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thaw // // verb BECOME NOT FROZEN

1. [ I or T ] to (cause to) change from a solid, frozen state to a liquid or soft one,
because of an increase in temperature
Allow the meat to thaw properly before cooking it.
The sun came out and thawed the ice.
It 's beginning to thaw (= The weather is warm enough for snow and ice to melt) .
Compare freeze
thaw // // verb BECOME FRIENDLY
2. [ I ] to become friendlier or more relaxed
The report shows that relations between the two enemies may be thawing.
zealot /zel.t/ noun [ C ]
a person who has very strong opinions about something, and tries to make other
people have them too
a religious zealot
blistering /bls.t r./ /-t-/ adjective HOT
1. extremely hot
We went out in the blistering heat .
blistering /bls.t r./ /-t-/ adjective FAST
2. extremely fast
The runners set off at a blistering pace .
blistering /bls.t r./ /-t-/ adjective ANGRY
3. extremely angry and hurtful
blistering remarks/sarcasm
lust /lst/ noun SEX
1. [ U ] a very strong sexual desire
I don't think it's love so much as lust.
lust /lst/ noun WISH
2. [ C or U ] a very powerful feeling of wanting something
her lust for power
It's wonderful to see the children's lust for life (= how enthusiastic they are about li
tepid /tep.d/ adjective NOT WARM
1. (of liquid) not very warm
tepid /tep.d/ adjective NOT ENTHUSIASTIC
2. describes a reaction which is not enthusiastic
I got a tepid response to my suggestion.
pecuniary /pkju.nj r.i/ /-ni.er-/ adjective FORMAL
relating to money
pecuniary interest/loss/benefit

a pecuniary matter
rumbling /rm.bl ./ , /-bl/ noun
1. [ C usually plural ] a sign of anger or disagreement
There are rumblings of annoyance throughout the workforce.
2. [ C usually singular ] a continuous low sound
the rumbling of distant guns/thunder
scorn /skn/ /skrn/ noun [ U ]
a very strong feeling of no respect for someone or something that you think is stupid
or has no value
She has nothing but scorn for the new generation of politicians.
Why do you always pour/heap scorn on (= criticize severely and unfairly) my
tenacity /tns..ti/ /-i/ noun [ U ]
the determination to continue what you are doing
strident /stra.d nt/ adjective LOUD
1. describes a sound which is loud, unpleasant and rough
People are put off by his strident voice.
strident /stra.d nt/ adjective FORCEFUL
2. expressing or expressed in forceful language which does not try to avoid upsetting
other people
a strident newspaper article
They are becoming increasingly strident in their criticism of government economic
offshoot /f.ut/ /f-/ noun [ C ]
something which has developed from something larger which already existed
It's an offshoot of a much larger company based in Sydney
connivance /kna.v n t s/ noun [ U ]
when someone connives, especially by knowing that something bad is happening and
allowing it to continue
Their appalling treatment of their child could only have happened with the
connivance of their neighbours.
panacea /pn.si./ noun [ C usually singular ]
1. DISAPPROVING something that will solve all problems
Technology is not a panacea for all our problems.
2. something that will cure all illnesses

clamour UK , US clamor /klm. r / /-/ verb [ I ]

to make a loud complaint or demand
The children were all clamouring for attention.
[ + to infinitive ] She clamours to go home as soon as she gets to school.
coercion /k. n/ /ko-/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
the use of force to persuade someone to do something which they are unwilling to do
He claimed the police had used coercion, threats and promises to illegally obtain the
capricious /kpr.s/ adjective LITERARY
changing mood or behaviour suddenly and unexpectedly
a capricious child
He was a cruel and capricious tyrant.
retribution /ret.rbju. n/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
deserved and severe punishment
They fled because they feared retribution for the genocide.
She was asked whether a civilian government should seek retribution against military
officers involved in human rights abuses.
Many saw her death as divine retribution (= punishment by God) for her crimes.
evince /vn t s/ verb [ T ] FORMAL
to make obvious or show clearly
They have never evinced any readiness or ability to negotiate.
In all the years I knew her, she never evinced any desire to do such a thing.
splinter /spln.t r / /-/ noun [ C ]
a small sharp broken piece of wood, glass, plastic or similar material
The girl had got a splinter ( of wood) in her toe.
splinter /spln.t r / /-/ verb [ I ]
to break into small, sharp pieces
The edges of the plastic cover had cracked and splintered.
FIGURATIVE The danger is that the Conservative Party may splinter into several
smaller political parties.
amass /ms/ verb [ T ]
to get a large amount of something, especially money or information, by collecting it
over a long period
She has amassed a huge fortune from her novels.
Some of his colleagues envy the enormous wealth that he has amassed.
cessation /sese. n/ noun [ C or U ] FORMAL

