vole to appear from its burrow.
percolate v. seep, steep, transfuse, leach, drip, drain, strain, filter,
pervade, infuse, ooze, transude, filtrate, trickle, permeate,
suffuse, penetrate: The earth is too hard for the rainwater to
percolate to the roots below. It slowly percolated through to me
that Clare had told the police where I was hiding.
perdition n. damnation, hell, hell-fire, doom, ruin, condemnation,
destruction, ruination, downfall: If what divines call lust be
punished with perdition, who is pure?
adj. 1 commanding, imperative, compelling, obligatory,
mandatory, irrefutable, incontrovertible, decretal: After the
sound of marching came a peremptory knock at the door. 2
decisive, final, preclusive, arbitrary, categorical,
unequivocal, dogmatic, unconditional, unreserved, flat,
out-and-out, outright, unqualified, unmitigated: The juror was
subject to peremptory dismissal because he was the defendant's
cousin. 3 imperious, authoritative, tyrannical, despotic,
dictatorial, autocratic, emphatic, positive, firm, insistent,
Colloq bossy: How dare you take such a peremptory tone when
speaking to your father!
perennial adj. 1 durable, lasting, continuing, enduring, constant,
stable, lifelong, persistent, incessant, uninterrupted,
continual, continuous, chronic: Once we expected our rivers to
yield a perennial supply of fresh water. Bing Crosby has been a
perennial favourite since the 1930s. 2 permanent, unfailing,
never-failing, endless, unending, ceaseless, unceasing,
imperishable, undying, perpetual, everlasting, timeless,
eternal, immortal, Literary sempiternal: The artificial flowers
at her grave symbolize Ingrid's perennial youth.
perfect adj. 1 complete, absolute, finished, (fully) realized,
fulfilled, consummate, pure, entire, whole, perfected, best,
ideal: Many have called the building a perfect example of the
Palladian style. 2 sublime, ideal, superb, supreme, superlative,
best, flawless, faultless, pre-eminent, excellent, exquisite,
unexcelled, unrivalled, unequalled, unmatched, matchless,
incomparable, nonpareil, peerless, inimitable: At her throat
she wore the most perfect emerald I had ever seen. 3 blameless,
righteous, holy, faultless, flawless, spotless, immaculate:
Nobody's perfect. 4 fitting, appropriate, (just) right, apt,
suitable, correct, proper, made-to-order, best, Brit spot on:
Arthur would be perfect for the role of Quasimodo. 5 precise,
exact, accurate, correct, unerring, true, authentic, lifelike,
right on, excellent, superlative, superb, reliable, Brit spot
on: These copies are perfect replicas of the original. 6
utter, absolute, complete, mere, thorough, out-and-out,
through-and-through; 24-carat, categorical, unqualified,
unalloyed, unmitigated: We were perfect strangers at the time.
Once again, he's shown himself to be a perfect idiot. 7 expert,
proficient, accomplished, experienced, practised, skilful,
skilled, gifted, talented, adept, deft, adroit, polished,
professional, masterly, masterful: The admirable Crichton was
the perfect butler.
--v. 8 complete, finish, realize, fulfil, consummate,
accomplish, achieve, effect, execute, carry out or through,
bring (to perfection): The design of the bicycle was not to be
perfected for several years. 9 rectify, correct, emend, (put or
set) right, improve, refine, polish, cultivate, better,
ameliorate: Viniculture has been perfected in the Bordeaux
region of France.
n. 1 purity, flawlessness, faultlessness, sublimity,
superiority, excellence, pre-eminence, transcendence: Though we
strive for perfection, we never can achieve it. 2 completion,
completeness, achievement, fulfilment, realization,
consummation, accomplishment, attainment: The building doesn't
reach perfection till the last roof-tile is in place. 3 ideal,
paragon, model, archetype, pattern, mould, standard,
idealization, essence, quintessence, acme, pinnacle, summit:
Machiavelli probably achieved the perfection of political
n. 1 purist, pedant, precisian, precisionist, stickler, Colloq
fusspot, US fuss-budget: The foreman is such a perfectionist
that there's no satisfying him.
--adj. 2 meticulous, precise, punctilious, scrupulous,
exacting, particular, demanding, fastidious, fussy; obsessive;
Colloq picky, nit-picking: She takes a perfectionist attitude
towards everything she does.
perfectly adv. 1 completely, purely, entirely, absolutely, utterly,
totally, wholly, consummately, thoroughly, quite, definitely,
positively, unambiguously, unequivocally, unmistakably or
unmistakeably, explicitly, truly, very, extremely,
extraordinarily, remarkably: Your instructions for finding the
house were perfectly clear. 2 superbly, superlatively,
flawlessly, faultlessly, impeccably, inimitably, incomparably,
sublimely, exquisitely, marvellously, admirably, wonderfully:
Sally plays that Chopin ‚tude perfectly. 3 exactly, precisely,
flawlessly, faultlessly, accurately, literally, line for line,
word for word, verbatim, letter for letter, to the letter,
literatim: He knows the entire Koran perfectly. 4 very, full,
quite, Dialect right, Brit jolly, Slang damned, bloody: You
know perfectly well that I hate cauliflower.
adj. treacherous, deceitful, traitorous, treasonous,
treasonable, disloyal, faithless, false, unfaithful, untrue,
insidious, hypocritical, two-faced, Janus-faced, corrupt,
dishonest: His perfidious brother betrayed him to his enemies.
perfidy n. perfidiousness, treachery, deceit, traitorousness, treason,
disloyalty, faithlessness, falseness, falsity, unfaithfulness,
infidelity, insidiousness, hypocrisy, betrayal: The name of
Judas is a byword for perfidy.
perforate v. riddle, puncture, pierce, honeycomb, drill, bore, punch;
enter, penetrate, pass into: A perforated metal screen let
through a pattern of light. The bullet perforated his lung but
perform v. 1 execute, complete, bring off or about, accomplish, effect,
carry out, discharge, dispatch, conduct, carry on, do, fulfil,
Colloq pull off, knock off, polish off; put up or shut up:
Postmen perform their duties despite hazards such as vicious
dogs. 2 do, act, behave, operate, function, run, work, go,
respond: How does your new car perform? 3 present, stage,
produce, put on, mount, do; act, depict, take, play, appear as:
The repertory group performs six shows weekly. He is performing
the role of Scrooge.
n. 1 execution, completion, bringing off or about,
accomplishment, effectuation, carrying out, discharge, dispatch,
conduct, carrying-on, doing, fulfilment: The soldiers acquitted
themselves nobly in the performance of their duties. 2 show,
exhibition, exhibit, play, playing, engagement, act, appearance,
Colloq gig: She does three performances nightly at the Blue
Angel. 3 playing, acting, interpretation, presentation,
portrayal: His performance in the courtroom scene was
outstanding. 4 behaviour, conduct, deportment, demeanour: Her
performance in the pub last night was outrageous. 5 scene,
show, exhibition, display: The lad put on quite a performance
till threatened with punishment by the headmaster.
performer n. actor or actress, artiste, Thespian, trouper, player: They
received their training as performers in a repertory company.
perfume n. 1 essence, extract, parfum, eau-de-Cologne, toilet water,
scent, fragrance; aroma, odour, smell, bouquet, nose: What is
that wonderful perfume you're wearing? The perfume of the wine
wafted over to me.
--v. 2 scent: Orange blossoms perfumed the air.
adj. 1 routine, mechanical, automatic, robot-like, unthinking,
businesslike, unspontaneous, formal, dismissive, inattentive,
uninvolved, apathetic, indifferent, unconcerned, removed,
distant, d‚gag‚, offhand, heedless, uninterested, hasty,
hurried, superficial, cursory, fleeting, rushed: I don't care
for the perfunctory service in those fast-food restaurants. 2
careless, slipshod, slovenly, negligent, sketchy, spotty: The
bill, made out in a perfunctory fashion, was incorrect.
perhaps adv. maybe, possibly, it is possible that, conceivably, as the
case may be, it may be, Archaic or literary perchance,
peradventure, Archaic or dialect mayhap: Perhaps she'll be on
the next train.
peril n. danger, threat, risk, jeopardy, exposure, vulnerability,
susceptibility, uncertainty, insecurity: You enter there at
your peril. It was a time of peril for us all. The child's life
was in peril.
perilous adj. dangerous, risky, hazardous, vulnerable, susceptible,
uncertain, insecure, unsafe, unsure: Why undertake such a
perilous journey alone?
perimeter n. boundary, border, borderline, margin, periphery, limit(s),
bounds, ambit, circumference, edge, verge, fringe(s), Archaic or
literary bourn or bourne: The perimeter of the military base is
patrolled by sentry dogs.
period n. 1 interval, time, term, span, duration, spell, space,
stretch; while; Colloq chiefly Brit patch: During the period of
his absence, his children had grown up. I waited a short period,
then phoned again. We went through a bad period last year. 2
era, days, epoch, aeon, age, years: During the Old English
period, very little was written down. 3 full stop: Place
periods at the ends of sentences.
periodic adj. periodical, intermittent, regular, recurrent, repetitive,
iterative, cyclic(al), repeated; episodic, sporadic, occasional:
We called in the plumber because of the periodic hammering in
the pipes. The next periodic return of Halley's comet is
expected in 2061-62.
n. magazine, journal, paper, publication, newsletter, organ,
serial, weekly, fortnightly, semi-monthly, monthly, bi-monthly,
quarterly, semi-annual, annual, yearbook, almanac, Rare
hebdomadal or hebdomadary: Nicole's story will soon be
published in an important literary periodical.
adj. 1 incidental, unimportant, minor, secondary, inessential
or unessential, non-essential, unnecessary, superficial,
tangential, irrelevant, beside the point: Let's ignore the
peripheral issues for the time being and concentrate on the
important ones. 2 circumferential, external, perimetric,
outside, outer: The peripheral measurement of the figure is
periphery n. 1 perimeter, circumference, border, edge, rim, brim, ambit,
boundary, bound, margin: Trees will be planted along the
periphery of the car park. 2 surface, edge, superficies: Your
analysis deals with the periphery, not the core, of the problem.
perish v. die, expire, lose (one's) life, be killed, be lost, meet
(one's) death, be destroyed: Three gnus perished in the fire at
perjury n. lying, mendacity, mendaciousness, forswearing,
prevarication, bearing false witness: The defendant was
acquitted and the prosecution witnesses charged with perjury.
perk n. See perquisite, below.
perk up v. cheer up, become jaunty, brighten, liven up, invigorate,
smarten up, quicken, (re)vitalize, pep up, revive, inspirit,
Colloq buck up: The old lady perks up when her grandchildren
come to visit. To perk up the party, Peter suggested we should
all play a game.
perky adj. lively, cheery, cheerful, jaunty, bouncy, bright,
invigorated, vigorous, vitalized, peppy, spirited, sprightly,
frisky, animated, vivacious, effervescent, bubbly, buoyant, gay,
Colloq bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, full of pep: Sue's been
quite perky since she started going with Trevor.
n. permanency, stability, durability, fixedness,
changelessness, lasting quality, longevity, endurance,
persistence, dependability, reliability, survival: The new
roofing material is being tested for permanence.
permanent adj. 1 everlasting, eternal, unending, endless, perpetual,
unceasing, constant, undying, imperishable, indestructible,
stable, abiding, long-lasting, lasting, enduring, perennial,
long-lived, durable: The satellite is in permanent orbit around
the earth. 2 unchanging, invariable, changeless, fixed,
unchangeable, immutable, unalterable, stable, persistent: This
stain is permanent and will not come out in the wash. Bonham is
a permanent member of the executive committee.
adv. forever, for good, once and for all, forevermore, always,
eternally, everlastingly; perpetually, constantly, incessantly,
non-stop, continuously, endlessly, ceaselessly, unendingly,
interminably: Is the boy permanently disabled? According to one
theory the universe will not continue to expand permanently.
permeate v. imbue, diffuse, penetrate, pervade, infiltrate, enter,
spread through(out), saturate, seep through(out), percolate
through, soak through: He felt the warmth permeate every limb.
Greed seemed to permeate every level of society.
adj. allowable, admissible, acceptable, allowed, permitted,
tolerable, legal, licit, lawful, legitimate, authorized, proper,
(all) right; pardonable, excusable, venial, Colloq OK or okay,
kosher, legit: Some things that are permissible are not
n. consent, assent, leave, acquiescence, sufferance, tolerance,
laxity, leniency or lenience, leave, licence, sanction,
acceptance, authorization, approval, approbation, countenance,
allowance, liberty, indulgence, sufferance; franchise,
enfranchisement: Have you permission to watch television? She
eats anything she likes with the doctor's permission.
adj. assenting, consenting, indulgent, lenient, latitudinarian,
acquiescent, lax, easygoing, liberal, tolerant,
non-constraining, non-restrictive, libertarian: Allison grew up
in the permissive society of the 1960s.
permit v. 1 Often, permit to. allow, agree (to), consent (to), give
permission or leave (to), authorize, sanction, license,
tolerate, countenance, suffer, brook, admit, grant, enable,
empower, franchise, enfranchise; let: He permitted me to use
his name as a reference. Do they permit smoking here?
--n. 2 licence, authority, authorization, franchise, warrant;
pass, passport, visa: Your parking permit expired last week.
Shirley has a permit to visit Tibet.
adj. 1 erect, upright, vertical, plumb, straight (up and down):
The plumb-line shows that the wall isn't perpendicular. 2
Often, perpendicular to. at right angles (to), at 90 degrees
(to): The two paths are perpendicular to one another.
v. commit, execute, perform, carry out or through, effect,
effectuate, accomplish, do, be responsible for, practise, Colloq
pull (off): Atrocities were perpetrated on both sides in the
perpetual adj. 1 eternal, infinite, everlasting, never-ending, unending,
perennial, ageless, timeless, long-lived, permanent, unceasing,
lasting, enduring, unvarying, unchanging, immutable, invariable,
undeviating, Literary sempiternal: They declared their
perpetual love for each other. 2 constant, uninterrupted,
continuous, unfailing, incessant, persistent, unremitting,
unending, non-stop, endless, recurrent, continual, repetitive:
Why should we have to listen to the neighbours' perpetual
v. continue, maintain, extend, keep (on or up), keep going,
preserve, memorialize, immortalize, eternalize: Thoughtless
jokes can perpetuate damaging stereotypes.
n. permanence, constancy, timelessness; eternity: The estate
was bequeathed to the townspeople in perpetuity.
perplex v. confuse, bewilder, puzzle, mystify, distract, baffle,
befuddle, confound, muddle, disconcert, stump, nonplus, stymie,
stupefy, stun, daze, dumbfound or dumfound, flabbergast, Colloq
bamboozle, hornswoggle, Chiefly US and Canadian discombobulate,
throw for a loop: The more I tried to understand bathymetric
semiotics, the more perplexed I became. Anne-Marie's reticence
perplexed us all.
adj. confusing, bewildering, puzzling, mystifying, baffling,
confounding, disconcerting, stupefying, flabbergasting,
enigmatic, paradoxical, incomprehensible, unfathomable,
impenetrable, recondite, arcane, labyrinthine, complex,
complicated, Byzantine, intricate, involved, convoluted,
twisted, knotty, Gordian: The writing is filled with perplexing
references to the author's personal experiences, of which the
reader is told nothing.
n. 1 confusion, bewilderment, bafflement, distress, doubt,
difficulty: My perplexity grew as he related his version of the
event. 2 intricacy, complexity, complicatedness, arcaneness,
reconditeness, impenetrability, impenetrableness, involvement,
unfathomability, obscurity, difficulty: The more deeply the
enigma was probed, the greater its perplexity. 3 puzzle,
enigma, mystery, dilemma, problem, paradox, catch-22, quandary,
predicament, bind: Because of the interlocking directorships of
the companies, we faced many perplexities in trying to sort out
what had happened to the funds.
n. consideration, emolument, bonus, (fringe) benefit, extra,
bonus, dividend, gratuity, tip, douceur, baksheesh, token (of
appreciation), US lagniappe or lagnappe, Colloq perk: It was
traditional to provide each director with a company car as a
persecute v. 1 oppress, suppress, subjugate, maltreat, ill-treat, abuse,
outrage, molest, victimize, tyrannize, afflict, punish, martyr,
torment, torture: For years black people had been persecuted.
2 bother, annoy, pester, plague, hector, bully, badger, harry,
harass, irritate, worry, vex, trouble, worry, importune, hound:
Her lawyers continually persecuted him for non-payment of
n. 1 oppression, suppression, subjugation, maltreatment,
ill-treatment, abuse, outrage, molestation, victimization,
tyranny, affliction, punishment, torment, torture: They
suffered persecution because of their difference of religion. 2
bother, annoyance, hectoring, bullying, badgering, harrying,
harassing, irritation, worry, vexation, trouble: The press is
often guilty of the persecution of famous people.
n. persistence, steadfastness, determination, resolution,
resolve, decisiveness, decision, firmness, purposefulness,
pertinacity, staying power, stamina, sedulousness, assiduity,
grit, pluck, tirelessness, indefatigableness, indefatigability,
patience, endurance, diligence, devotion, tenacity, doggedness,
stubbornness, inflexibility, obstinacy, obstinateness,
obdurateness, Colloq guts, US stick-to-it-iveness: Perseverance
is essential for success in the theatre.
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 if we are to win.
I shall persevere in my loyalty.
persist v. 1 Often, persist in or at. persevere, be persistent, insist
(on), stand firm or fast, be steadfast or staunch, strive, toil,
labour, work (hard) (at): She persists in arguing her
innocence. Only those who persist will succeed. 2 remain,
continue, endure, carry on, keep up or on, last, linger, stay:
The bad weather persisted through the weekend.
n. perseverance, resolve, determination, resolution,
steadfastness, tenacity, constancy, assiduity, stamina,
tirelessness, indefatigability, indefatigableness, tirelessness,
pluck, grit, patience, diligence, pertinacity, doggedness,
stubbornness, obstinacy, obduracy: By sheer persistence he got
his own way.
adj. 1 persisting, persevering, tenacious, steadfast, firm,
fast, fixed, staunch, resolute, resolved, determined,
unfaltering, unswerving, undeviating, unflagging, tireless,
untiring, indefatigable, dogged, unwavering, stubborn,
obstinate, obdurate, inflexible, rigid: He was persistent in
his demands for justice. The inspector never gave up his
persistent pursuit of criminals. 2 continuing, constant,
continuous, continual, unending, interminable, unremitting,
unrelenting, perpetual, incessant, unceasing, non-stop: The
persistent rainy weather began to depress us. At last he gave in
to her persistent complaints and bought a washing machine.
person n. 1 individual, human (being), being, man or woman or child,
(living) soul; mortal: Not a single person knew the answer to
my question. 2 in person. physically, personally, bodily,
actually, myself or yourself or himself or herself or ourselves
or yourselves, or themselves, Colloq in the flesh: The
correspondent visited the battlefield in person to see for
himself the extent of the carnage. I know their records, but I
have never seen them in person.
persona n. face, front, fa‡ade, mask, guise, exterior, role, part,
character, identity, self: Her office persona is quite
different from the one she displays at home.
personage n. celebrity, luminary, VIP, name, notable, somebody,
personality, star, superstar, magnate, mogul, Colloq big-shot,
big wheel, hotshot, hot stuff, Brit big noise, Theatre US
headliner: My cousin is fast becoming a personage in the
personal adj. 1 individual, physical, bodily, actual, live; in person,
in the flesh: The star is scheduled to make a personal
appearance on tonight's chat show. 2 intimate, exclusive,
private, special, particular: Would you do me a personal
favour? I hear they are having personal problems. 3 intimate,
close, dear, bosom, familiar, special: Wendy happens to be a
personal friend of ours. 4 intimate, individual; disparaging,
slighting, offensive, derogatory, critical, deprecating,
belittling, adverse, unfriendly, insulting: He should confine
his criticism to her acting and avoid personal remarks.
n. 1 character, nature, temperament, disposition, make-up,
persona; identity, psyche: Miles has an extremely abrasive
personality that has upset many people. 2 celebrity, luminary,
star, superstar, name, headliner, somebody: Whom shall we get
as a personality to attract the crowds?
adj. monogrammed, initialled, individualized; signed: They
ordered personalized stationery with their new address on it.
adv. 1 in person, alone, by oneself, on one's own, myself or
yourself or himself or herself or ourselves or yourselves or
themselves, Colloq in the flesh: She has not met them
personally, but we have. They will see to the matter personally.
2 in one's own view or opinion, for one's part, for oneself, as
far as one is concerned, from one's own viewpoint, from where
one stands, as one sees it or things, as for oneself:
Personally, I wasn't sure I would make it. 3 as an individual,
as a person, privately, in private: I like him personally but
would never have him as my dentist.
personify v. 1 embody, typify, exemplify, epitomize, be the embodiment
of, manifest, represent, stand for, symbolize, Archaic
impersonate, personate: In my view, he personifies everything
that is evil. 2 humanize, personalize: In literature,
personifying inanimate things in nature with human attributes is
called the pathetic fallacy.
n. 1 (point of) view, viewpoint, standpoint, prospect, vantage
point, position, angle, Colloq where one is coming from: I can
see that my view would be illogical from his perspective. 2
attitude, position, angle, approach, sentiment, outlook,
lookout: Management has a different perspective on what is good
for the company.
n. sweat, dampness, wetness; sweating; Technical sudor;
diaphoresis: I could feel the perspiration stand out on my
forehead. They say that perspiration makes one cooler on a hot
persuade v. 1 urge, induce, prevail upon, influence, exhort, importune,
dispose, incline, prompt, sway, press: The officer persuaded
him to surrender. 2 bring round, convince, win over, talk or
argue into, convert: We persuaded her to open the door. He was
persuaded to vote Labour.
n. 1 inducement, inducing, influence, influencing, exhortation,
exhorting, persuading: At the bank's persuasion, the company
tightened up its cashflow management. She has extraordinary
powers of persuasion at her command. 2 opinion, belief, creed,
faith, set of beliefs, faith, religion, (religious) conviction;
sect, denomination, faction, school (of thought), affiliation:
Till he met Maggie, he had always been of the Baptist
adj. convincing, telling, influential, effective, productive,
impressive, efficacious, cogent, weighty, compelling, forceful,
valid, winning, authoritative, dynamic: His most persuasive
argument for our leaving was that if we stayed we'd be shot.
pert adj. 1 forward, brash, brazen, cheeky, insolent, impertinent,
flippant, saucy, bold, presumptuous, impudent, disrespectful,
audacious, rude, impolite, uncivil, ill-mannered, unmannerly,
Archaic malapert, Colloq fresh, flip, out of line, brassy,
big-mouthed, wise-guy, Slang Brit smart-arsed, US smart-ass(ed),
wise-ass(ed): He's a clever child, but I don't like his pert
manner. 2 lively, jaunty, ebullient, vivacious, enthusiastic,
bouncy, sprightly, brisk, cheerful, jolly, bright, perky,
animated, nimble: She is usually quite pert in the morning,
becoming depressed as the day wears on.
pertain v. Often, pertain to. concern, refer to, regard, have reference
or relation (to), apply (to), relate (to), include, cover,
affect, appertain (to), be appropriate (to), be fitting (for),
befit, bear on, have bearing (on): The sign, 'Keep Off the
Grass', does not pertain to the people who mow the lawn, Morris.
pertinent adj. pertaining, appropriate, fitting, suitable, apt, relevant,
germane, apropos, apposite: Try to keep your comments pertinent
to the subject under discussion.
perturb v. upset, disturb, fluster, ruffle, unsettle, disconcert, make
uneasy, discomfit, vex, worry, agitate, shake up, alarm,
disquiet, confuse, discompose, unnerve, addle, disorganize: He
became quite perturbed when the police asked him to help with
perusal n. reading, scrutiny, check, examination, study, inspection,
scanning, review: I saw nothing blasphemous in my perusal of
peruse v. read, study, scan, scrutinize, examine, inspect, review,
browse, run one's eye over: As Gregory was perusing the ancient
manuscript, a sudden draught blew out the candle.
pervasive adj. penetrating, pervading, omnipresent, general, inescapable,
prevalent, universal, widespread, ubiquitous, permeating,
permeative: A pervasive sense of doom in the castle made
everyone feel uneasy.
perverse adj. 1 wrong, wrong-headed, awry, contrary, wayward, incorrect,
irregular, unfair, improper, contradictory: It was most
perverse of you to change your mind after all the arrangements
had been made. 2 cantankerous, testy, curmudgeonly, churlish,
crusty, bad-tempered, petulant, captious, cross, cross-grained,
peevish, waspish, snappish, bilious, splenetic, fractious,
ill-tempered, quarrelsome, irascible, sullen, contentious,
touchy, obstreperous, crabby, crabbed, irritable, surly, Colloq
grouchy, Brit stroppy, US and Canadian cranky: With everything
going wrong, Catherine feels particularly perverse today. 3
stubborn, self-willed, wrong-headed, intractable, wilful,
obdurate, obstinate, pigheaded, adamant, inflexible, unbending,
refractory, unyielding: I refuse to give in to a perverse child
just because he has a tantrum.
n. 1 deviation, irregularity, misdirection, corruption,
subversion, distortion, twisting, falsification,
misrepresentation, diversion, sidetracking: The conduct of this
trial has been a perversion of the course of true justice. 2
unnatural act, deviation, deviance or deviancy, abnormality,
depravity, vice, aberration, debauchery, Colloq kinkiness, Brit
kink: Every kind of perversion flourished in ancient Rome.
pervert v. 1 deflect, divert, sidetrack, turn aside or away, subvert,
misdirect, distort, twist, abuse, falsify, misapply,
misconstrue, misrepresent, corrupt: By withholding evidence,
you have perverted the course of justice. 2 seduce, lead
astray, debauch, degrade, corrupt, demoralize, subvert: He was
accused of perverting young girls. 3 deviant, degenerate,
debauchee, US deviate, Colloq weirdo: I worry about your being
out late, when there are so many perverts about.
perverted adj. deviant, deviate, abnormal, amoral, unmoral, immoral, bad,
depraved, unnatural, warped, twisted, profligate, dissolute,
delinquent, degenerate, evil, wicked, malign, malicious,
malefic, malevolent, evil-minded, sinful, iniquitous, base,
foul, corrupt, unprincipled: Members of the Hell-Fire Club
yielded themselves up to the most perverted, abandoned
n. gloomy, negative, despairing, hopeless, inauspicious,
depressed, despondent, dejected, melancholy, downhearted,
heavy-hearted, defeatist, glum, sad, blue, unhappy, cheerless,
joyless, cynical, bleak, forlorn: The bears in the Stock
Exchange take a pessimistic view of share prices.
pest n. nuisance, annoyance, nag, irritant, bother, gadfly, bane,
trial, heckler, vexation, curse, thorn in one's flesh, Colloq
pain (in the neck), Slang US (Yiddish) nudge or noodge or nudzh,
nudnik, Taboo slang pain in the Brit arse or US ass: That man
is such a pest, I wish he'd leave me alone.
pester v. annoy, nag, irritate, irk, bother, get at or to, badger,
plague, vex, fret, hector, harass, harry, heckle, nettle, chafe,
peeve, pique, provoke, exasperate, bedevil, get or grate on
(someone's) nerves, get under (someone's) skin, get in
(someone's) hair, try (someone's patience), torment, persecute,
Brit chivvy, Colloq drive (someone) up the wall, needle, give
(someone) the needle, hassle, ride, give (someone) a hard or bad
time, bug: Please stop pestering me about going to the football
n. 1 plague, epidemic, pandemic, Black Death, Rare pest: The
pestilence raged throughout all Europe, killing 50 million
people. 2 scourge, blight, curse, cancer, canker, bane,
affliction: How are we to overcome the pestilence of greed?
pet° n. 1 darling, favourite, idol, apple of (one's) eye, Colloq
Brit blue-eyed boy, US fair-haired boy: You know that you were
always Father's pet.
