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Barrons GRE Vocabulary 1 abase humiliate; lower or depress in rank or esteem Defeated, Queen Zenobia was forced to abase herself before the conquering Romans, who made her march in chains before the emperor in the procession celebrating his triumph.
abash embarrass; make ashamed or uneasy; disconcert Her open admiration should not abash him at all.
abate subside; decrease; become less in amount or intensity Rather than leaving immediately, they waited for the storm to abate.
abbreviate make shorter; reduce to shorter form intended to represent full form, as for word or phrase Because we were running out of time, the lecturer had to abbreviate her speech.
abdicate give up, renounce, abandon, lay down, or withdraw from, as a right or claim When Edward VIII did abdicate the British throne to marry the woman he loved, he surprised the entire world.
aberrant abnormal; markedly different from an accepted norm Given the aberrant nature of the data, we doubted the validity of the entire experiment.
abet aid, usually in doing something wrong; encourage She was unwilling to abet him in the swindle he had planned.
abeyance suspended action; temporary cessation or suspension The deal was held in abeyance until her arrival.
abhor fill with horror and loathing; horrify; hate One of the things I abhor is the threat to withhold aid.
abject being of the most miserable kind; wretched; lacking pride; brought low in condition or status On the streets of New York the homeless live in abject poverty, huddling in doorways to find shelter from the wind.
renounce upon oath; abandon forever He will abjure his allegiance to the king.
ablution washing or cleansing of the body, especially as part of religious rite His ablution was accompanied by loud noises that he humorously labeled "Opera in the Bath.".
abnegation repudiation; self-sacrifice; renouncing your own interests in favor of interests of others No act of abnegation was more pronounced than his refusal of any rewards for his discovery.
abode act of waiting; delay; stay or continuance in a place I shall take up my abode in a religious house near Lisle -- a nunnery you would call it; there I shall be quiet and unmolested.
abolish cancel; put an end to; destroy completely In a letter to the British government, the EU has demanded that Britain abolish laws protecting religious freedom rights with regards to "sexual orientation."
abominable detestable; extremely unpleasant; very bad Mary liked John until she learned he was dating Susan; then she called him an abominable young man.
aboriginal being the first of its kind in a region; primitive; native Her studies of the primitive art forms of the aboriginal Indians were widely reported in the scientific journals.
abortive unsuccessful; failing to accomplish an intended objective; fruitless They warmed themselves beside these great hearthfires; they tried their powers in abortive creations, in work laid aside and taken up again with new glow of enthusiasm.atize Beijing peacefully.
abrasive rubbing away; tending to grind down Ash can also cause long-term abrasive damage to planes that could lead to later disasters if not dealt with.
abridge condense; shorten; reduce length of written text Because the publishers felt the public wanted a shorter version of War and Peace, they proceeded to abridge the novel.
abrogate abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority He intended to abrogate the decree issued by his predecessor.
abscond leave quickly and secretly and hide oneself, often to avoid arrest or prosecution The teller who did abscond with the bonds went un-captured until someone recognized him from his photograph on "America's Most Wanted.".
absolute perfect in quality or nature; complete; totally unlimited; certain Although the King was an absolute monarch, he did not want to behead his unfaithful wife without certain evidence.
absolve let off hook; relieve of requirement or obligation I absolve you from this responsibility.
abstemious sparing or moderation in eating and drinking; temperate Concerned whether her vegetarian son's abstemious diet provided him with sufficient protein, the worried mother pressed food on him.
abstinence restraint from eating or drinking; refraining from indulging appetite or desire The doctor recommended total abstinence from salted foods.
abstract theoretical; not concrete; not applied or practical; difficult to understand To him, hunger was an abstract concept; he had never missed a meal.
abstruse obscure; profound; difficult to understand. She carries around abstruse works of philosophy, not because she understands them but because she wants her friends to think she does.
