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English, French, and Math Support: Vocabulary: General words

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Vocabulary: General words




affinity n. a sense or feeling of closeness and understanding between people or things because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests; a liking for or an attraction to something. He has an affinity for water, and swims at every opportunity.
androgynous adj. having a combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. His sense of fashion was considered androgynous.
anthropomorphic adj. described or thought of as being like human beings in appearance, behavior, or quality; considering animals or objects to have human qualities. An author who gives human characteristics to an animal or thing used anthropomorphic techniques.
apology n. a written or spoken expression of regret. I owe him an apology for my bad manners at diner last night.
baptism n. an act, experience, or ordeal by which one is purified, initiated, or named; a Christian sacrament marked by a water ritual admitting the recipient to the Christian community. The preparations for the baby's baptism ceremony were lavish.
boot camp n. a military training camp for new recruits, with strict discipline; a short, intensive, and rigorous course of training. Alice struggled through the two weeks of boot camp; however, she passed the final test with flying colours.
concept n. an abstract or general idea. The concept of beauty varies among the population.

n. 1. the process of becoming stronger and healthier by following a regular exercise program and diet.

2. the act or process of training a person or animal to do something or to behave in a certain way in a particular situation.

1. John developed his biceps through daily conditioning at the gym.

2. The scientist used classical conditioning to train the rat to press a lever for food.

conscientious adj. desire to do the right thing, or to put a lot of effort into one's work. The student was conscientious about doing all her homework.
consistent adj. unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time; free from variation. The experimental results are consistent with theory.
copacetic adj. ver satisfactory. All of her essays were copacetic.
cover letter n. a letter that accompanies another letter or package, with the intention of explaining or introducing the accompanying document or package. In his application for the new job, John sent an excellent cover letter to accompany his resume.

n. 1. one who tends cattle or horses.

2. A rodeo performer.

3. One having the qualities such as recklessness, aggressiveness or independence popularly associated with cowboys.

The managers of the project are risk-taking cowboys, and do not consider the input of the engineers who are more knowledgeable about structural requirements.

n. 1. the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever.

2. a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function.

3. an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life.

4. the decisive moment (as in a literary plot).

5. an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs.






5.The city was in an economic crisis because of its enormous debt.

curriculum vitae / resume n. a short account of one’s career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position. Alice edited her curriculum vitae down to one page, according to the application instructions.

n. 1. a moment in which something is suddenly seen or understood in a new or clear way.

2. a Christian festival held on January 6th in honour of the coming of the three kings to the infant Jesus Christ.

1.She had an epiphany about the meaning of the story, and was able to write a clear literary analysis.

2.The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on January 6.


This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

In mathematics, “even numbers” are whole numbers exactly divisible by two without a remainder (e.g., 2,4,6…190…).

We did the even-numbered problems at the end of Chapter 1 for homework.

See also “odd”

feminism n. the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Feminism is both an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms.

n. 1. a line or border separating two countries.

2. the district near a border separating two countries.

3. the extreme limit of settled land beyond which lies wilderness, especially referring to the western US before Pacific settlement.

1. The car waited for an hour at the border crossing between Canada and the United States.

This word has various usage meanings. Check your dictionaries.
n. 1.The state of being male or female or neuter.

2. a grammatical category used to classify some types of words.

1. The gender of the author was said to have coloured her writing.
hara-kiri n. ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practiced in Japan by samurai as an honorable alternative to disgrace or execution. He chose death by hara-kiri to avoid dishonouring his family.
hegemony n. the position of being the strongest and most powerful and thus able to control others. The five states competed economically for hegemony.
hippie n. a usually young person who rejects established social customs (such as by dressing in an unusual way or living in a commune) and who opposes violence and war; especially, a young person of this kind in the 1960s and 1970s in America. Her parents had been hippies in the 1970s, and still shunned many traditional conventions.
honour n. great respect or high esteem. His portrait hung in a place of honour on the main wall of the auditorium.
hypothetical adj. imagined, suggested or believed, but not necessarily true. The hypothetical construct she described was based on her observation of wild animals.
ideology n. a theory or set of beliefs, especially of a political system or organization. The two political leaders running for election have similar ideologies.
idiosyncrasy n. a peculiarity of constitution or temperament; an individualizing characteristic or quality of a person, place, or thing. One of his little idiosyncrasies was always preferring to be in the car first.
individualism n. the belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society or group. He was respected for his self-reliance and individualism, although not everyone agreed that individual needs were the most critical.

n. 1. a formal consultation, usually to evaluate qualifications (as of a prospective student or employee).

2. a meeting at which information is obtained (as by a reporter, television commentator, or pollster) from a person.

2. He prepared for his interview by reviewing his notes about the company.
latent adj. existing but not yet manifest; hidden. His latent talent in music developed as he worked with an extraordinary teacher.

This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

n. a person who leads, directs or commands a group, organization, or country.

