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The Century Vocabulary Builder by Creever & Bachelor

Part 4 out of 7

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lung, pulmonary bone, osseous hair, hirsute
tearful, lachrymose early, primitive sweet, dulcet,
sweet, saccharine young, juvenile bloody, sanguinary
deadly, mortal red, florid bank, riparian
hard, arduous wound, vulnerable written, graphic
spotless, immaculate sell, mercenary son, filial
salt, saline meal, farinaceous wood, ligneous
wood, sylvan cloud, nebulous glass, vitreous
milk, lacteal water, aquatic stone, lapidary
gold, aureous silver, argent iron, ferric
honey, mellifluous loving, amatory loving, erotic
loving, amiable wedded, hymeneal plow, arable
priestly, sacerdotal arrow, sagittal wholesome, salubrious
warlike, bellicose timely, temporary fiery, igneous
ring, annular soap, saponaceous nestling, nidulant
snore, stertorous window, fenestral twilight, crepuscular
soot, fuliginous hunter, venatorial

The fact that English is a double-barreled language, and that of parallel
terms one is likely to be native and the other classic, is interesting in
itself. Our lists of parallels, however, though (with the exception of
List B) they are arranged to bring out this duality of origin, have other
and more vital uses as material for exercises. For after all it matters
little whether we know where a word comes from, provided we know
thoroughly the meaning and implications of the word itself. The lists
already given and those to follow show the more important words actually
yoked as parallels. Your task must be to ascertain the differences in
import between the words thus joined.

EXERCISE - Parallels

Study the discriminations between the members of the following pairs. At
each blank in the illustrative sentences insert the appropriate word.

_Brotherly_ is used of actual blood
kinship, or indicates close feeling, deep affection, or religious love.
_Fraternal_ is used less personally and intimately; it normally
betokens that the relations are at least in part formal (as relations
within societies). "The sight of the button on the stranger's lapel caused
Wilkes to give him the cabalistic sign and ask his ____ assistance."
"Though the children of different parents, we bear for each other a true
____ devotion." "Because we both are newspaper men I feel a ____ interest
in him."

_Daily_, the popular word, is often used
loosely. We may say that we eat three meals daily without implying that we
have never gone dinnerless. _Diurnal_, the scientific term, is used
exactly, whether applying to the period of daylight or to the whole
twenty-four hours. A diurnal flower closes at night; a diurnal motion is
precisely coincident with the astronomical day. In poetry, however,
_diurnal_ is often used for _daily_. "Give us this day our ____
bread." "The ____ rotation of the earth on its axis is the cause of our
day and night." "Fred and I went for our ____ ramble through the hills."

Which is the more popular word? Let us see. Would the
man in the street be more likely to use one than the other? Which one?
Does this answer our question? Another question: Which word is the more
inclusive in meaning? Again, let us see. A blacksmith is beating iron;
does the iron grow cold or frigid? Which term, then, approaches the closer
in meaning to the idea of mere coolness? On the other hand, may that same
term represent a temperature far beyond mere coolness? Would you speak of
a morning as bitterly cold or bitterly frigid? Now think of the term you
have not been using. _Can_ it convey as wide meanings, or is it
limited in range? Does the word _frigid_ carry for you a geographical
suggestion (to the frigid zone)? Do you yourself use the term? If so, do
you use it chiefly (perhaps entirely) in connection with human temperament
or demeanor? Is _cold_ used thus figuratively also? Which is the more
often thus used? "I suffer from ____ hands and feet." "The slopes of Mont
Blanc are ____ with eternal snow." "He did not warm to the idea at all.
His inclinations are absolutely ____."

. _Manly_ implies possession of traits or
qualities a man should possess; it may be used of immature persons.
_Virile_ implies maturity and robust masculinity; it is also used of
the power to procreate. "A ____ lad." "A ____ reply." "____ energy."
"____ and aggressive." "____ forbearance,"

. _Inner_ is somewhat within, or more within
than something else is; it is also used in figurative and spiritual
senses. _Internal_ is entirely within. "The ____ organs of the human
body." "The ____ layer of the rind." "The injury was ____."
"The ____ nature of man." "The ____ meaning of the occurrence."

. "He was five feet, eleven inches in height."
Can you substitute _altitude_? Is _altitude_ used of persons?
"At an altitude of eleven feet from the ground." Would _height_ be
more natural? Does _altitude_ betoken great height? If so, does
Hamlet speak jestingly when he greets the player, "Your ladyship is nearer
heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine?" What of
the sentence: "The altitude of Galveston was not sufficient to protect it
from the tidal wave"? Does the magnitude or importance of the object
(Galveston) compensate for its lack of elevation and thus justify
_altitude_? Could _height_ be substituted? If so, would the
words _above sea-level_ have to follow it? Does this fact give you a
further clue as to the distinction between the two words? You are
comparing the elevation of two peaks, both plainly visible; you measure
them merely by your eye. Do you say "This exceeds the other in height" or
"This exceeds the other in altitude"? Suppose the peaks are so distant
from each other that the two are not visible simultaneously, and suppose
you are speaking from a knowledge of the scientific measurements. Do you
say "This exceeds the other in height" or "This exceeds the other in

. _Talk_ may be one-sided and empty.
_Conversation_ requires that at least two shall participate, and it
is not spoken of as empty, though it may be trivial. "Our ____ was
somewhat desultory." "Thought is less general than ____."
"His ____ was so lively that I had no chance to interrupt"
"That is meaningless ____."

. All of us have heard physicians call
commonplace ailments by extraordinary names. When homesickness reaches the
stage where a physician is or might be called in, it becomes nostalgia.
The latter term suggests morbid or chronic suffering. A healthy boy away
from home for the first time is homesick. An exile who has wasted himself
with pining for his native land is nostalgic. "His ____ was more than
____; it had so preyed upon his thoughts that it had grown into ____."

Rise, ascend. _Rise_ is the more general term, but it expresses less
than _ascend_ in degree or stateliness. "He had foretold to them that
he would ____ into heaven." "Do not ____ from your seat." "The diver
slowly ____ to the surface." "The travelers ____ the mountain."

. _Sell_ is the more dignified word socially, but
may express greater moral degradation. _Vend_ is used of the petty
(as that which can be carried about in a wagon), and may suggest the
pettily dishonest. "That man would ____ his country." "We shall ____ a
million dollars' worth of goods." "The hucksters ____ their wares."

Study the discriminations between the members of the following pairs.
Determine whether the words are correctly used in the illustrative
sentences. (Some are; some are not.)

. _Friendly_ denotes goodwill positive in
quality though perhaps limited in degree; we may be friendly to friends,
enemies, or strangers. _Amicable_ is negative, denoting absence of
open discord: it is used of those persons between whom some connection
already exists. "The newcomer has an amicable manner." "Both sides were
cautious, but at last they reached a friendly settlement." "I have only
amicable feelings for an enemy who is thus merciful." "The two met, if not
in a friendly, at least in an amicable way."

. Both words imply an act of the will; but
_willing_ adds positive good-nature, desire, or enthusiasm, whereas
_voluntary_ conveys little or nothing of the emotional attitude.
_Voluntary_ is often thought of in contrast with _mechanical_.
"They made willing submission." "They rendered whole-hearted and voluntary
service." "Though torn by desire to return to his mother, he willingly
continued his journey away from her." "The sneeze was unwilling."

_Greedy_ denotes excessiveness (usually
habitual) of appetite or, in its figurative uses, of desire; it nearly
always carries the idea of selfishness. _Voracious_ denotes intense
hunger or the hasty and prolonged consumption of great quantities of food;
it may indicate, not habitual selfishness, but the stress of
circumstances. "Nobody else I know is so greedy as he." "The young poet
was voracious of praise." "Trench, though a capital fellow, was so hungry
that he ate voraciously."

_Offspring_ is likely to be used when our
thought is chiefly on the children, _progeny_ when our thought is
chiefly on the parents. _Offspring_ may be used of one or many;
_progeny_ is used in collective reference to many. "He was third
among the progeny who won distinction." "They are the progeny of very rich
parents." "Clayton left his offspring well provided for."

_Ghost_ is the narrower term. It never
expresses, as _spirit_ does, the idea of soul or of animating mood or
purpose. With reference to incorporeal beings, it denotes (except in the
phrase "the Holy Ghost") the reappearance of the dead in disembodied form.
_Spirit_ may denote a variety of incorporeal beings--among them
angels, fairies (devoid of moral nature), and personalities returned from
the grave and manifested--seldom visibly--through spiritualistic tappings
and the like. "The superstitious natives thought the spirit of their chief
walked in the graveyard." "The ghost of the ancestors survives in the
descendants." "I can call spirits from the vasty deep."

Nowadays the chief difference between the two terms is
that _foe_ is the more used in poetry, _enemy_ in prose.
But _foe_ tends to express the more personal and implacable
hostility. We do not think of foes as bearing any friendship for each
other; enemies may, or they may be enemies in public affairs but downright
friends in their private relations. A man is hardly spoken of as being his
own foe, but he may be his own enemy. "For the moment we found ourselves
foes." "Suspicion is an enemy to content." "I paid a tribute to my friend,
who was the dominant personality among the enemy."

_Truth_ has to do with the accuracy of the
statement, of the facts; _veracity_ with the intention of the person
to say nothing false. "I cannot vouch for the veracity of the story, but I
can for the truth of the teller." "Though he is not a man of veracity, I
believe he is now speaking the truth." "Veracity, crushed to earth, will
rise again."

. _Break_ is the broader term. It need not
refer clearly to the operation or result of external force, nor need it
embody the idea that this force is brought against a hard substance. In
these respects it differs from _fracture_, as also in the fact that
it may designate a mere interruption. Furthermore it has figurative uses,
whereas _fracture_ is narrowly literal. "There was a fracture in the
chain of mountains." "The break in his voice was distinct." "The fracture
of the bones of his wrist incapacitated him." "The fracture of the rope."

. To _hug_ is to clasp violently or
enthusiastically, and perhaps ludicrously. To _embrace_ is to clasp
in a more dignified, perhaps even in a formal, way; the term also means to
include, to comprise. "This topic embraces the other." "Did you see that
ardent bumpkin embracing his sweetheart?" "Her sister gave her a graceful
but none too cordial hug." "The wounded bear hugged the hunter

. The two terms overlap; but there is a fairly
strong tendency to use _shorten_ for reduction in length, and
_abridge_ for reduction in quantity or mass. Both words are used
figuratively as well as literally. "The tyrant shortened the privileges of
his subjects." "We shortened the rope." "The teacher abridged the
recitation." "The report of the committee appears in abridged form in
Volume 2 of our records."