ending or stopping
Religious leaders have called for a total cessation of the bombing campaign.
See also cease
decry /dkra/ verb [ T ] FORMAL
to criticize something as bad, with no value or not necessary; to condemn
She decried the appalling state of the British film industry.
mangy /men.di/ adjective ANIMAL
1. suffering from mange
a thin mangy dog
mangy /men.di/ adjective OLD/DIRTY
2. INFORMAL describes something that is old and dirty and has been used a lot
We need to get rid of that mangy old carpet in the bedroom.
tenacious /tne.s/ adjective
holding tightly onto something, or keeping an opinion in a determined way
The baby took my finger in its tenacious little fist.
There has been tenacious local
ubiquitous /jubk.w.ts/ /-w.t s/ adjective FORMAL OR HUMOROUS
seeming to be in all places
Leather is very much in fashion this season, as of course is the ubiquitous denim.
ersatz /e.zts/ /er.zts/ adjective DISAPPROVING
used instead of something else, usually because the other thing is too expensive or
I'm allowed to eat ersatz chocolate made from carob beans, but it's a poor substitute
for the real thing.
seminal /sem..n l/ adjective IMPORTANT
1. FORMAL containing important new ideas and having a great influence on later work
She wrote a seminal article on the subject while she was still a student.
He played a seminal role in the formation of the association.
desiccated /des..ke.td/ /-t d/ adjective
1. dried
100g of desiccated (= dried and broken into small pieces) coconut
2. DISAPPROVING not interesting or completely without imagination
All the party seems to have to offer is the same desiccated old ideas.

apoplectic /p.plek.tk/ adjective

extremely and obviously angry, or in a state of violent excitement, usually caused by
great anger
He was apoplectic with rage/fury.
discern /dsn/ /-sn/ verb [ T ] FORMAL
to see, recognize or understand something that is not clear
I could just discern a figure in the darkness.
It is difficult to discern any pattern in these figures.
furore UK , US furor /fj.r r / /-rr/ noun [ S ]
a sudden excited or angry reaction to something by a lot of people
The government's decision to raise taxes has caused a great furore.
the furore over his latest film
recrudescence /ri.krudes. n t s/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
a sudden new appearance and growth, especially of something dangerous and
There has been an unwelcome recrudescence of racist attacks.

conflagration /kn.flgre. n/ /kn-/ noun [ C ] FORMAL

1. a large destructive fire
2. a large and violent event, such as a war, involving a lot of people
They may succeed in turning a little local difficulty into a full-blown regional

faux /f/ /fo/ adjective [ before noun ]

not real, but made to look or seem real; false
faux fur
a faux-brick wall
cringe /krnd/ verb [ I ]
1. to suddenly move away from someone or something because you are frightened
2. INFORMAL to feel very embarrassed
I cringed at the sight of my dad dancing.
snuggle /sng.l / verb [ I usually + adv/prep ]
to move yourself into a warm and comfortable position, especially one in which your
body is against another person or covered by something
The children snuggled up to their mother to get warm.

I was just snuggling down into my warm duvet when the telephone rang.
abstemious /bsti.mi.s/ adjective FORMAL
not doing things which give you pleasure, especially not eating good food or drinking

gavel /gv. l/ noun [ C ]


a small hammer which an official in charge of a meeting hits against a wooden block
or table to get people to be quiet and listen
hoary /h.ri/ /hr.i/ adjective
1. OLD-FASHIONED very old and familiar and therefore not interesting or funny
He told a few hoary old jokes and nobody laughed.
2. LITERARY (of a person) very old and white- or grey-haired
cavernous /kv. n.s/ /-n-/ adjective
If something is cavernous, there is a very large open space inside it
a cavernous 4000-seat theatre

chuffed /tft/ adjective [ after verb ] UK INFORMAL

pleased or happy
He was really chuffed with his present
benign /bnan/ adjective
1. pleasant and kind
a benign old lady
2. describes a growth that is not likely to cause death
a benign tumour
Compare malignant
grandeur /grn.dj r / /-d/ noun [ U ]
the quality of being very large and special or beautiful
the silent grandeur of the desert
the grandeur of Wagner's music
trepidation /trep.de. n/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
fear or worry about what is going to happen
We view future developments with some trepidation.

