Chapter 22

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ADVANCED
WORD POWER
Second Edition
BETH JOHNSON
JANET M. GOLDSTEIN
© 2011 Townsend Press
Unit Five: Chapter 22
• colloquial
• judicious
• crass
• prerogative
• discerning
• tacit
• hyperbole
• tactless
• inclusive
• whet
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
1 colloquial
– adjective
• I enjoyed the lecturer’s easygoing, colloquial style. He made the topic
more interesting than a stiff, formal speaker could have done.
• Devan has two entirely different ways of talking: he uses colloquial,
slangy words with his friends, but conventional, precise language at
work.
Colloquial means
A. deceptive.
B. unclear.
C. informal.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
1 colloquial
– adjective
• I enjoyed the lecturer’s easygoing, colloquial style. He made the topic
more interesting than a stiff, formal speaker could have done.
• Devan has two entirely different ways of talking: he uses colloquial,
slangy words with his friends, but conventional, precise language at
work.
Colloquial means
A. deceptive.
B. unclear.
C. informal.
A stiff, formal speaking style is contrasted with one that is
easygoing and informal. The word slangy suggests that
colloquial means “informal.”
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
2 crass
– adjective
• My brother enjoys a certain stand-up comic whom I find simply crass.
I can’t understand what’s funny about being crude and insulting.
• The candidate lost the election after making a stupid joke about his
opponent’s weight. We were amazed at the damage one crass
comment can do.
Crass means
A. humorless.
B. tasteless.
C. meaningless.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
2 crass
– adjective
• My brother enjoys a certain stand-up comic whom I find simply crass.
I can’t understand what’s funny about being crude and insulting.
• The candidate lost the election after making a stupid joke about his
opponent’s weight. We were amazed at the damage one crass
comment can do.
Crass means
A. humorless.
B. tasteless.
C. meaningless.
The words crude and insulting suggest that the stand-up comic’s
performance is tasteless. It would be tasteless for a candidate to
try to win laughs from his supporters by making comments about
his opponent’s physical appearance.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
3 discerning
– adjective
• “That’s an extremely discerning comment,” the teacher said to Carmela.
“Congratulations—you’ve been using your powers of observation.”
• Mothers are the most discerning people on earth, as you’ll agree if
you’ve ever tried to hide anything from yours.
Discerning means
Painting: Hans Holbein the Younger (1533)
A. observant.
B. nasty.
C. bragging.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
3 discerning
– adjective
• “That’s an extremely discerning comment,” the teacher said to Carmela.
“Congratulations—you’ve been using your powers of observation.”
• Mothers are the most discerning people on earth, as you’ll agree if
you’ve ever tried to hide anything from yours.
Discerning means
Painting: Hans Holbein the Younger (1533)
A. observant.
B. nasty.
C. bragging.
If Carmela was using her powers of
observation, then her comment must
have been observant. Mothers are so
observant that it’s difficult to hide
anything from them.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
4 hyperbole
– noun
• “My entire life will be ruined if you won’t let me borrow your dress!” said my
sister, causing me to laugh at her hyperbole.
• Marcella is a very dramatic person who uses a lot of hyperbole to express
herself: a restaurant is never just “good”—it’s “the most fabulous food in the
universe”; her boyfriend isn’t just “good-looking”—he’s “divine beyond belief.”
Hyperbole means
A. overstatement.
B. compliment.
C. accuracy.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
4 hyperbole
– noun
• “My entire life will be ruined if you won’t let me borrow your dress!” said my
sister, causing me to laugh at her hyperbole.
• Marcella is a very dramatic person who uses a lot of hyperbole to express
herself: a restaurant is never just “good”—it’s “the most fabulous food in the
universe”; her boyfriend isn’t just “good-looking”—he’s “divine beyond belief.”
Hyperbole means
A. overstatement.
B. compliment.
C. accuracy.
It would be an overstatement to say that a dress could save or ruin a
person’s entire life. It would be an overstatement to say that a
restaurant has the best food in the universe (or even the world), or
that a person has a godlike appearance.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
5 incisive
– adjective
• Ms. Martin is a great teacher. Her lectures are clear, incisive, and to the
point.
• Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective, is famous for his incisive
mind. From just a few small clues, he makes brilliant deductions and
solves the most difficult cases.