--adj. 2 tame, trained, domesticated: Doesn't the landlord
take a dim view of your keeping a pet alligator in the bath? 3
favourite, favoured, preferred, cherished, special, particular;
indulged, prized, treasured, precious, dearest, adored, darling:
Building the summer-house was Desmond's pet project. Elizabeth's
pet pupil is Anne.
--v. 4 caress, fondle, stroke, pat; cuddle, nuzzle, nestle,
snuggle, Colloq neck, smooch or Australian and New Zealand also
smoodge or smooge, Chiefly US and Canadian make out: Small
children need to be petted a lot. Two teenagers were petting in
the back seat of the car. 5 humour, pamper, favour, baby,
coddle, cosset, mollycoddle, cocker, spoil, indulge, dote on:
His mother pets him far too much.
petэ n. (bad or ill) temper, pique, sulk, (bad) mood, fume, Colloq
Brit paddy or paddywhack or paddywack: He's in a terrible pet
because they forgot to cancel the milk when they went on
peter out v. diminish, evaporate, wane, come to nothing or naught or US
also nought, die out, disappear, fail, fade (out or away),
dwindle (into nothing), run out, give out, flag, melt away: The
path petered out after a mile or so and they realized that they
had lost their bearings.
petite adj. delicate, dainty, mignon(ne), diminutive, small, little,
slight, tiny, small-boned, Colloq Brit dinky: It was
incongruous to see the basketball player with a petite blonde.
petition n. 1 request, application, solicitation, suit, entreaty,
supplication, plea, appeal: An anti-pollution petition, signed
by thousands of people, was delivered to the Department of the
--v. 2 request, ask, apply to, apply for, solicit, sue, call
upon, entreat, supplicate, plead, appeal (to), appeal (for),
beseech, implore, importune, Rare obsecrate: The shopkeepers
petitioned the council for better police protection.
petrified adj. 1 horrified, horror-stricken, terrified, terror-stricken,
panic-stricken, frightened, afraid, paralysed, numbed, benumbed,
frozen: The maiden stood petrified as the dragon, breathing
fire, approached. 2 shocked, speechless, dumbfounded or
dumfounded, dumbstruck, stunned, thunderstruck, astonished,
astounded, confounded, stupefied, appalled, aghast, Colloq
flabbergasted: The firemen rescued three petrified children who
were huddled in a corner. 3 ossified, fossilized: These were
not stones but the petrified remains of ancient trees.
petrify v. 1 frighten, scare, horrify, terrify, paralyse, numb, benumb:
I was petrified by the noise of the explosion. 2 shock,
dumbfound or dumfound, stun, astonish, astound, amaze, confound,
disconcert, stupefy, appal, Colloq flabbergast: The sight of so
much destruction petrified even hardened reporters. 3 ossify,
fossilize, turn to stone: Over thousands of years the desert
conditions petrify the wood.
petty adj. 1 insignificant, trivial, paltry, minor, inferior,
niggling, trifling, negligible, puny, inessential,
non-essential, inconsequential, unimportant, slight, nugatory,
of no account, US dinky, Colloq piddling, measly, no great
shakes, no big deal, small-time, Brit twopenny-halfpenny or
tuppenny-halfpenny, US and Canadian picayune: He has been
convicted only of petty crimes. 2 miserly, mean, mingy, stingy,
cheese-paring, grudging, small-minded, cheap, niggardly,
parsimonious, tight, tight-fisted, close, close-fisted: It was
very petty of you to refuse the beggar a few pence.
petulant adj. peevish, pettish, impatient, ill-humoured, testy, waspish,
irascible, choleric, cross, captious, ill-tempered,
bad-tempered, splenetic, moody, sour, bilious, crabby, crabbed,
irritable, huffish, huffy, perverse, snappish, crotchety,
cantankerous, curmudgeonly, grouchy, grumpy: With a petulant
gesture she hurled the rose away.
phantom n. 1 apparition, spectre, ghost, spirit, phantasm, shade,
wraith, revenant, vision, Formal eidolon, phantasma, Colloq
spook: The so-called phantom of the opera turned out to be a
real person. 2 figment (of the imagination), illusion,
delusion, chimera or chimaera, hallucination, fancy, mirage:
She was a phantom of delight When first she gleamed upon my
Pharisaic adj. Pharisaical, hypocritical, insincere, self-righteous,
pretentious, holier-than-thou, sanctimonious, pietistic(al),
formalistic, canting, unctuous, oily, slimy, Literary
Tartuffian, Pecksniffian, Colloq goody-goody , Chiefly Brit
smarmy: I cannot tolerate his Pharisaic preaching.
Pharisee n. hypocrite, pretender, dissembler, humbug, fraud, whited
sepulchre, pietist, formalist, canter, Literary Tartuffe,
Pecksniff, Colloq phoney or US also phony: She is such a
Pharisee with her pious little anecdotes.
n. pharmacologist, Rather old-fashioned or formal apothecary,
Brit (pharmaceutical) chemist, US and Canadian druggist, Formal
posologist, Colloq pill pusher, US pill roller: The pharmacist
said that those pills have bad side-effects.
pharmacy n. 1 dispensary, Rather formal or old-fashioned apothecary,
Brit chemist's (shop), US and Canadian drugstore, druggist's:
Stop off at the pharmacy and get me something for this headache,
please. 2 pharmaceutics, pharmacopoeia: Research has vastly
expanded modern pharmacy.
phase n. 1 stage, period, development, step: The boy is just going
through a phase. 2 time, moment, juncture, occasion: At this
phase of the discussion, I should like to introduce a new
subject. 3 state, form, shape, configuration, aspect,
appearance, look, condition, status: Here is a diagram of the
phases of the moon at various points in its orbit. 4 facet,
side, angle, viewpoint, point of view, Colloq slant: Only one
phase of the argument has so far been presented.
--v. 5 phase in. (gradually) introduce, usher in, work in,
inject, insert, insinuate, include, incorporate: The new work
schedules will be phased in over the next month. 6 phase out.
ease out or off, taper off, wind up, put a stop to, (gradually)
eliminate, remove, withdraw, discontinue, end: The use of
non-biodegradable and non-recyclable packaging is being phased
adj. outstanding, remarkable, exceptional, extraordinary,
unusual, freakish, rare, uncommon, singular, unorthodox,
unprecedented, unheard-of, unparalleled, unbelievable,
incredible, marvellous, wonderful, amazing, astonishing,
astounding, staggering, stunning, prodigious, miraculous,
fantastic, Colloq mind-boggling, mind-blowing,: She made a
phenomenal recovery and can walk again.
n. 1 event, happening, occurrence, incident, occasion,
experience, fact: Everyone knows the phenomenon of the souring
of milk. 2 wonder, curiosity, spectacle, sight, sensation,
marvel, rarity, exception, miracle, Slang stunner: An
eight-year-old chess champion is truly a phenomenon, even in
n. flirt, gallant, rou‚, rake, Casanova, Lothario, Don Juan,
Romeo, lover, playboy, gay dog, Colloq lady-killer, womanizer,
Old-fashioned wolf, Slang stud: In his memoirs it emerged what
a philanderer he had been, often dallying with six women at
adj. charitable, eleemosynary, generous, magnanimous,
munificent, benevolent, open-handed, ungrudging, unstinting,
beneficent, humanitarian, altruistic, humane: Finlay was always
philanthropic, and spent much of his fortune on worthy causes.
n. contributor, donor, benefactor or benefactress, patron or
patroness, sponsor, Maecenas, Good Samaritan, humanitarian,
altruist: Some anonymous philanthropist provided the funds for
the new school swimming-pool.
n. 1 generosity, benevolence, charity, patronage, magnanimity,
charitableness, public-spiritedness, big-heartedness,
thoughtfulness, alms-giving, kind-heartedness, beneficence,
benignity, liberality, open-handedness: Carnegie's philanthropy
was focused on libraries and education. 2 donation,
contribution, largesse, aid, grant, assistance, help: Mrs
Ander's recent philanthropy allows us to offer six new
n. 1 boor, barbarian, yahoo, lowbrow, Boeotian, vulgarian,
ignoramus, bourgeois, US Babbitt: Charlotte never could abide
the philistines who put love of money above love of culture.
--adj. 2 uncultured, uncultivated, tasteless, commonplace,
unenlightened, unrefined, unread, unlettered, uneducated,
untutored, unlearned, narrow-minded, anti-intellectual, boorish,
lowbrow, dull, prosaic, boring, bourgeois, crass, commercial,
materialistic: The television companies were accused of
pandering to the basest appetites of the philistine viewer.
adj. 1 philosophic, abstract, esoteric, learned, scholarly,
erudite, theoretical, rational, logical, impractical: The
person who is out of a job cares nothing about philosophical
reasons for unemployment. 2 detached, unconcerned, unemotional,
unimpassioned, composed, thoughtful, reflective, meditative,
cogitative, contemplative, judicious, sober, level-headed,
realistic, practical, pragmatic(al), down-to-earth, cool, calm,
serene, placid, stoical, patient, unruffled, cool-headed,
tranquil, unperturbed, even-tempered, temperate, moderate,
equable, equanimous, imperturbable: Over the years, Evelyn had
learned to take a philosophical attitude towards her husband's
n. 1 metaphysics, epistemology, logic, natural or moral or
metaphysical philosophy, rationalism, thinking, aesthetics: He
views philosophy as the attempt to describe and codify universal
truths. 2 viewpoint, (point of) view, outlook, opinion,
attitude, feeling, sentiment, idea, notion, ideology, (set of)
beliefs or values, tenets, Weltanschauung, world-view: Harold's
philosophy of life is 'Live and let live'. 3 stoicism,
sang-froid, control, self-control, restraint, coolness,
composure, calmness, serenity, placidity, cool-headedness,
equanimity, thoughtfulness, imperturbability, self-possession,
aplomb, dispassion, patience, resignation: You may be sure that
Paul allows nothing to disturb his philosophy.
adj. 1 phlegmatical, stoic(al), unemotional, unenthusiastic,
unanimated, sluggish, apathetic, uninvolved, lethargic,
unfeeling, uncaring, cold, unresponsive, stolid, unmoved,
insensitive, unaffected, insensible, indifferent, unconcerned,
uninterested, listless, torpid, indolent, inactive, passive,
Rare hebetudinous: Hutton is far too phlegmatic to be stirred
by the fervour of the revolutionaries. 2 phlegmatical,
self-possessed, self-controlled, controlled, restrained,
composed, calm, serene, tranquil, placid, cool-headed,
equanimous, cool, undisturbed, unperturbed, unruffled,
imperturbable, even-tempered, philosophical, temperate,
moderate: One has to learn to be phlegmatic about things going
wrong at the office.
phobia n. fear, horror, terror, dread, hatred, detestation,
abhorrence, loathing, execration, aversion, revulsion,
repugnance, dislike, distaste, antipathy; disquiet, nervousness,
qualm, distrust, suspicion, apprehension, worry: He suffers
from claustrophobia, which means that he has a phobia for
enclosed places, and he avoids lifts and telephone booths.
phoney adj. 1 unreal, fake, synthetic, artificial, factitious, false,
fraudulent, imitation, bogus, spurious, counterfeit, mock,
ersatz, paste, trumped up; sham, pretended, insincere,
hypocritical, dissimulating, deceitful, dishonest; US also
phony, Colloq pseudo or Brit pseud: They were caught trying to
collect insurance on the theft of a string of phoney pearls.
Every time she wanted something, she'd turn on the phoney charm.
--n. 2 fake, fraud, imitation, counterfeit, forgery, hoax,
sham, US also phony: The diamond she's wearing is a phoney. 3
trickster, faker, humbug, impostor, pretender, charlatan,
mountebank, double-dealer, counterfeiter, quack, deceiver, US
also phony, Colloq Brit pseud, Slang US paper-hanger: Madame
Tatiana claims to be able to communicate with the dead, but I
think she's a phoney.
n. 1 snapshot, print, picture, slide, transparency; negative,
positive, Colloq photo, snap, shot, pic (pl. pix): Heinrich has
taken some marvellous photographs of the children.
--v. 2 take a picture (of), shoot, film, take, Colloq snap: He
photographed Jennifer holding her kitten.
n. lensman, lenswoman, cameraman, camerawoman, cinematographer,
paparazzo (pl., paparazzi), Old-fashioned photographist: The
photographers clustered round the prime minister.
adj. 1 vivid, natural, realistic, graphic, accurate, exact,
precise, faithful, detailed, lifelike, true to life: Many such
neo-realist paintings are virtually photographic. 2 cinematic,
filmic, pictorial: Uncannily, a photographic image appeared on
the Shroud under certain light.
phrase n. 1 clause, noun phrase, verb phrase, prepositional phrase,
adverbial phrase, adjectival phrase: When asked for an example
of a verb phrase, the student responded, 'Shut up'. 2
expression, word-group, collocation, locution, idiom, idiomatic
expression, collocution, proverb, motto, slogan, saying,
catch-phrase, adage, maxim, axiom, saw, colloquialism, clich‚,
platitude, commonplace, Colloq chestnut: Do you know the source
of Churchill's famous phrase, 'Blood, sweat, and tears'? 3
phraseology, phrasing, wording, language, usage, way or manner
of speaking, diction, parlance, fa‡on de parler, modus loquendi,
modus scribendi, speech habit, style, choice of words, word
choice, syntax, vocabulary: He was to 'let slip', to use
Shakespeare's phrase, 'the dogs of war'.
--v. 4 express, term, word, put, frame, formulate, couch, put
into words, put or set forth, verbalize, articulate, voice,
utter, say, write; describe, delineate: I am pondering over the
best way to phrase this example.
physical adj. bodily, corporeal, corporal, fleshly, incarnate, carnal,
mortal, earthly, natural, somatic; material, tangible, palpable,
real, actual, true, concrete, manifest, solid: Curtis doesn't
have the physical strength to lift that weight. As a chemist,
James deals with the physical, not the spiritual universe.
physician n. doctor, medical doctor, M.D., doctor of medicine, medical
practitioner, general practitioner, G.P., medical man or woman,
specialist, diplomate, Brit navy surgeon, Colloq doc, medico,
medic, US man, Slang sawbones, bones: You ought to see a
physician if the pain persists.
physique n. build, figure, body, frame, shape, bodily structure, form,
Slang chassis, US bod, built: She has the physique of an Amazon
but the disposition of a lamb.
pick v. 1 Often, pick out. select, choose, cull, sort out,
hand-pick, single out, opt for, fix or decide upon or on, elect,
settle upon or on, screen (out), sift (out): Melanie was picked
to succeed Hubert as president. 2 pluck, gather, collect,
harvest, bring or take in, garner: Scores of extra workers were
brought in to pick apples. 3 provoke, foment, incite, start,
initiate, work or stir up: He tried to pick an argument with me
about who is taller. 4 pick at. a criticize, carp at, find
fault with, cavil (at or about), quibble (at or about), pick on,
nag (at), niggle (at), harass, pester, annoy, irritate, bother:
Stop picking at your brother! b nibble (at), peck at: We can't
get him to eat a thing, he just picks at his food. 5 pick off.
shoot (down), kill: We picked them off one by one as they
emerged from the trench. 6 pick on. bully, ride, intimidate,
abuse, browbeat, badger, harry, hector, harass, tease, taunt,
needle, torment: Robert must learn not to pick on the smaller
boys. 7 pick out. a See 1, above. b discern, distinguish,
tell apart, make out, recognize, separate, discriminate: I was
able to pick out a distant rider, approaching swiftly. From
amongst the forest sounds she picked out the song of the
nightingale. 8 pick up. a raise (up), lift (up), heft, hoist,
take up: The stone is too heavy to pick up. Please pick up that
piece of paper. b gather, collect, glean, take up: I wish you
would pick up your clothes. c tidy (up), neaten, straighten up
or out, clean (up): She refuses to continue to pick up after
him. d acquire, learn, become acquainted with; master; Colloq
get the hang of: We picked up a little Spanish on our holiday.
e acquire, find, come by, get hold of, obtain; buy, purchase,
get: Basil picked up a few bad habits in the army. Let's pick
up a bottle of wine on the way. f improve, get better, gain,
make headway, recover, perk up, rally, recoup, (make) progress,
move ahead, increase, Colloq make a comeback: Business usually
picks up before Christmas. g accelerate, speed up: The pace
picked up as they approached the finish line. h arrest,
apprehend, take into custody, Colloq pinch, collar, nab, bust,
run in, pull in, Brit nick: Two men were picked up trying to
break into the bank. i call for, give a lift or ride to,
collect, go for or US also after, go to get: I'll pick you up
at the railway station at noon. j meet, introduce oneself to,
strike up an acquaintance with, accost, make advances to: I
think she picked him up in a wine bar. k catch, come down with,
contract, get: He picked up a mystery virus in the Tropics.
--n. 9 selection, choice, option, preference: She could have
had the pick of any man in the place. Take your pick. 10
choicest, best, crЉme de la crЉme, cream: The early shoppers
had already taken the pick of the crop.
picket n. 1 stake, pale, post, peg, stanchion, upright, vertical,
palisade, paling: The walls of the fort were of strong pickets
tapered to a point at the top. 2 demonstrator, protester,
striker: The police prevented the pickets from attacking
workers who entered the factory. 3 picquet, sentinel, watchman,
guard, observer, patrol, vedette or vidette or vedette boat:
The picket reported no unusual activity.
--v. 4 enclose, shut in, wall in, fence (in), hem in, box in:
We picketed the camp for the night. 5 protest, demonstrate,
blockade: Strikers picketed the factory 24 hours a day.
picnic n. 1 garden party, f€te champ€tre, meal alfresco, barbecue, US
clam-bake, US and Canadian cookout: The clouds had gone, and it
was a great day for a picnic. 2 child's play, Colloq pushover,
snap, cinch, piece of cake, walk-over, US and Canadian breeze,
lead-pipe cinch: Sailing home with a quartering wind - it was a
picnic all the way. 3 no picnic. difficult, arduous, torture,
torturous, agony, agonizing, painful, disagreeable,
discomfiting, misfortune, Colloq tough, tough luck, tough going,
rough, a pain in the neck, US tough sledding, Taboo slang pain
in the Brit arse or US ass: Being marooned on a desert island
for a month was no picnic, I assure you.
pictorial adj. 1 graphic, picturesque, vivid, telling, striking,
expressive, plain, explicit, clear, lucid: Many of the poet's
images are amazingly pictorial. 2 illustrated: They published
a pictorial history of biblical lands just for children.
picture n. 1 drawing, painting, representation, portrait, depiction,
artwork, illustration, sketch, photograph: Here is a picture of
our cottage in the Cotswolds. 2 image, (perfect or exact)
likeness, (carbon) copy, double, duplicate, twin, (exact)
replica, look-alike, facsimile, Colloq spitting image or spit
and image, Slang (dead) ringer: Isn't she just the picture of
her mother? 3 impression, idea, notion, understanding, image:
I think I have a pretty good picture of the situation. 4 model,
prototype, epitome, essence, embodiment, incarnation,
personification, perfect example: From her autobiography, you
might believe her to be the picture of sweet innocence. 5 put
(someone) in or into the picture. inform or advise fully, Colloq
fill (someone) in: Put me into the picture about what went on
here last night.
--v. 6 envision, envisage, visualize, imagine, fancy, conceive
of, see in the mind's eye: Picture yourself lying on a beach in
the Bahamas. 7 depict, draw, portray, paint, represent, show,
illustrate, display: In this fresco, Salome is pictured dancing
before Herod Antipas.
adj. 1 colourful, interesting, intriguing, unusual, unique,
original, charming, idyllic, fetching, attractive, pretty,
lovely, quaint, delightful, pleasing, scenic: We came upon a
picturesque village in which all the houses were half-timbered
Tudor style with thatched roofs. 2 colourful, graphic,
realistic, vivid, striking: Bernard has written a picturesque
account of a walking trip through Bavaria.
piece n. 1 bit, morsel, scrap, chunk, hunk, sliver, lump, portion,
particle, fragment, shred, shard or sherd, remnant, quantity:
All the beggar wanted was a piece of bread. A piece of shrapnel
is still embedded in my arm. 2 wedge, slice, serving, helping,
portion: You may not have a piece of pie till you've eaten your
vegetables. 3 share, portion, fraction, part, division,
segment, section, interest, holding, percentage, proportion: It
turned out that a piece of the company had been sold without
shareholders' approval. 4 (short) story, article, essay, report,
theme, draft; poem; music, opus, (musical) number, composition,
arrangement, tune, melody, song, air, jingle, ditty; production,
play, drama, sketch, show: I read that piece about cholesterol
in yesterday's paper. He wrote a piece for the flute. Which
piece by Strindberg will you put on next? 5 man, token,
chessman, chess-piece, chequer, Brit draughtsman: Once you have
touched a piece you must move it. 6 go to pieces. fall apart,
disintegrate, crumble, shatter; be shattered, be upset, be
disturbed, have a nervous breakdown, go out of or lose control,
break down, Colloq crack up: Another earthquake and this wall
will go to pieces. At the news of his son's death, Joe simply
went to pieces. 7 in pieces. smashed, destroyed, ruined,
shattered, broken, in smithereens, smashed: The vase lay in
pieces at my feet. Though I had won the case, my life was in
pieces. 8 of a piece (with). similar, similarly constituted,
alike, of the same sort or kind or type, uniform, the same, part
and parcel (of the same thing), identical; in harmony, in
agreement, harmonious, in keeping: This book is of a piece with
the others in the same series. All his paintings are of a piece.
9 piece of cake. Colloq snap, cinch, US and Canadian lead-pipe
cinch, breeze: The French exam was a piece of cake. 10 piece
of (one's) mind. Colloq scolding, rebuke, lecture, reprimand,
tongue-lashing, chiding, rap over or on the knuckles, Colloq
hell, what for, dressing-down, US bawling-out, chewing-out: She
gave him a piece of her mind about the amount of time he spent
in the pub. 11 piece of the action. share, portion, interest,
stake, percentage, holding, quota: For њ1000 you can have a
piece of the action. 12 speak (one's) piece. have (one's) say,
express (one's) opinion, say what is on (one's) mind; vent
(one's) spleen, Colloq get a load off (one's) mind or chest:
All were given a chance to speak their piece.
--v. 13 piece together. assemble, put together, connect,
gather, compose; fix, unite, restore, mend: We pieced together
what happened from the witnesses' accounts. You'll never be
able to piece together the bits of that lamp.
piЉce de r‚sistance
n. highlight, (special or main) feature or attraction,
sp‚cialit‚ (de la maison), masterpiece, chef-d'oeuvre, Brit
speciality, US specialty: The piЉce de r‚sistance of the meal
was a magnificent gateau.
piecemeal adv. 1 piece by piece, little by little, inch by inch, bit by
bit, inchmeal, gradually, by degrees, slowly, in bits and
pieces, by fits and starts, fitfully, intermittently,
sporadically, disjointedly: The ministry insisted that the
plans should remain as one package and not be introduced
piecemeal over the next two years. 2 into fragments or shreds or
pieces: He angrily took the cheque and tore it up piecemeal.
--adj. 3 fragmentary, bit by bit, inchmeal, gradual,
disjointed, sporadic: The South-east could become one huge
traffic jam unless the Government drops its piecemeal approach
pier n. 1 wharf, landing (stage or place), jetty, quay, floating
dock, Technically inaccurate dock: The ship is tied up at the
pier. 2 pile, piling, post, upright, column, support, buttress:
Owing to lack of maintenance, the piers supporting the building
pierce v. 1 stab, puncture, penetrate, thrust or poke into, lance,
spear, spit, run through or into, skewer, impale, fix, transfix:
The arrow pierced his heart and he dropped down dead. 2 bore
into or through, penetrate, drill, perforate, riddle, punch
through, hole, tunnel into: The wall is pierced to provide
ventilation. 3 penetrate, fathom, see, understand, comprehend,,
grasp, discover, realize: His keen analytical mind allowed him
to pierce the mysteries of nature. 4 affect (keenly), touch,
move, melt, stir, rouse, pain, cut to the quick, wound, strike:
It pierced my heart to hear the child weep.
piercing adj. 1 strident, shrill, harsh, ear-splitting, ear-shattering,
high-pitched, screaming, shrieking, screeching, loud, blaring:
The piercing sound of the police siren made me sit bolt-upright
in bed. 2 probing, searching, penetrating, sharp, keen;
arresting, gripping, spellbinding, enthralling, fascinating,
entrancing: I was completely transfixed by her piercing green
eyes. 3 penetrating, icy, frosty, frigid, chilling, freezing,
cold, numbing, keen, wintry, arctic, raw, bitter, fierce,
biting, nipping, nippy: Shivering in that piercing wind I
thought I'd never be warm again. 4 stabbing, shooting,
excruciating, exquisite, acute, sharp, severe, agonizing,
fierce, intense, painful, racking: I suddenly felt a piercing
pain in my left ear.
piety n. 1 devotion, devotedness, respect, deference, dedication,
dutifulness, loyalty, affection: In filial piety he hung the
painting of his parents prominently over the mantelpiece. 2
piousness, reverence, veneration, devoutness, holiness,
godliness, pietism, devotedness, devotion, observance,
religiousness, grace, sanctity: His life of piety had marked
him out as a likely candidate for sainthood.
pile° n. 1 heap, mound, stack, accumulation, stockpile, mass, supply,
deposit, collection, assemblage, batch, hoard, aggregation,
congeries, conglomeration, assortment, agglomeration,
concentration, amassment: A huge pile of gravel was delivered
today for the builders. 2 money, fortune, wealth, holdings,
Colloq bundle, loot, mint, Slang packet, tidy sum, US bankroll,
roll, wad: She made her pile selling arms to terrorists. 3
Usually, piles. abundance, over-abundance, superabundance,
plenty, great deal, quantity, ocean(s), lot(s), stack(s),
plethora, Colloq oodles, ton(s), bag(s), heap(s), bundle(s): He
made piles of money in the black market. 4 See pier, 2, above.