With the help of the dictionary discriminate between the members of the
following pairs. Determine whether the words are correctly used in the
illustrative sentences. (Some are; some are not.)

. "He delivered a fiery address." "The
underbrush was dry and fiery." "Your disposition is too inflammable."

. "The fat man had grown attenuated."
"Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look." "The hot metal was then drawn
into an attenuated wire." "Only a lean line of our soldiers faced the
dense masses of the enemy."

. "The scene was quiet and domestic." "It is
home-like, inexpressibly dear." "To Waltham, heartsick from his
wanderings, the room in all its arrangements was thoroughly domestic."

. "We must be vigilant if we would maintain our
liberty." "He was wakeful, even watchful, though not from set purpose."
"He was vigilant for evidences of friendship."

. "It is a big, barn-like building." "Spare yonder
sacred edifice." "This is the most imposing building I ever saw."

. "I poked a stick into the aperture which the
crawfish had made." "Through the aperture of the partly open door I gazed
out on the street." "The hole of the hornet's nest was black with the
emerging and angry insects."

. "Two hundred students graduated this year
from the college of farming." "For long years he had devoted himself to
the homely, grinding tasks of agriculture." "I have looked rather
carefully into the theories of farming."

. "He obtained some repose even while standing." "We
wished for a moment's rest from our exertions." "Worn out, he was
compelled to seek repose." "Lincoln's face in repose was very melancholy."

. "The man was so injured he could do nothing for himself;
I had to aid him." "Help, help!" "Aid us, O God, in our sore distress."
"The little fellow could not quite get the bundle to his shoulder; a
passerby helped him."

. "By refraining from comment he hid his connection
with the affair." "Wild creatures hide themselves by means of their
protective coloring." "The frost on the panes conceals the landscape from
you." "Do not hide your misdeeds from your mother."

In the following list only the native member of each pair is given.
Determine what the classic member is, and frame sentences to illustrate
the correct use of the two words. (Make a conscientious effort to find the
classic member by means of its parallelism with the native. If, and after,
you definitely fail in any instance to find it, obtain a clue to it
through study of the words in List G. Every pair in that list is clearly
suggestive of one or more pairs in this list.)

nightly,-- motherly,--
breadth,-- buy,--
hot,-- fall,--
thought,-- sleeplessness,--
fatherly,-- yearly,--
outer,-- depth,--
womanly,-- speech,--

Discriminate between the members of each of the following pairs, and frame
sentences to illustrate the correct use of the two words.

freedom, liberty well, cistern
freedom, independence give, donate
free, acquit happen, occur
door, portal lessen, abate
begin, commence lessen, diminish
behead, decapitate forefathers, ancestors
belief, credence friend, acquaintance
belief, credulity lead, conduct
swear, vow end, finish
curse, imprecate end, complete
curse, anathema end, terminate
die, expire warn, admonish
die, perish warn, caution
die, succumb rich, affluent
lively, vivacious wealthy, opulent
walk, ambulate help, assistance
leave, depart help, succor
leave, abandon answer, reply
go with, accompany find out, ascertain
go before, precede take, appropriate
hasten, accelerate shrewd, astute
quicken, accelerate breathe, respire
speed, celerity busy, industrious
hatred, animadversion growing, crescent
fearful, timorous grow, increase

Cover with a piece of paper the classic (right-hand) members of the
following pairs, and if possible ascertain what they are by studying the
native members. Frame sentences to illustrate the correct use of both
words in each pair.

neighborhood, vicinity hang, impend
hang, suspend rash, impetuous
flood, inundation drunk, intoxicated
harmful, injurious tool, instrument
mind, intellect mad, insane
birth, nativity sail, navigate
sailor, mariner ship, vessel
lying, mendacious upright, erect
early, premature upright, vertical
first, primary shake, vibrate
raise, elevate swing, oscillate
lift, elevate leaves, foliage
greet, salute beg, importune
choose, select beggar, mendicant
choose, elect smell, odor
same, identical sink, submerge
name, nominate dip, immerse
follow, pursue room, apartment
follow, succeed see, perceive
teach, instruct see, inspect
teach, inculcate sight, visibility
teacher, pedagogue sight, vision
tiresome, tedious sight, spectacle
empty, vacant glasses, spectacles
farewell, valediction

Cover with a piece of paper the native (left-hand) members of the
following pairs, and if possible ascertain what they are by studying the
classic members. Frame sentences to illustrate the correct use of both
words in each pair.

skin, cuticle thunder, fulminate
skin, integument sleep-walking, somnambulism
hide, epidermis bird, ornithology
fleshly, carnal bird, aviary
hearer, auditor bee, apiary
snake, serpent bending, flexible
heap, aggregation wrinkle, corrugation
laugh, cachinnation slow, dilatory
laughable, risible lime, calcimine
fear, trepidation coal, lignite
live, exist man, anthropology
bridal, nuptial winter, hibernate
wed, marry gap, hiatus
husband/wife, spouse right, ethical
shore, littoral showy, ostentatious
forswear, perjure spelling, orthography
steal, peculate time, chronology
steal, embezzle handbook, manual
lockjaw, tetanus hole, cavity
mistake, error dig, excavate
mistake, erratum boil, tumor
wink, nictation tickle, titillate
blessing, benediction dry, desiccated
wet, humid warm, tepid
flirt, coquet forgetfulness, oblivion
fiddle, violin sky, firmament
sky, empyrean flatter, compliment
flee, abscond flight, fugitive
forbid, prohibit hinder, impede
hold, contain

For each of the following pairs frame a sentence which shall contain one
of the members. Can the other member be substituted without affecting the
meaning of the sentence? Read the discrimination of _Height-altitude_
in EXERCISE - Parallels. Ask yourself similar questions to bring out the
distinction between the two words you are considering.

threat, menace call, summon
talk, commune cleanse, purify
short, terse short, concise
better, ameliorate lie, recline
new, novel straight, parallel
lawful, legitimate law, litigation
law, jurisprudence flash, coruscate
late, tardy watch, chronometer
foretell, prognosticate king, emperor
winding, sinuous hint, insinuate
burn, incinerate fire, incendiarism
bind, constrict crab, crustacean
fowls, poultry lean, incline
flat, level flat, vapid
sharpness, acerbity sharpness, acrimony
shepherd, pastor word, vocable
choke, suffocate stifle, suffocate
clothes, raiment witness, spectator
beat, pulsate mournful, melancholy
beginning, incipient drink, imbibe
light, illuminate hall, corridor
stair, escalator anger, indignation
fight, combat sleight-of-hand, prestidigitation
build, construct tree, arbor
ask, interrogate wench, virgin
frisk, caper fill, replenish
water, irrigate silly, foolish
coming, advent feeling, sentiment
old, antiquated forerunner, precursor
sew, embroider unload, exonerate
grave, sepulcher readable, legible
tell, narrate kiss, osculate
nose, proboscis striking, percussion
green, verdant stroke, concussion
grass, verdure bowman, archer
drive, propel greed, avarice
book, volume stingy, parsimonious
warrior, belligerent bath, ablution
owner, proprietor wrong, incorrect
bow, obeisance top, summit
kneel, genuflection food, nutrition
work, occupation seize, apprehend
shut, close field, agrarian

Turn back to Lists A, B, C, D, E, and F. Discriminate between the members
of each pair contained in these lists. Frame sentences to illustrate the
correct use of the words.



In considering pairs we have, without using the word, been studying
synonyms. For most pairs are synonyms (or in some instances antonyms) that
hunt in couples. We must now deal with synonyms, and incidentally
antonyms, as they associate themselves in larger groups.

A vocabulary is impoverished. Why? Nine times in ten, because of a
disregard of synonyms. Listen to the talk of the average person. Whatever
is pleasing is _fine_ or _nice_ or _all to the good_;
whatever is displeasing is _bum_ or _awful_ or _a fright_.
Life is reflected, not as noble and complex, but as mean and meager. Out
of such stereotyped utterance only the general idea emerges. The precise
meaning is lazily or incompetently left to the hearer to imagine. The
precise meaning? There is none. A person who does not take the trouble to
speak clearly has not taken the trouble to think clearly.

But the master of synonyms expresses, instead of general, hazy,
commonplace conceptions, the subtlest shadings of thought and feeling. He
has so trained himself that he selects, it may be unconsciously, from a
throng of possible words. One word may be strong, another weak. One may be
broad, another narrow. One may present an alternative in meanings, another
permit no liberty of choice. One may be suggestive, another literal or
colorless. One may penetrate to the core of the idea, another strike only
in the environs. With these possibilities the master of synonyms reckons.
He must have the right word. He chooses it, not at haphazard, but in
conformity with a definite purpose.

For synonyms are not words that have the same meaning. They are words that
have similar meanings. They may be compared to circles that overlap but do
not coincide. Each embraces a common area, but each embraces also an area
peculiar to itself. Though many words cluster about a given idea, rarely
if ever are even two of these words entirely equivalent to each other. In
scope, in suggestion, in emotional nuance, in special usage, or what not,
is sure to lurk some denial of perfect correspondence. And of synonyms, so
of antonyms. Antonyms are words opposite in meaning; but the opposition,
for the same reasons as the likeness, is seldom or never absolute.

In your study of synonyms you will find most of the dictionaries
previously named of great help. You may also profitably consult the
following books of synonyms (heavy, scholastic works not suited for
ordinary use are omitted):

Edith B. Ordway: _Synonyms and Antonyms_. A compact, practical
volume, with antonyms (in italics for contrast) immediately following

Louis A. Flemming: _Putnam's Word Book_. A book of the ordinarily
used synonyms of words, with antonyms after some of them, and with lists
of associated words wherever these are likely to be useful.

Samuel Fallows: _100,000 Synonyms and Antonyms_. A handy little
volume, with useful lists of various kinds in appendices.

Richard Soule: _Dictionary of English Synonyms_ [revised and enlarged
by George H. Howison]. A much larger and more expensive book than the
others, and less practical for ordinary use, but fuller in treatment of
material, with words of more than one meaning carefully divided into their
various senses.

George Crabb: _English Synonyms_. A standard volume for over 100
years. Has close distinctions, but is somewhat scholarly for ordinary use.
Revised edition of 1917, omitting illustrative quotations from literature,
not so good as editions before that date.

James C. Fernald: _English Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions_.
A pleasing book to read, with much information about the use of words and
their shades of meaning (with exercises), also with proper prepositions to
follow words. Material taken from the _Standard Dictionary_.