abusive coarsely insulting; physically harmful; characterized by improper or wrongful use There has been abusive language on both sides that never want to get agreement from beginning.
abut border upon; adjoin; touch or end at one end or side; lie adjacent Where our estates abut, we must build a fence.
abysmal bottomless; very profound; limitless; very bad She spent hours sitting alone, in abysmal misery, because it seemed to be in plain sight, yet she couldn't define it.
abyss enormous chasm; vast bottomless pit; any deep, immeasurable space; hell Are we to believe that the only thing between us and the abyss is the size of the deficit, and the more the government borrows, the better off we shall be?
academic related to school; not practical or directly useful; relating to scholarly organization; based on formal education The dean's talk about reforming the college admissions system was only an academic discussion.
accede agree; give consent, often at insistence of another; concede The idea that one of the two chief executives should eventually accede to the role, as has happened in the past, would raise fresh doubts about the board's independence.
accelerate move faster; cause to develop or progress more quickly; occur sooner than expected Demand for Taiwanese goods likely will accelerate from the second quarter, as strong Asian demand offsets the effects of a U.S. slowdown.
accessible easily approached or entered; obtainable; easy to talk to or get along with Simon and James will no longer be posting to The Hearing; however, all previous posts will remain accessible here.
accessory additional object; useful but not essential thing; subordinate or supplementary item Another accessory is a tripod, which is needed to prevent camera shake especially when the shutter speed drops below tenth second at a wide angle shot.
acclaim applaud; announce with great approval The NBC sportscasters acclaim every American victory in the Olympics and decried every American defeat.
acclimate accustom or become accustomed to a new environment or situation; adapt One of the difficulties of our present air age is the need of travelers to acclimate themselves to their new and often strange environments.
acclivity upward slope, as of hill The car would not go up the acclivity in high gear.
accolade award of merit; expression of approval; praise In Hollywood, an "Oscar" is the highest accolade.
accommodate do a favor or service for; provide for; supply with; make suitable; adapt; allow for As for the stage in the public auditorium, it can easily be adjusted to accommodate from a full-scale musical production to one by a solo vocalist.
partner in crime; associate in wrongdoing Because your accomplice is an anonymous stranger, it's safer than asking a friend to participate in your ruse.
accord settlement or compromise of conflicting opinions; written agreement between two states Although the accord is a small step forward, politicians around the world have their work cut out for them.
accost approach and speak to boldly or aggressively, as with demand or request When the two young men wanted to accost me, I was frightened because I thought they were going to attack me.
accretion growth or increase in size by gradual external addition, fusion, or inclusion The accretion of wealth marked the family's rise in power.
accrue increase, accumulate, or come about as a result of growth; accumulate over time The Premier League awards three points for a win and one for a draw, so in a 38-game season the maximum a team can accrue is 114 points.
acerbity bitterness of speech and temper; sourness or acidness of taste, character, or tone The meeting of the United Nations General Assembly was marked with such acerbity that informed sources held out little hope of reaching any useful settlement of the problem.
acetic having properties of vinegar; sour The salad had an exceedingly acetic flavor.
acidulous slightly sour in taste or in manner; sharp; caustic James was unpopular because of his sarcastic and acidulous remarks.
acknowledge declare to be true or admit; express obligation, thanks Although I acknowledge that the Beatles' tunes sound pretty dated today, I still prefer them to the songs my brothers play.
acme the highest point or level, as of achievement or development; maturity or perfection of animal His success in this role marked the acme of his career as an actor.
acne skin condition, usually of the face, that is common in adolescents, characterized by red pimples, caused by inflammation General Hospital, said The root cause of acne is a lipid-rich gland, the sebaceous gland, which sits a few millimetres below the surface of the skin.
acoustics science of sound; quality that makes a room easy or hard to hear in Carnegie Hall is liked by music lovers because of its fine acoustics.
acquiesce assent; agree without protesting Although she appeared to acquiesce to her employer's suggestions, I could tell she had reservations about the changes he wanted made.