--v. 5 Often, pile up. stack (up), heap (up), mound,
accumulate, stockpile, amass, collect, assemble, hoard,
aggregate, cumulate: Please pile the cartons in the corner. 6
pile in or into. enter, get in or into, crowd in or into, pack
in or into, flood in or into, jam in or into, crush in or into,
Colloq jump in or into: All of us piled into my car to go to
the cinema. 7 pile it on. exaggerate: Ronnie was really piling
it on about how much his new job pays. 8 pile on or onto. a
get in or into or on or onto, crowd on or onto, jump on or onto:
We piled on the train after the game. They piled onto the hay
wagon for a ride home. b attack, assault, jump on, overwhelm:
They all piled on me and I had to give up. 9 pile out. leave,
get out (of) or down (from), exit: When we arrived, we all
piled out of the bus. Hordes of people piled out of the theatre.
10 pile up. accumulate, amass, collect: The rubbish kept piling
up during the strike.
pileэ n. nap, shag, plush; fuzz, bristles, fleece: The feet of the
chairs have left marks in the carpet pile.
piles n.pl. haemorrhoids.
pile-up n. 1 (road) accident, smash, crash, (multiple) (rear-end)
collision, Colloq smash-up: Thirty cars were involved in that
pile-up on the motorway. 2 accumulation, heap, stack, mass,
Colloq mountain: How will you ever get through that pile-up of
work on your desk?
pilfer v. steal, rob, plunder, thieve, filch, embezzle,
misappropriate, purloin, take, walk off with, palm, Colloq
appropriate, pinch, snatch, grab, lift, borrow, Brit nick,
snaffle, US boost, Slang hook, snitch, swipe, rip off: The
auditors found that he had pilfered small sums from the company
pilgrim n. hajji or hadji or haji, Medieval history palmer; crusader:
The pilgrims visited holy places in and near Jerusalem.
n. hajj or hadj, holy expedition, crusade; expedition, journey,
trek, voyage, tour, trip, excursion: Every year the entire
family made a pilgrimage to grandfather's grave.
pill n. 1 tablet, capsule, bolus, pellet, pilule; medicine,
medication, medicament, drug, pharmaceutical, remedy, cure;
cough drop, pastille, lozenge, troche: Doctor, can't you give
me some kind of pill for this headache? 2 nuisance, bore, pest,
Colloq pain (in the neck), crank, drag: I don't understand what
she sees in Leonard - he's such a pill.
pillage v. 1 plunder, raid, ravage, sack, despoil, rob, loot, ransack,
rifle, maraud, depredate, devastate, vandalize, ruin, demolish,
raze, level, strip: The Goths pillaged every community they
conquered and carried off the booty.
--n. 2 plunder, rapine, despoliation, looting, robbery, sack,
sacking, ransacking, marauding, brigandage, piracy, freebooting,
buccaneering, banditry, depredation, devastation, vandalization,
defilement, destruction, laying waste, destruction, razing,
demolition, levelling, ruin, stripping: Pirates from Tripoli
were responsible for the pillage of one coastal town after
another. 3 plunder, loot, booty, spoils: In the cave Ali Baba
found the pillage from a thousand robberies.
pillar n. 1 column, pilaster, pile, piling, pier, upright, post,
shaft, prop; atlas, caryatid: The roof is supported by a single
pillar. Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. 2 mainstay,
supporter, worthy, upholder, backbone, (tower of) strength,
leader: Cummings has been a pillar of strength in our
pilot n. 1 aviator, aviatrix, flier, airman, airwoman, aeronaut,
captain: The pilot announced that we would land in five
minutes. 2 steersman, helmsman, navigator, US wheelman or
wheelsman; guide, leader, cicerone, conductor: The pilot knows
his way through the shoals. A student acted as our pilot in our
tour of Oxford.
--v. 3 guide, steer, run, direct, shepherd, control, lead,
navigate, drive; fly: Only someone with local knowledge can
pilot the ship into that harbour. The chairman piloted the
company through turbulent times.
pimp n. 1 procurer, panderer or pander, White slaver, whoremonger,
Slang US hustler: The police rounded up the pimps and
prostitutes for questioning.
--v. 2 procure, pander, solicit, Slang US hustle: He was well
known as having pimped for three generations of the nobility.
pimple n. pustule, papula, boil, swelling, eruption, blackhead or
technical comedo, excrescence, Brit spot, Scots plouk or plook,
US whitehead, Old-fashioned US hickey: The old witch had a
pimple at the end of her nose.
pin n. 1 peg, dowel, bolt, thole, thole-pin, spike, rivet; Brit
drawing-pin, US push-pin: The table is held together by wooden
pins. We need some more pins for the notice-board. 2 brooch,
clip; stickpin, tie-pin, scarf-pin, US tie tack: She is wearing
the cameo pin that her mother gave her. I had George's pin made
into a brooch.
--v. 3 attach, fix, affix, fasten, secure, tack; hold, staple,
clip: Let's play 'Pin the tail on the donkey'. Pin these papers
together. 4 pin down. a force, make, compel, coerce,
constrain, press, Brit pressurize, US pressure: We must pin him
down to give his decision by tomorrow. b define, specify,
pinpoint, name, identify, determine, name, put or lay one's
finger on, home or zero in on, focus on: The doctor was unable
to pin down what is wrong with her. c confine, hold (down),
fix, immobilize, tie down, constrain: We were pinned down by
enemy fire. 5 pin on. blame, hold responsible or accountable,
point the finger at, accuse; lay at (someone's) door: They'll
never be able to pin the murder on Drayton.
pincers n.pl. pliers, nippers, tweezers: Can you get the nail out with
pinch v. 1 squeeze, nip, tweak, press, compress, grip, grasp: I
pinched my finger in the drawer. 2 squeeze, cramp, confine,
crush, hurt: These shoes really pinch badly. 3 steal, thieve,
rob, take, shoplift, filch, pilfer, purloin, Colloq lift, Brit
nick, US boost, Slang swipe, knock off: I think it was Andrew
who pinched my book. 4 arrest, apprehend, take into custody,
Colloq nab, run in, collar, bust, run in, Brit nick: She was
pinched for driving while under the influence. 5 pinch pennies.
scrimp, save, skimp, economize: We're pinching pennies now so
that we can afford a nice holiday later.
--n. 6 squeeze, nip, tweak, twinge: Montrose gave the girl's
cheek an affectionate pinch. 7 touch, (tiny or wee) bit,
soup‡on, jot, mite, taste, Colloq US tad, smidgen or smidgin:
Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water. 8 predicament,
emergency, crisis, difficulty, dilemma, (ticklish or delicate)
situation, complication, Colloq pickle, jam, scrape, Chiefly
Brit crunch: Sue will help me out in a pinch.
pink° n. 1 in the pink. at one's best, healthy, hearty, in the best
of health, in top form, in good shape, Colloq US up: I saw Rob
the other day, and he's in the pink.
--adj. 2 rosy, rose, rose-coloured, pinkish, flesh-colour(ed),
salmon(-colour(ed)): The designer suggests pink curtains for
pinkэ v. serrate, notch, scallop; perforate, puncture, prick: Pink
the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying.
pinnacle n. top, peak, apex, acme, summit, zenith, maximum, climax,
crowning point, consummation, utmost, extreme, perfection; tip,
cap, crest, crown: Being elected chairman was the pinnacle of
Mark's career. The climbers reached the pinnacle, where they
will rest overnight.
pioneer n. 1 pathfinder, frontiersman, frontierswoman, trail-blazer,
explorer, colonist, (early) settler; ground-breaker, forerunner,
precursor, predecessor, innovator, leader, trend-setter,
pacemaker, pace-setter: The pioneers who explored and settled
the American west were daring men and women. Marconi was a
pioneer in the development of radio.
--v. 2 create, originate, invent, initiate, take the first
step, introduce, institute, actuate, trigger, set off,
inaugurate, start, begin, launch, establish, found, set up,
develop, lay the groundwork or foundation, set or put in motion,
take the lead, lead or show the way, blaze the trail, be a prime
mover, open up, Colloq kick off, get the ball rolling: Our
company has pioneered systems for automatic typesetting.
pious adj. 1 devout, religious, reverent, reverential, worshipful,
dutiful, God-fearing, godly, faithful, holy, dedicated, devoted,
spiritual, moral, good, virtuous, right-minded, saintly, holy,
angelic, seraphic, Christ-like, godlike: Francis is a pious boy
who attends church regularly. 2 hypocritical, sanctimonious,
pietistic, self-righteous, Pharisaic, mealy-mouthed, pretended,
fraudulent, goody-goody, unctuous, oily, Colloq Brit smarmy:
You are rationalizing your bad behaviour with a lot of pious
pipe n. 1 pipeline, tube, duct, hose, line, main, conduit, passage,
conveyor, channel: The pipes are inspected regularly for
corrosion. 2 briar, meerschaum, corn-cob, calabash, clay pipe,
water-pipe, hookah, narghile, chibouk or chibouque, peace-pipe
or pipe of peace or calumet, Colloq Irish briar, Brit
hubble-bubble, US bong: He slowly tamped down the tobacco in
his pipe, then lit it. 3 pan-pipe, whistle, boatswain's pipe,
tooter, horn, wind, wind instrument, woodwind, brass: They play
the pipes in the London Symphony.
--v. 4 tootle, tweet, skirl, warble, whistle, peep, cheep: One
was piping away on a flute, the other was dancing a jig. 5
transmit, deliver, channel, conduct, convey, supply: The gas is
piped directly into our homes. 6 US look at, notice, spot,
note, look at, Colloq get a load of: Pipe the guy trying to
climb up the outside of that building. 7 pipe down. become
quieter, quieten down, make less noise, hush (up), shush (up),
whisper, Colloq belt up, shut up: I wish they'd pipe down, I
can't sleep. 8 pipe up. speak (up), say, raise one's voice,
make oneself heard, offer, volunteer: Sally piped up with the
correct answer from the back of the classroom.
pipeline n. 1 pipe, tube, duct, hose, line, main, conduit, passage,
conveyor, channel: Pipelines carry gas from the North Sea
throughout Britain. Very little information was flowing through
the pipeline from Beirut. 2 in the pipeline. on the way, under
way, in the offing, ready, imminent, coming, Colloq in the
works, cooking, US in work: They said that the contract was in
the pipeline and should arrive soon.
pirate n. 1 buccaneer, sea rover, corsair, privateer, freebooter,
sea-robber, filibuster, Archaic picaroon: Captain Kidd and
Blackbeard were actual pirates who looted shipping in the
Americas in the 17th century. 2 plagiarist, plagiarizer,
infringer: Some of these pirates offer unauthorized cheap
reprints of expensive textbooks.
--v. 3 plagiarize, infringe, copy, reproduce, steal,
appropriate, poach, Colloq lift, pinch, crib: Our government
has no jurisdiction over those who pirate books in countries
with which we have no treaty.
pirouette n. 1 spin, whirl, twirl, turn, revolution, pivoting:
Antoinette did a beautiful pirouette followed by a pas de chat.
--v. 2 spin, whirl, turn (round), revolve, pivot: He was so
happy that he fairly pirouetted round the room.
pistol n. gun, handgun, revolver, automatic, Slang rod, piece,
shooting-iron, Chiefly US gat, US Saturday-night special,
heater, roscoe: In the United States, law enforcement officers
are required to carry a pistol.
piston n. plunger: The piston in a bicycle pump is worked by hand.
pit° n. 1 hole, excavation, shaft, cavity, mine, mine-shaft, quarry,
working, ditch, trench, trough: Pits had been dug for the
extraction of gravel. 2 pothole, hollow, depression, dent,
indentation, dimple, pock-mark: His face was disfigured by the
pits left by teenage acne. 3 abyss, chasm, well, crevasse,
crater: We found a bottomless pit that led to the centre of the
earth. 4 the pits. awful, terrible, the worst, Slang lousy:
That TV show last night was the pits. He thought that going to
school was the pits.
--v. 5 dent, pock-mark, dig, scar, hollow out, gouge: The salt
air has pitted the metal parts of my car. 6 Often, pit against.
match, oppose, set against; contrast: Shirley doesn't stand a
chance if they pit her against Maria.
pitэ n. stone, seed, pip: I prefer seedless grapes, the ones
pitch° v. 1 toss, throw, cast, fling, hurl, heave, sling, fire,
launch, shoot, send, let fly, Cricket bowl, Colloq chuck, peg,
lob, Brit bung: He rolled the paper into a ball and pitched it
into the basket. 2 erect, raise, set or put up, position, fix,
place: We ought to pitch the tent in a level area. 3 plunge,
fall (headlong), dive, drop, plummet, (take a) nosedive: I
caught my toe on the kerb and pitched forward onto the pavement.
4 Chiefly nautical toss about, lurch, plunge, flounder, go head
over heels, go keel over truck, US pitchpole or pitchpoll: The
wind reached force ten as we pitched and rolled and yawed in the
heavy seas. 5 pitch in. contribute, cooperate, help, assist,
Colloq chip in: Everyone pitched in to make the church fair a
success. 6 pitch into. a attack, lay into, assail, lash out
at, abuse, rail against, Colloq lace into, tear into, jump down
(someone's) throat, jump on: Reggie's wife really pitched into
him about going out with other women. b attack, assault, set
upon, belabour, Colloq light into, sail into, tear into: They
pitched into each other and fought like Kilkenny cats. 7 pitch
on or upon. determine, decide on, select, pick, choose, opt for,
elect, nominate, name, Colloq light on: They pitched on Carrie
to be the best candidate for treasurer.
pitchэ n. tar, bitumen, asphalt: Peter patched potholes with pitch.
adj. black, dark, ebon(y), Stygian, inky(-black), unlit,
unlighted, pitch-dark, coal-black, jet-black; raven, sable: The
cellar was pitch-black. Her pale complexion was in stark
contrast to her pitch-black hair.
pitched adj. organized, planned, deliberate, coordinated, arranged,
systematized: The two armies fought a pitched battle on the
piteous adj. pitiable, pathetic, pitiful, plaintive, miserable,
heart-rending, poignant, distressing, grievous, heart-breaking,
mournful, sad, doleful, dolorous, tearful, lamentable,
deplorable, regrettable, rueful, woeful, moving, emotional: We
heard the piteous wailing of the mothers who had lost children
in the disaster.
pitfall n. 1 trap, pit: Pitfalls were often used in Burma for trapping
tigers. 2 danger, peril, hazard, catch, difficulty, snag: You
might well encounter pitfalls, but don't be discouraged.
pith n. 1 core, heart, kernel, nucleus, crux, gist, focus, focal
point, essence, meat, marrow, nub, point, spirit, substance,
quintessence: As usual, Randolph came immediately to the pith
of the argument. 2 weight, burden, gravamen, gravity, force,
moment, import, importance, significance, substance, depth,
matter: I have something of great pith to tell you about.
pitiable adj. See piteous, above.
pitiful adj. 1 See piteous, above. 2 small, little, insignificant,
trifling, unimportant, beggarly, sorry, mean, contemptible:
Does Hodges seriously expect us to praise him for that pitiful
contribution of his?
pittance n. mite, shoestring, Slang peanuts, chicken-feed, small
potatoes: The miserable pittance that she receives does not
even cover the necessities of life. He's trying to run that
business on a pittance.
pitted adj. eaten away, corroded, eroded, pock-marked, defaced,
marred, pierced, perforated: The chrome plating is all pitted
where the acid splashed.
pity n. 1 sympathy, commiseration, sorrow, condolence, compassion,
tenderness, Archaic ruth: I really feel pity for Betty, being
married to such a brute. 2 (crying or damned) shame, sad thing,
disgrace, misfortune, sin, sacrilege, Colloq crime: It's a pity
that no one can do anything.
--v. 3 sympathize, feel for, commiserate with, feel sorry for,
feel or have compassion or tenderness for, bleed for, weep for:
I pity any mother whose son goes off to war.
pivot n. 1 pintle, gudgeon, hinge, swivel, pin, kingpin, spindle,
fulcrum: Use this stone as a pivot for the lever to lift the
rock. 2 centre, heart, focal point, hub, nave, crux: The
finance minister regards the interest rate as the pivot on which
the economy turns.
--v. 3 rotate, revolve, turn, spin, twirl, whirl, swivel: The
flywheel pivots on a bearing that requires constant lubrication.
4 hinge, depend, hang, be contingent, revolve around, rely: The
whole deal pivots on the cooperation of the banks.
pivotal adj. critical, central, focal, crucial, significant, important,
essential, vital, pressing, urgent, radical: The attitude of
the judge is pivotal in the jury's decision.
place n. 1 location, site, position, point, spot, locus, area,
locale, scene, setting: This looks like a nice place for a
picnic. She likes to see a place for everything and everything
in its place. 2 locale, area, neighbourhood, vicinity, district,
section, part of the country, quarter, region; city, town,
village, hamlet: She comes from some place near Glasgow. 3
status, station, standing, grade, rank, position, niche, slot,
situation, estate, state, circumstance(s): Angela was just
saying how difficult it is today to find a servant who knows his
place. 4 function, role, part, purpose, duty, obligation, task,
responsibility, charge, chore, burden, concern, mission: It is
scarcely my place to remind you of your appointments with the
dentist. 5 position, job, post, berth, appointment, livelihood;
employment, occupation, Colloq billet: Is there a chance of my
earning a place in your new company? 6 home, house, flat,
apartment, room(s), quarters, lodgings, Rather formal residence,
domicile, dwelling, abode, Colloq digs or diggings, pad: Why
not stop by my place for tea on Sunday? 7 stead; lieu: As I
cannot go, would you go in place of me? 8 position, situation,
circumstances, condition: Put yourself in my place and I think
you would have done exactly the same. 9 seat, chair, position:
Kevin, please take your place at the head of the table. 10 go
places. succeed, become successful, get ahead, advance, prosper,
thrive, flourish, go up in the world, make good, strike it rich,
Colloq arrive, make a splash, US and Canadian hit pay dirt, luck
out: That boy will go places one day. 11 in place. a fitting,
suitable, appropriate, right, proper, correct, good form: I
don't think it in place for you to tell me what to do. b in
situ, in (the right or proper or correct) position, ready, all
set, set up, in order, all right, Colloq OK or okay: Is
everything in place for tonight's party? 12 out of place.
awkward, uncomfortable, unsuitable, inappropriate, wrong,
improper, misplaced: Compassion is out of place when dealing
with war criminals. 13 put (someone) in his or her or their
place. humble, mortify, bring down, embarrass, squelch, Colloq
cut down to size, take down a peg (or two): Aunt Agatha used to
put Uncle Wilfred in his place by reminding him who held the
purse-strings. 14 take place. happen, occur, go on, come about;
arise, Colloq transpire: We shall never know what took place
behind those locked doors.
--v. 15 put (out), position, situate, locate, dispose, arrange,
order, set (out), lay, deposit; station, post, spot, pinpoint,
Colloq stick, Brit bung: Place the forks on the left and the
knives on the right. They placed guards at the door of my room.
16 class, classify, sort, order, arrange, rank, group,
categorize, bracket, grade; regard, view, see, consider: She
places love of family above love of country. Critics place him
among the best writers of the century. 17 identify, put one's
finger on, recall, remember, recognize; associate: I just can't
place her for the moment. He finally placed me with those who
had ragged him at school. 18 put, set, assign, give: People
place too much importance on material things.
placement n. 1 arrangement, placing, position, distribution, array,
disposition, deployment, positioning, stationing, organization,
order, ordering, location, locating, arraying, emplacement,
emplacing: The placement of the chairs is all wrong for
tonight's meeting. 2 employment, appointment, engagement,
hiring: Placement of qualified engineers has not been a
n. plagiarizing, plagiary, piracy, pirating, theft, purloining,
stealing, copying, appropriating, appropriation, thievery,
usurpation, infringing, infringement, imitation, Euphemistic
borrowing, Colloq lifting, cribbing: The similarities between
the two books could only be explained by plagiarism.
plague n. 1 scourge, epidemic, pestilence, affliction, pandemic,
calamity, curse, evil, bane, blight, visitation: The
inhabitants turned a plague of locusts to advantage by eating
them. 2 irritation, annoyance, nuisance, pest, vexation, bother,
thorn in one's side or flesh, torment, torture, Colloq pain (in
the neck), headache, aggravation, Slang drag, bitch, hassle,
Taboo slang pain in the Brit arse or US ass: It's a plague
trying to find a place to park the car.
--v. 3 badger, harry, hound, pester, annoy, vex, irritate,
bother, harass, nag, nettle, exasperate, gall, annoy, irk,
torment, torture, anguish, distress, Brit chivvy or chivy or
chevy: I wish the police would stop plaguing me with questions
about Jonathan's whereabouts.
plain adj. 1 flat, smooth, even, featureless, level, plane: I'd
rather have a paper with a plain surface, not an embossed one,
for the bedroom walls. 2 clear, evident, simple, distinct,
crystal clear, lucid, vivid, transparent, apparent, obvious,
patent, self-evident, manifest, distinct, unmistakable or
unmistakeable, unequivocal, unambiguous, understandable,
intelligible, graphic, direct, in black and white: His
intentions regarding my daughter are plain enough. The plain
fact is that she despises him. 3 open, honest, straightforward,
forthright, direct, frank, candid, blunt, outspoken, ingenuous,
sincere, guileless, artless, unreserved: I want to see some
plain talk between the two of us. 4 simple, unadorned,
undecorated, unembellished, basic, austere, stark,
unostentatious, colourless, drab, bare, unvarnished, Spartan:
Don't you find the average business suit a very plain affair? 5
homely, unattractive, ordinary-looking, unlovely, ugly: Who
would believe that such a plain child could become such a
--n. 6 prairie, grassland, pasture, meadow-land, veld or veldt,
pampas, campo, llano, savannah or savanna, steppe, tundra,
champaign or campagna; heath; moor, moorland; plateau, flatland;
down, downland, Literary wold, Archaic or literary mead: The
plain stretched out before us as far as the eye could see.
plan n. 1 design, layout, blueprint, scheme, method, procedure,
system, arrangement, programme, project, formula, pattern,
Colloq script, scenario: The plan called for monthly progress
meetings. The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley. 2
drawing, sketch, design, layout, blueprint, chart, map, diagram,
representation: This plan shows where the furniture will be
--v. 3 lay out or down, design, arrange, devise, outline,
organize, plot, map out, delineate, develop: She has been
invited to plan the new shopping mall. 4 intend, expect,
envisage, envision, foresee, aim, contemplate, propose: Were
you planning to go to the cinema tonight?
plane n. 1 flat or level (surface): The lines meet in the same
plane. 2 aeroplane, aircraft, airliner, jet (plane): I caught
the next plane for Marrakesh.
--adj. 3 flat, even, level, smooth, plain, regular, unbroken,
uninterrupted, uniform, horizontal: We landed on the plane
surface of the glacier.
--v. 4 glide, skim, skate, skid, slip, slide: I swiftly planed
along on my sailboard.
plank n. board, timber, slab: The flooring was made up of wide
planks laid side by side.
plant n. 1 flower, vegetable, herb, bush, shrub, tree, vine, weed:
Because of all the rain, the plants are flourishing this summer.
2 factory, mill, shop, works, workshop, foundry: The new plant
in Crawley is hiring lathe operators. 3 equipment, machinery,
apparatus; gear, fixtures: The plant includes heavy cranes,
JCBs, earth movers, and bulldozers. 4 spy, (undercover or
secret) agent, informer, informant: The new assistant is a
plant, sent in by management to report on union activities.
--v. 5 bed (out), sow, seed, set (out), transplant: We planted
a herbaceous border along the south wall of the garden. 6
implant, establish, root, fix, ingrain, lodge, instil,
insinuate, inject, introduce, impress, imprint: Who planted the
idea in your mind that you were a gifted writer? 7 place, put,
position, station, assign, situate: Watch-towers are planted at
50-foot intervals around the prison. 8 hide, secrete, conceal:
The company has planted detectives in the store to watch out for
planter n. flowerpot, cache-pot: He poured the drugged wine into a
plaque n. 1 tablet, medallion, plate, panel, marker, slab, plaquette:
The plaque on the house marks it as the birthplace of Thomas
Carlyle. 2 badge, brooch, pin, patch, medallion, medal,
insignia or insigne: The plaque shows him to be a member of the
Royal Yacht Squadron. 3 prize, honour, award, trophy: At the
annual dinner, she was presented with a plaque to mark her many
years of service.
plaster v. smear, daub, bedaub, spread, coat, cover, overlay,
superimpose: The mud was plastered all over my boots. They
plastered the walls with posters.
plastic adj. 1 mouldable, shapable or shapeable, fictile, soft,
malleable, workable, ductile, flexible, soft, pliant, supple,
pliable, clayey, waxy: The clay must be worked into the desired
form while it is still plastic. 2 impressionable, receptive,
open, persuadable or persuasible, susceptible, tractable,
compliant, responsive, manageable, unformed, inexperienced: One
encounters the children at an age when their minds and
personalities are still plastic enough to be influenced. 3
artificial, synthetic, imitation, fake, counterfeit, ersatz,
paste, bogus, meretricious, sham; cheap, pinchbeck, shoddy;
Colloq phoney or US also phony, crummy, US chintzy: She was
wearing a tawdry plastic brooch.
plate n. 1 platter, dish, Archaic trencher, charger: I left the cold
mashed potato on my plate. 2 course, serving, portion, dish,
platter: I ordered their speciality, a plate of spaghetti. 3
layer, leaf, sheet, pane, panel, lamina, slab: In the
condenser, insulation separates the thin metal plates. 4
coating, coat, plating, layer, lamination: The plate on our
cutlery is wearing thin. 5 illustration, picture, print, US
cut: The book contains many beautiful colour plates of flowers.
--v. 6 cover, coat, overlay, face, laminate: All the serving
dishes were plated with gold.
plateau n. 1 tableland, upland, highland, mesa: We climbed till we
reached a grassy plateau. 2 level, lull, pause, levelling off:
At 39, Julia seemed to have reached a plateau in her career.
platform n. 1 stand, dais, stage, podium, rostrum: After the
introduction, the speaker mounted the platform. 2 policy, party
line, principle(s), tenet(s), programme, plank: The main
elements of our platform will be revealed at the party
platonic adj. non-physical, asexual, non-sexual, celibate, chaste,
dispassionate, detached, spiritual, ideal, intellectual: Some
say that their relationship has not always been purely platonic.
platoon n. company, squad, squadron, group, patrol, team, cadre, body,
formation, unit, Colloq outfit: A platoon of soldiers was
marched to the barracks in close-order drill.
platter n. serving dish, server, salver, tray, plate, dish: Waiters
walked among the guests with platters of hot hors-d'oeuvres.
plausible adj. 1 likely, believable, reasonable, credible, tenable,
conceivable, thinkable, probable, imaginable, admissible, sound,
sensible, rational, logical, acceptable, trustworthy,
presentable: The police regarded our alibi as plausible. 2
specious, deceptive, meretricious, misleading, deceitful,
casuistic, sophistical, Jesuitical, smooth, empty: He was a
cunning, plausible sort of fellow.
play v. 1 amuse oneself, frolic, frisk, cavort, gambol, caper,
sport, have fun, have a good time, enjoy oneself, disport
(oneself), carouse: Ken's mother won't let him go out and play.
