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ACT Vocab

abstract adj not like anything physical; not representing a physical object; related to thought or imagination as opposed to nature. Opposite of concrete.
absurdity n the state of being ridiculously impossible
acknowledge vt to admit to be true
acute adj 1. in geometry, less that 90° and therefore pointed and sharp; keen 2. immediate and in need of attention; said of a disease. Opposite of chronic
aesthetic adj artsy; related to beauty or excellence
aesthetic n a standard for judging something’s goodness
affluence n wealth
agenda n plan of accomplishments and the time needed to perform them
allegedly adv according to what people say but unproven
ambiguity n ability to be understood in either of two ways
ample adj adequate; plentiful; abundant
analogy n comparison; a way to show how one thing is like another
anomaly n something that doesn’t fit or belong and can’t be explained
apathy n lack of feeling
arbitrary adj chosen at random; having no pattern
articulate v to say something clearly and in detail
assert vi to state strongly
assertion n a statement made strongly
authoritative adj confident; sounding as if an expert had said it
auxiliary adj additional; used as a substitute in case of need
breadth n width, wide range or extent
chaos n complete confusion or disorder
chronic adj ongoing; across time. Opposite of acute
chronological adj arranged in date or time order
cite v to show the source of
coherence n logical connection and clearness
coherent adj logically connected
collaborating vi to work together with
commendable adj worthy of praise
compellingly adv in a manner that causes someone to consider believing
concede vt to admit
concise adj efficient with words; saying what needs to be said in as few words as possible.
concrete adj looking like something physical; representing a physical object; related to nature, as opposed to thought or imagination. Opposite of abstract.
condescension n the act of lowering oneself to do something considered too “low”
confer vi to talk with on a particular subject
conformity n the act of going along with what everybody else is doing
connote vt to cause to think about, as opposed to plainly stating. Opposite of denote.
consequence n result; what follows due to something that went before
consequently adv as a result
consistent adj 1. the same throughout; fair 2. in harmony; having the same principles
contemporary n someone who lived at the same time
context n the sentence that surround the words
controversial adj causing much discussion or scandal
conversely adv in the opposite order
convey vt to make known; to serve as a means of communication
correlate vt to show how one thing relates to another
cosmopolitan adj worldly; educated in the ways of the world
counter vt to oppose in response
criterion n a standard or reason for judgment.
cryptic adj with a hidden meaning (its root word is crypt, meaning “hiding place”)
defiantly adv with an oppositional attitude.
definitive adj 1. the qualities that make something what it is 2. the most nearly complete and accurate
delete vt to take out; remove (said of words)
deletion n the act of marking something out
denote vt to state plainly; to give an exact meaning. Opposite of connote.
derive vt to arrive at by computing or thinking
deterrence n something that keeps people from doing something
detached adj neither on one side nor the other; objective; without bias; not “attached” to one side of an argument
deterrence n something that keeps people from doing something
detract vi to reduce the quality of
dialect n a form of language used by people of a certain region or group
dilemma n a choice between two confusing alternatives
diligent adj hard-working
discern vt to recognize as separate or different
disdainful adj showing lack of respect
dispel vt to get rid of
dissonance n unmatched, disturbing sounds; lack of harmony
distract vt to draw attention away
diverse adj having parts that are unlike each other
drawback n disadvantage of doing something; reason not to do something
dry adj reserved and subtle, as opposed to broad and obvious (said of a sense of humor)
eclectic adj having components from a wide variety of sources
editorial adj having the qualities an editor might add, as opposed to fact-based news stories
eloquent adj graceful and skillful of speech
eminent adj famous; outstanding
emphatically adv with great emphasis
enumerate vt to count out one by one
escapist adj literature or art that rejects the routine of the real world
establishment n “The powers that be”—those who by their wealth or power make the social rules
evaluative adj helping to judge
evoke vt to bring to the mind or the senses
explanatory adj explaining; giving details about something in order to make it easier to understand
explicit adj obvious and detailed
extent n a place as far as
façade n false face; front; shallow covering of the real thing
facet n a particular side, as of a jewel; aspect
factual adj based on proven knowledge
faculty n individual parts that make up a whole person or institution
feign vt to pretend; to fake
fictitious adj made up, as opposed to factual
figuratively adv in a way; so to speak; in a way that people understand but not literally true
finding n what someone has found after much research. Usually plural: findings
foresight n the ability to understand beforehand, to “foresee”