acquittal state of being found or proved not guilty; judgment of not guilty His acquittal by the jury surprised those who had thought him guilty.
acrid unpleasantly sharp or bitter to taste or smell; bitterly pungent The air seemed to have different grades of warmth and chill in it; they were passing a farmyard with strong-smelling, acrid from the sour smell of manure.
acrimonious bitter and sharp in language, tone, or manner The candidate attacked his opponent in highly acrimonious terms.
acrophobia fear of heights; abnormal fear of high places A born salesman, he could convince someone with a bad case of acrophobia to sign up for a life membership in a sky-diving club.
actuarial calculating; pertaining to insurance statistics According to recent actuarial tables, life expectancy is greater today than it was a century ago.
actuate put into motion or action; activate I fail to understand what might actuate you to reply to this letter so nastily.
acuity sharpness; acuteness of vision or perception; keenness In time his youthful acuity of vision failed him, and he needed glasses.
acumen mental keenness; quickness of perception However, her team's political acumen is clearly beyond mine, an Ivy League Medical Science Professor and NOT a Political "Science" Professor.
acute quickly perceptive; keen; having a sharp point or tip; extremely sharp or severe Her early writing was grounded in acute observation of the natural world.
wise saying; brief familiar proverb; expression of popular wisdom After reflecting on how I felt a year ago during the election itself and how I feel now, I do have to say that the old adage is true: governing is harder than campaigning.
adamant extremely hard; inflexible; stubbornly unyielding Speaker Pelosi came out of that meeting, and she was once again adamant about saying a public option must be in the bill.
adapt make fit for; change to suit a new purpose One way to adapt is to become smaller, generation by generation.
addendum something added or to be added, especially a supplement to a book The date on the bottom of the addendum is April 2007.
addiction compulsive physiological and psychological need for a substance; being abnormally dependent on something No matter what form we find it in, addiction is not fun; drugs, alcohol, overeating, overworking, smoking or sex.
addle muddle; drive crazy; become confused This idiotic plan is confusing enough to addle anyone.
adept expert at; very skilled; having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude Mr. Williams was known as an adept improviser who effortlessly switched between classical, jazz and pop styles.
adhere stick fast; stick to firmly; be compatible or in accordance with That is why the claying is necessary; it makes the grain adhere to the earth, otherwise it would float.
adherent person who adheres; one who follows or upholds a leader, party, cause In the wake of the scandal, John, the senator's one-time adherent, quickly deserted him.
adjacent adjoining; neighboring; close to; lying near Philip's best friend Jason lived only four houses down the block, close but not immediately adjacent.
adjunct something added on or attached generally nonessential or inferior Although I don't absolutely need a second computer, I plan to buy a laptop to serve as an adjunct to my desktop model.
warn; counsel someone against something to be avoided I would again admonish the reader carefully to consider the nature of our doctrine.
adorn enhance or decorate with or as if with ornaments This small icon indicates that the plastic yard sign they adorn is either recyclable.
adroit skillful and adept under pressing conditions I should work in adroit references to this evening's speeches.
adulation excessive flattery or admiration; unmerited praise The rock star thrived on the adulation of his groupies and yes men.
adulterate make impure by adding inferior or tainted substances It is a crime to adulterate foods without informing the buyer.
advent coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important Reasoning by analogy, we can come to no other conclusion, unless their advent is anticipated by the arrival of ready-made colonists from the more advanced earth, like ourselves.
adventitious accidental; casual; not inherent but added extrinsically He found this adventitious meeting with his friend extremely fortunate.
adversary opponent in contest; someone who offers opposition The young wrestler struggled to defeat his adversary.
adverse in opposing direction; harmful or unfavorable; acting or serving to oppose The recession had a highly adverse effect on father's investment portfolio: he lost so much money that he could no longer afford the house.