2 participate (in), take part (in), join (in), be occupied (in
or with); engage in, contend in, take up, take part in, occupy
oneself in or with, undertake: He was invited for a game of
poker, but he refused to play. I understand that you play
bridge. 3 engage, contend with, compete with or against,
challenge, vie with, pit oneself against, take on, rival: The
stranger played me at snooker, and I lost three games out of
three. 4 portray, depict, perform, act or take the role or part
of, act: In the new production of Othello she plays Desdemona.
5 perform (upon or on); put on: Play 'Misty' for me. She plays
the piccolo very well. Could you play that Caruso record? 6
operate: I wish they wouldn't play their hi-fi so loud. 7
gamble, bet, wager, stake, place, put: He played his last chip
on number 14. 8 play along. a Often, play along with.
cooperate, participate, go along (with), do or play one's part,
be a party to: I agreed to play along with her charade. b
manipulate, jolly along: She played him along till he bought
her a car. 9 play around. a fool around, tease, Colloq monkey
about or around, horse around or about: Stop playing around and
get to work. b dally, flirt, be unfaithful; philander,
womanize; Colloq fool around, run around, sleep around, play the
field: She found out about his playing around and filed for
divorce. 10 play at. pretend, make believe, fake, feign,
simulate, affect: She's merely playing at enjoying skiing to
please you. 11 play ball. cooperate, agree, work together, work
hand in glove, play along: They want him to smuggle diamonds,
but he won't play ball. 12 play by ear. improvise, extemporize,
ad lib , Colloq wing it: She can't read music and just plays by
ear. With no definite plan of action, I'll just play it by ear.
13 play down. belittle, minimize, diminish, disparage, make
light of, deprecate, decry, de-emphasize: He has always played
down his role in the affair. 14 play for time. delay,
procrastinate, stall (for time), temporize, hesitate, Colloq
drag one's feet: They don't yet have the money to pay, so they
are playing for time. 15 play on or upon. use, misuse, abuse,
trade on, exploit, take advantage of, impose on: He plays on
women's affections then persuades them to give him money. 16
play the game. behave, conduct oneself, deport oneself, act: It
makes no difference whether you win or lose, it's how you play
the game. 17 play up. a stress, emphasize, underscore,
underline, accentuate, call attention to, highlight, spotlight,
dramatize, build up: Always try to play up your assets and play
down your liabilities. b act up, misbehave, give or cause
trouble, malfunction, Colloq go on the blink or US fritz, Brit
be wonky: The bloody engine started playing up again, right in
the middle of a rainstorm. 18 play up to. curry favour with,
flatter, toady to, ingratiate oneself with, butter up, truckle
to, court, Colloq soft-soap, suck up to, boot-lick, US
apple-polish, Taboo slang brown-nose: Ray is always playing up
to the teacher, trying to get a better mark. 19 play with. a
toy with, trifle with, treat cavalierly or lightly, make light
of, think nothing of, dally with, amuse oneself with: He's just
playing with her till he gets what he's after. b consider,
think about, toy with, not treat seriously: We were playing
with the idea of a winter holiday this year. c mess with,
fiddle with, toy with, fidget with: Stop playing with your
--n. 20 drama, stage play, show, piece, production,
entertainment: We have tickets to a different play for every
night this week. 21 behaviour, actions, deportment, conduct,
demeanour: In the game of life, many have no regard for the
rules of fair play. The police suspect foul play. 22 amusement,
frivolity, entertainment, recreation, fun, pleasure, sport,
merrymaking, revelry, tomfoolery, Colloq horseplay, skylarking,
monkey business, Brit monkey tricks or US monkeyshines: The
time for play is past, and we must get down to serious business.
23 move, manoeuvre, action: That last play might have won you
the game. 24 flexibility, looseness, freedom, leeway, margin,
room, space, movement, motion, Colloq give: There's too much
play in this gear lever. 25 treatment, coverage, attention:
The newspapers gave Connie's new book a big play.
playboy n. man about town, rou‚, rake, debauchee, gay dog, womanizer,
Don Juan, Casanova, Lothario, Romeo, Colloq wolf, lady-killer:
He fancies himself as a playboy, but no women seem to agree.
player n. 1 contestant, participant, competitor, contender; athlete,
sportswoman, sportsman, Colloq US jock: Chess players from all
over the world came together for the championship. The referee
sent three players off. 2 actor or actress, performer,
entertainer, trouper, Thespian: The local drama group is the
Allen Arts Players. 3 gambler, better or especially US bettor,
gamester, speculator, Brit punter: J.B. is a big player in the
commodities market. 4 musician, instrumentalist, performer,
virtuoso: Gladys is one of the best tuba players in the band.
playful adj. 1 (high-)spirited, cheerful, frisky, frolicsome,
kittenish, sprightly, fun-loving, sportive, coltish,
mischievous, puckish, impish, elfish, devilish: The cat didn't
mean to scratch you, she was just being playful. 2 joking,
facetious, teasing, roguish, waggish, jesting, humorous,
tongue-in-cheek: Cleo's in a playful mood today, isn't she?
playmate n. playfellow, friend, comrade, Colloq pal, chum, US and
Canadian buddy: Some of Molly's playmates are asking if she can
come out to play.
plaything n. 1 toy, game, knick-knack, pastime: Please pick up your
playthings before supper. 2 tool, cat's-paw, dupe, pigeon,
pawn, Colloq US and Canadian fall guy: She had no use for Gerry
except as a plaything.
n. dramatist, dramaturge or dramaturgist, scriptwriter,
screenwriter, scenarist: The playwright has deftly caught the
way people talk to each other.
plea n. 1 request, entreaty, appeal, petition, supplication, suit,
cry, solicitation: Teenagers' mischievous behaviour is an
earnest plea for attention. 2 answer, defence, argument: She
entered a plea of 'not guilty' to the charge. 3 excuse, reason,
explanation, justification; pretext: His plea was that he had
not received the bill and therefore couldn't pay it.
plead v. 1 Often, plead for. request, appeal (for), cry (for), ask
(for), seek, beg (for), pray (for), supplicate (for): It was a
hot day and the children were pleading for ice-creams every half
hour. 2 Usually, plead with. request (of), entreat, appeal to,
petition, ask, apply to, implore, beseech, beg, importune,
solicit; demand: Bryan pleaded with us to let him go to the
rock concert. 3 assert, say, aver, allege, argue, maintain,
offer, put forward, declare, affirm, avow, swear: She pleaded
that she was unaware that the goods she was selling had been
pleasant adj. 1 pleasing, pleasurable, nice, enjoyable, satisfying,
good, lovely, attractive, inviting, enjoyable, gratifying,
delightful, charming, agreeable, suitable, fitting, appropriate;
harmonious, euphonious, melodic, mellifluous; delicious,
delectable, palatable, savoury, toothsome: Travelling on the
Orient Express was a most pleasant experience. The bedroom is
decorated in a combination of pleasant colours. He simply
doesn't find sunbathing particularly pleasant. That sauce has a
very pleasant taste. 2 friendly, affable, amiable, amicable,
gregarious, companionable, sociable, engaging, attractive,
winning, open, approachable, outgoing, welcoming, hospitable,
agreeable, gracious, charming, congenial, genial, nice,
likeable, urbane, cultivated, genteel, polite, courteous,
well-mannered, suave, debonair, polished, well-bred, cultured:
Murray always has a pleasant expression on his face. He is quite
a pleasant fellow, once you get to know him. 3 fair, sunny,
clear, bright, cloudless, balmy, nice, fine: What a pleasant
day for an outing in the country!
please v. 1 delight, gratify, satisfy, suit, humour, content, cheer,
gladden, amuse, divert, interest, entertain: I cannot tell you
how much it pleases me to see you again. 2 like, prefer,
choose, desire, want, see fit, wish, will, elect, opt: She may
have her birthday party wherever she pleases.
pleased adj. happy, delighted, glad, gratified, satisfied, contented,
thrilled; Colloq tickled pink, pleased as Punch, on cloud nine,
in seventh heaven, on top of the world, walking on air, Brit
over the moon, chuffed: His pleased look comes from his having
won first prize.
pleasing adj. 1 See pleasant, 1, above. 2 See pleasant, 2, above.
adj. See pleasant, 1, above.
pleasure n. 1 enjoyment, happiness, delight, joy, satisfaction,
fulfilment, contentment, gratification; comfort, recreation,
amusement, entertainment, diversion: It is a pleasure to meet
you at last. Fred derives so much pleasure from tinkering with
his model railways. 2 choice, option, desire, wish, preference,
fancy, inclination, discretion: Feel free to come and go at
plebeian adj. 1 proletarian, working-class, blue-collar, low-class,
lower-class, lowly, low-born, common, mean, humble, inferior,
peasant-like, Colloq non-U: What would you expect from someone
with such a plebeian background? 2 unrefined, coarse, vulgar,
ignoble, lowbrow, unpolished, uncouth, crass, brutish, gauche,
provincial, rustic, popular, commonplace, undistinguished: The
entertainment caters to the most plebeian tastes.
--n. 3 proletarian, common man or woman, commoner, man or woman
in the street, (any or every) Tom, Dick, or Harry, Brit man or
woman on the Clapham omnibus, Colloq pleb, prole: This art
exhibition is not going to mean very much to the plebeians.
n. popular vote or ballot, referendum, poll: The plebiscite
revealed that the people were in favour of joining the Common
pledge n. 1 promise, oath, vow, word (of honour), covenant, assurance,
guaranty, guarantee, warrant, warranty: They have our solemn
pledge that we will return within the hour. 2 bail, surety,
collateral, security, deposit, earnest (money), pawn, gage,
bond, guaranty, guarantee: They wanted something besides my
signature as a pledge for the money. 3 toast, tribute, cheer,
health: They drank a pledge to the success of the voyage.
--v. 4 swear, vow, promise, give one's word (of honour),
contract, undertake, agree, vouch, vouchsafe: I pledge
allegiance to the nation. 5 deposit, pawn, mortgage, Archaic
gage, Colloq US and Canadian hock: He pledged his gold watch to
pay for her birthday present. 6 toast, drink (to), drink
(someone's) health: Drink to me only with thine eyes And I will
pledge with mine.
plentiful adj. 1 ample, abundant, profuse, copious, lavish, plenteous,
bountiful, generous, bounteous: We found a plentiful supply of
food in the markets. 2 fertile, fruitful, productive, bumper,
luxuriant, thriving, prolific: We thanked the Lord for a
plenty n. 1 abundance, more than enough, great deal, mass(es),
quantity or quantities, multitude(s), number(s), load(s), mess,
scores, Colloq lot(s), mountain(s), heap(s), stack(s), pile(s),
load(s), ton(s), ocean(s), oodles, US and Canadian slew(s):
There is plenty of food, so it is just as well that plenty of
people are coming. There's plenty of time before your bus
arrives. 2 plentifulness, fertility, copiousness, abundance,
plenteousness, wealth, profusion, lavishness, prodigality,
plenitude, bountifulness: It was a land of plenty, a land of
milk and honey.
pliable adj. 1 flexible, pliant, elastic, plastic, fictile, malleable,
workable, bendable, bendy, ductile, flexuous, supple; lithe,
limber: This substance remains pliable only while it is warm.
2 tractable, adaptable, flexible, pliant, compliant, persuadable
or persuasible, impressionable, susceptible, responsive,
receptive, docile, manageable, yielding: The other directors
may not be as pliable when it comes to improving employee
plight n. condition, state, circumstances, situation, case;
difficulty, predicament, quandary, dilemma, catch-22, straits,
trouble, extremity, Colloq hole, jam, pickle, spot, scrape, fix,
bind, hot water, mess, fine kettle of fish, fine state of
affairs: As soon as Elliott's sorry plight became known, we all
rallied round to help.
plod v. 1 Often, plod along. trudge (along), tramp, slog, drag,
tread, lumber, labour, Colloq stomp, galumph: We plodded
wearily up the road carrying our heavy packs. 2 Often, plod
along or away. labour, work, drudge, toil, moil, slave (away),
grind (away or along), grub (on or along), plug (along or away),
Brit peg away (at) or along: Plodding through the compilation
of the Oxford Thesaurus, he was only halfway through the letter
plot° n. 1 scheme, plan, intrigue, machination, cabal; conspiracy:
The plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament was uncovered at a
late stage. 2 story (line), chain of events, theme, outline,
scenario, thread, skeleton: Most operas have weak plots, but
the music can be sublime.
--v. 3 scheme, plan, intrigue, machinate, cabal, collude,
conspire, hatch, devise, design, arrange, organize, concoct,
dream up, conceive, Colloq cook up: Martin's wife had been
plotting to murder him since their wedding night. 4 draw, plan,
diagram, lay down, outline, calculate, compute, figure, chart,
map (out), find, determine, depict, show: The navigator plotted
our position as being in the Strait of Malacca.
plotэ n. lot, plat, patch or parcel (of land), tract, acreage, area,
Brit allotment: I have a small plot by the canal which is ideal
for growing potatoes.
plough v. 1 till, cultivate, furrow, harrow, Literary delve: They
ought to finish ploughing the south field by tomorrow. 2 drive,
plunge, push, bulldoze, lunge, dive, shove, hurtle, crash: Out
of control, a bus ploughed through the fence and into my garden.
pluck n. 1 courage, spirit, bravery, grit, boldness, intrepidity,
backbone, mettle, determination, gameness, resolve, resolution,
steadfastness, hardiness, sturdiness, stout-heartedness,
stoutness, fortitude, nerve, Colloq guts, spunk, US sand, Slang
Brit bottle, US moxie: She certainly showed pluck standing up
to the boss like that.
--v. 2 pick, remove, withdraw, draw out, extract: The children
plucked flowers in the garden and made posies. 3 snatch, grab,
yank, jerk, tear (away): She was plucked from the jaws of death
by Tarzan, who happened to be swinging by on a vine. 4 tug (at),
pull (at), catch (at), clutch (at); vellicate: An ancient crone
plucked at his sleeve as he passed.
plug n. 1 stopper, stopple, bung, cork: If you pull the plug out,
the water will run out. 2 chew, twist, quid, wad, pigtail,
cavendish: As they forbade smoking, he would take snuff or chew
a plug of tobacco. 3 publicity, mention, promotion,
recommendation, puff, blurb, PR; advertisement, Colloq advert,
hype: His book was given a plug on yesterday's evening news.
--v. 4 Often, plug up. stop (up), close (up or off), seal (off
or up), cork, stopper, bung, block, jam, stuff, clog, obstruct,
dam (up): A piece of soap has plugged the drain. 5 publicize,
mention, promote, push, advertise, puff, commend, Colloq boost,
beat the drum for: It wasn't right to plug her brother's
company in her article on double glazing. 6 See plod, 2, above.
plum n. find, catch, coup, prize, treasure; bonus, cream: Harvey's
landed a plum job as overseas buyer.
plumb n. 1 weight, (plumb-)bob, plummet, lead, sinker: The plumb
holds the string taut and exactly vertical.
--adj. 2 vertical, perpendicular, straight up and down: Make
sure the jamb is plumb before hanging the door.
--adv. 3 vertically, perpendicularly, straight up and down:
The cord doesn't hang plumb because the shelf is in the way. 4
exactly, precisely, dead, right, accurately, Colloq slap, Brit
bang, spot: The navigator checked our position and we were
plumb on course.
--v. 5 sound, fathom, measure, probe, explore, measure, gauge,
delve, penetrate: The bathyscaphe has plumbed the deeps of the
Indian Ocean. I plumb the depths of depression thinking of
starving people everywhere.
plummet v. See plunge, 1, below.
plump° adj. 1 chubby, stout, fleshy, ample, full-bodied, portly,
tubby, rotund, squat, chunky, buxom, corpulent, roly-poly, fat,
obese, overweight, steatopygous, Brit podgy or US pudgy, Colloq
busty, beamy, hippy, beefy, well-upholstered: They went on a
diet because they were getting a bit plump.
--v. 2 puff up or out: When you get up, please plump up the
pillows on the sofa.
plumpэ v. 1 drop, plummet, fall, plunge, dive, sink, collapse, flop:
I was so tired that all I could do was plump down in an armchair
and watch TV. 2 deposit, set or put (down), plunk, plop: She
plumped down the defective mixer on the counter and asked for a
refund. 3 plump for. support, choose, select, back, side with,
campaign for: Given the choice, they plumped for a film rather
than the circus.
--n. 4 drop, plunk, flop, thump, clunk, clump, thud, bump: He
dropped the book on the floor with a plump.
--adv. 5 abruptly, suddenly, directly, unhesitatingly, at once,
unexpectedly, surprisingly, without warning, (all) of a sudden,
plunk, bang: As I came out of the bank, I ran plump into a
--adj. 6 direct, unequivocal, unmistakable or unmistakeable,
unambiguous, definite, definitive, blunt, simple, plain,
forthright, downright, straight, matter-of-fact: He asked her
to marry him and she gave him a plump 'no'.
plunder v. 1 pillage, loot, rob, ravage, ransack, rifle, despoil,
spoil, vandalize, sack, strip, maraud, devastate, desolate, lay
waste: The attacking army plundered the villages. 2 prey on or
upon, pirate, capture, seize: The buccaneers plunder the
Spanish treasure ships on the high seas.
--n. 3 pillage, looting, robbery, depredation, rapine,
despoliation, spoliation, vandalization, sack, vandalism,
vandalizing, sacking: It is said that the plunder of Rome took
no more than a fortnight. 4 booty, loot, spoils, prizes, Slang
boodle: The police displayed an Aladdin's cave of plunder
recovered from the thieves.
plunge v. 1 descend, drop, plummet, dive, pitch, nosedive, fall
(headlong): They lost their footing, and both Holmes and
Moriarty plunged into the abyss. 2 submerge, sink, immerse;
engulf, overwhelm: I plunged my hand in the icy water to
retrieve the keys. She plunged herself into her work to try to
--n. 3 dive, nosedive, fall, pitch, plummet, drop, descent;
submersion, immersion: After the scandal his career took a
plunge from which it never recovered. Every winter they take a
plunge into the icy waters of the Serpentine. 4 gamble, wager,
bet, risk: Are you taking the plunge with an investment in
plus prep. 1 and, added to, increased by, with the addition of, with
an increment of, (coupled) with, together with: Two plus three
equals five. Your initial deposit plus accumulated interest will
make a substantial sum.
--adj. 2 added, additional, supplementary, extra: One must
take into account the plus value of the good publicity.
--n. 3 addition, bonus, extra, gain, benefit, asset, advantage,
profit, return: Improvements constitute a big plus in
evaluating the building.
plush adj. luxurious, posh, costly, (de) luxe, palatial, lavish,
rich, opulent, sumptuous, regal, elegant, Colloq ritzy, classy,
Old-fashioned swank(y): I had no idea that you lived in such
ply n. layer, leaf, thickness, fold: These seams are sewn through
two plies of fabric.
pocket n. 1 pouch, sack, bag, receptacle, reticule, satchel: You
should always have a clean handkerchief in your pocket. 2
cavity, pit, hollow, crater: We found water that had collected
in pockets in the surface of the rock. 3 area, island, camp,
centre, cluster, concentration: Leaders encountered pockets of
resistance to the new policies among the farmers.
--v. 4 take, appropriate, keep; filch, embezzle, steal,
purloin, thieve, pilfer, help oneself to, palm, Colloq walk off
or away with, pinch, swipe, rip off, hook, lift, snitch, Brit
nick, snaffle: While collecting for charity, Johnson was known
to have pocketed occasional contributions.
poem n. verse, lyric, rhyme or archaic rime, song, ode, rhapsody,
jingle, ditty: The anthology contains poems by politicians.
poet n. poetess, versifier, metrist, lyricist or lyrist, versemaker,
sonneteer, elegist, bard, minstrel; rhymester or rimester or
rhymer or rimer, poetaster: A widely published poet, Constance
is often invited to give readings.
poetic adj. 1 poetical, lyric(al), metrical, musical, melodic;
idyllic, elegiac, georgic, rhapsodic, epic, dithyrambic: She
bought a volume of the poetic works of John Keats. 2 artistic,
aesthetic, Parnassian, Hippocrenian, melodious: The novel
contains some poetic passages of surpassing quality.
poetry n. verse, versification, metrical composition, metrics, rhyme,
Archaic poesy: Modern poetry is often rather obscure.
po-faced adj. stern-visaged, austere, dour, disapproving, frowning,
grave, saturnine, solemn, sombre, humourless, grim, forbidding,
severe, strait-laced, uncompromising, puritanical, prim,
prudish, gruff, bluff, curmudgeonly: Despite having a po-faced
approach to his work, William has a keen sense of humour when
poignant adj. 1 distressing, upsetting, agonizing, grievous, painful,
woeful, melancholy, blue, sad, sorrowful, tragic, disastrous,
heart-rending, heart-breaking, excruciating, bitter, pathetic,
pitiable, piteous, pitiful, miserable, moving, touching: The
biography also covers the poignant early years, spent largely in
orphanages and foster homes. 2 keen, acute, intense, incisive,
sharp, stinging, pointed, piercing, penetrating, barbed,
cutting, caustic, acid, acerbic, bitter, biting, mordant,
sarcastic, sardonic, severe: The headmaster's poignant remarks
about honesty and loyalty really hurt. 3 sincere, earnest,
heartfelt, deep, profound, dramatic, deeply felt, stirring,
moving, touching, emotional: The reunion of the little boy and
his dog was the most poignant moment in the film.
point n. 1 dot, mark, speck; (full) stop, period; decimal point: The
writing is smudged, but that looks like a point at the end of
the line. 2 tip, peak, apex, spike, spur, prong, sharp end: Be
careful of the point of that knife. 3 spot, place, stage,
position; site, station, location, locale: We have reached the
point of no return on that subject. I stopped at a few points
along the way to admire the view. 4 time, moment, instant,
juncture: At that point, we were summoned by the dinner bell.
5 focus, essence, meat, pith, quiddity, substance, heart,
nucleus, crux, nub, core, bottom, details, Colloq guts,
nitty-gritty: I wish he would stop all the palaver and get to
the point. 6 purpose, intent, intention, aim, goal, object,
objective, sense: What was the point of bringing that piece of
gossip into the discussion? 7 thrust, drift, theme, purport,
burden, import, implication, significance, signification, sense,
meaning; application, applicability, relevancy, appropriateness:
We found it difficult to see the point of the argument. 8
promontory, projection, headland, cape, peninsula: It may take
us a day to sail round the point. 9 brink, verge: We were on
the point of leaving when the guest of honour finally arrived.
10 detail, particular, item, element, nicety, aspect, facet,
matter, issue, subject, question; specifics: Some of the points
in her speech need clarification. 11 pointer, hint, suggestion,
piece of advice, tip: The golf pro at the club gave me some
good points on improving my swing. 12 thought, idea,
consideration; notion, view, plan, tactic; something: That's a
point to keep in mind if you buy another sailing-boat. 13 unit,
tally, score: She made her point and went on to win the match.
14 attribute, characteristic, feature, aspect, trait, quality,
side, property: I suppose he has his good points, too. 15
beside the point. irrelevant, inapt, inappropriate, malapropos,
incidental, immaterial, unimportant, pointless, inconsequential:
The fact that she's my sister is beside the point. 16 in point
of. in reference to, regarding, as regards, in the matter of,
concerning, with respect to: In point of date, the two events
coincide perfectly. 17 make a point of or US also make (it) a
point to. make an effort (to), put or place emphasis on, go out
of one's way (to); emphasize, single out, stress: He made a
point of apologizing to the hostess for his behaviour. She made
a special point of forgiving him. 18 to the point. relevant,
pertinent, appropriate, fitting, apropos, germane, apt,
applicable, apposite: The speech was short and to the point.
--v. 19 Often, point to. indicate, call or direct attention to:
Desir‚e pointed to the building and asked what it was. 20
direct, level, aim, train: I awoke to find her pointing a gun
at my head. 21 point out. a designate, call or direct
attention to, show, exhibit, indicate, identify: The taxi
driver pointed out all the sights as we drove along. b say,
bring up, mention, allude to, bring up, emphasize, stress, point
up, single out; allude to, call attention to, remind: I'd like
to point out that you have rarely won at bridge. She pointed out
the fallacy in his argument. 22 point up. emphasize, stress,
accentuate, underline, underscore, accent, spotlight: Such
errors point up the need to double-check everything.
adj. 1 direct, straight, blunt, flat, straightforward, abrupt,
categorical, explicit, uncompromising, unmitigated, unalloyed,
downright, outright, to the point, straight from the shoulder,
(open and) above-board, unreserved: I asked her out to dinner
and got a point-blank refusal. 2 close, short, nearby: He was
shot at point-blank range.
--adv. 3 directly, straight (away), right away, bluntly, flat,
flatly, abruptly, categorically, unqualifiedly, explicitly,
uncompromisingly, unmitigatedly, outright,, unreservedly,
plainly, frankly, openly, candidly: He turned her down
point-blank when she offered him the job. 4 directly, straight:
He fired point-blank at the target.
pointed adj. 1 needle-shaped, sharp, acute, barbed, peaked, spiked,
spiky, Technical acuminate, cuspidate, aciform, acicular,
aciculiform, aculeous, apiculate, spiculate, serrate(d),
acuminate, mucroniform, mucronulate, mucronate(d), muricate,
hebetate: The child was poking holes in the sand with a pointed
stick. 2 incisive, piercing, cutting, sharp, pungent, keen,
penetrating, telling, trenchant, biting, unmistakable or
unmistakeable: The critic made a few pointed remarks about the
actors' reading of the lines.
pointer n. 1 indicator, rod, stick; index, sign, arrow, Typography
fist: The pointer is used to call attention to something
important. 2 tip, advice, hint, suggestion, recommendation,
piece of advice: McLeod gave me a few pointers on how to
improve the restaurant service.
pointless adj. purposeless, aimless, worthless, ineffective, meaningless,
ineffectual, futile, unproductive, fruitless, bootless, useless,
vain, senseless, absurd, silly, stupid, inane, asinine, fatuous,
preposterous, nonsensical, ridiculous, empty, hollow: After her
paper, someone rose and wasted half an hour making pointless
point of view
n. 1 viewpoint, perspective, approach, position, angle, slant,
orientation, outlook, stance, standpoint, vantage point: From
his point of view, I can see why Fred thinks the research is a
waste of time. 2 opinion, view, belief, (way of) thinking,
principle, doctrine: Shouldn't everyone be entitled to express
a point of view?
poise n. 1 balance, equilibrium, equipoise, equiponderance, parity,
par: The chariots of the gods in even poise, obeying the rein,
glide rapidly. 2 composure, control, self-possession, aplomb,
assurance, dignity, equanimity, sang-froid, cool-headedness,
imperturbability, presence of mind, coolness, staidness,
reserve, sedateness, calmness, serenity, tranquillity, Colloq
cool: Jane's poise is remarkable, despite the heckling by the
--v. 3 balance, be balanced, hover, hang, float; make or be or
get ready, prepare: The boulder was poised on the edge of the
poised adj. 1 composed, controlled, self-possessed, unflappable,
(self-)confident, (self-)assured, dignified, cool-headed,
imperturbable, unruffled, cool, staid, reserved, sedate, calm,
serene, tranquil, Colloq together: For a lad of eleven, Richard
is quite poised. 2 ready, standing by, waiting, prepared: Our
commando unit is poised to attack at your signal. 3 teetering,
hovering, tottering, wavering, suspended, trembling, wobbling,
balanced: In the present business climate, the company is
poised on the brink of bankruptcy.
poison n. 1 toxin, venom, bane; miasma, mephitis: The chemical plant
was found to be releasing poisons into the atmosphere. He kills
rats using poison. 2 virus, bane, cancer, canker, corrupt or
evil influence, pestilence, plague, blight: The drug barons
continue to spread their poison throughout the world.