formality n “dressed-up”-ness; the degree to which something follows social rules
format n shape, size, and general arrangement of a book, magazine, or other presentation
frenzied adj with hysterical agitation; wild
frivolous adj not serious; silly
furthermore adv in addition
generalities n the big ideas or qualities that smaller ideas share
generalization n an overall big idea drawn from a bunch of smaller ideas
generalize vi to state the qualities that different things or ideas have in common
generate vt to cause to be made
genre n category
glib adj quick-witted; smooth-tongued
humanitarian adj having to do with those who serve mankind
hypothesis n the unproven idea you start out with before you prove something
idealistic adj expecting the best; identified by ideals, rather than dreads
ideological adj having to do with ideas, their nature and source
Idiomatic adj unique in language and thought; setting its own standard
illogical adj lacking logic; not making sense
illustrative adj so descriptive that it draws a mental picture
imminent adj on its way; about to arrive
implication n the idea a person gives without saying it directly
imply vt to give an idea indirectly, without coming out and saying
impose vt to cause unnecessary trouble to
inaccurate adj wrong; faulty
inadvertently adv without having been planned; by not being careful
incentive n a reward or prize offered to get someone to behave a certain way
Inclination n leaning; tendency
inconsistency n lack of “sameness”; difference in substance or texture
inconstant adj unsteady; wavering
indication n hint; sign
Indifference n absence of caring
inevitable adj unavoidable
inexplicably adv “un-explain-ably”
infer v to come up with an idea based on what someone said
inference n an idea that comes from what someone else said
influential adj having influence; having “pull”
ingenious adj clever and inventive
ingenuous adj innocent, trusting, simple
inherent adj built-in naturally
initial adj first; at the beginning
inquiry n question-asking
insight n ability to see or understand the inner nature
insignificant adj unimportant; too small to matter
insinuate vt to hint or suggest indirectly
insistently adv refusing to give up
Insufficient adj not enough
intent adj determined to; focused
intent n purpose
intently adv with great concentration
interpretation n way of saying something in a different language or for a different listener
intolerant adj unwilling or unable to put up with
intricacies n complicated details
intricate adj delicate and complicated
intrigue vt to fascinate
irreconcilable adv un-matchable; that cannot be brought into agreement
irrelevant adj unrelated; not important to the matter at hand
irrevocable adj unchangeable
likewise adv in the same way
longstanding adj having been established a long time
lyricism n graceful, musical quality
mainstream n majority; common idea
mandate v to cause to be demanded
means n stuff needed; way
mediocre adj neither high- nor low-quality; in-between; average
melancholy adj sad and thoughtful; gloomy
mere adj only; nothing more or other than
meticulous adj picky and extremely careful
minuscule adj very tiny
mischievous adj fond of playing jokes and causing harmless trouble
misconception n mistaken idea
momentous adj important in a life-changing way
mutual adj as much from one side as the other; agreeable to both sides; from both sides
narrative n the telling of a story
nevertheless adv unlike what you might expect; nonetheless
nonetheless adv unlike what you might expect; nevertheless
nostalgia n an emotional feeling about the past
noteworthy adj worth paying attention to
notion n small part of an idea
obscure adj hard to find
obscure vt to hide
obtuse adj dull; not sharp; said of an angle that is greater than 90° because it isn’t “sharp”
omission n the leaving out of something
omit vt to leave out
on behalf of prep for the sake of; to represent
one-dimensional adj having neither depth nor width; a spot only, without any development
onus n burden
outset n beginning; the place from which one “sets out”
paradox n the relationship between two statements that do not seem to be able to be true at the same time
parenthetical adj 1. inside parentheses: words inside curved marks (like those around these words) 2. that which is said off to the side; not the main idea but one that is worth sneaking in
perceptual adj relying on the senses, as opposed to the mind
phenomenal adj like nothing else; unique
philosophy n way of thinking that guides other thoughts and actions
plagiarism n the using of someone else’s words or ideas without giving that person credit; stealing words or ideas
populace n the people of a region or group
populous n having a large population
portray vt to display from a certain viewpoint
preceding adj the one that went before; previous
precisely adv exactly
preconceived adj already thought of
previous adj that which came before; preceding
progressive adj socially or culturally different from a mainstream idea
quasi prefix sort of; somewhat
quintessential adj the absolute basic
randomly adv not in any predictable order
rational adj based on thought, not feeling; reasonable
redundancy n words that are unnecessary because they have been stated in another way
redundant adj unnecessary because they have been stated in another way
reinforce vt to make stronger
relevant adj related to the important idea
reluctantly adv not wanting to