adversity state of misfortune, hardship, or affliction; misfortune A young boy who's strength in adversity is an inspiration to all who know him.
advocacy support; active pleading on behalf of something No threats could dissuade Bishop Desmond Tutu from his advocacy of the human rights of black South Africans.
advocate speak, plead, or argue in favour of; plead for; push for something The some doctors advocate a smoking ban in the entire house.
aesthetic elegant or tasteful; of or concerning appreciation of beauty or good taste Kenneth Cole, the American designer known for his modern, urban aesthetic, is hawking $35 Tshirts.
affable easily approachable; warmly friendly Accustomed to cold, aloof supervisors, Nicholas was amazed at how affable his new employer was.
affected speaking or behaving in artificial way; emotionally stirred or moved; infected or attacked The other boys laughed so unmercifully at what they termed my affected accent.
affidavit written statement made under oath This is an official affidavit from the court and it is saying that the whole thing was a hoax.
affiliation partnership; alliance; association in the same family or society This affiliation is a way for us to be able to provide our clients with the full spectrum of services and expertise they need.
affinity natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship; relationship by marriage She felt an affinity with all who suffered; their pains were her pains.
affirmation positive assertion; confirmation; solemn pledge by one who refuses to take an oath Despite Tom's affirmation of innocence, Aunt Polly still suspected he had eaten the pie.
affliction cause or condition of pain, suffering, or distress Even in the midst of her affliction, Elizabeth tried to keep up the spirits of those around her.
affluence abundance; a plentiful supply of material goods; wealth Foreigners are amazed by the affluence and luxury of the American way of life.
affront insult; offense; intentional act of disrespect When Mrs. Proudie was not seated beside the Archdeacon at the head table, she took it as a personal affront and refused to speak to her hosts for a week.
agenda items of business at a meeting; list or program of things to be done or considered His agenda is certainly different from the President's and the administration's, but we will seek additional opportunities to work together with him.
collection; heap; act or process of gathering into a mass It took weeks to assort the agglomeration of miscellaneous items she had collected on her trip.
aggrandize increase scope of; extend; intensify; make greater in power, influence, stature, or reputation The history of the past quarter century illustrates how a President may aggrandize his power to act aggressively in international affairs without considering the wishes of Congress.
aggregate gather into a mass, sum, or whole; amount to Before the Wall Street scandals, dealers managed to aggregate great wealth in short periods of time.
aghast struck by shock, terror, or amazement The film grabs you by the throat so that any feeling of being aghast is contained – and you hold on to that feeling up to the very last scene.
agility mentally quick; moving quickly and lightly The agility of the acrobat amazed and thrilled the audience.
agitate cause to move with violence or sudden force; upset; disturb Since President has now announced that Emergency, the only demand that the lawyers can now agitate is the restoration of the old Supreme Court.
agnostic one who is skeptical of existence of a god or any ultimate reality William's presence by so much as a purr or a claw, and I have noticed that the agnostic is the only creature living who can treat a preacher with so much contempt.
agrarian pertaining to land or its cultivation; relating to agricultural or rural matters The economic relationship between the two nations has expanded during the past decade amid China's economic boom and Argentina's rise in agrarian production.
alacrity cheerful promptness or willingness; eagerness; speed or quickness Phil and Dave were raring to get off to the mountains; they packed up their ski gear and climbed into the van with alacrity.
alchemy medieval chemistry; magical or mysterious power or process of transforming The changing of baser metals into gold was the goal of the students of alchemy in medieval.
alcove nook; small, recessed section of a room In front of centre window in alcove is a small table on which is a parlour lamp, and some newspapers, including the "New York Sun."
alias assumed name; another name; name that has been assumed temporarily Since the alias is already defined in our management pack it should work fine.
alienate cause to become unfriendly or hostile; transfer property or ownership; isolate or dissociate emotionally We could not see what should again alienate us from one another, or how one brother could again oppress another.