--v. 3 defile, adulterate, infect, taint, pollute; contaminate,
debase, pervert, vitiate, subvert, warp, envenom: Chemicals
from the nearby plant have poisoned the drinking-water. Why
have you poisoned the child's mind against eating spinach? 4
murder, kill, do away with, destroy, dispatch or despatch:
Lucrezia Borgia poisoned her enemies in ingenious ways.
poisonous adj. 1 lethal, deadly, fatal, mortal, toxic, septic, virulent,
noxious or rare nocuous, venomous, malignant, pernicious,
miasmic, mephitic: Poisonous effluents were leaked into the
rivers by the chemical plant. 2 malicious, malevolent,
malignant, corruptive, vicious, baleful, evil, foul,
diabolic(al), defamatory, libellous, slanderous, dangerous,
deleterious,: They have been spreading poisonous gossip about
poke v. 1 jab, stick, prod, dig, goad, stab, thrust, push, elbow,
nudge, jog, jostle, butt, shove: Be careful not to poke someone
in the eye with your umbrella. He tells a joke, then pokes me
in the ribs to make sure I've got it. 2 punch, hit, strike, box,
cuff, smite, smack: I made a suggestive remark and she poked me
in the jaw. 3 pry, nose (about or around), stick one's nose
into, intrude, dig, probe, investigate; meddle, interfere, butt
in, tamper; Colloq snoop: I wish they would stop poking into my
affairs. 4 poke fun (at). tease, ridicule, mock, make fun of,
jeer (at), chaff, taunt, twit, make sport of, needle, Colloq
kid, rib, Brit send up, take the mickey out of: People who
don't understand something often poke fun at it. Stop poking fun
at my hat.
--n. 5 jab, prod, dig, stab, thrust, push, elbow, finger,
nudge, jog, jostle, butt, shove: Every time Rodney wants to
emphasize a point, he gives you a poke. 6 punch, hit, box, jab,
cuff, smack, blow: If anyone says anything bad about you, I'll
give him a poke in the nose.
polar adj. 1 Arctic, Antarctic, frigid, icy, glacial, freezing,
frozen, numbing, Siberian, hibernal, hyperborean, brumal,
wintry: It is positively polar in the house without the heat
turned on. 2 opposite, opposed, antithetical, contrary,
contradictory, diametric, antipodal, antagonistic, hostile:
Dante felt Good and Evil to be the two polar elements of the
Creation, on which it all turns.
pole° n. rod, stick, staff, spar, shaft, mast, standard, upright;
flag-pole, flagstaff, jackstaff; beanpole, hop-pole: We had to
use a long pole to get the kite down from the tree.
poleэ n. 1 extremity, end, limit, extreme: Their views are at
opposite poles and they cannot agree. 2 from pole to pole.
everywhere, all over, far and wide, high and low, leaving no
stone unturned, throughout the world or the length and breadth
of the land, Colloq US everyplace: He searched for her from
pole to pole. 3 poles apart. (very or completely) different,
worlds apart, at opposite extremes, at opposite ends of the
earth, at odds, irreconcilable: I'm afraid that the union and
management remain poles apart on the issue of working hours.
police n. 1 constabulary, policemen, policewomen, police officers,
Colloq boys in blue, the (long arm of the) law, the cops, the
gendarmes, Slang the coppers, the fuzz, Brit the (Old) Bill, US
the heat: There was a bit of an argument, so we called the
--v. 2 patrol, guard, watch, protect: Additional officers were
assigned to police the neighbourhood. 3 enforce, regulate,
administer, oversee, control, observe, supervise, monitor: A
unit was established to police the terms of the agreement.
n. officer, policeman, policewoman, constable, Brit police
constable, PC, WPC, Chiefly US peace officer, patrolman,
patrolwoman, Colloq cop, gendarme, Brit bobby; Slang copper,
fuzz, flatfoot, Brit rozzer, Old Bill, Offensive and derogatory
pig, Historical peeler, US bull, fuzz ball: The police officers
then asked if I wouldn't mind helping with their inquiries.
policy n. approach, procedure, (game) plan, design, scheme, programme,
method, system, management, conduct, behaviour, strategy,
tactic(s), principle(s), protocol, regulation, rule, custom,
way, practice, ways and means, action: What policy should we
follow regarding interest rates?
polish v. 1 shine, brighten, burnish, buff, furbish, wax, clean,
smooth, rub, gloss: He polished up the handles so carefully
That now he is the ruler of the Queen's navy. 2 Often, polish
up. refine, improve, perfect, finish, cultivate, ameliorate,
enhance; correct, emend: If you polish up the article we might
consider it for publication. 3 polish off. a conclude, end,
terminate, finish: Ned polished off his homework in less than
an hour. b kill, slay, murder, dispatch or despatch, destroy,
dispose of, do away with, liquidate, eliminate, Slang bump off,
rub out, do in, take for a ride: Three platoons were polished
off quickly. c dispose of, put away, eat, consume, wolf (down):
In a few minutes, MacGregor had polished off the entire meal. 4
polish up. study, review, learn, Archaic con, Colloq bone up
(on), Slang Brit swot up (on): If you're going to M laga, you'd
better polish up your Spanish.
--n. 5 gloss, shine, lustre, sheen, glaze, smoothness,
brilliance, sparkle, gleam, glow, brightness, radiance: You
cannot imagine what a fine polish she put on that old table. 6
wax, oil: The new polish really put a shine on the desk.
polished adj. 1 accomplished, adept, proficient, expert, fine,
outstanding, skilful, gifted, masterful, masterly, virtuoso,
excellent, superior, superb, superlative; flawless, faultless,
perfect, impeccable: Edna is quite a polished cellist. She gave
a polished performance. 2 refined, elegant, cultivated,
graceful, debonair, sophisticated, urbane, soign‚(e), courtly,
genteel, cultured, civilized, well-bred, well-mannered, polite:
Under her guidance, James has become a polished gentleman.
polite adj. 1 civil, respectful, well-mannered, mannerly, courteous,
deferential, diplomatic, tactful, formal, proper, cordial: We
asked our new neighbours to tea but were met with a polite
refusal. 2 See polished, 2, above.
politic adj. 1 ingenious, shrewd, crafty, canny, cunning, designing,
scheming, clever, wily, foxy, tricky, artful, Macchiavellian,
evasive, shifty, Colloq cagey: Daniel is politic enough to know
how to manoeuvre situations to his benefit. 2 tactful,
diplomatic, discreet, prudent, judicious, wise, sage, sagacious,
sensible, intelligent, percipient, discriminating, far-sighted,
expedient, perceptive: It was politic of the winner to share
the prize with those who had helped him most.
political adj. 1 governmental, civic, civil, public, state, national,
federal; administrative, bureaucratic: The movement began as an
attempt to gain political freedom. 2 partisan, factious,
factional: A coalition government was formed by the major
n. legislator, lawmaker, statesman, stateswoman; minister, Brit
Member of Parliament, MP, US public or civil servant,
administrator, official, bureaucrat, office-bearer, senator,
congressman, congresswoman, representative, assembly-man,
assembly-woman, selectman; Colloq US derogatory politico,
(political) boss or hack, machine politician, ward-heeler,
wirepuller: Some politicians have given a bad name to the art
politics n. 1 public affairs, political science, civics, civil affairs,
government, statecraft, diplomacy, statesmanship: Hume viewed
politics as people united in society and dependent on each
other. 2 manoeuvring, manipulation, wirepulling, machination:
Office politics are such that they wouldn't dare dismiss that
poll n. 1 voting, vote, returns, tally, figures: The poll shows
that the incumbents are not as secure as they thought. 2
opinion poll, survey, canvass, census, ballot, count: A poll of
home-owners shows that most would like to own washing machines.
--v. 3 sample, survey, question, canvass, ballot, ask,
interview; count, enumerate, tally, register, record: We polled
teenagers to determine their reaction to a youth centre; those
in favour polled 73 per cent. 4 receive, get, win, register,
tally: Cavendish polled more than 60 per cent of the votes
pollute v. 1 contaminate, adulterate, befoul, foul, soil, spoil, taint,
stain, dirty, sully, blight, poison: These factories must be
prevented from continuing to pollute the atmosphere. 2 corrupt,
desecrate, profane, defile, violate: The altar was polluted
because it had been touched by a non-believer.
pollution n. contamination, adulteration, corruption, polluting, fouling,
befouling, soiling, spoiling, tainting, staining, dirtying,
sullying, blighting, poisoning, vitiation: Laws were passed to
prosecute those responsible for the pollution of the
pomp n. glory, grandeur, magnificence, splendour, show,
extravaganza, pageantry, ceremony, spectacle, brilliance,
ceremoniousness: The Chinese court's pomp and display of wealth
had never before been seen by a westerner.
pompous adj. 1 vain, vainglorious, proud, arrogant, pretentious,
ostentatious, showy, grandiose, haughty, overbearing, conceited,
egotistical, self-important, boastful, braggart, inflated,
snobbish, magisterial, imperious, pontifical, affected,
exhibitionist, Colloq uppity, highfalutin or hifalutin,
hoity-toity, high-hat, Slang snooty, snotty: Don't you despise
the pompous way Marshall struts about in that ridiculous
uniform? 2 bombastic, flowery, grandiloquent, pedantic, stuffy,
fustian, orotund, ornate, embroidered, flatulent, windy, turgid,
inflated, high-flown, euphuistic: He's always making
long-winded, pompous speeches because he loves the sound of his
ponder v. consider, muse (over or on), brood (over or upon or on),
mull over, deliberate (over), meditate (upon or on), think (over
or on or about), weigh, ruminate (over), chew over, cogitate,
excogitate, reflect (on or over), contemplate: I shall need a
while to ponder the answer to that question. Give me a little
more time to ponder.
ponderous adj. 1 weighty, unwieldy, heavy, massive, huge, big, large,
awkward, clumsy, cumbersome or cumbrous: A ponderous juggernaut
bore down on us, completely out of control. 2 dull, tedious,
laboured, laborious, tiresome, turgid, boring, dreary,
pedestrian, stilted, windy, inflated, long-winded, wordy,
verbose, prolix, elephantine, pompous, grandiloquent, overdone:
Many students faced with textbooks written in ponderous prose
become disenchanted with learning.
pool n. 1 pond, lake, tarn, mere, lagoon; swimming-pool, leisure
pool, wading pool, Brit paddling pool, US wading pool, Formal
natatorium: We found an icy mountain pool where we went for a
swim. 2 collection, fund(s), purse, stakes, reserve(s), bank,
Colloq pot, jackpot, kitty: So far we have too little money in
the pool for an office party at Christmas. 3 syndicate, trust,
group, consortium, cartel, combine: The object of the pool was
the private regulation of market prices, which is illegal.
--v. 4 accumulate, collect, gather, combine, merge,
consolidate, amalgamate, league, bring or come or band or get
together, team (up) with: We would do better if we pooled our
poor adj. 1 needy, destitute, indigent, in want, in need, penniless,
poverty-stricken, impoverished, badly off, necessitous, poor as
a church-mouse, straitened, pinched, in reduced circumstances,
impecunious, financially embarrassed, down and out, out of
pocket, ruined, insolvent, bankrupt, Colloq broke, hard up, on
one's uppers, short, US wiped out, Brit in Queer Street, Slang
Brit skint: They were poor and didn't know where their next
meal was coming from. 2 low, bad, skimpy, meagre, scant, scanty,
inadequate, deficient, insufficient, sparse: How can a family
of five survive on such a poor salary? These days, 3 per cent
would be considered a poor return on investment. 3 barren,
unproductive, unfruitful, fruitless, infertile, sterile;
depleted, exhausted, impoverished: This is poor soil, and no
amount of cultivation is likely to make it productive. 4 bad,
awful, inadequate, unsatisfactory, unacceptable, bumbling,
inefficient, amateurish, unprofessional, inferior, second-rate,
third-rate, low-grade, shabby, shoddy, mediocre, defective,
faulty, flawed, substandard, sorry, not up to par or snuff,
slipshod, below or under par, Colloq rotten, lousy: They did a
poor job repairing my car. Her latest recital was pretty poor. 5
insignificant, slight, paltry, inconsequential, mean, modest,
trivial, trifling: They made only a poor attempt to correct the
problem. 6 unfortunate, unlucky, pathetic, luckless, pitiful,
pitiable, ill-fated, miserable, wretched, ill-starred,
star-crossed, jinxed, hapless: The poor chap lost his entire
family in the disaster. 7 bad, ill: Aunt Theresa has been in
poor health lately.
poorly adv. 1 badly, inadequately, unsatisfactorily, incompetently,
inexpertly, improperly, crudely, unprofessionally, amateurishly:
The decorators you recommended have done their work very poorly
--adj. Colloq 2 unwell, indisposed, ailing, sick, below par,
Colloq rotten, under the weather: Charles is rather poorly, I'm
pop v. 1 burst, explode, bang, go off: The balloon popped, making
me jump. 2 Often, pop in or out or by. visit, stop, call,
appear, Colloq drop in, Brit nip in: Guess who popped in to see
me on his way to the airport. 3 bulge, protrude, stick out, US
bug out: The little boy's eyes popped when they brought in the
--n. 4 explosion, bang, report, crack: The Christmas cracker
went off with a loud pop. 5 soft drink, soda (water); cola,
Brit fizzy drink, lemonade, US soda (pop): A bottle of pop for
my daughter and a pint of bitter for me, please.
populace n. people, masses, commonalty, (general) public, commoners,
multitude, hoi polloi, crowd, throng, rabble, peasantry,
proletariat, common folk, rank and file, working class,
bourgeoisie, mob, Derogatory great unwashed, riff-raff, rabble,
canaille, ragtag and bobtail: Some MPs act on behalf of their
own constituencies rather than the populace at large.
popular adj. 1 favourite, favoured, in favour, accepted, well-received,
approved, (well-)liked, fashionable, in fashion, stylish, in
vogue, celebrated, renowned, acclaimed, famous, in demand,
sought-after, all the rage, Colloq trendy, in, hot: You would
become a millionaire overnight if you could accurately predict
the popular music of the coming year. 2 conventional, stock,
commonplace, public, normal, standard, general, universal,
average, everyday, ordinary, routine, common, habitual,
prevalent, current, prevailing, dominant, predominant,
predominating, customary: His films cater to popular tastes in
science fiction. 3 lay, non-professional, amateur,
understandable, accessible, popularized, simplified: He
presents a popular astronomy programme on TV.
n. favour, acceptance, approval, esteem, regard, repute,
reputation, vogue, trend, stylishness, renown, acclaim, fame,
celebrity, lionization, (hero-) worship, Colloq trendiness: The
immense popularity of her novels in America has made her very
popularly adv. commonly, generally, ordinarily, usually, universally,
widely, regularly, customarily, prevalently, habitually: It is
a popularly held belief among the French that their wine is the
best in the world.
populate v. colonize, settle, people, occupy; inhabit, dwell in, reside
in, live in: Shiploads of families braved the voyage to
populate the New World.
n. people, populace, inhabitants, residents, natives, denizens,
citizenry, citizens, folk: In those days there was no one to
look after the legal rights of the population.
populous adj. crowded, (heavily) populated, peopled, teeming, thronged,
crawling, swarming, jammed, jam-packed, packed: The populous
cities contrast with the sparsely inhabited rural areas.
pore° v. pore over. study, examine, scrutinize, peruse, read, go
over, Colloq con: Hamilton sits in the library, day after day,
poring over books of forgotten lore.
poreэ n. opening, orifice, hole, aperture, vent, perforation,
Technical spiracle, stoma: A hot bath opens the pores in the
adj. obscene, lewd, offensive, indecent, prurient, smutty,
taboo, blue, dirty, salacious, licentious, nasty, X-rated,
Colloq porno, US raunchy: Some prudes consider anything
concerning sex to be pornographic.
n. obscenity, smut, filth, dirt, erotica, Colloq porn: The
council voted to forbid the sale of pornography within the town
porous adj. spongy, spongelike, permeable, pervious, penetrable: The
rainwater runs through the porous rock and collects in the pools
port n. harbour, haven, seaport; mooring, anchorage; refuge: We
were bound east for the port of Cardiff.
portable adj. transportable, manageable, carriable, handy, light,
lightweight, compact, pocket, pocket-sized, little, small, US
carry-on, vest-pocket, shirt-pocket: He needs a van just to
transport his portable television, portable radio, portable
hi-fi, portable typewriter, portable computer, and portable
adj. 1 ominous, threatening, momentous, sinister, fateful,
alarming, menacing, foreboding, ill-omened, inauspicious,
unfavourable, ill-starred, ill-fated, star-crossed, lowering or
louring, gloomy, unpromising, unpropitious: Precisely at
midnight they appeared with the most portentous news. 2
extraordinary, amazing, astonishing, astounding, prodigious,
awesome, awe-inspiring, remarkable, marvellous, phenomenal,
fabulous, fantastic, mind-boggling, wondrous, miraculous: The
coronation of a British monarch is truly a portentous event.
porter° n. bearer, (baggage) carrier or attendant, US airports skycap,
US railways redcap: I tipped the porter to carry our bags to a
porterэ n. 1 concierge, cleaner, caretaker, Chiefly US and Canadian
janitor, superintendent, Colloq US super: When we are away, the
porter keeps our mail for us. 2 door-keeper, watchman, doorman,
gatekeeper, concierge, US tiler: He went to my club, but the
porter would not let him in.
portico n. porch, veranda or verandah, gallery, colonnade, galilee: At
the front of the mansion, six corinthian pillars support a wide
portion n. 1 segment, part, section, division, subdivision, parcel,
piece, hunk, chunk, lump, wedge, slice, sliver, fraction,
fragment, bit, morsel, scrap: A portion of the masonry fell
into the street in the earthquake. 2 share, part, allotment,
quota, ration, apportionment, allowance, allocation, assignment,
percentage, measure, division, quantity: The size of an
investor's portion depends on the amount invested. 3 helping,
serving; ration, plate, platter: He complained that the
portions in nouvelle cuisine are too small.
--v. 4 Often, portion out. apportion, share out, allocate,
ration, allot, partition, assign, consign, dole out, deal (out),
parcel out, distribute, administer, dispense, disperse, divide,
split up, carve up, cut up, break up, section, Colloq divvy up:
The conquered territories were then portioned out among the
portrait n. picture, likeness, image,sketch, rendering, vignette;
representation, description, profile, thumbnail sketch,
portrayal, picturization, depiction; account, story,
characterization, study, record, file, dossier: We have the
culprit's portrait in our rogues' gallery. We need a more
accurate portrait of the kidnapper.
portray v. 1 represent, picture, show, depict, paint, render,
characterize, describe, delineate: She is portrayed wearing the
Castelli tiara. Why must I always be portrayed as the villain? 2
act or play (the part or role of), take the part or role of,
represent, pose as, impersonate: She portrays an aged crone who
regains her youth in the last act.
pose v. 1 sit, model; position, place, arrange, set (up), put:
Would you let your husband or wife pose in the nude? She posed
the model standing, looking out of the window. 2 Usually, pose
as. portray, act or play (the part or role of), take the part or
role of, represent, impersonate, be disguised as, masquerade as,
pretend or profess to be, pass (oneself off) as, pass for,
imitate, mimic; attitudinize, posture, put on airs, Colloq show
off: She posed as an art expert from Switzerland. She thinks
him a rou‚, but he's only posing. 3 set, put, ask, submit,
broach, posit, advance, present, predicate, postulate: The
interviewer posed some questions that were quite embarrassing.
--n. 4 position, attitude, posture, stance: Her profile is not
shown to best advantage in that pose. 5 affectation, act,
pretence, attitudinizing, affectedness, display, fa‡ade, show,
ostentation: His interest in art is just a pose to impress her.
poseur n. posturer, exhibitionist, pretender, impostor, masquerader,
attitudinizer; fake, faker, dissembler, fraud, Colloq show-off,
phoney or US also phony: He talks about literature, but he's a
poseur who just spouts the opinions of others.
posh adj. (de) luxe, luxurious, elegant, sumptuous, lavish, opulent,
rich, royal, regal, luxury, grand, fashionable, Colloq swank(y),
classy, ritzy, Slang snazzy: You ought to see what a posh
office my son has!
posit v. postulate, hypothesize, propound, put or set forth, put
forward, advance, propose, pose, offer, submit, predicate: If
we posit a downturn in prices next year, how does that affect
our profit forecasts?
position n. 1 posture, attitude, stance, pose; disposition, arrangement,
disposal: Once in a while, he would change his position so that
he faced the sun. With the pieces in this position the chess
game is a draw. 2 site, placement, situation, whereabouts,
placing, emplacement, location: Those bearings put his present
position about 20 miles west of C diz. 3 viewpoint, point of
view, outlook, attitude, angle, slant, stance, stand, opinion,
inclination, leaning, bent, sentiment, feeling, way of thinking:
My solicitor is pessimistic about my position in this case. 4
status, condition, state, circumstances, situation: Our
financial position vis-…-vis investment in gilt bonds has
changed. 5 class, caste, place, rank, standing, station, status,
importance: They insist on knowing the social position of the
girl's family. 6 job, occupation, situation, post, office,
function, appointment, capacity, place, role, Colloq billet,
berth, Australian possie or possy My mother's position as
managing director had nothing to do with my getting a promotion.
7 hypothesis, thesis, principle, contention, assertion,
predication, belief, proposition, postulate: His position is
based on the implications of the third law of thermodynamics.
--v. 8 put, place, situate, site, set, fix, settle, dispose,
arrange: The pointer is again positioned at zero. Position your
forces along this ridge and stay on full alert. 9 place, locate,
establish, determine, fix, localize: The scientists positioned
the seismic activity as being along the San Andreas fault.
positive adj. 1 sure, certain, definite, unequivocal, categorical,
absolute, unqualified, unambiguous, unmistakable or
unmistakeable, clear-cut, clear, explicit, express, decisive,
indisputable, indubitable, unquestionable, unquestioned,
incontestable, uncontested, undeniable, reliable, persuasive,
convincing, irrefutable: The police have positive evidence that
the men are innocent of any crime. Spending this evening with
you has been a positive delight. 2 definitive, emphatic,
decided, forceful, firm, peremptory, definite: He gave a
positive denial when asked if he had agreed to let the hostages
go. She made a positive commitment to meet me here at noon. 3
sure, certain, confident, convinced, satisfied: Are you
positive that the last train is at midnight? 4 beneficial,
favourable, complimentary, productive, useful: I heard many
positive things about the way she handled herself at the
interview. 5 overconfident, dogmatic, doctrinaire, pontifical,
opinionated, pigheaded, stubborn, obstinate, obdurate,
arbitrary, overweening, arrogant, assertive, dictatorial,
despotic, imperious, Rare thetic(al): His problem is that he is
quite positive about things that simply are not so. 6 practical,
realistic, utilitarian, productive, functional, pragmatic(al),
realistic, matter-of-fact, Colloq hard-nosed: They have taken a
positive approach to studying the economics of small businesses.
7 encouraging, supportive, constructive, reassuring,
enthusiastic, favourable, affirmative, yes, confirming: Our
plan to buy out the company has received a positive reaction
from our bankers. Asked if they would buy our product,
businessmen gave a positive response. 8 auspicious, promising,
propitious, encouraging; optimistic, favourable, cheerful,
confident; Colloq bullish, upbeat: In the long run, the picture
for home-owners looks positive. It pays to maintain a positive
outlook and not get depressed. 9 complete, utter, total,
perfect, out-and-out, consummate, unmitigated, thorough,
thoroughgoing; egregious, glaring, stark, sheer, outright,
unqualified, unequivocal: You were a positive idiot not to let
me know you needed help. All attempts at reconciliation ended
in positive disaster.
adv. definitely, absolutely, unquestionably, certainly, (most)
assuredly, undeniably, undoubtedly, surely, to be sure,
emphatically, unmistakably or unmistakeably, unqualifiedly,
categorically, indisputably, beyond or without (a shadow of) a
doubt, indubitably, beyond question: The wine list at Le
MaЊtre's is positively the best in the area.
possess v. 1 be possessed or in possession of, have, own, enjoy, be
blessed or endowed with: In the 19th century, the family
possessed great wealth. 2 have, be born or gifted or endowed
with, contain, embody, embrace, include: He possesses a talent
to amuse people. Man does not possess as keen a sense of smell
as many animals. 3 dominate, control, govern, consume, take
control of, preoccupy, obsess; charm, captivate, enchant, cast a
spell over, bewitch, enthral: What possessed her to think that
I could help? He behaves as if he is possessed by the devil. 4
be possessed with or of. have, be held or influenced or
dominated by, be imbued or inspired or permeated or affected
with: She became possessed with the notion that she could sing.
Fiona believes herself the only person possessed of reason. 5
possess oneself of. acquire, achieve, get, come by, gain, come
into, win, obtain, procure, secure, take, seize, take or gain
possession of: Kevin has possessed himself of the only
comfortable bed in the place.
possessed adj. obsessed, driven, controlled, dominated, ridden,
bedevilled, consumed, haunted, pressed, maddened, crazed,
demented, frenzied, Colloq eaten up: He behaved like a man
n. 1 ownership, title, proprietorship, control, hold, tenure,
keeping, care, custody, guardianship, protection: The paintings
are now in my possession. 2 holding, territory, province,
dominion, colony, protectorate: How long will the Falkland
Islands remain a possession of the Crown? 3 possessions.
belongings, property, effects, chattels, assets, worldly goods,
things: The prison clerk placed all my possessions in an
envelope, explaining that they would be returned when I was
released. 4 take or gain possession of. seize, capture, take,
conquer, occupy, acquire, win, possess oneself of, secure,
obtain; repossess: The raiding party gained possession of the
port and surrounding area. The finance company has taken
possession of my car.
adj. 1 greedy, unyielding, selfish, ungiving, ungenerous,
stingy, niggardly, materialistic, covetous, acquisitive: He
refuses to see anyone, as he is very possessive of his time. 2
overprotective, controlling, grasping, dominating, domineering,
overbearing: Anyone with a possessive parent finds it difficult
to leave home.
n. 1 chance, odds, prospect, conceivability, feasibility,
plausibility, likelihood, admissibility: There is a possibility
of my leaving work early to meet you. What is the possibility
that he might be honest? They deny even the possibility of God's
existence. 2 Often, possibilities. opportunity, potentiality,
potential, capacity, promise: The old house has many large
rooms and offers great possibilities.
possible adj. 1 feasible, plausible, imaginable, conceivable, thinkable,
credible, tenable, reasonable, admissible: It is remotely
possible, though improbable, that she committed the crime. 2
realizable, practicable, workable, practical, doable,
achievable, attainable, reachable, accomplishable, viable,
Colloq on: In the present state of the art, a fully interactive
computer, operating in real time, is still not possible.
possibly adv. 1 maybe, perhaps, God willing, Deo volente, if possible,
Archaic or literary perchance, mayhap, peradventure: She is
possibly the best person for the job. 2 in any way, under any
circumstances, by any chance, by any means, at all: Could you
possibly help me find my contact lens? The weather forecast
couldn't possibly be correct.
post° n. 1 pole, stake, upright, column, pillar, pale, picket, shaft,
standard, newel, pier, pylon, pile, piling, strut, shore,
stanchion, leg, prop, stay, support, brace: A huge central post
held up the roof.