Incisive means
A. silly.
B. hesitant.
C. keen.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
5 incisive
– adjective
• Ms. Martin is a great teacher. Her lectures are clear, incisive, and to the
point.
• Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective, is famous for his incisive
mind. From just a few small clues, he makes brilliant deductions and
solves the most difficult cases.
Incisive means
A. silly.
B. hesitant.
C. keen.
The words clear and sharp suggest that the teacher’s lectures are
keen. Since Holmes can solve difficult cases from only a few small
clues, he must have a keen mind.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
6 judicious
– adjective
• Merle’s decisions are judicious: he never does anything without careful
thought.
• It was not judicious of Jen to stay up until 4 a.m. cramming for her exam.
She was so exhausted when the test began that she couldn’t remember the
answers to the questions.
Judicious means
A. predictable.
B. wise.
C. exaggerated.
Photo: National Park Service
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
6 judicious
– adjective
• Merle’s decisions are judicious: he never does anything without careful
thought.
• It was not judicious of Jen to stay up until 4 a.m. cramming for her exam.
She was so exhausted when the test began that she couldn’t remember the
answers to the questions.
Judicious means
A. predictable.
B. wise.
C. exaggerated.
Photo: National Park Service
The phrase “careful thought” suggests
that Merle’s decisions are wise. It was
not wise to be so exhausted from
staying up late that Jen couldn’t do
well on the test.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
7 prerogative
– noun
• Just because you told the salesman you might buy the car doesn’t mean
you must buy it. You have the prerogative of changing your mind.
• A person suspected of a crime has the prerogative of refusing to answer
questions unless his or her lawyer is present.
Prerogative means
A. a choice.
B. a duty.
C. a belief.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
7 prerogative
– noun
• Just because you told the salesman you might buy the car doesn’t mean
you must buy it. You have the prerogative of changing your mind.
• A person suspected of a crime has the prerogative of refusing to answer
questions unless his or her lawyer is present.
Prerogative means
A. a choice.
B. a duty.
C. a belief.
Feeling that one must buy a car is contrasted with one’s right to
make a choice and change one’s mind. Suspects have the right
to make a choice not to answer questions without a lawyer.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
8 tacit
– adjective
• Rosemary and her boyfriend aren’t officially engaged, but they have a
tacit understanding that they’ll be getting married sooner or later.
• Most families seem to have a tacit agreement about who sits where at
the dining table. Everyone always takes the same place, although the
seating has never been discussed.
Tacit means
Photo: White House – Chris Greenberg
A. unusual.
B. unstated.
C. insensitive.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
8 tacit
– adjective
• Rosemary and her boyfriend aren’t officially engaged, but they have a
tacit understanding that they’ll be getting married sooner or later.
• Most families seem to have a tacit agreement about who sits where at
the dining table. Everyone always takes the same place, although the
seating has never been discussed.
Tacit means
Photo: White House – Chris Greenberg
A. unusual.
B. unstated.
C. insensitive.
An official engagement announcement
is contrasted with an unstated
understanding. A family discussion is
contrasted with a unstated agreement
about where to sit.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
9 tactless
– adjective
• “If you don’t want to eat the spinach quiche,” Richard told his kids, “just say,
‘No, thanks.’ It’s tactless to say, ‘No, it’s yucky.’”
• “How could you have been so tactless?” Marie said to Jim. “Even if it’s true,
you do not tell the hostess, ‘We’re really bored, so we’re going home now.’”
Tactless means
A. long-winded.
B. insensitive.
C. intelligent.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
9 tactless
– adjective
• “If you don’t want to eat the spinach quiche,” Richard told his kids, “just say,
‘No, thanks.’ It’s tactless to say, ‘No, it’s yucky.’”
• “How could you have been so tactless?” Marie said to Jim. “Even if it’s true,
you do not tell the hostess, ‘We’re really bored, so we’re going home now.’”
Tactless means
A. long-winded.
B. insensitive.
C. intelligent.
It is insensitive to tell someone their
food is “yucky.” It is insensitive to tell
your hosts they’ve “really bored” you.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
10 whet
– verb
• The opening scene of a TV drama must capture the audience’s attention
immediately, to whet viewers’ interest in the story that is about to unfold.
• At newspaper stands in New York, the headlines are usually hidden from
view. In London, however, headlines are boldly displayed. I wonder which
system whets people’s curiosity more.