alimentary providing nourishment; concerned with food, nutrition, or digestion The alimentary canal in our bodies is so named because digestion of foods occurs there.
alimony payment by a husband to his divorced wife, or vice versa Also, payer and payee can't file joint tax returns in the same year alimony is paid.
allay calm; pacify; reduce the intensity of; relieve The crew tried to allay the fears of the passengers by announcing that the fire had been controlled.
allege state without proof; assert to be true If what Justice Department prosecutors allege is true, the five guards should have to answer for what happened on Sept. 16, 2007.
allegiance loyalty to a nation, sovereign, or cause; fidelity to any person or thing; devotion They didn't want to salute the flag, saying that kind of allegiance is only for God.
allegory symbolic representation of abstract ideas or principles in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the temptations and victories of man's soul.
alleviate provide physical relief, as from pain; make easier; remove in part This should alleviate the pain; if it does not, we shall have to use stronger drugs.
alliteration repetition of beginning sound in poetry "The furrow followed free" is an example of alliteration.
allocate assign; distribute according to plan Even though the Red Cross did allocate a large sum for the relief of the sufferers of the disaster, many people perished.
combine; mix; make less pure; lessen or moderate Our concern for Dwight Gooden, who injured his pitching arm in the game, will alloy our delight at the Yankees' victory.
allude refer casually or indirectly, or by suggestion Try not to mention divorce in Jack's presence because he will think you allude to his marital problems with Jill.
allure attract with something desirable; be highly, often subtly attractive Promises of quick profits allure the unwary investor.
aloft in or into a high place; high or higher up It tried to remain aloft, but its flying grew wild and reckless.
altercation noisy quarrel; contention in words; dispute carried on with heat or anger; controversy So loud were their voices raised in altercation that the storm without was scarce heeded.
altruistic unselfishly generous; concerned for others In providing tutorial assistance and college scholarships for hundreds of economically disadvantaged youths, Eugene Lang performed a truly altruistic deed.
amalgamate combine; unite in one body; mix or alloy a metal with mercury The unions will attempt to amalgamate their groups into one national body.
amass collect; gather for oneself, as for one's pleasure or profit The miser's aim is to amass and hoard as much gold as possible.
ambidextrous capable of using either hand with equal ease A switch-hitter in baseball should be naturally ambidextrous.
ambience particular environment or surrounding influence; atmosphere of environment A certain ambience is lost when you choose a tampon over a cocktail glass at a party.
ambiguous unclear or doubtful in meaning His ambiguous instructions misled us; we did not know which road to take.
ambivalence state of having contradictory or conflicting emotional attitudes, such as love and hate Torn between loving her parents one minute and hating them the next, she was confused by the ambivalence of her feelings.
amble moving at an easy pace; walk slowly or leisurely When she first mounted the horse, she was afraid to urge the animal to go faster than a gentle amble.
ambrosia something with delicious flavor or fragrance; fruit dessert made of oranges and bananas with shredded coconut Hughes got a taste of that ambrosia, and he'll never forget the satisfaction it brings.
ambulatory able to walk; formed or adapted for walking; not stationary Juan was a highly ambulatory patient; not only did he refuse to be confined to bed, but he insisted on riding his skateboard up and down the halls.
ambush disposition or arrangement of troops for attacking an enemy unexpectedly from a concealed station They separated into three hostile tribes, and darted upon each other from ambush with dreadful war-whoops, and killed each other by thousands.
ameliorate make or become better; improve; grow better Many social workers have attempted to ameliorate the conditions of people living in the slums.
amenable responsive to advice or suggestion; responsible to higher authority; willing to comply with; agreeable He was amenable to any suggestions that came from those he looked up to.
amend change for the better; improve; remove faults or errors Would McCain amend executive orders to ensure that communications between persons outside government and White House staff are disclosed to the public?