Peter Mark Roget: _Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases_. Issued in
many editions and revisions. Words grouped under general ideas. An
excellent book for serious and laborious study, but not for quick use.

The best principle for the extension of one's mastery of synonyms is the
principle already used over and over in this book--that of proceeding from
the known to the unknown. It is the fundamental principle, indeed, of any
kind of successful learning. We should build on what we have, fit each new
piece of material into the structure already erected. But normally it is
our ill fortune to learn through chance rather than through system. We
perceive elucidation here, draw an inference there. These isolated
fragments of knowledge may mislead rather than inform us.

The principle of proceeding from the known to the unknown may be applied
to synonyms in various ways. Two of these--the two of most importance--we
must consider here.

First, you should reckon with your personal, demonstrated needs. Just as
you have already analyzed your working vocabulary for its general limits
and shortcomings, so should you analyze it with particular reference to
your poverty in synonyms. Watch your actual speech; make a list of the
words--nouns, verbs, and adjectives particularly--that you employ again
and again. Make each of these words the starting-point for a linguistic
exploring expedition. First, write the word down. Then under it write all
the synonyms that come forthwith to your mind. These constitute your
present available stock; in speaking or writing you could, if you kept
yourself mentally alert, summon them on the moment. But the list, as you
know, is not exhaustive. Draw a line under it and subjoin such synonyms as
come to you after reflection. These constitute a second stock, not
instantaneously available, yet to be tagged as among your resources. Next
add a list of the synonyms you find through research, through a ransacking
of dictionaries and books of synonyms. This third stock, but dimly
familiar if familiar at all, is in no practical sense yours. And indeed
some of the words are too abstruse, learned, or technical for you to
burden your memory with them. But many--most--are worth acquiring. By
writing down the words of these three classes you have done something to
stamp them upon your memory as associates. You must now make it your
business to bring them into use. Never call upon them for volunteers, but
like a wise commander summon the individual that can rightly perform a
particular service. Thus will your speech, perhaps vague and indolent now,
become exact, discriminating, competent, vital.

In the second place, you should obtain specific and detailed command of
general ideas. Not of out-of-the-way ideas. But of the great basic ideas
that are the common possession of all mankind. For through these basic
ideas is the most natural and profitable approach to the study of
synonyms. Each of them is represented by a generic word. So elementary are
idea and word alike that a person cannot have the one in mind without
having the other ready and a-quiver on his tongue. Every person is master
of both. But it is unsafe to predicate the person's acquaintance with the
shades and phases of the idea, or with the corresponding discriminations
in language. He may not know them at all, he may know them partially, he
may know them through and through. Let us suppose him ignorant of them but
determined to learn. His progress, both in the thought and in the
language, will be from the general to the specific. His acquaintance with
the idea in the large he will gradually extend to an acquaintance with it
in detail, and his command of the broad term for it he will little by
little supplement with definite terms for its phases. An illustration will
make this clear.

We are aware that the world is made up of various classes and conditions
of men. How did we learn this? Let us go back to the time when our minds
were a blank, when we were babes and sucklings, when we had not perceived
that men exist, much less that mankind is infinitely complex. A baby comes
slowly to understand that all objects in the universe are divisible into
two classes, human and non-human, and that a member of the former may be
separated from the others and regarded as an individual. It has reached
the initial stage of its knowledge on the subject; it has the basic idea,
that of the individual human being. As soon as it can speak, it acquires a
designating term--not of course the sophisticated _human being_, but
the simpler _man_. It uses this word in the generic sense, to
indicate _any_ member of the human race; for as yet it knows nothing
and cares nothing about differences in species. With increasing
enlightenment, however, it discerns five species, and distinguishes among
them by swelling this branch of its vocabulary to five words: man (in the
sense of adult male), woman, boy, girl, baby. (To be sure, it may chance
to have acquired a specific term, as _boy_ or _baby_, before the
generic term _man_; but if so, it has attached this term to some
particular individual, as the grocer's boy or itself, rather than to the
individuals of a species. Its understanding of the species as a species
comes after its understanding of the genus.) As time passes, it divides
mankind into yet further species by sundry other methods: according to
occupation, for example, as doctors, chauffeurs, gardeners; to race or
color, as white men; negroes, Malays, Chinese; to disposition, as heroes,
gift-givers, teasers, talkers; and so on. It perceives moreover that
species are made up of sub-species. Thus instead of lumping all boys
together it begins to distinguish them as big boys, little boys,
middle-sized boys, boys in long trousers, boys in short trousers, barefoot
boys, schoolboys, poor boys, rich boys, sick boys, well boys, friends,
enemies, bullies, and what not. It even divides the sub-species. Thus it
classifies schoolboys as bright boys, dullards, workers, shirkers,
teachers' favorites, scapegoats, athletes, note-throwers, truant-players,
and the like. And of these classes it may make yet further sub-divisions,
or at least it may separate them into the individuals that compose them.
In fine, with its growing powers and experience, it abandons its old
conception that all persons are practically alike, and follows human
nature through the countless ramifications of man's status, temperament,
activities, or fate. And it augments its vocabulary to keep pace, roughly
at least, with its expanding ideas. In thought and terminology alike its
growth is from genus to species.

So it is with all our ideas and with all our words to cap them. We radiate
from an ascertained center into new areas of knowledge; we proceed from
the broad, fundamental, generic to the precise, discriminatory, specific.
Upon this natural law are based the exercises in this chapter and the two
to follow. The starting-point is always a word representative of an
elementary idea--a word and an idea which everybody knows; the advance is
into the unknown or the unused, at any rate into the particular. Now
fundamental ideas are not very numerous, and these exercises include the
commoner ones. Such a method of studying synonyms must therefore yield
large and tangible results.

One matter, however, should be explained. Most books of synonyms start
with a word and list all the terms in any way related to it. The idea of
the compilers is that the more they give the student the more they help
him. But oftentimes by giving more than is strictly pertinent they
actually hinder and confuse him. They may do this in various ways, of
which two must be mentioned. First, they follow an idea too far afield.
Thus in listing the synonyms of _love_ they include such terms as
_kindness_ and _lenity_, words only through stretched usage
connected with _love_. Secondly, they trace, not one meaning of a
word, but two or more unrelated meanings when the word chances to possess
them. Thus in listing the synonyms of _cry_ they include both the
idea of weeping and the idea of calling or screaming. What are the results
of these methods? The student finds a clutter where he expects
rationalized order; he finds he must exclude many words which lie in the
borders and fringes of the meaning. Moreover he finds mere chance
associations mingled with marked kinships. In both cases he finds dulled

This book offers synonyms that are apropos and definite rather than
comprehensive. Starting with a basic idea, it finds the generic term; it
then disregards dim and distant relationships, confines itself rigorously
to one of perhaps two or three legitimate senses, and refuses to consider
the peculiar twists and devious ways of subsidiary words when they wander
from the idea it is tracing. It thus deliberately blinds itself to much
that is interesting. But this partial blindness enables it to concentrate
attention upon the matter actually under study, to give sharper
distinctions and surer guidance.


After three introductory groups (dealing with thoroughly concrete ideas
and words) the synonyms in this exercise are arranged alphabetically
according to the first word in each group.

This first word is generic. It is immediately followed by a list of its
synonyms. These are then informally discriminated or else (in a few
instances) questions are asked about them. Perhaps a few less closely
related synonyms are then listed for you to discriminate in a similar way.
Finally, illustrative sentences are given. Each blank in these you are to
fill with the word that conveys the meaning exactly. (To prevent monotony
and inattention, the number of illustrative sentences varies. You may have
to use a particular word more than once, and another word not at all.)

toddle, waddle, shuffle, mince, stroll, saunter, ramble, meander,
promenade, prowl, hobble, limp, perambulate.>

Any one may be said to _walk_ who moves along on foot with moderate
speed. He _plods_ if he walks slowly and heavily, and perhaps
monotonously or spiritlessly as well. He _trudges_ if he walks
toilsomely and wearily, as though his feet were heavy. He _treads_ if
his walk is suggestive of a certain lightness and caution--if, for
instance, he seems half-uncertain whether to proceed and sets one foot
down carefully before the other. He _strides_ if he takes long steps,
especially in a firm, pompous, or lofty manner. He _stalks_ if there
is a certain stiffness or haughtiness in his walking. He _struts_ if
he walks with a proud or affectedly dignified gait, especially if he also
raises his feet high. He _tramps_ if he goes for a long walk, as for
pleasure or enjoyment out-of-doors. He _marches_ if he walks in a
measured, ordered way, especially in company with others. He _paces_
if he engages in a measured, continuous walk, as from nervousness,
impatience, or anger. He _toddles_ if his steps are short, uneven,
and unsteady, like those of a child. He _waddles_ if his movement is
ungainly, with a duck-like swaying from side to side. He _shuffles_
if he drags his feet with a scraping noise. He _minces_ if he takes
short steps in a prim, precise, or affectedly nice manner. He
_strolls_ or _saunters_ if he goes along in an easy, aimless, or
idle fashion. He _rambles_ if he wanders about, with no definite aim
or toward no definite goal. He _meanders_ if he proceeds slowly and
perhaps listlessly in an ever-changing course, as if he were following the
windings of the crooked Phrygian river, Meander. He _promenades_ if
he walks in a public place, as for pleasure or display. He _prowls_
if he moves about softly and stealthily, as in search of prey or booty. He
_hobbles_ if he jerks along unevenly, as from a stiff or crippled
condition of body. He _limps_ if he walks lamely. He
_perambulates_ when he walks through, perhaps for observation or
inspection. _(Perambulates is_ of course a learned word.)

_Assignment for further discrimination_: wander, stamp, slouch, gad, gallivant, glide, hike>.

_Sentences_: They ____ down the lane in the moonlight. Rip Van
Winkle loved to ____ about the mountains. "The plowman homeward ____ his
weary way." The old man ____ down the street with his cane. The excavators
____ about the ruins in search of relics. He ____ about the room, almost
bursting with importance. The nervous man ____ up and down the station
platform. They ____ along the beach at the sea resort. The baby learned to
____ when it was eleven months old. The two of them ____ about the field
all day hunting rabbits. A ghost, so they tell me, ____ about the
haunted house at midnight. He carefully ____ the plank that spans the
abyss. The baby ____ toward us with outstretched arms. The Chinaman ____
out of the back room of the laundry in his carpet slippers. They caught
glimpses of gaunt wolves ____ about their campfire. He was terrified when
the giant ____ into the room. The fat lady ____ down the aisle of the
street car. The sick man will ____ a few steps each day until he is
stronger. A turkey cock ____ about the barnyard. A boy with a rag tied
around his toe ____ painfully down the street. They reported to the police
that a man had been ____ about the place. She held her skirts daintily and
____ along as if she were walking on eggs. The lovers ____ along the banks
of the stream. He ____ through the hall like a conqueror. The children
wore themselves out by ____ through the snow to school. We ____ through
the meadows, often stooping to pick flowers as we went. The soldiers ____
into camp at nightfall.