Whet means
A. to arouse.
B. to account for.
C. to distract.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
10 whet
– verb
• The opening scene of a TV drama must capture the audience’s attention
immediately, to whet viewers’ interest in the story that is about to unfold.
• At newspaper stands in New York, the headlines are usually hidden from
view. In London, however, headlines are boldly displayed. I wonder which
system whets people’s curiosity more.
Whet means
A. to arouse.
B. to account for.
C. to distract.
An opening scene that captures viewers’ attention is likely to arouse
their interest in the rest of the story. In the second item, the speaker
wonders what kind of newspaper display is more likely to arouse
people’s curiosity.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
1. I can spend a long time reading the dictionary. Looking up one
word _______s my curiosity about another, and the time passes
without my noticing.
2. The play seemed very realistic: the stage set looked just like an
ordinary apartment, and the dialog was ________—the characters
used ordinary, commonplace words and phrases.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
1. I can spend a long time reading the dictionary. Looking up one
word _______
whets my curiosity about another, and the time passes
without my noticing.
The first word stimulates enough curiosity to keep reading the dictionary.
2. The play seemed very realistic: the stage set looked just like an
ordinary apartment, and the dialog was ________—the
characters
colloquial
used ordinary, commonplace words and phrases.
In informal, conversational dialog, people use ordinary, commonplace
words and phrases.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
3. True, Aunt Myra can be irritating, but to call her “the most
annoying person in the solar system” is _________.
4. The TV journalist is famous for her _________ questioning. Her
sharp, pointed questions quickly reveal her subjects’ real thoughts
and feelings.
5. Before Uncle Trevor came to visit, we brought out the hideous
painting he had given us and hung it up again. He’s a(n)
________ man and would have noticed immediately if it was
missing.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
3. True, Aunt Myra can be irritating, but to call her “the most
annoying person in the solar system” is _________.
hyperbole
The quotation is an obvious exaggeration used for emphasis, not accuracy.
4. The TV journalist is famous for her _________
incisive questioning. Her
sharp, pointed questions quickly reveal her subjects’ real thoughts
and feelings.
Sharp, pointed questions would result in clear, penetrating questioning.
5. Before Uncle Trevor came to visit, we brought out the hideous
painting he had given us and hung it up again. He’s a _________
discerning
man and would have noticed immediately if it was missing.
A perceptive person would notice a missing object.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
6. I love my older brother, but his ________ behavior at the wedding
embarrassed me. He insisted on kissing every woman there and told
loud, unfunny jokes.
7. The salesclerk seemed to make a(n) _______ assumption that I had
a lot of money to spend on a coat. She lost interest when I said that
I was on a tight budget.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
crass behavior at the wedding
6. I love my older brother, but his ________
embarrassed me. He insisted on kissing every woman there and told
loud, unfunny jokes.
Kissing all the women is an example of coarse and vulgar behavior.
tacit
7. The salesclerk seemed to make a _________
assumption that I had
a lot of money to spend on a coat. She lost interest when I said that
I was on a tight budget.
Before the shopper talked about a budget, the salesclerk made an
assumption based on something implied but not spoken.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
8. It was rather _________ of Jon to brag about his great new job in
front of Stan, who had just lost his. No wonder Stan walked away in
a fit of pique°!
9. Years ago, schools used to hold “Sadie Hawkins Day” dances, to
which girls had the __________ of inviting boys. But these days,
girls don’t need a special day to exercise that right.
10. Dropping out of school is seldom a(n) ________ decision, but many
young people spurn° their opportunity to get an education and drop
out anyway.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. colloquial
B. crass
C. discerning
D. hyperbole
E. incisive
F. judicious
G. prerogative
H. tacit
I. tactless
J. whet
8. It was rather _________
tactless of Jon to brag about his great new job in
front of Stan, who had just lost his. No wonder Stan walked away in
a fit of pique°!
Jon’s lack of sensitivity wounded Stan’s pride and made him angry.
9. Years ago, schools used to hold “Sadie Hawkins Day” dances, to
which girls had the __________
prerogative of inviting boys. But these days,
girls don’t need a special day to exercise that right.
The word right suggests that inviting boys used to be a special privilege.
10. Dropping out of school is seldom a _________
judicious decision, but many
young people spurn° their opportunity to get an education and drop
out anyway.
Dropping out of school is not prudent because it limits opportunities.
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