A

Essential Vocabulary

Antithesis

Definition: the exact opposite; completely different from

Part of speech: noun

Example: This president's actions are the antithesis of everything I stand for!

Ambience

Definition: How your surroundings make you feel.

Part of speech: noun (from the French)

Example: I go out to eat for the ambience. I love the candles on the table and the soft music playing!

Arrogant

Definition: To feel that you are better than others.

Part of speech: adjective (ARROGANCE, noun)

Example: No one could tolerate the arrogant student.  He said he is better at math than his teacher! 

Ambiguous

Definition: Something that can be understood in more than just one way.

Part of speech: adjective (AMBIVALENCE, noun)

Example: The woman hated her husband's ambiguous answers.  When she asked him "Do you love me?" He would answer "I've never known anyone like you before in my life."

Altruistic

Definition: Describes one who likes to do things to help fellow human beings, esp. give money

Part of speech: adjective (ALTRUISM, noun)

Example: The rich man's children were upset that their father was too altruistic. He was planning to give all his money to charity. 

B

Benign

Definition: Harmless; esp. in medicine

Part of speech: adjective 

Example: Fortunately, the tumor was benign, not malignant.

C

clandestine

Definition: secretive, esp. official or military

Part of speech: adjective 

Example: The operation to take out Osbama Bin Laden was a clandestine mission.  Not even Pakistani authorities were informed.  

D

Detrimental

Definition: to have potentially negative results

Part of speech: adjective (detriment, noun)

Example: Watching TV can be detrimental to a student's academic success.