What differences in human nature, conditions, and disposition are revealed
by laughter! If a person gives audible expression to mirth, gayety, or
good-humor, the simplest word to apply to what he does is _laugh_.
But suppose a girl, with slight or insufficient provocation, engages in
silly or foolish though perhaps involuntary laughter. We should say she
_giggles_. Suppose a youngster is amused at an inappropriate moment
and but partly suppresses his laughter; or suppose he wilfully permits the
breaking forth of just enough laughter to indicate disrespect. He
_snickers_. Suppose a person gives a little, light laugh; or more
especially, suppose a crowd gives such an one as the result of slight,
simultaneous amusement. Our word now is _titters_. Suppose we laugh
low or gently or to ourselves. We _chuckle_. Suppose some one laughs
loudly, boisterously, even coarsely, in a manner befitting a lumber camp
rather than a drawing room. That person _guffaws_. Suppose a man
engages in explosive and immoderate laughter. He _cachinnates_.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: .

_Second assignment_: Name all the words you can that designate
inaudible laughter (for example, ).

_Sentences_: The rough fellow ____ in the lecturer's face. "If you
prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not ____?" He kept ____
at the thought of the surprise he would give them. "The swain mistrustless
of his smutted face, While secret laughter ____ round the place." The
ill-bred fellow was ____ with strident, violent, irritating sounds. "The
little dog ____ to see such sport." The audience ____ when the speaker's
glasses began to slip from his nose. The girl kept ____ in a way that
embarrassed us both. The small boy ____ when the preacher's notes
fluttered out of the Bible to the floor. The rude fellows ____ at this
evidence of my discomfiture. He ____ very kindly and told me not to feel
any regrets. The little maids tried to be polite, but ____ irrepressibly.

glower, lower, peek, peep, gape, con, pore, ogle.>

A person simply directs his eyes to see. He _looks_. But eyes may
speak, we are told, and since this person undergoes many changes of mood
and purpose, we shall let his eyes tell us all they will about his
different manners of looking. At first he but looks momentarily (as from
lack of time) or casually (as from lack of interest). He _glances_.
Soon he makes a business of looking, and fastens his eyes for a long time
on something he admires or wonders at. He _gazes_. Presently he looks
with a blank, perhaps a rude, expression and with eyes opened widely; he
may be for the moment overcome with incomprehension, surprise, or fright,
or perhaps he wishes to be insolent. He _stares_. Now he is looking
narrowly or closely at something that he sees with difficulty. He
_peers_. The next moment he looks over something with care or with an
encompassing sweep of vision. He _scans_ it. His interest thoroughly
enlisted, he looks at it carefully point by point to see that it is right
in each detail. He _scrutinizes_ it. He then alters his mood, and
looks with scornful or malignant satisfaction upon something he has
conquered or has power over. He _gloats_. Anger, perhaps fierceness,
takes possession of him, and he looks with piercing eyes. He
_glares_. Threat mingles with anger, and in all likelihood he looks
scowlingly or frowningly. He _glowers_. An added expression of
sullenness or gloom comes into his look. He _lowers_. He throws off
his dark spirit and looks slyly and playfully, let us say through a small
opening. He _peeks_. Playfulness gives place to curiosity; he looks
quickly and furtively, perhaps through some tiny aperture, and probably at
something he has no business to see. He _peeps_. The while he looks
his mouth falls open, as from stupidity or wonder. He _gapes_. He
looks at something a long time to study it. He _cons_ or
_pores_. His study is not of the thing itself; it is meditation or
reverie. He _pores_. A member of the opposite sex is present; he
looks at her with the effort of a flirt to attract attention to himself,
or less scrupulous, he directs toward her amorous or inviting glances. He

_Assignment for further discrimination_: inspect, regard, watch, contemplate>.

_Sentences:_ The inspecting officer ____ the men's equipment. The
student ____ his lessons carefully. At this unexpected proposal Dobbett
merely ____. Jimmie ____ at the fellow who had kicked the pup. The
inquisitive maid ____ into all the the closets. He ____ over his fallen
adversary. The bookkeeper ____ over his ledger. In the darkened hallway he
____ at the notices on the bulletin board. "The poet's eye, in a fine
frenzy rolling, Doth ____ from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven."
From the way her father ____ the foolish, young man should have known it
was time to go. He ____ long and lovingly upon the scenes he was leaving.
The newcomer ____ insolently at his host and ____ the young ladies.

_Abandon_ denotes absolute giving up, as from force of circumstances
or shirking of responsibility. _Desert_ refers to leaving or quitting
in violation of obligation, duty, or oath. _Forsake_, which may
involve no culpability, usually implies a breaking off of intimate
association or attachment.

_Sentences_: The sailor ____ his ship. Necessity compelled him to
____ his friends in a time of sore trouble. They hated to ____ their old
haunts. A brave man never ____ hope. An unscrupulous man will ____ his
principles when it is to his advantage. "When my father and my mother ____
me, then the Lord will take me up." We ____ our attempt to save the ship.

To _abase_ is to bring down so that the victim feels himself lowered
in estate or external condition. To _debase_ is to produce a marked
decline in actual worth or in moral quality. To _degrade_ is to lower
in rank or status. To _humble_ is to lower in dignity or self-esteem,
or as used reflexively, to restrain one's own pride; the word often
implies that the person has been over-proud or arrogant. To
_humiliate_ is to deprive of self-esteem or to bring into ignominy.
To _disgrace_ is to bring actual shame upon.

_Sentences_: They ____ the guilty officer from captain to lieutenant.
A man should ____ himself before God. He had so ____ himself that I no
longer expected good of him. His detection at cheating had ____ him before
the students. By successive overlords they had been ____ into a condition
of serfdom. The aristocratic old lady was ____ by her loss of social
position. The conversion of so much bullion into money had ____ the

An interesting thing about the _answer_ group is that the generic
term has a somewhat strong rival in _reply_, itself fairly inclusive.
We must therefore discriminate rather fully between _answer_ and
_reply_. The former is a return in words to a question, a
communication, or an argument. The latter suggests a more or less formal
answer, as one carefully prepared or intelligently thought out. We might
give an _answer_ offhand, but are less likely to give a _reply_
so. We may give any kind of _answer_ to a question, but if we give a
_reply_, the implication is that we have answered it definitely,
perhaps satisfactorily. On the other hand, in controversial matters we
may, though we by no means always do, imply a more conclusive meeting of
objections through _answer_ than through _reply_. A
_response_ is an expected answer, one in harmony with the question or
assertion, or in some way carrying the thought farther. A _rejoinder_
is a quick reply to something controversial or calling forth opposition.
A _retort_ is a short, sharp reply, such as turns back censure or
derision, or as springs from anger. A _repartee_ is an immediate and
witty reply, perhaps to a remark of similar character which it is intended
to surpass in cleverness.

_Sentences_: The detailed ____ to our letter should reach us within a
week. The plays of Oscar Wilde abound in brilliant ____. The speaker's
____ to the heckler was incisive and scathing. My ____ to that third
question in the examination in history was incorrect. The congregation
read the ____ in unison. You have enumerated objections to my course; here
is their ____. "This is no ____, thou unfeeling man. To excuse the current
of thy cruelty." There was silence throughout the chamber as the old
statesman rose to make his ____. To the tenderfoot's remark the guide
mumbled an indifferent ____. Our appeal for the sufferers elicited but a
poor ____.

catechize, request, beg, solicit, entreat, beseech, crave, implore,
supplicate, importune, petition.>

From the general tree of asking grow many branches, different in size, in
the direction they take, in the shades of meaning they cast. What can we
learn from a rapid scrutiny of each? That to _inquire_ is to ask for
specific information. That to _question_ is to keep asking in order
to obtain detailed or reluctantly given information. That to
_interrogate_ is to question formally, systematically, or thoroughly.
That to _interpellate_ is to question as of unchallenged right, as in
a deliberative body. That to _query_ is to bring a thing into
question because of doubt as to its correctness or truth. That to
_quiz_is to question closely and persistently, as from
meddlesomeness, opposition, or curiosity. That to _catechize is_ to
question in a minute, perhaps impertinent, manner in order to ascertain
one's secrets or the amount of his knowledge or information. That to
_request_ is to ask formally and politely. That to _beg_ is to
ask for deferentially or humbly, especially on the ground of pity. That to
_solicit_ is to ask with urgency. That to _entreat_ is to ask
with strong desire and moving appeal. That to _beseech_ is to ask
earnestly as a boon or favor. That to _crave_ is to ask humbly and
abjectly, as though unworthy of receiving. That to _implore_ is to
ask with fervor and intense earnestness. That to _supplicate_ is to
ask with urgent or even desperate appeal. (Both _implore_ and
_supplicate_ imply humility, as of a prayer to a superior being.)
That to _importune_ is to ask for persistently, even wearyingly. That
to _petition_ is to ask a superior, usually in writing, for some
favor, grant, or right.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: .

_Sentences_: The leader of the minority ____ the upholders of the
measure sharply as to a secret understanding. I ____ you to keep your
promise. I shall ____ that solution for the present. The colonists ____
Great Britain for a redress of grievances. She ____ the governor to grant
her husband a pardon. A child is naturally inquisitive and ____ many
questions. I ____ you to show mercy. On bended knees he ____ God's
forgiveness. "I'm stopp'd by all the fools I meet And ____ in every
street." The policeman ____ the suspect closely. The prosecuting attorney
____ the witness. We are ____ funds to aid the famine-stricken people of
India. He ____ me about your health. You should ____ at the office about
the lost package. She ____ your presence at the party. Every one resents
being ____. I ____ you to care for the child after I am gone. A fool
can ____ questions a wise man can't answer. She annoyed them by constantly
____ them for favors. The reporter ____ into the causes of the riot. "____
and it shall be given you." I ____ your pardon, though I well know I do
not deserve it. The man ____ me to give him some money for food.