amenities convenient features; courtesies In addition to the customary amenities for the business traveler-fax machines, modems, a health club-the hotel offers the services of a butler versed in the social courtesies.
amiable good-natured and likable; lovable; warmly friendly In Little Women, Beth is the amiable daughter whose loving disposition endears her to all who know her.
amicable exhibiting friendliness or goodwill; not quarrelsome Beth's sister Jo is the hot-tempered tomboy who has a hard time maintaining amicable relations with those around her.
out of proper order; not in perfect shape; faulty I knew that weapons would not come in amiss, and I re-entered his room to get his rifle and shotgun.
amity friendship; peaceful relations, as between nations Student exchange programs such as the Experiment in International Living were established to promote international amity.
amnesia partial or total loss of memory, usually resulting from shock or illness Selective amnesia is a politically valuable trait.
amnesty general pardon granted by government, especially for political offenses If the amnesty is approved by parliament, it will apply to capital stashed in off-shore tax havens up to the end of last year.
amoral lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong. Compared with evil immorality, being amoral is more like being naughty.
amorous moved by sexual love; loving "Love them and leave them" was the motto of the amorous Don Juan.
amorphous formless; lacking shape or definition As soon as we have decided on our itinerary, we shall send you a copy; right now, our plans are still amorphous.
amphibian able to live both on land and in water Frogs are classified as amphibian.
amphitheater oval building with tiers of seats from central open space or arena The spectators in the amphitheater cheered the gladiators.
ample more than enough in size or scope or capacity; fairly large They insist that food are being provided to the Palestinians in ample supplies, and that the only way to weaken Hamas is to maintain the blockade.
amputate cut off part of body, especially by surgery; prune When the doctors had to amputate the young man's leg to prevent the spread of cancer, he did not let the loss of a limb keep him from participating in sports.
object worn, especially around neck, as a charm against evil or injury; charm In Thailand, the Jatukam Ramathep amulet is popular with everyone from Bangkok bankers to village taxi drivers.
analgesic serving to reduce sensibility to pain without loss of consciousness The analgesic qualities of this lotion will provide temporary relief.
analogous comparable; similar or alike She called our attention to the things that had been done in an analogous situation and recommended that we do the same.
analogy similarity in some respects; comparison based on similarity This analogy is almost always noted without further comment, although in fact it may be taken further.
anarchist person who seeks to overturn established government; advocate of abolishing authority Denying she was an anarchist, Katya maintained she wished only to make changes in our government, not to destroy it entirely.
anarchy absence of governing body; state of disorder; political disorder and confusion One might say that eastern Congo is already in anarchy, but Congo has faded from the headlines in recent months.
anathema solemn curse; someone or something regarded as a curse To the Ayatolla, America and the West were anathema; he loathed the democratic nations, cursing them in his dying words.
ancestry family descent; series or line of ancestors; lineage David can trace his ancestry as far back as the seventeenth century, when one of them was a court trumpeter somewhere in Germany.
anchor secure or fasten firmly; be fixed in place; narrate or coordinate We set the post in concrete to anchor it in place.
ancillary serving as aid or accessory; auxiliary In an ancillary capacity, Doctor Watson was helpful; however, Holmes could not trust the good doctor to solve a perplexing case on his own.
anecdote short account of amusing or interesting event; short narrative; secret story of history or biography Of all the millions who are moved by this historic occasion, while I am amongst these, my anecdote
is and would be far less remarkable.
anemia condition in which blood lacks red corpuscles; deficiency of red blood cells; lack of vitality Long standing illnesses often result in anemia, loss of weight and occasional bleeding from the stomach.
anesthetic substance that causes loss of sensation; producing temporary loss or impairment of feeling His monotonous voice acted like an anesthetic; his audience was soon asleep.
anguish agonizing physical or mental pain; extreme suffering Visiting the site of the explosion, the governor wept to see the anguish of the victims and their families.