--v. 2 advertise, announce, proclaim, publish, circulate,
propagate, promulgate; put or pin or tack or stick or hang up,
affix: The notice of the meeting has been posted for all to
postэ n. 1 assignment, appointment, position, situation, job, place,
duty, role, function, employment, work, task, chore: Clarke was
given a post as consul in some forgotten country.
--v. 2 place, put, station, assign, appoint, position, situate,
set, locate: Guards have been posted around the enclosure.
post° n. 1 postal service, mail; delivery; collection: I am
expecting an important letter in the post. It hasn't come in the
--v. 2 send, dispatch or despatch, transmit, Chiefly US and
Canadian mail: I posted your cheque this morning. 3 record,
enter, register, list: We post the daily receipts in this
ledger. 4 keep (someone) posted. inform, advise, brief, notify,
Colloq fill (someone) in on: Our observers have kept me posted
as to your whereabouts every step of the way.
poster n. placard, notice, bill, advertisement, announcement,
broadside, broadsheet; circular, flier: Who designed that
striking poster for the new play?
posterior adj. 1 hind, rear, back, after, hinder, rearward, Nautical aft:
The posterior legs are somewhat longer. 2 later, after, latter,
ensuing, following, succeeding, subsequent: Analysis has
yielded evidence of the posterior origin of the lava.
--n. 3 buttocks, bottom, rump, seat, derriЉre, Colloq behind,
rear, backside, tail, Colloq hinie, Slang Brit bum, Taboo slang
Brit arse, US ass, butt, Yiddish tokus or tochis or tuchis: The
term describing a person with a fat posterior is 'steatopygous'.
posterity n. descendants, successors, heirs, children, offspring, issue,
progeny: It is good that these buildings will be preserved for
posterity. Posterity will be the judge of our success.
adv. quickly, at once, without delay, immediately, directly,
straightaway, right away, promptly, speedily, swiftly,
instantly, before one can say 'Jack Robinson', before you can
say 'knife', rapidly, at full tilt, in a wink, in a trice, in
the twinkling of an eye, Colloq pronto, chop-chop, p.d.q. (=
'pretty damned quick'), US and Canadian lickety-split, like
greased lightning: He got me the report post-haste.
n. 1 autopsy, necropsy: We'll know the cause of death after
the post-mortem. 2 review, analysis, Slang US Monday-morning
quarterbacking: We can do without the post-mortem on every
postpone v. delay, adjourn, defer, keep in abeyance, put off or aside,
lay aside, suspend, shelve, put or keep on ice, temporize,
dally, Colloq put on the back burner, US table: We ought to
postpone further discussion till we have the facts.
n. delay, adjournment, abeyance, suspension, stay, deferment,
deferral, moratorium: There has been a postponement of the
meeting till Monday.
posture n. 1 pose, position, attitude, stance, appearance, carriage:
She stood there in a defiant posture, with arms akimbo. 2
position, condition, situation, state, disposition; arrangement,
organization, layout, array, format: The government adopted a
conciliatory posture in the matter. 3 attitude, stance,
position, feeling, sentiment, outlook, (point of) view,
viewpoint, orientation, disposition, frame of mind, mood: The
interviewer tried to determine the general's posture on
--v. 4 pose, attitudinize, affect, put on a show, do for
effect, Colloq show off: Despite all her posturing, we believe
her to be sincere.
pot n. 1 pan, saucepan, cauldron, cook-pot, stewpot; kettle: How
many politicians have promised the people 'a chicken in every
pot'? 2 jackpot, bank, kitty: You will have to add њ5 to the
pot to see my hand. 3 pot-belly, paunch, gut, Colloq
corporation, beer belly, spare tyre, US bay window: If he
exercised more, Patrick wouldn't have such a pot.
potent adj. 1 powerful, strong; mighty, vigorous, forceful,
formidable, authoritative, influential, Literary puissant: A
potent poison will kill those weeds. We have to reckon with an
enemy that is quite potent. 2 effective, convincing, cogent,
persuasive, compelling, efficacious, telling, sound, valid,
impressive: Their argument is potent enough to convince the
potential adj. 1 possible, likely, implicit, implied, imminent,
developing, budding, embryonic, dormant, hidden, concealed,
covert, latent, quiescent, passive, future, unrealized,
undeveloped: We are dealing with a potential threat to our
--n. 2 capacity, capability, possibility, aptitude, potency,
Colloq the (right) stuff, what it takes: All teenagers have
potential; the problem is to teach them to exploit it to the
potion n. draught, brew, beverage, drink, philtre, potation, elixir,
tonic, cup, dose, concoction, decoction: The old crone gave him
a tiny bottle containing the love potion.
n. mixture, medley, miscellany, assortment, olla podrida,
smorgasbord or sm”rg†sbord, gallimaufry, salmagundi, patchwork,
collection, hotchpotch or US and Canadian hodgepodge, m‚lange or
melange, motley, pastiche or pasticcio, mishmash, jumble, mess:
What a pot-pourri of styles is represented in that art gallery!
potter v. Chiefly Brit dabble (in or with), toy with, trifle with,
fribble, fool (with or about or around), fritter (away), mess
(about or around or with), tinker (with), meddle (with), monkey
(about or around or with), fidget (with), US putter (around or
with), Colloq fiddle (about or around or with), footle (around
or about): On Sundays I like to potter about in the garden.
pottery n. earthenware, ceramics, terracotta, crockery, stoneware,
porcelain, china, delftware: Ornamented pottery has been found
in pre-Columbian digs.
pouch n. pocket, sack, bag, purse, reticule, Dialect poke: A
Highlander's pouch is called a sporran. As I was going out, I
filled my tobacco pouch.
pounce v. 1 Often, pounce on or upon. spring (on or upon), leap (at or
on), swoop down (on or upon), fall upon, jump (at or on),
strike, take by surprise or unawares, attack, ambush, Colloq
mug: As I rounded the corner, three youths pounced on me, stole
my bag, and ran off.
--n. 2 spring, leap, swoop, jump: The cat was on the mantel
shelf in a single pounce.
pound° v. 1 beat, batter, pelt, hammer, pummel; thump, belabour,
thrash, bludgeon, cudgel, maul, strike, Colloq lambaste, Slang
paste, clobber, work over, give (someone) the works or a
pasting: She pounded on the door till someone came. It was
satisfying to see him pound the class bully into submission. 2
crush, powder, pulverize, bray, comminute, triturate, mash,
pulp: The corn must be pounded into a fine meal before use. 3
beat, throb, hammer, pulse, pulsate, palpitate: My heart was
pounding, waiting to see if the tiger would attack. 4 pound
into. instil, din into, drill into, drub into, hammer into, beat
into: Her parents have pounded into her that she must show
respect to her elders. 5 pound out. rid, expel, clear, cleanse,
empty, purge, beat out, hammer out: The last bit of
stubbornness was pounded out of me at school. 6 beat out;
hammer out, produce: The jungle drums pounded out the message
that Tarzan was coming.
--n. 7 pounding, beat, beating, thump, thumping: The pound of
horses' hooves heralded the arrival of the cavalry.
poundэ n. enclosure, pen, compound, confine, yard: My car was towed
to the pound, and it cost a fortune to retrieve it.
pour v. 1 flow, run, gush, rush, flood, stream, course, spout,
discharge, spurt, spew out, cascade: Water was pouring from a
crack in the dam. 2 empty, discharge, let out: Pour the
boiling water over the tea leaves and let them steep for a few
minutes. 3 rain, teem, Colloq come down in buckets or by the
bucketful, bucket down, rain cats and dogs, US rain pitchforks:
It poured all night. 4 stream, swarm, crowd, throng, teem,
emerge, sally forth, issue (forth), go (forth): The show over,
people poured into the streets.
pout v. 1 mope, brood, sulk, make a moue, pull a long face, frown,
lour or lower, knit one's brows: Don't pout - I'll buy you an
--n. 2 frown, moue, long face: Her pout was occasioned by her
poverty n. 1 want, penury, indigence, insolvency, destitution,
pauperism, impecuniousness, neediness, beggary: Her childhood
was spent in poverty. 2 scarcity, scarceness, want, need, lack,
meagreness, insufficiency, shortage, dearth, paucity,
inadequacy: They criticized the poverty of talent among the
current crop of actors.
powder n. 1 dust; talc: I couldn't remember whether the jar contained
cornflour or baking powder. She dabbed her body all over with
scented powder. 2 take a (run-out) powder. run away, abscond,
escape, vanish, disappear, Slang Brit scarper, do a moonlight
flit, US take it on the lam: The cops are coming, so I'm taking
--v. 3 pulverize, bray, grind, crush, pound, granulate,
triturate, comminute, levigate: The rocks must first be
crushed, then powdered. 4 sprinkle, besprinkle, dust, dredge,
cover, coat: Lightly powder the top of the cake with icing
sugar, and it is ready to serve.
power n. 1 Sometimes, powers. capacity, capability, ability,
potential, faculty, competency or competence, faculty,
potentiality, Colloq what it takes, US the (right) stuff, the
goods: Fishes have the power to change their buoyancy. He has
remarkable powers of observation. 2 control, dominance,
authority, mastery, rule, influence, sway, command, ascendancy,
sovereignty, dominion, weight, clout, Colloq pull, US drag: He
maintains a Svengali-like power over her. The prime minister has
the power to appoint and dismiss cabinet ministers. 3 control,
command, authority: The party might not be in power for very
long. 4 strength, might, vigour, energy, force, mightiness,
potency, forcefulness, brawn, muscle, Literary puissance: His
speech was delivered with great power and a certain wit. Has she
the power it takes to toss the caber? 5 talent, skill, ability,
faculty, gift, aptitude, genius, knack: They say that she has
the power to see into the future. 6 authority, licence, right,
authorization, privilege, warrant, prerogative: By the power
vested in me, I now declare you man and wife. It is within her
power to grant a stay of execution. 7 Often, powers. activity,
effectiveness, effect, ability, capacity, active ingredient(s):
This mushroom has hallucinogenic powers. 8 energy, momentum,
impetus, drive, force, inertia: The car rolled halfway up the
next hill under its own power. 9 (mechanical or electrical or
atomic) energy, electricity, fuel: Yesterday there was another
demonstration against the use of nuclear power. 10 powers that
be. government, administration, authorities, incumbents: It is
up to the powers that be to investigate corruption.
powerful adj. 1 potent, strong, mighty, vigorous, robust, energetic,
sturdy, stalwart, tough, resilient, dynamic: Leslie has a
powerful physique. The cities of the Hanseatic League had
powerful economies. 2 influential, strong, compelling, forceful,
potent, substantial, weighty, authoritative, effective;
important, impressive, telling, effectual, formidable,
persuasive: Powerful arguments have been brought to bear
against taking such action. She has many powerful friends. 3
strong, potent; intense, substantial, great, high: The drug is
too powerful to be taken regularly. A powerful electrical charge
was sent through the wire to test the connection.
powerless adj. 1 helpless, incapable, unable, unfit, incompetent,
ineffectual, ineffective: Without his wand, the magician was
powerless. 2 incapacitated, helpless, weak, feeble,
debilitated, crippled, paralysed, disabled: He is completely
powerless without the use of his right hand.
adj. doable, feasible, workable, performable, achievable,
attainable, accomplishable, possible, viable: We climbed up the
glacier as far as was practicable. At last we had a practicable
practical adj. 1 pragmatic, useful, usable or useable, functional,
realistic, reasonable, sound, utilitarian, applicable,
serviceable, empirical, efficient: Whether the device is
practical will depend on its cost effectiveness. 2 sensible,
reasonable, common-sense or common-sensical, everyday, ordinary,
down-to-earth, expedient, matter-of-fact, mundane,
business-like, hard-headed, judicious, Colloq hard-nosed: Put
theory aside and focus on a practical solution to the problem.
3 applied, field, hands-on, personal, everyday: She has had
practical experience in nursing the elderly.
adv. 1 almost, (very) nearly, wellnigh, virtually, in effect,
just about, essentially, fundamentally, at bottom, basically,
when all is said and done, at the end of the day, to all intents
and purposes: We are practically there. I have practically
finished the ironing. 2 realistically, matter-of-factly,
clearly, simply, reasonably, rationally, sensibly: Practically,
there was nothing to be done except let the fire burn itself
practice n. 1 custom, wont, habit, routine, convention, tradition, rule,
procedure, usage, mode, style, way, modus operandi, technique or
technic, Formal praxis, Colloq MO (= 'modus operandi'): She
makes a practice of swimming for an hour every day. It is our
practice to get patients out of bed as soon as possible after
surgery. 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. 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. 4 in practice. practically,
actually, day-to-day, realistically, in real life: In practice
no one would ever treat an injury the way this book recommends.
5 out of practice. inexperienced, unpractised, unaccustomed,
rusty: I once played a good game of chess, but I'm out of
practise v. 1 drill, exercise, work out, train, prepare, rehearse, run
through, repeat, study, US practice: I am practising for
Sunday's tennis tournament. She practises the piano every day.
You should practise your routine for the show. 2 carry on, make
a practice of, perform, do, act, carry out, put into practice,
US practice: She practises law. You should practise what you
practised adj. 1 accomplished, proficient, expert, skilled, experienced,
capable, adept, seasoned, able, qualified, gifted, talented,
skilful, masterful, consummate, superb, superior, US practiced:
She is a practised liar. 2 trained, rehearsed, versed,
cultivated, schooled, finished, perfected, US practiced: He
greeted them with the practised air of an veteran diplomat.
praise n. 1 acclaim, approval, approbation, applause, plaudits, kudos,
endorsement, acclamation, tribute, accolade, compliments,
commendation, encomium, eulogy, panegyric, ovation: Sheila has
received well-deserved praise for her work with paraplegic
children. Would you expect me to sing the praises of my rival? 2
honour, glorification, adoration, exaltation, devotion, homage,
worship, veneration, adulation, reverence, glory, hymn or song
of praise, paean, hosanna: The king rejoiced and said, 'Praise
be to God'.
--v. 3 acclaim, approve, laud, applaud, endorse, pay tribute
to, compliment, commend, eulogize, extol, honour, sing the
praises (of): The speaker praised Read for his many
contributions to linguistics. 4 worship, revere, reverence,
exalt, glorify, adore, pay homage to, venerate, give thanks to,
hallow: Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
adj. commendable, laudable, admirable, creditable, worthy,
meritorious, deserving, exemplary: However praiseworthy your
motives were, you did not stop to consider the consequences.
prance v. caper, dance, gambol, skip, cavort, romp, leap, frisk, jump,
spring, bound, Dressage curvet, capriole: Ahead of the royal
coach came a dozen riders on prancing horses.
prank n. trick, (practical) joke, frolic, escapade, antic, caper,
stunt, lark, jest, jape, monkey tricks or esp. US monkeyshines,
mischief: Those schoolboy pranks we once thought hilarious now
seem quite silly.
prattle v. 1 prate, babble, blather or blether, blither, gibber,
jabber, jibber-jabber, palaver, tattle, twaddle, gabble,
chatter, patter, drivel, twitter, rattle on, go on (and on),
maunder, Brit natter, Colloq witter (on), gas, gab, spout, gush,
run (on), US run off at the mouth, Slang jaw, ya(c)k,
ya(c)kety-ya(c)k, shoot off one's mouth: Do I have to listen to
him prattle on and on about his grandchildren?
--n. 2 prate, prating, babble, babbling, blather or blether,
blathering or blethering, gibber, gibbering, jabber, jabbering,
palaver, palavering, tattle, tattling, twaddle, chatter,
chattering, gabble, gabbling, patter, drivel, twitter,
twittering, rattling on, going on, maundering, cackle, US
jibber-jabbering, twattle, clack, Colloq gas, gab, running off
at the mouth, Slang jawing, ya(c)kety-ya(c)k: We were treated
to constant prattle about eating healthy foods. 3 jabberwocky,
gobbledegook or gobbledygook, mumbo-jumbo, rubbish, balderdash,
(stuff and) nonsense, humbug, bunkum, tommy-rot, trash, rot,
foolishness, Colloq pish and tush, hot air, flapdoodle,
rigmarole or rigamarole, bunk, piffle, moonshine, poppycock,
claptrap, bull, hogwash, swill, Brit tosh, fiddle-faddle,
boloney, Chiefly US garbage, horse feathers, Slang crap, hooey,
guff, Taboo slang bullshit, US crock (of shit): What they told
you about guaranteeing your job is just a lot of prattle.
pray v. 1 beseech, ask, call upon or on, entreat, implore, request,
appeal to, plead (with), beg (for), importune, solicit,
petition, supplicate, Rare obsecrate: I pray you to find it in
your heart to approve my work. 2 say one's prayers, offer a
prayer: We prayed for her safe return.
prayer n. 1 petition, supplication, request, entreaty, plea, suit,
appeal, Rare obsecration: Our prayers were answered, and she
returned safely. 2 devotion, praying, invocation, (divine)
service, Literary orison: Man ascends to God through prayer.
preach v. 1 deliver a sermon, evangelize, spread the Word or the
Gospel; catechize: The Most Reverend John Attwood will preach
next week at Winchester. 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.
preacher n. minister, evangelist, clergyman, clergywoman, cleric,
ecclesiastic, reverend, divine, Colloq tub-thumper: He studied
for many years to become a preacher.
preamble n. introduction, foreword, prologue, preface, Formal proem,
prolegomenon, exordium: As a preamble to today's proceedings, I
should like to welcome our honoured guests.
adj. uncertain, unreliable, unsure, risky, hazardous,
unpredictable, insecure, unstable, unsteady, unsettled, shaky,
doubtful, dubious, questionable, tricky, delicate, ticklish,
sensitive, slippery, touch-and-go, (hanging) in the balance,
hanging by a thread, Damoclean, perilous, treacherous,
dangerous, difficult, problematic, Colloq chancy, Brit dodgy,
dicey, US iffy, Slang hairy: If sales continue to drop, the
company will be in precarious condition. We followed a
precarious trail down the mountainside.
n. 1 provision, preventive measure, safety measure, safeguard,
insurance, protection, cover, escape: Unfortunately, he had
failed to take any precautions against storm damage. 2
foresight, prudence, providence, forethought, caution,
cautiousness, circumspection, care, attention, watchfulness,
vigilance, alertness, wariness, chariness, apprehension,
far-sightedness, anticipation: Precaution is wiser than
precede v. come or go or proceed before or first, go ahead or in
advance (of), lead (the way), pave the way (for), herald, usher
in, introduce, antecede; foreshadow, antedate, predate: His
wife preceded him into the room. The Decameron preceded The
Canterbury Tales by about fifty years.
n. precedency, priority, pre-eminence, superiority, supremacy,
preference, privilege, prerogative, importance, rank, position,
primacy: Your school work must take precedence over football
precedent n. prototype, model, example, exemplar, pattern, paradigm,
yardstick, criterion, standard, lead: The French considered the
War of American Independence a precedent for their revolution.
preceding adj. foregoing, former, previous, above, prior, earlier,
above-mentioned, aforementioned, above-stated, above-named: The
defendant in the preceding action was remanded in custody for a
precept n. 1 rule, guide, principle, unwritten law, canon, guideline,
dictate, code, injunction, law, commandment, instruction,
injunction, directive, prescription, mandate, charge; statute,
regulation, edict, ukase, decree, order, fiat, ordinance: The
Ten Commandments provide basic precepts of moral behaviour. 2
maxim, proverb, axiom, motto, slogan, saying, byword, aphorism,
apophthegm or apothegm: Does anyone follow the precepts set
forth in Scripture?
precinct n. 1 Usually, precincts. area, territory, region, province,
environs, purlieus, borders, bounds, confines: Does he have any
authority outside the precincts of the city? 2 sphere,
neighbourhood, zone, sector, section, quarter, district, locale:
In some US cities, the area covered by a police station is
called a precinct.
precious adj. 1 dear, dearest, costly, expensive, high-priced, valuable,
invaluable, prized, priceless, irreplaceable, Colloq pricey:
The entire cabinet was filled with precious jewels. 2 esteemed,
choice, cherished, beloved, idolized, adored, loved, valued,
prized, revered, venerated, venerable, hallowed: The church
keeps its most precious relics in a special vault. 3 precise,
exquisite, overrefined, chichi, over-nice, studied, artificial,
effete, affected, overdone, pretentious, euphuistic,
alembicated, Colloq Brit twee, Slang US cutesy: His style is
characterized by somewhat precious language.
precipice n. cliff, escarpment, bluff, crag: We looked nervously over
the edge of the precipice at the raging sea below.
v. 1 accelerate, hasten, speed (up), advance, hurry, quicken,
expedite, bring on or about, trigger, provoke, instigate,
incite, facilitate, further, press, push forward: The rise in
interest rates precipitated many bankruptcies. 2 hurl, fling,
cast, launch, project: The force of the impact precipitated him
through the windscreen.
--adj. 3 headlong, violent, rapid, swift, quick, speedy,
meteoric, fast: A powerful counter-attack brought about the
enemy's precipitate rout. 4 sudden, abrupt, unannounced,
unexpected, unanticipated: Today's fall in share prices was as
precipitate as yesterday's rise. 5 rash, impetuous, hasty,
volatile, hotheaded, careless, reckless, incautious,
injudicious, foolhardy, impulsive, unrestrained: The selection
of a career should not be a precipitate decision.
n. showers, drizzle, downpour, rain, rainfall, snow, snowfall,
hail, sleet: Precipitation can be expected in advance of the
low-pressure area pushing down from the north.
adj. 1 abrupt, steep, perpendicular, sheer, bluff, acclivitous,
declivitous: I cannot see how anyone can climb up the
precipitous face of that crag. 2 See precipitate, 5, above.
pr‚cis n. outline, summary, synopsis, aper‡u, r‚sum‚, conspectus,
survey, overview, abstract, abridgement, digest, compendium,
recapitulation; table of contents: As I haven't the time to
read the entire study document, let me have a pr‚cis of it.
precise adj. 1 correct, exact, definite, well-defined, explicit,
word-for-word, verbatim, literal, letter-for-letter, literatim,
faithful, specific, unambiguous, unequivocal, strict, authentic,
perfect, true, veracious, truthful, unerring, error-free,
accurate: Errors show that medieval scribes did not always
succeed in making precise copies. 2 strict, meticulous,
scrupulous, careful, conscientious, exact, unconditional,
rigorous, rigid, puritanical, unbending, inflexible, unyielding,
demanding, severe, prim, absolute: He has been very precise
about dates and facts. Margaret is precise in insisting on
obedience to her orders. 3 fastidious, particular, finicky,
finical, fussy, meticulous, scrupulous, careful, conscientious,
nice, exacting, critical, demanding: Painting miniatures is
very precise work. 4 exact, very: This is the precise spot
where I found the body.
precisely adv. 1 exactly, just, strictly, Colloq on the nail, smack,
slap, on the nose, Brit bang on, spot on: His view is precisely
the opposite of hers. We left precisely at five o'clock. You
phoned, and that is precisely why I came. The two paintings are
not precisely the same. 2 exactly, exactingly, correctly,
rigorously, absolutely, punctiliously, minutely, carefully,
meticulously, scrupulously, conscientiously, strictly, rigidly,
inflexibly; in all respects, in every way: This judge follows
the letter of the law precisely.
precision n. 1 correctness, exactness, fidelity, faithfulness,
exactitude, preciseness, accuracy, rigour, perfection,
flawlessness, faultlessness, literalism, faithfulness,
unerringness: This copy follows the original with precision. 2
definiteness, care, nicety, meticulousness, rigorousness,
rigour, fastidiousness, punctiliousness, scrupulousness,
unambiguousness, nicety, strictness, explicitness: The
precision of the wording leaves no doubt about what the writer
preclude v. obviate, bar, prevent, stop, exclude, prohibit, shut out,
forestall, rule out, debar, check, block, obstruct, avert,
avoid, thwart, frustrate, impede, inhibit, hinder, interfere
with: To preclude misunderstanding, please repeat what you
said. They may not engage in activities that preclude them from
performing their regular duties.
adj. advanced, mature, bright, gifted, intelligent, smart,
quick: It is hard to believe that Oliver was a precocious
adj. beforehand, predisposed, prejudged, predetermined,
prejudiced, biased, anticipatory: He has many false
preconceived notions about people.
n. predisposition, prejudgement, predetermination, prejudice,
bias, presumption, presupposition, assumption, id‚e fixe,
prepossession, preconceived notion or idea: This production of
King Lear will challenge your preconceptions of the play.
n. prerequisite, stipulation, condition, essential, must, sine
qua non, imperative, requirement, proviso, provision,
qualification, necessity: The release of the prisoners is a
precondition for talks. Is great humanity a precondition of
great music, or is it just a matter of the notes?
precursor n. 1 harbinger, herald, vanguard: The glow on the eastern
horizon is the precursor of another day. 2 See predecessor, 1,
predatory adj. 1 predacious or predaceous, carnivorous, preying,
raptorial: Despite domestication, dogs and cats are predatory
animals. 2 rapacious, ravenous, plundering, robbing, pillaging,
marauding, despoiling, looting, piratical, vulturine,
avaricious, greedy, voracious, larcenous, thieving,
extortionate, usurious: Predatory pirates once ravaged the
Mediterranean. Keep out of the hands of predatory money-lenders,
n. 1 forerunner, predecessor, antecedent: I could not match
the accomplishments of my predecessor in this post. 2 forebear,
forefather, ancestor, antecedent: Can you name the Tudor
predecessors of Elizabeth I?
n. destiny, future, lot, fortune, kismet, karma; doom, fate;
foreordainment, foreordination: Meeting like this must have
adj. 1 fixed, prearranged, pre-established, set (up), foregone,
preplanned, pre-set: A predetermined amount of milk is
automatically poured into each cup of coffee. 2 fated, doomed,
destined, ordained, foreordained, Colloq cut and dried, Brit on
the cards, US in the cards: One gets the feeling that the
outcome was predetermined.
n. dilemma, quandary, difficulty, trial, situation, state,
condition, imbroglio, emergency, crisis, impasse, Colloq pickle,
jam, fix, pinch, scrape, spot, bind, corner, hole, mess, US box:
I was hoping that you might help me out of a very awkward
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!
adj. foreseeable, foreseen, probable, likely, liable, expected,
anticipated, (reasonably) sure or certain, Colloq Brit on the
cards, US in the cards: Her angry reaction at being dismissed
was quite predictable.
n. forecast, prophecy, augury, prognosis; intimation, hint,
suggestion: The weatherman's predictions are more accurate than
one might think. The prediction that he might be released the
next day did not come true.
n. predominancy, superiority, influence, dominance,
pre-eminence, preponderance, ascendancy, precedence, power,
supremacy, hold, sway, hegemony, leadership, mastery, control,
dominion, sovereignty, transcendence or transcendency,
authority, the upper hand, the whip hand, advantage, the edge:
We must re-establish the predominance of intellectual vigour
over crass commercialism.
adj. dominant, predominating, controlling, sovereign, ruling,
pre-eminent, preponderant, ascendant, superior, supreme,
leading, paramount, main, chief, transcendant, important,
telling, influential, primary, prevailing, prevalent: England
was the predominant power in the world during the 19th century.