If you consume or injure something by bringing it in contact with fire or
heat, you _burn_ it. If you do not consume it but burn it
superficially so as to change the texture or color of its surface, you
_scorch_ it. If you burn off ends or projections of it, you
_singe_ it. If you burn its surface to dryness or hardness, you
_sear_ it. If you dry or shrivel it with heat, you _parch_ it.
If through heat you reduce it to a state of charcoal, or cinders, you
_char_ it. If you burn it to ashes, you _incinerate_ it. (This
word is learned and but little used in ordinary discourse.) If you burn a
dead body to ashes, you _cremate_ it. If you burn or sear anything
with a hot iron or a corrosive substance, you _cauterize_ it.

_Sentences:_ The hired girl ____ the cloth in ironing it. By getting
too close to the fire he ____ the nap of his flannels. The doctor at once
____ the wound. The cook had picked the chicken and now ____ its down over
the coals. I used to ____ grains of field corn on the cookstove, while my
mother prepared dinner. Shelley's body was ____ on a funeral pyre. The
lecturer spoke of the time when the whole earth might be ____. The earth
was ____ and all growing things were ____ by the intense summer heat.

From much of the talk that we hear nowadays it might be supposed that the
earnest devotion of one's self to a task is a thing that has disappeared
from the earth. But a good many people are exhibiting this very devotion.
Let us see in what different degrees. The man who actively applies himself
to something, whether temporarily or habitually, is _busy_. The man
who makes continued application to work a principle or habit of life, is
_industrious_. The man who applies himself aggressively to the
accomplishment of some specific undertaking or pursuit, is
_diligent_. The man who quietly and determinedly sticks to a task
until it is accomplished, no matter what its difficulties or length, is
_assiduous_. The man who makes steady and painstaking application to
whatever he is about, is _sedulous_.

_Sentences_: Early in life he acquired ____ habits. By patient and
____ study you may overcome those defects of your early education. "How
doth the ____ little bee improve each shining hour." The manager gave such
____ attention to details that he made few mistakes. He is ____ at
present. Oh, yes, he is always ____. "Nowher so ____ a man has he ther
has, And yet he seemed ____ than he was."

laconic, curt.>

Words descriptive of brief utterance are, in nearly every instance, in
their origin figurative. The brevity is brought out by comparison with
something that is noticeably short or small. Let us examine the words of
our list for their figurative qualities. A _concise_ statement is one
that is _cut down_ until a great deal is said in a few words. A
_terse_ statement is _rubbed off_, rid of unessentials.
A _succinct_ statement has its important thoughts _bound_ into
small compass, as by a girdle. A _compendious_ statement _weighs
together_ the various thoughts and aspects of a subject; it shows by
means of a few effective words just what these amount to, gives a summary
of them. A _compact_ statement has its units of thought _fastened
together_ into firmness of structure; its brevity is well-knit. A
_sententious_ statement gives _feelings_ or opinions_ in a
strikingly pointed or axiomatic way, so that they can be easily grasped
and remembered; if _sententious_ is unfavorably used, the statement
may be filled with paraded platitudes. A _pithy_ statement gives the
very _pith_, the heart of a matter; it is sometimes slightly quaint,
always effective and arresting. A _laconic_ statement is made in the
manner of _the Spartans_, who hated talk and used as few words as
possible. A _curt_ statement is _made short_; its abruptness is
oftentimes more or less rude.

_Sentences_: "A tale should be judicious, clear, ____. The language
plain, and incidents well link'd." "Charles Lamb made the most ____
criticism of Spenser when he called him the poet's poet." With a ____
disdainful answer she turned away. The sermon was filled with ____
sayings. By omitting all irrelevant details, he made his statement of the
case ____. It requires great skill to give a ____ statement of what such a
treatise contains. A proverb is a ____ statement of a truth.

Men are as mindful of rank and pretension in their terms for the cessation
of life as in their choice of tombstones for the departed. _Death_ is
the great, democratic, unspoilable word. It is not too good for a clown or
too poor for an emperor. _Decease_ is a more formal word. Its
employment is often legal--the death proves to be of sufficient importance
for the law (and the lawyers) to take notice. _Demise_, however, is
outwardly the most resplendent term of all. It implies that the victim cut
a wide swath even in death. It is used of an illustrious person, as a
king, who transmits his title to an heir. Ordinary people cannot afford a
_demise_. If the term is applied to their shuffling off of this
mortal coil, the use is euphemistic and likely to be stilted.

_Sentences_: "The crown at the moment of ____ must descend to the
next heir." "____ is a fearful thing." "In their ____ they were not
divided." At the ____ of his father he inherited the estate. "Each shall
take His chamber in the silent halls of ____." "Many a time I have been
half in love with easeful ____."

_Early_ is the simple word for that which was in, or toward, the
beginning. That is _primitive_ which has the old-fashioned or simple
qualities characteristic of the beginning. That is _primeval_ which
is of the first or earliest ages. That is _primordial_ which is first
in origin, formation, or development. That is _primal_ which is first
or original. (The word is poetic.) That is _pristine_ which has not
been corrupted from its original state.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: prehistoric.>

_Sentences:_ It was a hardy mountain folk that preserved the ____
virtues. The ____ history of mankind is shrouded in uncertainty. "This is
the forest ____." "It hath the ____ eldest curse upon 't, A brother's
murder." "A ____ leaf is that which is immediately developed from the
cotyledon." As the explorers penetrated farther into the country, they
beheld all the ____ beauties of nature. Some countries still use the ____
method of plowing with a stick.

We hear some one say that he reads faces. How? Through long study of them
and what they indicate. The human race as a whole has been reading faces
through the centuries. It has felt such need to label certain recurring
aspects of them that it has invented the designating terms. Of these terms
the simple, inclusive one is of course _face_ itself. If, however, we
are thinking of the face as its look or expression reveals thoughts,
emotions, or state of mind, our term is _countenance_. If we are
thinking of it as distinguished or individualized by the contour, lines,
etc., we speak of the _features_. If we are thinking of its external
appearance or aspect, we call it the _visage_. If, finally, we are
thinking of it as indicative of mind, disposition, or fundamental
character, we say _physiognomy._

_Assignment for further discrimination_: .

_Sentences_: His grotesque ____ reminded one of a gargoyle. It is
said that the ____ of persons living constantly together tend to become
alike. "Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling ____." The teacher
told the students to wash their ____ every morning. "A ____ more in sorrow
than in anger." The firm but kind ____ of the old statesman shone happily
at this ovation. "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then ____ to
____." She turned an eager ____ up to me as she spoke. One's ____ is
moulded by one's thoughts. Cosmetics injure the ____. His clear-cut ____
impressed his employer.

_Financial_ is usually applied to money matters of considerable size
or moment. _Monetary_ applies to money, coin, or currency as such.
_Pecuniary_ refers to practical matters in which money is involved,
though not usually in large amounts. _Fiscal_ refers especially to
the time when money, receipts, and accounts are balanced or reckoned.

_Sentences:_ A ____ reward has been offered. We gave the unfortunate
man ____ assistance. The ____ system of the country was sound. It was
Hamilton who more than any one else shaped the ____ policies of the new
government. Experts audit the company's accounts at the end of the ____
year. The ____ interests of the country were behind the bill.

To _flee_ is to run away from what one would avoid, as danger,
arrest, or the like. To _abscond_ is to steal off secretly and hide
one's self, as from some disgraceful reason or to avoid arrest. To
_decamp_ is to leave suddenly in great haste to get away; the word is
often used humorously.

_Sentences_: They went to have their money refunded, but the swindler
had ____. The bank teller ____ after having squandered most of the
deposits. Yes, we were in proximity to a polecat, and without further
parley we ____. "Resist the devil, and he will ____ from you." William
Wallace, when pursued by the English, ____ into the Highlands.

augur, prognosticate.>

_Foretell_ is the general word for stating or perceiving beforehand
that which will happen. _Predict_ implies foretelling based on
well-founded or precise knowledge. _Prophesy_ often implies
supernatural inspiration to foretell correctly. The word is especially so
used in connection with the Scriptures; but in the Scriptures themselves
it frequently expresses insight and admonition without the element of
foretelling. _Forecast_ involves a marked degree of conjecture.
_Presage_ usually means to give as a presentiment or warning.
_Forebode_ expresses an uncertain foreknowledge of vague impending
evil. _Portend_ indicates the likelihood that something will befall
which is threatening or evil in its consequences. _Augur_ means
foretelling from omens. _Prognosticate_ means foretelling through the
study of signs or symptoms.

_Sentences_: "For we know in part, and we ____ in part." (Insert
in the blank, successively, the terms just distinguished. In each instance
how is the meaning affected? Do any of the terms fail to make sense at
all? Which term do you think the right one? Bearing in mind the
distinctions we have made, frame sentences of your own to embody the

_Get_, the general term, may be used of whatever one comes by
whatsoever means to possess, experience, or realize. To _acquire_ is
to get into more or less permanent possession, either by some gradual
process or by one's determined efforts. To _obtain_ is to get
something desired by means of deliberate effort or request. To
_procure_ is to get by definitely planned effort something which, in
most instances, is of a temporary nature or the possession of which is
temporary. To _attain_ is to get through striving that which one has
set as a goal or end of his desire or ambition. To _gain_ is to get
that which is advantageous. To _win_ is to get as the result of
successful competition or the overcoming of opposition. To _earn_ is
to get as a deserved reward for one's efforts or exertions.

_Sentences_: With such wages as those, he can barely ____ a living.
He ____ a pardon by appealing to the governor. The speaker ____ his point
by forcing his opponent to admit that the figures were misleading. By
buying in June I can ____ a good overcoat at half price. Did you ____ only
seven thousand dollars for your house? Walpole believed in ____ one's
ends in the surest and easiest way possible. It is illegal to ____ money
through false pretences. A junior ____ the prize in the oratorical
contest. Kirk ____ his advancement by taking a personal interest in the
firm's welfare. The painter ____ a foreign accent while he was studying in
Paris. He ____ their gratitude by loyally serving them. It was through
sacrifices that he ____ an education.


We _give_ that which we transfer from our own to another's possession
or ownership, usually without compensation. We _bestow_ that which we
give gratuitously, or of which the recipient stands in especial need. We
_grant_ that which has been requested by one dependent upon us or
inferior to us, and which we give with some formality. From a position of
superiority we _confer_ as a favor or honor that which we might
withhold or deny. We _present_ that which is of importance or value
and which we give ceremoniously.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: impart>.