remnant n leftover piece
remote adj away from everything else
replenish vt to fill back up; to restore to its original volume
resemblance n “looking-alike-ness”
resistant to adj able to avoid being infected or taken in by
resolution n strength of will
resonate vi to spread a sound or an idea
resources n qualities or material that can be used
respectively adv in the same order as the items on the other list
revel v to enjoy indulgently
reverent adj treating with great respect, as if holy
revisionist adj trying to change the accepted idea
rift n a space that divides
rudimentary adj just enough to get by
sacrilege n a supreme insult to something held holy
sanctuary n 1. a place that provides protection and safety because it has been set aside by a religious authority 2. the status of someone who depends on the protection of a sanctuary
sapling n a young tree
satellite n something that orbits around something else
saturation n being so full that it is impossible to hold any more
scholarly adv like someone who enjoys school; academic; bookish
scrutinize vt to examine closely
scrutiny n careful observation
seascape n a painting or drawing of the sea and features in it or nearby; compare to landscape
seemingly adv apparently; giving the appearance of
selectively adv in a picky, careful way
seminal adj a basic part of what comes after
sensory adj having to do with seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, or feeling (as opposed to thinking)
sentiment n an expression of feeling; an opinion colored by emotion
serenity n the state of being serene: beautifully calm
shrill adj high, piercing, and grating on the ear
shrub n any bushy plant, smaller than a tree, often used for decoration or as a fence
shun vt to avoid deliberately and systematically
simultaneous adj occurring at the same time
singular adj unusual; not like anything else
site n a place where something happened or is planned to be
sit-in n a form of protest in which participants sit in a targeted place until their demands are met.
sizable adj big
skepticism n tendency to doubt
slogan n a saying that identifies a movement or person
social order n “the way things are”; the unwritten rules for how a society works
solace n emotional comfort
sovereign adj all-powerful; in control of the entire unit
specific adj exact; of a particular kind
speculate vi to invest money or ideas in something you aren’t sure about; to gamble
spin-off n a TV show originated as a feature of another TV show
stable adj staying the same; neither getting better nor worse
stationary adj staying in one place
stationery n specialized, fine quality paper for writing letters and notes
status n current state of being
stereotypical adj matching what people expect because of one trait
stifle vt to repress; to hold down
subjective adj based on feelings and not on fact
succession n a series
succumb vi to fall a victim (to)
superficial adj only on the surface; not deep
superimpose vt to lay (something) on top of something else
sustenance n that which sustains; the stuff that keeps something alive
syndicated adj a group of similar businesses owned by one company
syringe n a device for putting a small amount of a liquid into a small space, like a medicine into a vein
taut adj tightly stretched
taxed with vt given the responsibility for
tenet n any opinion , principle, or doctrine that a person or group holds
terra firma n Latin for “solid earth”
terrestrial adj having to do with the earth
theorize vi to propose an explanation for
thereafter adv from then on; starting at that point and then going on
thus adv 1. like this; in this way 2. therefore; because of what has just been said
timber n trees that have been felled and are to be used for wood for furniture, paper, etc.
tirade n a long speech in which the speaker fusses or complains
toxin n a poison that comes from a plant or animal
trajectory n the curved path of something hurtling through space
transcend vt to go beyond or above
transition n a graceful easing from one thing to another
translucent adj able to let light through but diffusing it enough to conceal any object behind it
treason n an act of betrayal against one’s own country
typesetting n the art of placing tiny metal letters and numbers in place to be covered with ink and pressed against paper to make a printed page
tyranny n any government controlled by a single person
tyrant n one who has absolute power over a country
uncanny adj “un-explainable”; something for which no one knows the reason
unparalleled adj unmatched; too extreme to be equaled
unprecedented adj original; having nothing similar that came before
unsolicited adj “un-asked-for”
urgency n need for action
urn n a large vase, sometimes with a lid
vaccine n a preventive medicine made from the disease-causing essence itself; by introducing a small amount of the germ into the body, the body forms antibodies to fight the disease, and can thus resist further exposure to the disease.
vindicate vt to prove innocent after having been blamed
visionary n one who imagines how the future can be
vivid adj strongly colored; standing out from the background
voluptuous adj heavily fleshed in a beautiful way
vulnerable adj easily wounded or hurt
wherefore conj why; for what reason
whimsy n a lighthearted, playful attitude
withdrawn adj shy; staying away from people
worldview n an overall way of looking at the world
Created by: serverge