The phlogiston theory was once predominant among scientists.
v. Often, predominate over. dominate, control, rule, reign,
preponderate, outweigh, obtain, prevail, overshadow, get or have
the upper hand, lord it over, hold sway, overrule: Though the
American president is a Republican, the Democrats predominate in
n. 1 See predominance, above. 2 peerlessness, magnificence,
excellence, distinction, eminence, inimitability, superiority:
There is no gainsaying the pre-eminence of Shakespeare as a poet
adj. 1 See predominant, above. 2 peerless, excellent,
distinguished, eminent, inimitable, superb, unequalled,
matchless, incomparable, outstanding, unique, unrivalled,
unsurpassed, supreme, superior: In her opinion, Craig is the
pre-eminent authority on the subject.
adv. primarily, principally, by far, far and away, manifestly,
eminently, notably, conspicuously, prominently, signally,
uniquely, extraordinarily, supremely, superbly, matchlessly,
incomparably, outstandingly: There is no doubt that Nathalie is
pre-eminently qualified to direct the play.
pre-empt v. appropriate, usurp, arrogate, take over, assume, take
possession of, seize, acquire, take, possess, expropriate: All
the seats on the committee had been pre-empted by the ruling
preen v. 1 trim, clean, plume, groom: The gliding swans stopped now
and then to preen their feathers. 2 primp, dress up, titivate
or tittivate, prettify, beautify, prink, spruce up, deck (out),
Colloq doll up, Brit tart up: He made Sonia wait while he
preened himself before the mirror.
preface n. 1 introduction, foreword, prologue, preamble, Formal proem,
prolegomenon, exordium: By way of preface, I should like to say
how happy I am to be here. The preface to the book is far too
--v. 2 precede, introduce, prefix, begin, open: The speaker
prefaced his acceptance speech with a tribute to his
prefatory adj. opening, introductory, preliminary, preparatory: Would
you like to make a few prefatory remarks introducing this
prefer v. 1 favour, like better, fancy, lean or incline towards or on
the side of, be inclined, be partial to, pick, select, opt for,
choose, single out, take a fancy to, embrace, espouse, approve,
esteem: Which flavour do you prefer, chocolate or coffee? I
should prefer to take my own car. 2 present, offer, propose,
proffer, advance, submit, tender, put forward, file, lodge,
enter: They preferred charges against the hooligans for
n. 1 favourite, choice, selection, desire, option, pick: My
preference is the Dover sole meuniЉre. 2 partiality,
proclivity, prejudice, favouritism, predilection, liking, fancy,
predisposition, bent, inclination, leaning: She shows a marked
preference for short men.
adj. advantageous, biased, prejudiced, favourable, privileged,
partial, better, favoured, superior: What entitles her to
pregnant adj. 1 gravid, parturient, expectant, (heavy) with child,
enceinte, Colloq expecting, in a family way, Brit preggers,
Slang having a bun in the oven, Brit in the (pudding) club, up
the spout: Her twins are only seven months old and now she's
pregnant again. 2 charged, fraught, loaded, weighty,
significant, meaningful, suggestive, eloquent, expressive,
pointed: Although she said nothing, her smile was pregnant with
meaning. 3 fruitful, teeming, fertile, fecund, rich, abounding,
replete, productive: My mind was so pregnant with ideas that I
couldn't wait to get down to work.
adj. 1 primordial, primal, primeval, primitive, earliest,
early, antediluvian, Noachian or Noachic, fossil, ancient: The
prehistoric remains of yet another skeleton have been found in
the peat bogs. 2 antiquated, out-dated, old-fashioned, pass‚:
My mother makes me wear these absolutely prehistoric clothes to
prejudice n. 1 partiality, preconception, prejudgement, bias, leaning,
warp, twist, preconceived notion, predisposition, predilection,
jaundiced eye, jaundice: The judge showed an unfortunate
prejudice against my client. 2 bigotry, unfairness, bias,
partisanship, favouritism, cronyism, discrimination,
intolerance, inequality; racism, racialism, apartheid, Jim
Crowism, sexism, (male) chauvinism: There is still prejudice
against many minority groups in society.
--v. 3 bias, influence, warp, twist, distort, slant; colour,
jaundice, poison: Stop trying to prejudice me against the book,
and let me form my own opinion. Are you prejudiced in favour of
Anita's getting the job?
adj. 1 unfair, one-sided, biased, jaundiced, opinionated,
predisposed, partial, partisan, non-objective, unobjective: The
prosecution objected to him as a prejudiced witness. 2 bigoted,
intolerant, narrow-minded, closed-minded, parochial, sexist,
racist, chauvinistic: We have no room in our organization for
people who are prejudiced.
adj. injurious, damaging, detrimental, harmful, unfavourable,
inimical, deleterious, disadvantageous, counter-productive,
pernicious: Such an investment decision might prove prejudicial
to her financial security.
adj. 1 advance, prior, introductory, beginning, initial,
opening, preparatory, prefatory, preceding, antecedent,
forerunning; premonitory; Formal or technical prodromal or
prodromic: The preliminary design for the swimming-pool is
ready. After some preliminary remarks, the ceremonies got under
--n. 2 introduction, beginning, opening, preparation,
groundwork, prelude, precedence; overture: We insist on
rigorous training as a preliminary to working in the field. 3
prelims. Rarely, preliminaries. introduction, preface, foreword,
preamble, prologue, front matter, Formal proem, exordium,
prolegomenon, prodromus, prodrome: The manuscript is finished
and we are waiting for the prelims.
premature adj. 1 immature, undeveloped, underdeveloped, unfledged,
untimely, unready, early, unripe, green: Much premature fruit
has been blown down in the winds. 2 hasty, untimely, ill-timed,
too early, too soon, beforehand, unseasonable, overhasty,
impulsive, inopportune: The post may be slow, but still I think
September a bit premature to send Christmas cards. The discovery
that money was missing accounts for his premature departure.
adv. 1 untimely, too soon, too early: He died prematurely at
the age of 46. 2 rashly, (over-)hastily, at half-cock,
half-cocked: She dismissed him prematurely, before he had the
time to prove himself. The gun went off prematurely, with no
chance to aim it.
adj. planned, conscious, intentional, intended, wilful,
deliberate, studied, purposive; contrived, preplanned,
calculated, preconceived: The murder was coldly premeditated. I
admit to being wrong, and I have no premeditated excuses.
premier n. 1 prime minister, PM, head of state, chief executive,
president, chancellor: The premiers of the Commonwealth met at
Kuala Lumpur in 1989.
--adj. 2 first, prime, primary, chief, principal, head, main,
foremost, top-ranking, highest-ranking, ranking, leading, top,
pre-eminent: He is the premier expert in his field.
premiЉre n. 1 premiere, first night, opening (night), debut: The
premiЉre of A‹da was at the opening of the Suez Canal.
--v. 2 open, debut: The film will premiЉre at the Festival
--adj. 3 opening, debut, first, original, initial: The
premiЉre West-End performance is scheduled for May after a
premise n. 1 premiss, assumption, proposition, postulate, hypothesis,
conjecture, assertion, supposition, thesis, presupposition,
proposal, theorem, surmise, basis, ground: He started out with
the premise that time had a beginning and will have an end.
--v. 2 assume, propose, postulate, hypothesize, hypothecate,
conjecture, posit, assert, suppose, presuppose, theorize,
surmise, put or set forth, predicate, argue: If you accept what
Einstein premised in the Special Theory of Relativity, then you
accept that space is curved.
premium n. 1 bonus, extra, dividend, prize, award, reward, perquisite:
In our slimming competition, a premium will be paid for each
pound that you lose beyond five. 2 incentive, inducement,
stimulus, incitement, lure, bait, spur, goad, reward, Colloq
come-on, Slang US and Canadian freebie: Many Building Societies
offer premiums to first-time buyers. 3 value, importance,
regard, stock, store, appreciation: We place a premium on the
way our staff treat customers. 4 at a premium. a scarce, rare,
scant, scanty, sparse, hard to come by, in short supply, Colloq
scarce as hen's teeth, Chiefly Brit thin on the ground:
Proficient, literate, experienced editors are at a premium these
days. b costly, expensive, dear, high-priced, Colloq steep,
stiff: The convertible model of this car is at a premium.
n. intuition, foreboding, presentiment, forewarning, suspicion,
feeling, hunch, Colloq funny feeling, sneaking suspicion: I had
a premonition that something terribly evil was lurking in store
adj. 1 engrossed, lost in thought, rapt, thoughtful, pensive,
absorbed, cogitating, cogitative, meditating, musing,
reflecting, reflective, contemplative, contemplating, pondering,
brooding, ruminating, in a brown study: John is preoccupied,
thinking about the speech he has to deliver tonight. 2 vague,
offhand, far-away, absent-minded, abstracted, oblivious,
unaware, wrapped up, immersed, inattentive, distracted,
distrait, Colloq turned off, US out of it: From her preoccupied
air it was obvious that something was wrong.
n. 1 Often, preparations. a groundwork, spadework,
provision(s), foundation, preparing, measures, proceedings:
Nothing will interfere with our preparation for the royal visit.
b plans, arrangements: We are making preparations to leave
tomorrow. 2 fitness, readiness, readying, preparing, training,
education, teaching, instruction, instructing, tuition,
briefing, grooming, Colloq gearing up, prep, US prepping: The
preparation of the students was your responsibility. 3 drawing
up, draughting, planning, setting up, putting together,
organizing, organization, composing, making: How is your
preparation of the new proposal coming along? 4 work,
preparing, getting ready, study, studying, practising, practice,
Colloq cramming, Brit swotting: All my preparation for the exam
was to no avail. 5 substance, compound, concoction, mixture,
product, material, stuff, composition: This preparation is a
furniture wax, not a suntan lotion.
adj. 1 preparative, preliminary, introductory, prefatory,
opening: After some preparatory warnings about safety, the
scuba-diving lessons began. 2 elementary, basic, essential,
fundamental, primary, rudimentary: His preparatory training
left him ill equipped to deal with such a major problem. 3
preparatory to. before, in preparation for, preceding:
Preparatory to the mission, we were briefed by MI5.
prepare v. 1 (get or make) ready, prime, arrange, (put in) order,
organize, provide for, make provision(s) for, lay the groundwork
(for), (make) fit, fit (out), equip, outfit, adapt: Have you
prepared adequately for the meeting? We prepared the house to
receive guests. 2 train, (get or make) ready, study, practise,
Colloq cram, Brit swot, get up: He is preparing to take an
exam. 3 train, educate, teach, (get or make) ready, groom,
brief, develop: Her mother is preparing her for the next
Olympics. 4 cook (up), make, do, Colloq whip up, US and
Canadian fix: I shall prepare dinner for eight o'clock. 5
manufacture, fabricate, produce, make, put out, build,
construct, assemble, put together, turn out, fashion, forge,
mould: Our company prepares components for the printing
industry. 6 brace, strengthen, steel, fortify, ready: When I
saw the doctor's face, I prepared myself for bad news. 7
process, produce, make, treat, change, modify, transform: This
fabric has been specially prepared to repel stains.
prepared adj. 1 ready, set, advance, prearranged, planned: We have six
prepared questions for the interview. 2 treated, processed,
modified, changed: Using an etching needle, incise the lines on
the prepared surface of the steel plate. 3 willing, disposed,
predisposed, able, inclined, of a mind; ready, (all) set: Are
you prepared to apologize? 4 oven-ready, microwave-ready,
microwavable, instant, convenience, ready-to-eat,
ready-to-serve, precooked, ready-made: He lives alone and
usually buys prepared dinners that just need reheating.
n. vigilance, alertness, readiness, fitness: The armed forces
were kept in a continuous state of preparedness.
n. 1 majority, greater part, bulk, mass, lion's share: The
preponderance of voters want a change of government. 2 weight,
influence, weightiness, superiority, supremacy, predominance,
primacy, ascendancy, sway, strength, force, power, advantage,
control, authority, hegemony, leadership, rule: Good has always
appeared to have an incontestable preponderance over evil.
adj. attractive, appealing, pleasing, favourable, engaging,
charming, captivating, fascinating, winsome, winning, magnetic,
alluring, bewitching, taking, fetching, inviting, good-looking,
handsome, lovely, beautiful: She is a woman of prepossessing
appearance and a delightful nature.
adj. absurd, ridiculous, ludicrous, laughable, risible,
asinine, foolish, senseless, irrational, nonsensical, fatuous,
fatuitous, mindless, insane, crazy, crack-brained, mad, idiotic,
moronic, imbecilic, incredible, unbelievable, outrageous,
extravagant, extraordinary, extreme, exorbitant, outlandish,
outr‚, weird, bizarre, Slang barmy, nutty, screwy, batty, dotty,
wacky, loony, cuckoo, US balmy: To claim that it is all my
fault is simply preposterous!
adj. 1 essential, necessary, requisite, imperative,
indispensable, obligatory, required, called-for, demanded:
Naval service is a prerequisite condition for joining the club.
--n. 2 precondition, requirement, qualification, requisite,
condition, sine qua non, proviso, provision, necessity: A
thorough grounding in mathematics is a prerequisite for the
study of advanced physics.
n. privilege, right, liberty, power, due, advantage, licence,
franchise, claim, sanction, authority, authorization: As
managing director, she exercises her prerogative to park her car
closest to the door.
prescribe v. ordain, order, direct, dictate, demand, decree, require,
enjoin, rule, set (down), stipulate, command, instruct, define,
specify, impose, lay down, exact, constrain: The doctor
prescribed rest. An independent journalist, Healey would not let
anyone prescribe what he could or could not write.
n. 1 formula, recipe, instruction, direction: The prescription
is for three tablets a day, and this dose must not be exceeded.
2 remedy, medication, medicine, drug, preparation, medicament:
That prescription had no effect at all on my headache.
adj. dictatorial, constrictive, didactic, restrictive,
dogmatic, authoritarian, overbearing, autocratic, imperious: As
grammar is a description of how language works, it cannot be
presence n. 1 proximity, nearness, closeness, adjacency, vicinity,
Formal propinquity: The presence of a hospital near her home
made Aunt Mary feel more secure. 2 attendance, company,
companionship, society, association, existence, manifestation,
manifestness, being: The Queen honoured us by her presence at
the unveiling of the plaque. 3 poise, self-assurance, bearing,
self-possession, confidence, mien, carriage, comportment,
deportment, air, personality, aspect, aura, appearance: When
Geoffrey entered, his presence created quite a stir. 4 spirit,
wraith, spectre, shade: I had the vague but pervading sense
that a unidentifiable presence was with me in the empty room. 5
presence of mind. aplomb, sophistication, coolness,
cool-headedness, composure, imperturbability, phlegm,
sang-froid, self-possession, self-assurance, calm, equanimity,
level-headedness, quick-wittedness, alertness, Colloq cool:
With great presence of mind, Grainger walked up to the man and
took the gun from him.
present° adj. 1 current, contemporary, present-day, existing, existent,
up to date, Colloq now: Do you understand the present
generation? 2 nearby, nearest, immediate, closest, adjacent,
proximate, propinquitous; close, remaining; accounted for:
Everybody has been awful to me - present company excepted. All
those present heard what she said to me.
--n. 3 at present. (right or just) now, for the time being, for
the present, today, these days, Non-Standard presently, Colloq
at this point in time: I am not ready to invest at present. 4
the present. the time being, the moment, the hour, the nonce,
this juncture, these days, our times; today, (right) now,
nowadays; Colloq this point in time: She lives for the present,
and never thinks of the consequences.
presentэ n. 1 gift: May I open my birthday presents now? 2 donation,
offering, bounty, grant, largesse, contribution, endowment:
I'll make you a present of the painting if you like it. 3 tip,
gratuity, pourboire, baksheesh or backsheesh, bonus; alms,
hand-out, dole, aid, allowance: She gave the maЊtre d'h“tel a
present for looking after us so well.
--v. 4 introduce, acquaint with, make known: I'd like to
present my wife, Cordelia, who has been looking forward to
meeting you. 5 offer, give, stage, show, exhibit, put on (show),
mount, produce: The local players will present a new production
of Blithe Spirit tonight. 6 give (out), award, confer (on),
bestow (on), turn or hand over, grant, provide, furnish;
dispense, distribute, dole out, pass out, deal out, mete out:
They presented her with a prize for the best poem. Is it tonight
that they present the awards? 7 offer, bring (in or up),
proffer, tender, introduce, produce, submit, set or put forth,
put forward, adduce; register, file, record: The lawyer for the
defence presented evidence of his client's alibi. 8 introduce,
announce, Brit compЉre, Colloq emcee: And here, to present our
show, is the inimitable Reginald Norton!
adj. 1 fit, fitting, suitable, acceptable, satisfactory,
adequate, passable, tolerable, admissible, all right, allowable,
up to par or standard or the mark, good enough, Colloq up to
scratch, OK or okay, up to snuff: Whether that argument is
presentable in a court of law is disputable. 2 decent, proper,
polite, decorous, respectable, well-bred, well-mannered, fit to
be seen: After a bath, shave, and change of clothing he looked
n. 1 giving, bestowal, offering, proffering, presenting, award,
awarding, conferral, conferring, delivery; donation: The
presentation of the prizes will be at the annual dinner. 2
appearance, image, display, visual(s), spectacle, show,
performance, demonstration, production: The text of the
proposal was fine, but the presentation could be improved. 3
debut, launch, introduction, unveiling, disclosure: We attended
the presentation of the latest electric car.
presently adv. soon, by and by, in a little while, shortly, after a short
time, in due course, after a while or a time, before long, in a
moment or a minute or a while, Archaic or literary anon, Colloq
in a jiffy, in two shakes (of a lamb's tail), Non-Standard now,
at present: The show opens presently in the West End. I shall
be with you presently.
n. 1 upkeep, maintenance, care, conservation: The preservation
of old paintings has become an art in itself. 2 keeping,
retention, retaining, perpetuation, perpetuating, continuation,
safe keeping, security, safeguarding, protection, protecting,
conservation: Several charities are dedicated to the
preservation of our heritage.
preserve v. 1 keep safe, protect, guard, take care of, care for,
safeguard, watch over, shield, shelter, defend, spare: What can
we do to preserve ourselves from this terrible pestilence? May
God preserve me, I never expected to see you again! 2 keep (up),
maintain, conserve, spare, perpetuate; continue, support,
sustain, save: We developed a technique to preserve antique
furniture. The sea preserves much of the heat it absorbs in the
summer. It is difficult to preserve one's sanity in this
madhouse. 3 conserve, put up, pickle, cure, smoke, kipper, salt,
corn, marinate, can, freeze, freeze-dry, refrigerate, dry,
dehydrate, vacuum-pack; embalm, mummify: The berries were
preserved by bottling and freezing. Some of the remains were
preserved for hundreds of years.
--n. 4 Often, preserves. conserve(s), jam, jelly, confiture,
marmalade: Susan likes thick toast with butter and preserves
for tea. 5 (game) reserve, reservation, sanctuary, Brit park:
No hunting is allowed in this preserve.
preside v. supervise, run, oversee, direct, operate, lead, head (up),
govern, rule, manage, handle, control, direct, chair,
administer, administrate, regulate, officiate: Melissa presides
over the meetings of the board.
press v. 1 subject to or exert pressure or force, force, push, impel,
thrust, bear (on), weigh on or upon, jam, cram, crush; pressure
or Brit also pressurize: The crowd was pressing against the
door. Although hard pressed at first, we eventually won. 2
squeeze, compress, depress, push: When the picture is in focus,
press this button to release the shutter. 3 squeeze, crush,
compress, mash: After harvesting, the grapes are pressed to
extract the juice. 4 iron, smooth, flatten, put through a
mangle; steam: I shall have to press my jacket before going out
to dinner. 5 clasp, embrace, hug, hold (close or tight(ly)),
take in one's arms, throw one's arms about or around, cleave to,
Archaic clip: She pressed the child to her with great
affection. 6 constrain, urge, force, pressure, compel, demand,
persuade, induce, prod, provoke, importune, beseech, ask,
request, beg, entreat: They pressed me to tell where the money
was hidden. 7 crowd, flock, gather, mill, swarm, throng,
seethe, cluster, congregate, meet, converge, huddle: The
reporters pressed round the chancellor to catch every word.
--n. 8 crowding, gathering, thronging, converging, convergence,
crowd, throng, swarm, cluster, huddle, pack, herd, host,
multitude, horde, mob, crush: When the doors opened, the huge
press of people pushed onto the train. 9 urgency, haste, hurry,
hustle, bustle, pressure, stress: The press of business
required me to postpone my trip to Paris. 10 the press. a
newspapers, the papers, Fleet Street, the fourth estate, the
media, the wire or news services, broadcasting, television,
radio: The press will have a field-day when this news gets out.
b newspaper people, newspapermen or newspaperwomen, newsmen or
newswomen, reporters, correspondents, ladies or gentlemen of the
press, journalists, commentators, paparazzi, Brit
leader-writers, US editorial writers, Colloq news-hounds, Brit
journos: The doors were opened and the press were invited in.
pressing adj. urgent, compelling, crucial, pivotal, burning, grave,
serious, major, important, vital, high-priority, critical,
portentous, momentous, profound, significant: Some pressing
matters kept me late at the office.
pressure n. 1 force, compression; weight, power, strength: The air
pressure in your tyres is low. The pressure of the water burst
the pipe. 2 compression, pressing, squeezing, compressing,
tension, stress, crushing: The pressure of a tourniquet has to
be loosened now and then. 3 affliction, oppression, press,
weight, burden, load, albatross, strain, stress, urgency,
demands, exigency or exigencies, vexation, distress, trouble(s),
adversity, difficulty or difficulties, straits, constraint(s),
problem(s): Pressure of work prevents me from taking any time
away from the office. When interest rates increase, we all feel
financial pressure. 4 influence, power, sway, constraint,
insistence, coercion, intimidation, arm-twisting; inducement,
persuasion, urging, pressing: Without more pressure from local
residents, the roadworks will not be completed in time.
--v. 5 persuade, influence; prevail upon or on, press, urge,
sway, intimidate, bring pressure to bear (on), apply pressure
(on or to), coerce, force, compel, constrain, require, demand,
make, insist upon or on, Brit pressurize, Colloq twist
(someone's) arm, lean on, turn the heat on, Slang put the screws
on or to: They pressured him to take the assignment in New
prestige n. status, reputation, standing, rank, stature, importance,
significance, eminence, esteem, pre-eminence, prominence,
predominance, primacy, superiority, supremacy, ascendancy,
distinction, renown, regard, fame, cachet, repute, celebrity,
glamour, stardom: To raise money, someone with prestige must be
found to serve as director of the charity.
adj. important, significant, eminent, estimable, imposing,
impressive, pre-eminent, prominent, distinguished, august,
dignified, renowned, famous, famed, well-known, illustrious,
acclaimed, respected, celebrated, noted, notable, noteworthy,
outstanding, glorious, honoured, glamorous: She may be a
prestigious author, but she does not live at a very prestigious
adv. probably, in all likelihood, (very or most) likely, in all
probability, seemingly, doubtless(ly), indubitably, no doubt,
undoubtedly, unquestionably, without a doubt, surely, certainly,
on the face of it, all things considered, all things being
equal: Presumably, you have heard the one about the colonel's
presume v. 1 assume, take for granted, suppose, surmise, infer,
suppose, presuppose, take it, gather, understand, think,
believe, imagine, suspect, fancy, conjecture, postulate, posit,
theorize, speculate, hypothesize, hypothecate, US and Canadian
guess: For some unaccountable reason, we presumed that your
train would arrive on time. Dr Livingstone, I presume? 2 dare,
take the liberty, be so presumptuous as, make (so) bold (as),
have the audacity or effrontery, go so far as, venture: Who is
he to presume to judge others? 3 Often, presume on or upon.
encroach (on or upon), impose (on or upon), take liberties
(with), intrude (on or upon or into): I hate to presume on our
friendship, but could you lend me some money?
n. 1 arrogance, pride, effrontery, audacity, boldness,
brazenness, impudence, impertinence, insolence, temerity,
overconfidence, presumptuousness, forwardness, immodesty, Colloq
pushiness, cheek, cheekiness, nerve, gall, chutzpah, brass, Brit
brass neck: He had the presumption to ask my age. 2
assumption, supposition, presupposition, preconception, premise
or premiss, surmise, proposition, postulation; probability,
likelihood, plausibility, feasibility: The presumption of the
innocence of a person accused of a crime is established in law.
3 assumption, stand, position, inference, feeling, deduction,
conclusion, conviction, bias, guess, theory, hypothesis,
conjecture, belief, thought; suspicion: Having examined the
evidence, the pathologist's presumption was that the victim had
died of natural causes. 4 ground(s), reason, basis, evidence:
What is your presumption for thinking that you might win the
adj. 1 likely, reasonable, plausible, tenable, believable,
credible, conceivable, acceptable, justifiable, sensible,
rational, sound: There is strong presumptive evidence, but we
need proof. 2 inferred, presumed, assumed, supposed,
understood, predicted, predicated: As King Richard was
childless, his brother was heir presumptive to the Crown.
adj. arrogant, proud, prideful, audacious, bold, brazen, saucy,
impudent, impertinent, insolent, temerarious, brash,
overconfident, overweening, forward, presuming, immodest,
egotistical, Colloq pushy, cheeky, too big for one's boots, Brit
uppish: He is presumptuous enough to think he can do no wrong.
v. See presume, 1, above.
n. See presumption, 1, 2, above.
pretence n. 1 show, display, pretension, ostentation, airs, front,
fa‡ade, appearance, make-believe, fiction, hypocrisy, fakery,
faking, feigning, humbuggery, humbug, deception, artifice,
pretext, posturing, pretentiousness, pretending, camouflage,
cover-up: Her charming manner was all pretence, for in reality
she despised him. 2 hoax, humbug, artifice, pretext, sham, show,
pose, fa‡ade, front, cover-up, cover, cloak, veil, mask,
masquerade, disguise, guise, deception, ruse, dodge, blind,
fabrication, invention, fiction, story, fable, make-believe,
fairy tale, figment, falsification, impression: His loyalty was
a pretence under which he carried on many liaisons. 3 excuse,
pretext, pretension: They would ring for the butler on the
slightest pretence, just to impress us.
pretend v. 1 feign, profess, represent, allege, make believe, make out:
Let's pretend that we are royalty. Often, he pretends to be me.