_Sentences_: William the Conqueror ____ English estates upon his
followers. The rich man ____ his wonderful art collection to the museum.
My application for a leave of absence has been ____. The ticket agent ____
us complete information. Every year he ____ alms upon the poor in that
neighborhood. The school board may ____ an increase in the salaries of
teachers. Many merchants ____ premiums with the articles they sell. The
college ____ an honorary degree upon the distinguished visitor. The
Pilgrims ____ thanks to God for their preservation. "Not what we ____, but
what we share."


What did John Wesley mean by saying, "Though I am always in _haste_,
I am never in a _hurry_"? Does Lord Chesterfield's saying "Whoever is
in a _hurry_ shows that the thing he is about is too big for him"
help explain the distinction? Explain the distinction (taking _speed_
in the modern sense) in the saying "The more _haste_, ever the worse
_speed_." "The tidings were borne with the usual _celerity_ of
evil news." Give the well-known saying in four simple words that express
the same idea. Which of the two statements is the more forceful? Which is
the more literary? Why did Prescott use the former in his _Ferdinand and
Isabella_? "_Despatch_," says Lord Chesterfield, "is the soul of
business." What does _despatch_ suggest about getting work done that
_haste_ or _speed_ does not? In which way would you prefer for
your employee to go about his task--with _haste_, with _speed_,
or with _despatch_? "With winged _expedition_, Swift as the
lightning glance, he executes His errand on the wicked." Why is it that
this use of _expedition_ in Milton's lines is apt? Would
_despatch_ have served as well? If not, why not?


To _hate_ involves deep or passionate dislike, sometimes bred of
ill-will. To _detest_ involves an intense, vehement, or deep-seated
antipathy. To _abhor_ involves utter repugnance or aversion, with an
impulse to recoil. To _loathe_ involves disgust because of physical
or moral offensiveness. To _abominate_ involves strong moral
aversion, as of that which is odious or wicked. To _despise_ is to
dislike and look down upon as inferior.

_Sentences_: When he had explained his fell purpose, I could only
____ him. Who would not ____ a slimy creature like Uriah Heep? It is
natural for us to ____ our enemies. She ____ greasy food. There suddenly
in my pathway was the venomous reptile, darting out its tongue; oh, I ____
snakes! A wholesome nature must ____ such principles as these. A child
____ to kiss and make up. The pampered young millionaire ____ those who
are simply honest and kind. These daily practices of her associates she

(With this group contrast the _Disease_ group below.)

The words of this group are assuredly blessed. Every one of them has to do
with the giving, promotion, or preservation of health. But health is of
various kinds, and therefore the words apply differently. _Healthful_
is the most inclusive of them; it means that the thing it refers to is
full of health for us. _Wholesome_ also is a very broad term; what is
wholesome is good for us physically, mentally, or morally. _Salutary_
is confined to that which affects for good our moral (including civic and
social) welfare, especially if it counteracts evil influences or
propensities. _Salubrious_ is confined to the physical; it is used
almost solely of healthful air or climate. _Sanitary_ and
_hygienic_ apply to physical well-being as promoted by the
eradication of the causes for sickness, disease, or the like;
_sanitary_, however, is used of measures and conditions affecting
people in general, whereas _hygienic_ connects itself with personal

_Assignment for further discrimination_: The word _healthy_ is
often confused with _healthful_. You have already discriminated
between these two terms, but you should renew your knowledge of the
distinction between them.

_Sentences_: Colorado is noted for its ____ air. He offered the young
people some ____ advice. A person should brush his teeth every day for
____ reasons. In spite of its horrors, the French Revolution has had a
____ effect upon civilization. Damp, low places do not have a ____
climate. Cities in the middle ages were not ____. His is a very ____ way
of life. My doctor recommends buttermilk as ____.


He knew that it was a ____ responsibility. (Insert the four words in the
blank space in turn, and analyze the differences in meaning thus


He made a ____ donation to the endowment fund. (Insert the four words in
the blank space in turn, and analyze the differences in meaning.)


"A man's a man for a' that," sang the poet. So he is, but not all the
adjectives allusive to his state are equally complimentary.
_Masculine_ betokens the qualities and characteristics belonging to
men. _Male_ designates sex and is used of animals as well as human
beings. _Manly_ (used of boys as well as men) implies the possession
of qualities worthy of a man, as strength, courage, sincerity, honesty,
independence, or even tenderness. _Manlike_ refers to qualities,
attributes, or foibles characteristically masculine. _Manful_
suggests the valor, prowess, or resolution properly belonging to men.
_Mannish_ (a derogatory word) indicates superficial or affected
qualities of manhood, especially when inappropriately possessed by a
woman. _Virile_ applies to the sturdy and intrepid qualities of
mature manhood.

_Sentences_: The Chinese especially prize ____ children. He was a
____ little fellow. She walked with a ____ stride. With ____ courage he
faced the crisis. It was a ____ defense of an unpopular cause. ____
strength is the complement of female grace. The old sailor still retained
the rugged and ____ strength of a man much younger. With ____ bluntness
he told her what he thought. Such gentleness is not weak; it is ____. He
made a ____ struggle against odds. "His ____ brow Consents to death, but
conquers agony." Now isn't that assumption of omniscience ____?


A _name_ is the word or words by which a person or thing is called or
known. If the name be descriptive or characterizing, even though in a
fanciful way, it is an _appellation_. If it particularizes an
individual through reference to distinctive quality or nature, perhaps
without employing any word the individual is usually known by, it is a
_designation_. If it specifies a class, especially a religious sect
or a kind of coin, it is a _denomination_. If it is an official or
honorary description of rank, office, place within a profession, or the
like, it is a _title_. If it is assumed, as to conceal identity, it
is an _alias_.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: de plume, pseudonym>.

_Sentences_: Yes, it is a five-dollar gold piece, though one doesn't
often see a coin of that ____ nowadays. The Little Corporal is the ____
applied to Napoleon by his soldiers. The eldest son of the king of England
bears the ____ of the Prince of Wales. The government issues stamps in
various ____. "That loafer" was his contemptuous ____ of the man who could
not find work. "Duke" is the highest ____ of nobility in England. The
crook was known to the police under many ____. At the battle of Bull Run
Jackson received the ____ "Stonewall." "What's in a[n] ____? that which we
call a rose By any other ____ would smell as sweet." The head of the
American government bears the ____ of President. The Mist of Spring was
the little Indian maiden's ____. His ____ was Thornberg.

immemorial, elderly, aged, hoary, decrepit, senile, superannuated>.

We reserve the right to judge for ourselves when told that something--
especially a joke--is "the very latest." So may we likewise discriminate
among degrees of age. _Old_ is applied to a person or thing that has
existed for a long time or that existed in the distant past. The word may
suggest a familiarity or sentiment not found in _ancient_, which is
used of that which lived or happened in the remote past, or has come down
from it. _Olden_ applies almost wholly to time long past.
_Antique_ is the term for that which has come down from ancient times
or is made in imitation of the style of ancient times, whereas
_antiquated_ is the term for that which has gone out of style or
fashion. _Archaic_ and _obsolete_ refer to words, customs, or
the like, the former to such as savor of an earlier period though they are
not yet completely out of use, the latter to such as have passed out of
use altogether. _Immemorial_ implies that a thing is so old that it
is beyond the time of memory or record. _Elderly_ is applied to
persons who are between middle age and old age. _Aged_ is used of one
who has lived for an unusually long time. _Hoary_ refers to age as
revealed by white hair. _Venerable_ suggests the reverence to be paid
to the dignity, goodness, or wisdom of old age. _Decrepit_ conveys a
sense of the physical infirmities and weakness which attend old age;
_senile_ of the lessening powers of both body and mind that result
from old age. _Superannuated_ is applied to a person who on account
of old age has been declared incapable of continuing his activities.

_Sentences_: He liked to read romances of the ____ days. Dana records
that he once saw a man so ____ that he had to raise his eyelids with his
fingers. Many writers use ____ words to give quaintness to their work. He
liked to sit around in his ____ clothes. "The moping owl does to the moon
complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ____
solitary reign." Some of these ____ sequoia trees were old before the
white man discovered this continent. They are building the church in the
____ Roman style of architecture. "Be not ... the last to lay the ____
aside." Many of Chaucer's words, being ____, cannot possibly be understood
without a glossary. Most churches now have funds for ____ ministers. A man
is as ____ as he feels; a woman is as ____ as she looks. The ____ old man
could scarcely hobble across the room. What better proof that he is ____
do you ask than that he babbles constantly about what happened when he was
young? "I am a very foolish fond ____ man, Fourscore and upward." They
revered the ____ locks of the old hero. At sixty a man is considered a[n]
____ person. That the earth is flat is a[n] ____ idea. The young warriors
listened respectfully to the ____ chief's advice. They unearthed a[n] ____
vase. "____ wood best to burn, ____ wine to drink, ____ friends to trust,
and ____ authors to read." His favorite study was ____ history. "Grow ____
along with me." "The most ____ heavens, through thee, are fresh and


Most men are willing to receive what is due them. They might even be
persuaded to receive a bit more. Why should they not be as scrupulous to
receive what they are entitled to in the medium of language as of money?
Sometimes they are. Offering to _pay_ some people instead of to
_compensate_ them is like offering a tip to the wrong person. Why?
Because there is a social implication in _compensate_ which is not
contained in _pay_. To _pay_ is simply to give what is due, as
in wages (or even salary), price, or the like. To _compensate_ is to
make suitable return for service rendered. Does _compensate_ not
sound the more soothing? But save in exceptional circumstances the
downrightness of _pay_ has no hint of vulgarity. To _recompense_
is to make a return, especially if it is not monetary, for work, pains,
trouble, losses, or suffering; or some quality or blessing (as affection
or happiness) may be said to recompense one. To _remunerate_ is to
disburse a large amount to a person, or to give it to him as a reward, or
otherwise to make him a return in a matter of importance. To
_requite_ is to put a just value upon one's work, deeds, or merit and
to make payment strictly in accordance with his deserts. To
_reimburse_ is to make good what some one has spent for you. To
_indemnify_ is to secure some one against loss or to make restitution
for damages he has sustained.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: .

_Sentences_: Let us ____ him for his efforts in our behalf.
Let us ____ their kindness with kindness, their cruelty with cruelty.
To ____ them adequately for such patriotic sacrifices is of course
impossible. The government demanded that it be ____ for the injury to its
citizens. I shall ____ you for all sums expended. He ____ the bill by a
check. The success of her children ____ a mother for her sacrifices for
them. Wages are ____ to laborers; salaries are ____ to judges.


