Wordsmith – Test your wordpower

How many of these words do you know? Improve and test your wordpower by matching each of the words below to one of the multiple possible definitions.

Vocabulary Ratings
14-15 correct ………………….. excellent
12-13 correct ………………….. good
9-11 correct ………………….. fair

(1) hortatory {haw-tat-oree} adj A: keen on staying up late. B: vigorously encouraging. C: obsessed with gardening.

B: vigorously encouraging. ‘Winston Churchill was hortatory in his Battle of Britain speech’

(2) dyad {die-add} n A: two individuals viewed as a pair. B: death pact. C: sea monster.

A: two individuals viewed as a pair. ‘Psychiatrists like to study the mother-child dyad.’

(3) rebarbative {ruh-barb-er-tiw} adj A: unattractive. B: denying. C: repetitive.

A: unattractive. ‘Marlon Brando became rebarbative after too many lunches.’ Old French serebarber (to face each other “beard to beard” in an aggressive, unattractive way).

(4) Augean {or-jee-uhnn} adj A: pointlessly expensive. B: verbally rude. C: very dirty.

C: disgustingly dirty. ‘His student house was Augean by the end of the academic year.’ Ancient Greek, from the stables of King Augeas that Hercules had to clean as part of his 12 labours.

(5) termagant {term-er-guhnt} n A: anteater. B: someone who changes their mind. C: overbearing woman.

C: overbearing woman. ‘The termagant teacher told me to improve my handwriting.’

(6) voluptuary {voll-up-tew-ery} n A: self-indulgent person. B: good bone structure. C: royal statue.

A: self-indulgent person. ‘Oliver Reed lived a voluptuary’s life.’

(7) reliquary {rell-ick-were-ee} n A: beneficiary of a will. B container forrelics. C: slushy ice.

B: container for relics. ‘The Italian reliquary contained a saint’s bones.’

(8) hamartia {ham-arr-tee-ah} n A: fatal flaw. B: low self-esteem. C: brilliant painter.

A: fatal flaw. ‘The athlete’s hamartia was his fondness for the bottle.’

(9) hegemony {hejj-emm-er-nee} n A: happy marriage B: leadership. C: good gardening.

B: leadership. ‘Italy’s hegemony during the Renaissance is clear.’

(10) coda {code-ah} n A: final event. B: secret love letter. C: false identity papers.

A: final event. ‘The coda of the ballet was the best part.’

(11) venial {veen-eh-al} adj A: open to bribery. B: meat-eating. C: forgivable.

C: forgivable. ‘Not eating everything on your plate is a venial sin.’

(12) synapse {sigh-naps} n A: mental breakdown. B: connection between nerve cells. C: broken limb.

B: connection between nerve cells. ‘Electricity travels across the synapses of the brain ‘

(13) Manichaean {man-ih-kayan} adj A: dividing the world into good and evil. B: cannibalistic. C: softly spoken.

A: dividing the world into good and evil. ‘The priest took a Manichaean view of my bad behaviour.’ From Manes, the founder of the sect that followed this philosophy.

(14) liminal {limb-inn-al} adj A: demolished. B: in a transitional state. C: smelling of fruit.

B: in a transitional state. ‘After the election, Gordon Brown was in a liminal state.’

(15) rictus {rick-tus} n A: roof tile. B: calcium deficiency. C: fixed grin.

C: fixed grin. ‘He kept a rictus on his face even though he was hating the party.’

Author: Robert

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