His great knowledge of the company and his superb communication skills marked him as a natural choice to be the next leader.
liminal adj. of or relating to a sensory threshold; barely perceptible. He hovered in the liminal state between life and death.
ludic adj. of, relating to, or characterized by play. He thoroughly enjoyed reading the ludic novel.

adj.1. slightly warm.

2. disapproving.

1. Her tea was lukewarm after it sat on the counter for over an hour.

2. My response to your paper is lukewarm.


This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

adj. of, relating to, or situated at the edge or margin of something.

Her success at college was marginal at best.
misogyny n. a hatred of women, and in recent usage, an entrenched prejudice of women. Misogyny can manifest in many ways, including through sexism and the belittlement of women.
mnemonic n. assisting or intended to assist memory. The student learned the mnemonic HOMES to help him remember the names of the Great Lakes.
monotheism n. the belief or doctrine that there is only one god. The country was founded on the doctrine of monotheism.

n. 1. the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions.

2. the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

3. the establishment or use
of a computer network.

2. By networking in various clubs, she improved her relationships with her peers.
noble savage n. an idealized concept of an uncivilized person, who symbolizes the innate goodness of one not exposed to the corrupting influences of civilization; a person exemplifying this conception. Pocahontas is commonly portrayed as a
noble savage in American mythology.
nomadic adj. roaming from place to place; migratory; moving around a lot. Her ancestors were nomadic, and roamed among the mountains hunting wild animals.

This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

adj. what is considered to be the usual or correct way of doing something.

Good manners often rely on the normative behaviour of the times.

This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

adj. 1. strange or unusual.

2. In mathematics, “odd numbers” are whole numbers having one left over when divided by two (e.g., 1, 3, 5, …191…).

1. That is an odd interpretation of the news story.

2. We did the odd-numbered problems at the end of Chapter 1 for homework.

See also “even”

ontology n. a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being. Her philosophy course included a great deal of discourse about ontology.
overt adj. easily seen; not hidden. An overt attempt to distract your teacher might fail.
patriarchy n. a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line; power concentrated in the hands of men. Until the last 50 years, the country was ruled as a patriarchy.
perpetuate v. to cause or make something continue. The new library will perpetuate the community programs that began 10 years ago in the old building.
politics n. the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power. The politics involved an increasing number of parties vying for power.
polytheism n. the belief that there is more than one god. Her upbringing as a devout Catholic made it difficult for her to understand the polytheism of different cultures.
primordial adj. existing from the beginning of time; basic and fundamental. Jung argued that horror touches on primordial images of fear in the collective unconscious.
promiscuity n. the state of having many transient sexual relationships with different partners. The young woman was criticized by her peers for her promiscuity.
prurient adj. having an excessive interest in sexual matters. It is unclear whether the club members’ interest is altruistic or prurient.
rite n. a religious or other solemn ceremony act; a social custom, practice, or conventional act. The Christian rite of baptism varies from one denomination to another.
ritual n. done as part of a ceremony; always done in a particular situation and in the same way each time. The prayer ritual preceded the blessing of the animals.
sedentary adj. somewhat inactive or mostly in a sitting position. As she aged, she found her lifestyle became more sedentary.
seppuku n. ritual suicide by disembowelment formerly practiced by Japanese samurai. Also called hara-kiri. A samurai committing seppuku would shove a dagger into his stomach.
sheriff n. in the USA, an elected official who is in charge of enforcing the law in a county or town. The sheriff recognized the suspect from the latter’s previous brushes with the law.
six-gun n. a six-chambered revolver. The six-gun was made popular in old Western movies.
social media n. forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content. The college used a variety of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to reach out to students.

This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

n. something that causes something else to happen, develop, or become more active; something that causes a change or a reaction.

Her anticipated salary raise was a stimulus for her increased productivity.
symbolic adj. expressing or representing an idea or quality without using words. Her white wedding dress was symbolic of innocence in her society.
taciturn adj. reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little. One of the candidates was exuberant and talkative while the other was taciturn; they were opposite in other ways, too.

This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

n. the usual attitude, mood or behaviour of a person or animal.

The 10-year-old dog has a calm temperament.
theology n. the study of religious faith, practice, and experience; the study of God and God's relation to the world; a system of religious beliefs or ideas. He chose to study theology in college.
transcendent adj. beyond or above the range of normal or merely physical human experience; surpassing the ordinary; exceptional. The search for a transcendent level of knowledge motivated him to travel to India.
unfazed adj. undaunted; not confused, worried or shocked by something that has happened. The soccer coach was unfazed by the fact that the fields were soaked from the rain, and he called a regular practice session after school.
unflappable adj. usually calm in difficult situations; not easily upset. He remained unflappable in the turmoil caused by the unexpected strike.

This word has many meanings. Check your dictionaries.

adj. experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person.

She felt vicarious pleasure from listening to the stories of her friend’s travel adventures.

All words have been suggested by Marianopolis College teachers.

*Definitions and usage examples taken or adapted by the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, the Collins Cobuild Dictionary, and


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