Most persons feel in their hearts that their claims and merits are
superior to those of other people. But they do not like for you, in
describing them, to imply that their self-appraisal is too high.
"Comparisons are odious," and therefore in comparing their fancied with
their real selves you must choose your terms carefully. Of the words that
suggest an exaggerated estimate of one's merits or privileges the
broadest, as well as the least offensive, is _proud_. In fact this
word need not carry the idea of exaggeration. A proud man may but hold
himself in justifiable esteem, or wish to measure up to the demands of his
station or to the expectations of others. On the other hand, he may
overvalue his attainments, possessions, connections, etc. To say that the
man is _arrogant_ means that he combines with pride a contempt for
others, that he claims for himself greater attention, consideration, or
respect than he is entitled to. To say that he is _presumptuous_
makes him an inferior (or at least not a superior) who claims privileges
or takes liberties improperly. To say that he is _haughty_ means that
he assumes a disdainful superiority to others, especially through fancied
or actual advantage over them in birth or social position. To say that he
is _supercilious_ means that he maintains toward others an attitude
of lofty indifference or sneering contempt. To say that he is
_insolent_ means that he is purposely and perhaps coarsely
disrespectful toward others, especially toward his superiors. To say that
he is _insulting_ means that he gives or offers personal affront,
probably in scornful or disdainful speech.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: contumelious, impudent, impertinent>.

_Sentences_: He was ____ in replying to the questions. She paid no
attention to his words, but kept looking at him with a[n] ____ smile. He
was ____ in acting as if he were their equal. The hot-tempered fellow
answered this ____ remark with a blow. She resented his presuming to speak
to her, and turned away in a[n] ____ manner. The servant was ____ to her
mistress. Are you not very ____ of your family connections? The old man
was so ____ that he expected people to raise their hats to him and not to
sit down till he gave permission.


To _punish_ a person is to inflict pain or penalty upon him as a
retribution for wrong-doing. There may be, usually is, no intention to
improve the offender. To _chastise_ him is to inflict deserved
corporal punishment upon him for corrective purposes. To _chasten_
him is to afflict him with trouble for his reformation or spiritual
betterment. The word is normally employed in connection with such
affliction from God.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: .

_Sentences_: "Hearing oftentimes The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To ____ and subdue." Ichabod
Crane freely used his ferule in ____ his pupils. "Whom the Lord loveth he
____." A naughty child should be ____.


"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a
rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Substitute _wealthy_ for
_rich_. Is the meaning exactly the same? Is Goldsmith's description
of the village preacher--"passing rich with forty pounds a year"--as
effective if _wealthy_ is substituted? What is the difference between
_riches_ and _wealth_? Which implies the greater degree of
possession, which the more permanence and stability? Which word suggests
the more personal relationship with money? Which word the more definitely
denotes money or its immediate equivalent? Why do we say "get-rich-quick
schemes" rather than "get-wealthy-quick schemes"? What besides the
possession of wealth does _affluent_ suggest? Could we say that a
rich miser lives in affluence? If not, why not? A poor clerk who has ten
dollars to spend as he pleases may feel affluent. A rich banker may be a
man of affluence in his town. What power does this suggest that he has
besides the possession of a great deal of money? Explain all that Swift
implies by the word _opulence_ in the quotation "There in full
opulence a banker dwelt, Who all the joys and pangs of riches felt." If
you substitute _affluence_, what different impression do you get?


"The _rural_ inhabitants of a country." Are the people being spoken
of favorably, unfavorably, or neutrally? How would the meaning be affected
if they were called _rustic_ inhabitants? Would you ordinarily speak
of the _rural_ or the _rustic_ population to distinguish it from
the urban? Would you speak of _rural_ or _rustic_ activities?
_rural_ or _rustic_ manners? When the two adjectives may be
employed, is one of them unflattering? Is a _rustic_ bridge something
to be ashamed of? a _rustic_ chair? a _rustic_ gate? What, then,
is the degree of reproach that attaches to each of the two adjectives? the
degree of commendation? Wherein do _pastoral_ scenes differ from
_rural_? _pastoral_ amusements from _rustic_? Can you trace
a connection between the _pastor_ of a church and a _pastoral_
life? Do you often hear the word _bucolic_? In what mood is it
oftenest uttered? Which of the four adjectives best fits into Goldsmith's
dignified lament: "And ____ mirth and manners are no more"?

(This group may be contrasted with the _Talkative_ group, below.)

We pass through a crowded room and notice that some of its occupants are
not adding their voices to the chatter. We resolve to study these
unspeaking persons. Some of them merely have nothing to say, or are timid
or preoccupied; or it may be they deliberately have set themselves not to
talk. These are _silent_. Some plainly desire not to talk, it may be
in general or it may be upon some particular topic; they may (but need
not) regard themselves as superior to their associates, or for some other
reason let aloofness or coldness creep into their manner. These are
_reserved_. Others withhold information that persons about them are,
or would be, interested in. These are _uncommunicative_. Others
maintain their own counsel; they neglect opportunities to reveal their
thoughts, plans, and the like. These are _reticent_. Others are
disinclined--and habitually, we perceive--to talking. These are

_Sentences_: The ____ prisoner evaded all questions. He was as ____
as nature itself; he never gave his views upon any subject. He was ____
about the firm's affairs, especially toward persons who seemed
inquisitive. We knew there had been a love affair in his life, but he was
____ on the subject. She sat ____ throughout the discussion. If to be ____
is golden, Lucas should have been a billionaire.


You hear a "concord of sweet sounds," not instrumental but vocal, and wish
to tell me so. You say that some person _sings_. Then you recall that
I am something of an expert in music, and you cast about for the word that
shall state specifically the kind of singing that is being done. Does the
person sing solemnly in a more or less uniform tone? You tell me that he
_chants_. Does he sing gladly, spontaneously, high-spiritedly, as if
his heart were pouring over with joy? You say that he _carols_. Does
he sing with vibratory notes and little runs, as in bird-music? You say
that he _warbles_. Does he sing loudly and freely? You say that he
_trolls_. Does he sing with peculiar modulations from the regular
into a falsetto voice? You say that he _yodels_. Does he sing a
simple, perhaps tender, song in a low tone (as a lullaby to an infant)?
You say that he _croons_. Does he sing with his lips closed? You say
that he _hums_. Does he utter the short, perhaps sharp, notes of
certain birds and insects? You say that he _chirps_ or

_Assignment for further discrimination_: peep, cheep, twitter>.

_Sentences_: A cricket ____ in the grass outside the door. He
abstractedly gazed out of the window and ____ a few strains of an old
song. Listen, they are ____ the Te Deum. "And ____ still dost soar, and
soaring ever ____." A strange, uncanny blending of false and true notes it
is when the Swiss mountaineers are ____. Negroes, as a race, love to
____. As she soothes the child to sleep she ____ a "rock-a-bye-baby."


_Suave_ implies agreeable persuasiveness or smooth urbanity.
_Bland_ suggests a soothing or coaxing kindness of manner, one that
is sometimes lacking in sincerity. _Unctuous_ implies excessive
smoothness, as though one's manner were oiled. The word carries a decided
suggestion of hypocrisy. _Fulsome_ suggests such gross flattery as to
be annoying or cloying. _Smug_ suggests an effeminate
self-satisfaction, usually not justified by merit or achievement.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: trim, dapper, spruce, genteel, urbane, well-bred, gracious, affable,

_Sentences_: He thought his answer exceedingly brilliant and settled
back into his chair with ____ complacency. "____ the smile that like a
wrinkling wind On glassy water drove his cheek in lines." They were
irritated by his ____ praise. Although he disliked them, he greeted them
with ____ cordiality. "A bankrupt, a prodigal, ... that used to come so
____ upon the mart; let him look to his bond." ____ as a diplomat.

(This group may be contrasted with the _Silent_ group, above.)

A little while ago you were in a crowded room and made a study of the
persons disposed to silence. But your study was carried on under
difficulties, for many of those about you showed a tendency to copious or
excessive speech. One woman entered readily into conversation with you and
convinced you that her natural disposition was to converse a great deal.
She was _talkative_. From her you escaped to a man who soon proved
that he talked too much and could run on with an incessant flow of words,
perhaps employing many of them where a few would have sufficed. He was
_loquacious_. The two of you were joined by an old gentleman who
forthwith began to talk wordily, tediously, continuously, with needless
repetitions and in tiresome detail; you suspected that he had suffered a
mental decline from age, and that he might be excessively fond, in season
and out of season, of talking about himself and his opinions. He was
_garrulous_. You broke away from these two and fell into the hands of
a much more agreeable interlocutor. He talked with a ready, easy command
of words, so that his discourse _flowed_ smoothly. He was
_fluent_. He introduced you to a lady whose speech possessed
smoothness and ease in too great degree; it fairly _rolled_ along, as
a hoop does downhill. The lady was _voluble_. Into your triangular
group broke a newcomer whose speech had in it a flippant, or at least a
superficially clever, fluency. He was _glib_. Leaving these three to
fight (or talk) it out as best they might, you grabbed your hat and
hurried outside for a fresh whiff of air.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: prolix, wordy, verbose>.

_Sentences_: The insurance agent was so ____ a talker that I was
soothed into sleepiness by his voice. The ____ old man could talk forever
about the happenings of his boyhood. Through ____ descriptions of life in
the city the dapper summer boarder entranced the simple country girl. I
met a ____ fellow on the train, and we had a long conversation. She was so
____ that I spent half the afternoon with her and learned nothing.


_Weak_ is the general word for that which is deficient in strength.
_Debilitated_ is used of physical weakness, in most instances brought
on by excesses and abuses. _Feeble_ denotes decided or extreme
weakness, which may excite pity or contempt. _Infirm_ is applied to a
person whose weakness or feebleness is due to age. _Decrepit_ is used
in reference to a person broken down or worn out by infirmities, age, or
sickness. _Impotent_ implies such loss or lack of strength or
vitality as to render ineffective or helpless.

_Assignment for further discrimination_: frail>.

_Sentences_: "Here I stand, your slave, A poor, ____, weak, and
despis'd old man." A[n] ____ old man shuffled along with the aid of a
cane. Though still in his youth, he was ____ from intemperance and fast
living. A fellow who does that has a[n] ____ mind. He staggered about
trying to strike his opponent, but rage and his wound rendered him for the
time ____. The grasp of the old man was so ____ that the cup trembled in
his hand. "Like rich hangings in a homely house, So was his will in his
old ____ body." After his long illness he was as ____ as a child. He made
but a[n] ____ attempt to defend himself.

provident, discreet>. (Compare the distinction between _knowledge_
and _wisdom_ under Words Often Confused above.)