2 try, attempt, endeavour, venture, presume, undertake: I could
not pretend to guess the number of people attending last night's
meeting. 3 make believe, act or play, play-act, fake, feign, put
on an act, dissemble, sham, sail under false colours: Is she
serious about wanting you to leave or was she just pretending?
pretended adj. so-called, alleged, asserted, reputed, professed,
ostensible, purported, so-called, imaginary, make-believe,
fictitious, fictional, sham, false, fake, feigned, bogus,
counterfeit, spurious, Colloq phoney or US also phony, pseudo,
pretend: So this is the pretended hero of yesterday's battle!
pretender n. claimant, aspirant, candidate, suitor, rival, seeker: He
was the pretender to the Scottish throne.
n. 1 Often, pretensions. claim(s), pretence(s), aspiration(s),
ambitiousness, ambition(s): He is known to have pretensions to
the chancellorship. 2 pretext, pretence, pretentiousness,
ostentation, pretending, affectation, hypocrisy: Gladys has
behaved without pretension and with great sincerity.
adj. 1 ostentatious, showy, superficial, pompous, arrogant,
bombastic, inflated, high-flown, exaggerated, vainglorious,
fastuous, grandiose, grandiloquent, extravagant, magniloquent:
The minister's pretentious language is a bit too much to take.
2 snobbish, lofty, haughty, flaunting, Colloq high and mighty,
highfalutin or hifalutin, hoity-toity, high-hat, Slang snotty,
Brit toffee-nosed: That new couple next door are so pretentious
- they think that nobody is good enough to associate with them!
pretext n. 1 pretence, excuse, camouflage, guise, disguise, cover,
veil, cloak, colour: They carried on the surveillance under
pretext of working on the sewer. 2 ruse, red herring, cover
(story), rationale, pretence, rationalization, explanation:
What pretext did the thief use that made you let him in?
pretty adj. 1 comely, attractive, good-looking, nice-looking,
appealing, lovely, cute, mignon(ne), graceful, fair, bonny,
fetching, charming, winsome, beautiful, pulchritudinous, Colloq
easy on the eye(s): A pretty girl is like a melody. That's a
very pretty cottage. 2 tuneful, melodic, melodious, dulcet,
musical, lyrical, harmonious, catchy, mellifluous, euphonious:
He played a pretty tune on the piano.
--adv. 3 rather, quite, fairly, moderately, reasonably,
tolerably; somewhat; very, extremely, unbelievably, incredibly:
The children put on a pretty good performance, I thought. He had
become pretty fat since we last saw him.
prevail v. 1 hold sway, win (out), predominate, succeed, triumph, gain
or achieve a victory, prove superior, gain mastery or control:
It is sometimes disappointing to learn that right does not
always prevail. 2 predominate, be prevalent or widespread or
current, preponderate, dominate, be the order of the day: As
usual during Oktoberfest in Bavaria, revelry prevailed. 3
prevail on or upon. persuade, induce, influence, sway, dispose;
incline, win over, bring round, convince: We prevailed on the
guard to let us through the gate.
adj. 1 dominant, predominant, prevalent, main, chief,
principal, common(est), usual, customary, universal: The
prevailing winds are westerlies. 2 influential, effective,
effectual, dominating, affecting, powerful, potent, forceful,
ruling, telling, main, principal: The prevailing religion there
n. 1 prevalency, frequency, commonness, currency, universality,
ubiquitousness, ubiquity, pervasiveness, omnipresence,
extensiveness; predominance, practice, acceptance, popularity:
The prevalence of disease among the population is distressing.
2 sway, control, rule, primacy, ascendancy, mastery,
predominance: The prevalence of bushido in Japan has diminished
little since 1945.
prevalent adj. universal, catholic, common, frequent, prevailing,
current, ubiquitous, pervasive, omnipresent, general, usual,
customary, commonplace, extensive, widespread, established,
ascendant, dominant, predominant, governing, ruling: A desire
for change is prevalent throughout the country.
prevent v. anticipate, preclude, obviate, forestall, avert, avoid,
prohibit, ban, bar, forbid, interdict, taboo, enjoin, proscribe,
foil, frustrate, obstruct, debar, intercept, nip in the bud,
abort, thwart, check, block, ward or fend or stave off, baffle,
balk or baulk, (put a) stop (to), arrest, (bring to a) halt,
hinder, impede, curb, restrain, hamper, inhibit, delay, retard,
slow, mitigate, control: Some diseases can be prevented by
inoculation or vaccination. There is nothing to prevent us from
leaving. The barrier was built to prevent flooding.
n. preventing, anticipation, preclusion, obviation,
forestalling, avoidance, avoiding, prohibition, prohibiting,
ban, banning, bar, barring, forbiddance, forbidding,
interdiction, interdicting, taboo, tabooing, enjoining,
injunction, proscription, proscribing, foiling, frustration,
frustrating, obstruction, obstructing, debarment, debarring,
interception, intercepting, abortion, aborting, thwarting,
checking, check, blocking, block, warding or fending or staving
off, balk or baulk, balking or baulking, stopping, arrest,
arresting, halt, halting, hindrance, hindering, impedance,
impeding, curb, curbing, restraint, restraining, hampering,
inhibition, inhibiting, delay, delaying, retardation, retarding,
slowing, mitigation, mitigating, control, controlling: The
first item on the agenda is the prevention of cruelty to
children. As the total prevention of crime is impossible, we
must at least try to curb it.
adj. 1 preventative, preventing, hindering, impeding,
restraining, hampering, inhibitive or inhibitory, inhibiting,
restrictive: We must take preventive steps to ensure the
stability of the rate of exchange. 2 preventative, prophylactic,
precautionary, anticipatory or anticipative, protective,
counteractive: Preventive means are available to limit heart
--n. 3 preventative, hindrance, curb, inhibition, impediment,
block, barrier, obstacle, obstruction: Caffeine is one of the
most powerful preventives of sleep that exists. 4 preventative,
prophylactic, protection, shield, safeguard, prevention,
countermeasure, counteractant, counter-agent, inoculum or
inoculant, vaccine, serum, antidote, remedy: Heart specialists
have recommended an aspirin every other day as a preventive to
arterial blood clotting.
preview n. advance showing, private showing; opening, vernissage: We
saw the Picasso exhibition at a preview held for friends of the
previous adj. 1 former, prior, past, earlier, one-time, foregoing,
sometime, erstwhile, preceding, Literary quondam, Archaic
whilom: A previous owner of the house filled in the fish-pond.
2 prior, former, foregoing, above, preceding, Formal antecedent,
anterior, aforementioned, above-mentioned, before-mentioned,
aforesaid, above-named: Please see the previous examples in the
Foreword. 3 premature, untimely, too soon or early: Isn't
putting up Christmas decorations in October being a bit
previous? 4 previous to. previously to, before, prior to,
preceding, anterior to, antecedent to: Previous to the advent
of motor cars, we had traffic jams of horse-drawn vehicles.
adv. before, once, formerly, earlier, at one time, then,
beforehand, heretofore, theretofore, hitherto, thitherto, in the
past, in days gone by, in days of old, in days or time past, in
the old days, some time ago, a while ago, once upon a time,
yesterday, Literary in days of yore, in olden days or times:
The same thing had happened previously when I was in London.
Previously, people lived more relaxed lives - or so we like to
prey n. 1 quarry, kill, game, objective, target: The lioness
singled out her prey from the herd of zebra. 2 victim, target,
objective; dupe, Colloq mark, Slang fall guy, pushover, Brit
mug: A public company with huge cash reserves, United Vector
seemed easy prey for a take-over bid.
--v. 3 prey on or upon. a live off, feed on or upon, eat,
consume, devour, kill, destroy, stalk, pursue, hunt, seize:
These snakes prey mostly upon other snakes. b victimize, go
after, exploit, use, take advantage of, intimidate, bully,
cheat, dupe, swindle, gull, trick, snooker, defraud, outwit,
outsmart, outfox, hoodwink, Literary cozen, Colloq rook,
bamboozle, flimflam: An unscrupulous gang is preying on the
elderly, persuading them to invest in non-existent properties. c
oppress, weigh on or upon, burden, depress, distress, strain,
vex, worry: His wretched condition preyed very much on her
price n. 1 charge, cost, expense, expenditure, outlay, payment,
amount, figure, fee; quotation, appraisal, value, valuation,
evaluation, worth: The price of this lamp is too high. What is
the price of that box? Can he afford the price of a ticket? The
current price of a London flat is out of my reach. 2 sacrifice,
toll, penalty, cost, consequence: Loss of his freedom was too
high a price for standing by his principles. 3 reward, bounty,
premium, prize, payment, bonus, honorarium, Literary guerdon:
The gunfighter had a price of њ1000 on his head. 4 without
price. See priceless, 1, below.
--v. 5 value, evaluate, rate, assay, assess, cost (out): How
would you price a piece of furniture like this chair?
priceless adj. 1 costly, dear, expensive, high-priced, valuable,
invaluable, precious, inestimable, incalculable; irreplaceable,
unique: The vaults in the Vatican contain a king's ransom in
priceless jewels. 2 hilarious, riotous, (screamingly) funny,
side-splitting, hysterical, droll, comical, amusing: The
expression on his face when he realized it was a joke was
pricey adj. pricy, expensive, dear, costly, exorbitant, outrageous,
excessive, extortionate, Colloq steep, Brit over the odds: The
restaurant where she took him was certainly pricey, but the food
prick n. 1 puncture, pinhole, pinprick; hole, perforation: For the
blood test, the doctor made a tiny prick in my finger with a
needle. 2 sting, pinch, twinge, prickle, tingle, pain: The
teacher leapt from her chair the instant she felt the prick of
--v. 3 puncture, pierce, stab, jab, punch, perforate, riddle;
lance: Using a pin, prick tiny holes in the paper to let the
steam escape. The doctor pricked a boil on my neck. 4 stab,
sting, hurt, prickle, pinch, bite, smart: The hypodermic needle
really pricked me when it went in.
prickle n. 1 spine, bristle, barb, thorn, bur, needle, tine, spike,
spur, prong: The prickles make the brambles cling to your
clothes. 2 pricking, prickliness, itch, itchiness, sting,
tingling, tingle: I felt the prickle of the rough wool against
--v. 3 tingle, sting, itch, smart: Sloane complained that the
beard he had to grow for the pirate role made his face prickle.
4 stick, jab, prick: The child's hands had been prickled by the
prickly adj. 1 bristly, thorny, brambly, spiny, barbed, briery,
spinous, spiky, Technical setaceous, setose, acanthoid,
aciculate, aculeate, muricate, spiculate: Dad's face is all
prickly when he hasn't shaved. 2 tingling, stinging, pricking,
prickling, itchy, crawly, crawling: The squeak of the chalk on
the blackboard gives me a prickly feeling. 3 touchy, irritable,
petulant, cantankerous, testy, waspish, bad-tempered, peevish,
fractious, short-tempered, curmudgeonly, Colloq cranky: Moira
gets a bit prickly if you ask her why she married Noel. 4
nettlesome, thorny, ticklish, touchy, troublesome, intricate,
complicated, complex, knotty, hard, difficult, contentious: The
prickly problem of how to pay for the university must still be
pride n. 1 honour, proudness, self-esteem, self-respect, amour
propre, dignity: It is gratifying to be able to look with pride
on one's children's achievements. 2 conceit, egotism,
self-importance, vanity, hubris, arrogance, overconfidence,
overweeningness, self-admiration, self-love, self-importance,
smugness, haughtiness, hauteur, snobbery, snobbishness, Colloq
uppitiness: Pride goeth before a fall. Her pride stems from an
exaggerated notion of her own worth. 3 boast, flower, best,
prize, pride and joy, treasure, jewel, gem: Those model railway
trains are Eustace's pride and joy.
--v. 4 Usually, pride oneself on. be proud of, take pride in,
delight in, revel in, celebrate, glory in: Irena prides herself
on having made her own way in life, without anyone's help.
priest n. priestess, clergyman or clergywoman, ecclesiastic, cleric,
churchman or churchwoman, reverend, vicar, divine, man or woman
of the cloth, man or woman of God, curate, confessor, minister
(of the Gospel), servant of God, father, mother, holy man or
woman, preacher, missionary, evangelist, abb‚, abbot or abbess,
Colloq padre: The high priest muttered some incantations over
the body of the sacrificial victim.
priestly adj. clerical, ecclesiastic, pastoral, hieratic, sacerdotal;
ministerial, canonical, missionary: She has taken her priestly
prig n. (ultra-)conservative, prude, purist, pedant, school-ma'm,
puritan, (Mrs) Grundy, Grundyite, Grundyist, precisionist,
precisian, conformist, formalist, Colloq stuffed shirt,
stick-in-the-mud, goody-goody: A terrible prig, the headmaster
forbade even the slightest hint of slang usage.
priggish adj. (ultra-)conservative, prim, demure, prudish, purist,
puristic, pedantic, school-marmish, strait-laced, hidebound,
stiff-necked, puritanical, conformist, (Mrs) Grundyish,
punctilious, formal, formalistic, strict, severe, fastidious,
fussy, particular; precious, pr‚cieux or pr‚cieuse,
niminy-piminy, over-nice, Colloq stick-in-the-mud, goody-goody,
prissy, old-maidish, stuffed-shirt, stuffy, uptight,
nit-picking, Brit twee: Victorians were less priggish in their
private behaviour than in their public image.
primarily adv. 1 principally, mainly, chiefly, especially, at bottom,
particularly, first of all, pre-eminently, basically,
essentially, fundamentally, on the whole, for the most part,
mostly, predominantly or predominately, generally: The rain in
Spain falls primarily in the plain. 2 initially, originally,
from or at the start, first (and foremost, in the first
instance, ab initio: The colonists, primarily refugees from
England, began to settle the New World in the 17th century.
primary adj. 1 first, prime, principal, chief, main, leading,
pre-eminent, cardinal, fundamental, basic, essential,
predominant, elementary, elemental, underlying: The primary
reason I want to see you is to discuss your future with the
company. The primary meaning of a word is given first. 2
earliest, first, original, initial, primitive, primeval,
primordial, embryonic, germinal, beginning, ultimate: The
primary source of life was possibly a sort of soup containing
proteins and other molecules. 3 firsthand, direct, immediate:
Bauxite is the primary source of aluminium ore. 4 elementary,
basic, rudimentary, fundamental: One of the primary lessons we
are taught is consideration for others. 5 unmixed,
unadulterated, pure, simple, rudimentary, fundamental,
principal: The primary colours in art are red, yellow, and
prime adj. 1 See primary, 1, above. 2 best, foremost, chief;
first-rate, first-class, choice, select, superior, pre-eminent,
leading, ranking, predominant, unparalleled, matchless,
peerless, noteworthy, outstanding, admirable, worthy,
exceptional, excellent, extraordinary, exceptional: She is a
prime example of the results of a modern education. Arthur is
certainly a prime candidate for the position. 3 original,
fundamental, basic, elemental, elementary: The prime cause of
scurvy is lack of fresh fruit and vegetables.
--n. 4 youth, springtime; best years, heyday, pinnacle, acme,
peak, zenith: Some people reach the prime of life at 60.
--v. 5 (make or get) ready, prepare, educate, teach, instruct,
coach, train, tutor, drill: Has Sonia been fully primed to take
over the chairmanship when Sir William steps down? 6 inform,
advise, notify, apprise, brief: Having read your book, I am
fully primed on American history.
primitive adj. 1 first, original, aboriginal, earliest, primordial,
primal, primeval or Brit also primaeval, pristine, prehistoric;
antediluvian, Noachian or Noachic, old, ancient: In its most
primitive state, life probably originated from some random
strings of molecules. The most primitive farming tools date from
some 10,000 years ago. 2 crude, rude, unrefined, raw, barbaric,
uncultured, barbarian, coarse, rough, uncivilized, savage,
uncultivated, unsophisticated, uncouth: I cannot tolerate
Nigel's primitive table manners. 3 simple, basic, simplistic,
na‹ve, childlike, unsophisticated, uncultivated, unrefined,
unpolished, rough, untutored, untaught, untrained, unschooled,
undeveloped: Gary collects paintings of the primitive school
and has one by Grandma Moses.
primp v. preen, prink, prettify, titivate or tittivate, plume, dress
up, groom, Colloq doll up, get (all) dolled up, spruce up, put
on one's best bib and tucker, Chiefly Brit tart up, get (all)
tarted up, Slang deck out, trick out or up, put on one's glad
rags, Brit fig out, US gussy up, get (all) gussied up, dude up:
She was primping before the mirror, awaiting the arrival of her
princely adj. 1 lavish, bountiful, generous, liberal, ample,
substantial, huge, enormous: They paid a princely sum for their
stately home in Surrey. 2 lavish, magnificent, splendid,
luxurious, majestic, royal, regal, sumptuous, superb, Colloq
ritzy, swank(y), posh, plush: The hotel laid on princely
accommodation for us with rooms overlooking the sea. 3 royal,
noble, regal, sovereign, of royal or noble blood or rank: Who
would have thought that our humble home would ever shelter a
principal adj. 1 chief, primary, prime, paramount, main, first, foremost,
ranking, pre-eminent, predominant, dominant, prevailing;
leading, starring: The principal reason I'm here is to see you.
The principal food of the people is corn. The principal role was
sung by Pavarotti. 2 important, prominent, leading, key,
cardinal: Cuba is a principal source of sugar.
--n. 3 owner, proprietor, chairman, chairwoman, chairperson,
(managing) director, head, president, chief, chief executive
officer, CEO, manager or Brit manageress, superintendent,
supervisor, Colloq boss, US (head or chief) honcho: We should
talk to the principals about buying that company. 4 dean,
director, Chiefly Brit headmaster, headmistress, master, rector,
(vice-)chancellor: His appointment as principal is for a
two-year period. 5 (working) capital, capital funds, resources,
investment, backing, (cash) reserve(s), assets; money: She is
fortunate to be able to live on the income from her investments,
without touching the principal. 6 star, lead, heroine, hero,
leading lady or man, leading role, main part; diva, premiЉre
danseuse, premier danseur, prima donna, prima ballerina: The
principal in the ballet company was a Russian.
adv. chiefly, mainly, first (and foremost), primarily, above
all, in the main, mostly, for the most part, largely,
predominantly, on the whole, at bottom, in essence, essentially,
basically, fundamentally; especially, particularly: He seems to
be interested principally in money, with little regard for
principle n. 1 truth, given, precept, tenet, fundamental, grounds, law,
rule, dictum, canon, doctrine, teaching, dogma, proposition,
(basic) assumption, postulate, axiom, maxim, truism, guide,
standard, criterion, model: The perpetual-motion machine
violates a basic principle of physics. 2 Often, principles.
philosophy, code, attitude, (point of) view, viewpoint,
sentiment, belief, credo, creed, idea, notion, ethic, sense of
right and wrong: He cynically conducts his life on the
principle, 'Do unto others before they do unto you'. I am not
sure I can condone his principles. 3 (sense of) honour,
uprightness, honesty, morality, morals, probity, integrity,
conscience: If you don't think him a man of principle, don't do
business with him. 4 in principle. on principle, in theory,
theoretically, basically, fundamentally, at bottom, in essence,
essentially, ideally: I like your plan in principle, but in
practice it cannot be accomplished that way.
adj. moral, righteous, right-minded, virtuous, noble,
high-minded, ethical, honourable, proper, correct, right, just,
upright, honest, scrupulous: Michael is too highly principled
to take bribes.
print v. 1 impress, imprint, stamp, publish, issue, run off, put out;
copy; (pull a) proof: We decided to print 500 copies of the
book. You may have your name printed on the cover for an
--n. 2 reproduction, copy, replica, facsimile; positive,
photograph, etching, (steel or wood-)engraving, lithograph,
woodcut, linocut, silk screen, rotogravure, Trade Mark Xerox;
picture, illustration; Colloq photo, cut, pic (pl. pix): Today,
a good print of a Picasso costs more than an original did fifty
years ago. 3 text, printed matter, type, writing; language,
wording, (choice of) words, phrasing: You'd be well advised to
read the small print before signing the agreement.
prior adj. 1 former, previous, earlier, one-time, ex, erstwhile; old,
last, late, latest, Literary quondam, whilom: If you overdraw
your account without prior arrangement, you will automatically
be charged a higher rate of interest. 2 prior to. before,
previous to, previously to, till, until, preceding: Prior to
the earthquake, Valdivia was a river port.
priority n. precedence, precedency, primacy, urgency, immediacy,
predominance, pre-eminence, preference, rank, superiority,
prerogative, right, seniority, importance, weight, immediacy:
The applications for aid will be processed in order of priority.
prison n. jail or Brit also gaol, dungeon, oubliette, lock-up, penal
institution, house of correction, correctional institution,
reformatory, house of detention; confinement, detention;
Old-fashioned reform school, Military guardhouse; Brit remand
centre, detention centre, remand home, community home, Military
glasshouse, Formal CHE (= 'community home with education on the
premises'), Old-fashioned approved school; US penitentiary,
Military brig; Archaic Brit bridewell; Slang clink, can, cooler,
jug, stir, Brit quod, chokey or choky, US and Canadian pokey or
poky; US pen, calaboose, slammer, hoosegow, Old-fashioned big
house: He was released from prison last Friday after serving
six months for burglary.
prisoner n. convict, trusty; internee, detainee; Colloq jailbird or Brit
also gaolbird, lifer, Slang con, Brit (old) lag, Old-fashioned
ticket-of-leave man, US two-time or three-time loser:
Prisoners' letters were censored.
prissy adj. fussy, precious, over-nice, finicky or finical,
strait-laced, school-marmish, prim (and proper), prudish,
squeamish, fastidious, Colloq old-maidish: He is awfully prissy
about changing on the beach.
pristine adj. 1 original, primal, basic, primeval or Brit also
primaeval, primitive, primordial, earliest, first, initial: It
is impractical to try to return the world to what some regard as
its pristine purity. 2 uncorrupted, pure, unsullied, undefiled,
virginal, virgin, chaste, untouched, unspoiled, unpolluted,
untarnished, spotless, immaculate, natural: One must travel far
today to experience the pristine beauty of nature. The car was
in pristine condition.
privacy n. 1 seclusion, retirement, solitude, isolation, retreat,
sequestration, reclusiveness, reclusion, solitariness;
monasticism: Coleman very much enjoys the privacy of living
alone. 2 secrecy, secretiveness, clandestineness,
confidentiality, surreptitiousness, covertness, concealment:
Many feel that the questions on census forms invade their
private adj. 1 (top) secret, confidential, undisclosed, hidden,
clandestine, concealed, covert, surreptitious, off the record,
not for publication, unofficial, Colloq hush-hush: I think our
relationship should be kept private for the time being. What I
am about to tell you is strictly private. 2 privileged,
restrictive, restricted, exclusive, special, reserved, personal,
inaccessible, non-public; hidden, secluded, concealed, secret,
sneaking: The house is situated on a private road. I had a
private suspicion that they would cancel their trip. 3 personal,
individual, own, intimate, particular: My private affairs are
none of your business. 4 solitary, seclusive, reclusive,
withdrawn, retiring, reticent, ungregarious, non-gregarious,
unsocial, unsociable, antisocial, reserved, uncommunicative,
hermitic(al), hermit-like, eremitic(al); sequestered, secluded,
retired: You have to bear in mind that Edmund is a very private
--n. 5 private soldier, infantryman, foot-soldier, US enlisted
man, Colloq Brit Tommy, Tommy Atkins, squaddie, US GI (Joe),
Slang US grunt: Before cashiering him, they reduced him from
colonel to private. 6 in private. in secret, secretly,
privately, sub rosa, personally, confidentially, behind closed
doors, in camera, off the record, US on the q.t. or Q.T.;
clandestinely, secretively, sneakily, sneakingly,
surreptitiously, furtively, covertly, on the sly: Family
matters should be discussed only in private. They met in private
with agents of the rebel forces. 7 private parts or privates.
genitals, sexual or sex organs, genitalia. The natives wore
loincloths to cover their private parts.
privation n. need, neediness, want, deprivation, hardship, indigence,
necessity, poverty, penury, destitution, strait(s), pauperism,
beggary; distress, misery: The lower classes in Victorian
England suffered terrible privation.
privilege n. benefit, advantage, right, prerogative, concession,
allowance, indulgence, immunity, exemption, dispensation,
freedom, liberty, franchise, permission, consent, leave,
authorization, sanction, authority, licence, carte blanche: The
children were given the privilege of choosing where the family
should go on holiday.
adj. 1 favoured, advantaged, indulged, entitled, ‚lite,
special, honoured: John was one of the privileged few to be
told her private telephone number. 2 protected, exempt(ed),
immune; licensed, empowered, admitted, permitted, sanctioned,
authorized, enfranchised, chartered: This is a privileged
institution as far as the dispensation of grants is concerned. 3
powerful, ruling; wealthy, rich: He despised the privileged
class till he became wealthy enough to be a member of it. 4
confidential, secret, private, privy, inside, off the record,
not for publication, restricted, Colloq hush-hush: What I am
about to tell you is privileged information.
privy adj. 1 See privileged, 4, above. 2 privy to. aware of, in on,
on to or onto, sharing (in), cognizant of, apprised of, informed
or advised about or of, informed on, knowledgeable about, Colloq
in the know about, Slang hip to, wise to, Old-fashioned hep to:
Was the minister's wife privy to what was discussed at cabinet
--n. 3 lavatory, (outside or outdoor) toilet, latrine,
water-closet, WC, US outhouse, Colloq chiefly Brit loo, Slang
Brit bog, US crapper, Taboo slang US shithouse: In those days,
almost every home had an outside privy, as there was no interior
prize° n. 1 reward, award, trophy, premium; honour, accolade, Literary
guerdon: The first prize was a week's holiday in the Bahamas.
2 winnings, jackpot, purse, receipts, gain, windfall, stakes,
Colloq haul, Chiefly US take: He used his prize from winning
the lottery to buy a new car. 3 aim, goal: The prize they all
strove for was a grant to carry on lexicographic research. 4
loot, booty, spoil(s), trophy, plunder, pickings: The pirates
took the galleon as their prize.
--adj. 5 choice, excellent, (prize)winning, best, champion,
outstanding, select, superior, superlative, first-rate: This
dairy owns a prize herd of Guernseys.
prizeэ v. value, treasure, esteem, cherish, appreciate, rate highly,
hold dear: I prize your friendship above all things.
n. likelihood, likeliness, odds, expectation, chance(s),
(distinct) possibility, presumption: There is a high
probability that it will rain.<