angular sharp-cornered; consisting of an angle or angles; stiff in manner Mr. Spock's features, though angular, were curiously attractive, in a Vulcan way.
animated having life or vigor or spirit; filled with activity; in form of cartoon On entering his room I found Holmes in animated conversation with two men.
animosity bitter hostility; active hatred; hostile feeling or act I've worked for Bill Clinton for years, and Bill Clinton, another Democrat who pushed socially responsible programs, got a lot of animosity from the right.
animus feeling of enmity or ill will; attitude that informs one's actions; disposition The animus of the speaker became obvious to all when he began to indulge in sarcastic and insulting remarks.
annals chronological record of the events of successive years In the annals of this period, we find no mention of democratic movements.
annex append or attach; take possession of; incorporate into an existing political unit Mexico objected to the United States' attempts to annex the territory that later became the state of Texas.
annihilate destroy completely; reduce to nonexistence The enemy in its revenge tried to annihilate the entire population.
annotate comment; make explanatory notes In the appendix to the novel, the editor sought to annotate many of the author's more esoteric
annuity annual payment of allowance or income; periodical payment, amounting to a fixed sum in each year The annuity he setup with the insurance company supplements his social security benefits so that he can live very comfortably without working.
annul make or declare void or invalid; reduce to nothing The parents of the eloped couple tried to annul the marriage.
anodyne source of relaxation or comfort; medicine that relieves pain The sound of classical music is usually just anodyne I need after a tough day at work.
anoint apply oil or similar substance to; put oil on during religious ceremony as a sign of sanctification or consecration. He described how the prophet Samuel to anoint David with oil, crown him king of Israel.
anomalous deviating from normal or common order, form, or rule He was placed in the anomalous position of seeming to approve procedures which he despised.
anomaly irregularity; person or something that is unusual; departure from normal or common order No doubt, this anomaly is the result of the uncertain international environment and high interest rates.
anonymity state of being nameless; one that is unknown or unacknowledged In my view, death in anonymity is the ultimate insult to human dignity.
antagonism active resistance; condition of being an opposing principle, force, or factor Barry showed his antagonism toward his new stepmother by ignoring her whenever she tried talking to him.
antecede precede; go before in time, and sometimes in place, rank, or logical order The invention of the radiotelegraph should antecede the development of television by a quarter of a century.
antecedents preceding events or circumstances that influence what comes later; ancestors or early background Smuggled out of Germany and adopted by a Christian family, she knew nothing of her birth and antecedents until she was reunited with her family in 1989.
antiquated; extremely old and ancient; belonging to very ancient times Looking at his great aunt's antique furniture, which must have been cluttering up her attic since the time of Noah's flood, the young heir exclaimed, "Heavens! How positively antediluvian!".
anthem song of praise or patriotism; song of devotion or loyalty Let us now all join in singing the national anthem.
anthology book of literary selections by various authors This anthology of science fiction was compiled by the late Isaac Asimov.
anthropoid manlike; resembling a human, especially in shape or outward appearance The gorilla is the strongest of the anthropoid animals.
anthropologist one who studies history and science of mankind Eighty-three years ago, an anthropologist from the Field Museum dug up the remains of 22 people from marked graves in Labrador, Canada.
anthropomorphic having human form or characteristics Primitive religions often have deities with anthropomorphic characteristics.
anticlimax letdown in thought or emotion; decline viewed in disappointing contrast with previous rise After the fine performance in the first act, the rest of the play was an anticlimax.
antidote medicine to counteract a poison or disease; agent that relieves or counteracts They believe that because this anti-heroin antidote is what finally worked with some of the victims.
antipathy strong feeling of aversion; dislike Tom's extreme antipathy for disputes keeps him from getting into arguments with his temperamental wife.
antiquated too old to be fashionable, suitable, or useful; obsolete; aged We are tolerably conversant with the early English poets; and can discover no resemblance whatever, except in antiquated spelling and a few obsolete words.