_Wise_ implies sound and discriminating judgment, resulting from
either learning or experience. _Learned_ denotes the past acquisition
of much information through study. _Erudite_ means characterized by
extensive or profound knowledge. _Sagacious_ implies far-sighted
judgment and intuitive discernment, especially in practical matters.
_Sapient_ is now of infrequent use except as applied ironically or
playfully to one having or professing wisdom. _Sage_ implies deep
wisdom that comes from age or experience. _Judicious_ denotes sound
judgment or careful discretion in weighing a matter with reference to its
merits or its consequences. _Prudent_ conveys a sense of cautious
foresight in judging the future and planning for it upon the basis of the
circumstances at hand. _Provident_ suggests practical foresight and
careful economy in preparing for future needs. _Discreet_ denotes
care or painstakingness in doing or saying the right thing at the right
time, and the avoidance thereby of errors or unpleasant results.

_Sentences_: Against the time when his children would be going to
college he had been ____. "Most ____ judge!" The ____ old warrior could
not be deceived by any such ruse. "Be ye therefore as ____ as serpents,
and harmless as doves." The ____ advice of his elders was wasted on him.
The course was ____, not rash. He was ____ in avoiding all reference to
the subject. "Type of the ____, who soar but never roam, True to the
kindred points of heaven and home." Even by those scholars, those
specialists, he was deemed ____. How ____ the young man is! "Where
ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be ____." Is it ____ to spend money thus
lavishly? He considered the matter well and gave a most ____ answer. To
spend every cent of one's income is surely not to be ____.


All of us, at times anyhow, get out of as much work as we can. We even use
the word _work_ and its synonyms loosely and indolently. Perhaps this
is a literary aspect of the labor problem. If, however, we can shake off
our sluggishness and exert ourselves in discriminating our terms, we shall
use _work_ as a general word for effort, physical or mental, to some
purposive end; _labor_ for hard, physical work; _toil_ for
wearying or exhaustive work; and _drudgery_ for tedious, monotonous,
or distasteful work, especially of a low or menial kind.

_Sentences_: It required the ____ of thousands of men to complete the
tunnel. To be condemned to the galleys meant a life of unending ____. The
man who enjoys his ____ will succeed. Twenty years of incessant ____ had
extinguished in him every spark of ambition. He was weary after the
____ of the day. All ____ and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Through the
heart-breaking ____ of thousands the pyramids were built to commemorate a
few. He was sentenced to hard ____.



You have now seen enough of the method of discriminating synonyms to take
more of the responsibility for such work upon yourself. In this chapter,
therefore, the plan followed in Exercise A is abandoned and no
discriminations are supplied you.


For some of the generic words in Exercise A you will find antonyms in
Exercise C. Here is a list:

In Exercise A: walk, laugh, busy, hate, masculine, old

In Exercise C: run, cry, idle, love, feminine, young.

Now each of the generic terms in C is followed by a list of its synonyms.
But for the six generic terms just given let us see how many synonyms you
can find for yourself. Simply study each word in turn, think of all the
synonyms for it you can summon, strike out those you consider far-fetched.
Then compare your list with the list under the antonym in Exercise A; if
possible, improve your list by means of this comparison. Finally, compare
your revised list with the list in Exercise C.

In Exercise C are two generic terms that carry the same idea (but not in
the same part of speech) as generic terms in Exercise A. They are as

In Exercise A: sing, death

In Exercise C: song, die.

Take _song_ and _die_. First, find all the satisfactory synonyms
you can for yourself. Then if possible improve your list by studying the
list under the corresponding word in Exercise A. Finally, compare your
revised list with the one in Exercise C.


After three introductory groups (dealing with thoroughly concrete ideas
and words) the synonyms in this exercise are arranged alphabetically
according to the first word in each group.

Discriminate the words in each group, and fill each blank in the
illustrative sentences with the word that conveys the meaning exactly.

observe, witness, behold, view>.

_Sentences_: The intruder he ____ in the early dawn-light might have
been man or beast; he could not have ____ one from the other. After a long
search I ____ on the map the name of the town. The teacher ____ the
throwing of the paper wad, but thought best not to ____ it. "He that hath
eyes to ____, let him ____." I ____ the encounter. "I hope to ____ my
Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar." "When my eyes turn to
____ for the last time the sun in heaven." I sat by the flower and ____
the bee plunder it. The scrawl on the paper was meaningless, but at length
by close attention he ____ secret writing. "Your young men shall ____
visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." He had ____ human nature
manifesting itself under various conditions.

hang, electrocute, guillotine, lynch, despatch, decimate, crucify>.

_Sentences_: With the jawbone of an ass Samson ____ a thousand of his
enemies. It was his duty as sheriff to ____ the criminal, and the method
decreed by the state was that he should ____ him. Previously the method of
carrying out a sentence of death had been to ____ the criminal. On our
left wing we lost one man in ten: thus our lines were literally ____ On
our right wing, where we advanced to the attack in the open, our men were
simply ____. After the garrison had laid down its arms the Indians ____
men, women, and children. "I would not ____ thy soul." During the French
Revolution many of the nobility were ____. In the country late fall is the
time to ____ hogs. Thinking that his accomplice was no longer of use, he
quietly ____ him. The anarchist who had ____ the governor was taken by a
mob and ____.

trance, siesta>.

_Sentences_: Since he had not exerted himself beforehand, his state
was one of ____ rather than one of ____. The sultry heat of the day put
him into a ____. "Not poppy, nor mandragora, Nor all the ____ syrops of
the world, Shall ever medicine thee to that sweet ____ Which thou
ow[n]edst yesterday." Light and pleasant be thy ____. "And still she slept
an azure-lidded ____." From the ____ induced by his injury the physicians
were unable to arouse him. "Oh ____! it is a gentle thing, Beloved from
pole to pole!" "The poppied warmth of ____ oppress'd Her soothed limbs,
and soul fatigued away." In Spanish-speaking South American countries
every one expects to take his ____. He lay down under the tree for a short
____ and had just fallen into a preliminary ____ when the picnic party
arrived. "Macheth does murder ____, the innocent ____, ____ that knits up
the ravel'd sleave of care."


_Sentences_: A declaration of war would of course ____ the treaty.
The legislature has the right to ____ old laws as well as to enact new
ones. Because they left his grounds littered with paper, he ____ their
privilege of holding picnics there. The king ____ the decree that the
conspirators should be exiled. Slavery was ____ by the Emancipation
Proclamation. The emperor ____ many of the ancient rights of the people.
They ____ the mortgage when he paid the money. The violation of these
provisions has ____ the contract. It was an ill day for France when the
Edict of Nantes was ____ by Louis XIV. The Supreme Court ____ the decision
of the lower tribunal. The Mormons have officially ____ polygamy. The
codicil ____ some of the earlier provisions in his will.


_Sentences_: He ____ himself from all blame. The king ____ them from
their allegiance. The teacher ____ the student who had been suspected of
theft. The father confessor ____ the penitent. The jury ____ the man on
the first ballot.

timorous.> (This group may be compared with the _Fear group_,

_Sentences:_ One child was to ____ to speak to the strangers; the
other too ____ to do anything but squall. "If Caesar hide himself, shall
they not whisper 'Lo, Caesar is ____'?" Any one might have been ____ by
this noise in a room said to be haunted; and for my part, I stood ____.

_Sentences:_ The judge ____ the severity of the punishment. They
collected funds to ____ the sufferings of the poor. He could not ____ the
wrath of the angry man. Shall we try to ____ their fears by telling them
the accident may have been less calamitous than they have heard? A mustard
plaster ____ the pain. The grief of the mother was ____ by the presence of
her child. This experience had by no means ____ his temper.

_Sentences:_ Visitors are not ____ to see the king. The over-running
of yard by the neighbors' chickens is a nuisance I shall not ____. "____
little children to come unto me." The use of bicycles and velocipedes
on the pavement, though not ____ by the city, is good-naturedly ____ by
most of the citizens. She ____ her children to play in the street.

_Sentences:_ I ____ my failure to poor judgment. He ____ sinister
motives for their actions. So many ideal characteristics have been ____ to
Washington that it is difficult to think of him as a man.

_Sentences:_ An elephant is ____ in its movements. Some ____
countrymen hung around the circus entrance. He was tall and ____; he
seemed to be a mere prop on which clothes were hung. Isn't that man ____
in his carriage? The fingers of the ball-players might as well have been
thumbs, so ____ were they from the cold. Girls throw a ball in a[n] ____


_Sentences_: Fletcher taught people to ____ their food well. The
mouse ____ the cheese, but the trap did not spring. A horse ____ his bits.
When I ____ into the apple, I found that it was sour. The rat ____ a hole
through the board.

splinter, sunder, rive, crush, batter, demolish, rupture>. (After
discriminating these terms for yourself, see the treatment of _break,
fracture_ under above under Parallels.)

_Sentences_: "____ my timbers!" the old salt exclaimed. The anaconda
is an immense serpent that wraps itself about its victim and ____ it.
The child blew the soap bubble wider and wider till it ____. "You
may ____, you may ____ the vase if you will." Looking closely at the eggs,
she perceived that one of them was ____. With a board the thoughtless
child ____ the anthill. During a violent fit of coughing he ____ a blood
vessel. The thick cloud was ____ and the sunshine streamed through.


_Sentences_: A mouse must be ____ lest it be caught in a trap. He had
learned to be ____ in advancing his radical opinions. The man was a Scot
and therefore ____. With a ____ movement I opened the door to investigate
the strange noise. He was ____ in checking up the accounts. Be extremely
____ in your behavior, for they are watching to criticize you.


_Sentences_: The king ____ them safe conduct through the country. He
would not ____ to touch the money that had been gained dishonestly. His
____ manner irritated them. The master ____ to hear the complaints of the

_Sentences_: He ____ the charge with positive proof. The finding of
Desdemona's handkerchief ____ Othello's belief that she was guilty. The
other witnesses ____ his testimony. The doctor ____ the appointment his
assistant had made for him. He ____ his results by repeating the
experiment a number of times.

intrepidity, daring, valor, prowess, fortitude, heroism>. (With this
group contrast the _Fear_ group, below.)

_Sentences_: It seemed they must be driven from their works but they
held to them with the utmost ____. He had the ____ to fight an aggressive
battle, but not the ____ to stand for long days upon the defensive; less
still did he have the ____ to disregard unjust criticism. The silent ____
of the women who bide at home surpasses the ____ the warriors who engage
in battle. He had the dashing ____ of a cavalry officer.

merciless, unmerciful, pitiless, ruthless, fell>. (With this group
contrast the _Kind_ group, below.)

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