imperious /mp.ri.s/ /-pr.i-/ adjective

unpleasantly proud and expecting obedience
an imperious manner/voice
She sent them away with an imperious wave of the hand.
facade , ALSO faade /fsd/ noun BUILDING
1. [ C ] the front of a building, especially a large or attractive building
the gallery's elegant 18th century facade
facade , ALSO faade /fsd/ noun FALSE APPEARANCE
2. [ S ] a false appearance that is more pleasant than the reality
Behind that amiable facade, he's a deeply unpleasant man.
We are fed up with this facade of democracy.
evocative /vk..tv/ /-v.k.t v/ adjective
making you remember or imagine something pleasant
evocative music
a sound evocative of the sea
wharf /wf/ /wrf/ noun [ C ] plural wharves
an area like a wide wall built near the edge of the sea or a river where ships
can be tied and goods unloaded
Canary Wharf
insalubrious /n.slu.bri.s/ adjective FORMAL
unpleasant, dirty or likely to cause disease
hinterland /hn.t.lnd/ /-t -/ noun
1. [ C usually singular ] the land behind the coast or the banks of a river, or an
area of a country that is far away from cities
2. hinterlands
[ plural ] US a part of the country that is far away from the big city areas
languor /l.g r / /-g/ noun [ U ] LITERARY
pleasant mental or physical tiredness or lack of activity
She missed Spain and the languor of a siesta on a hot summer afternoon.
primeval , MAINLY UK primaeval /prami.v l/ adjective
ancient; existing at or from a very early time
primeval forests

tussle /ts.l / verb [ I ] DISAGREE

1. to have difficult disagreements or strong arguments
During his twelve years in Congress he has tussled with the chemical, drug
and power companies on behalf of the ordinary person's right to breathe clean air.
The residents are still tussling over the ever-scarcer street parking.
flurry /flr.i/ /fl-/ noun SNOW
1. [ C ] a sudden light fall of snow, blown in different directions by the wind
There may be the odd flurry of snow over the hills.
commuter /kmju.t r / /-t / noun [ C ]
someone who regularly travels between work and home
The train was packed with commuters.
oxymoron /k.sm.rn/ /k.smr.n/ noun [ C ]
two words used together which have, or seem to have, opposite meanings
reverential /rev. ren t . l/ /-ren t -/ adjective FORMAL
caused by, or full of respect and admiration
He opened the ancient book with reverential care.
amok , amuck /mk/ /-mk/ adverb
run amok
to be out of control and act in a wild or dangerous manner
The army ran amok after one of its senior officers was killed.
The two dogs ran amok in a school playground
mezzanine /met.s.nin/ , /mez.-/ noun [ C ]
1. a small extra floor between one floor of a building and the next floor up
You can look down from the mezzanine into the ground floor lobby.
The shoe department is on the mezzanine floor.
swank /swk/ verb [ I ] INFORMAL DISAPPROVING
to behave or speak too confidently because you think that you are very
important, in order to attract other people's attention and admiration
Just because you won, there's no need to swank.
People around here don't swank about their money.
the gentry /den.tri/ plural noun
people of high social class, especially in the past

a member of the landed gentry (= those who own a lot of land)

disdain /dsden/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
when you dislike someone or something and think that they do not deserve
your interest or respect
He regards the political process with disdain.
precedence /pres..d n t s/ /-.den t s/ noun [ U ]
1. the condition of being dealt with before other things or of being considered
more important than other things
Precedence must be given to the injured in the evacuation plans.
Business people often think that fluency and communication take precedence
over grammar when speaking.
2. FORMAL the order of importance given to people in particular societies,
groups or organizations
The order of precedence for titled nobility in Britain is duke, marquis, earl,
viscount, baron.
pinprick /pn.prk/ /pn-/ noun [ C usually plural ] HOLE/PAIN
1. a very small hole in something where a pin or needle has been pushed into
it, or a sudden pain where a pin or needle has been pushed into your skin
There was a pinprick on his arm.
carnage /k.nd/ /kr-/ noun [ U ]
the violent killing of large numbers of people, especially in war
The Battle of the Somme was a scene of dreadful carnage
vociferous /vsf. r.s/ /--/ adjective
Vociferous people express their opinions and complaints loudly and repeatedly
in speech, and vociferous demands, etc. are made repeatedly and loudly
Local activist groups have become increasingly vociferous as the volume of
traffic passing through the village has grown.
A vociferous opponent of gay rights, he is well-known for his right-wing views.
haughty /h.ti/ /h.t i/ adjective DISAPPROVING
unfriendly and seeming to consider yourself better than other people
She has a rather haughty manner.
audacity /ds..ti/ /ds..ti/ noun [ U ]
bravery or confidence of a kind that other people find shocking or rude
[ + to infinitive ] It took a lot of audacity to stand up and criticize the
DISAPPROVING He had the audacity to blame me for his mistake!

blaspheme /blsfim/ verb [ I ]

to use words which show no respect for God or religion, or to swear
to say words which are not polite because you are angry; to curse
jibe , US USUALLY gibe /dab/ noun [ C ]
an insulting remark that is intended to make someone look stupid
Unlike many other politicians, he refuses to indulge in cheap jibes at other
people's expense.
pusillanimous /pju.sln..ms/ adjective FORMAL
weak and cowardly (= not brave) ; frightened of taking risks
He's too pusillanimous
clich /kli.e/ /--/ noun [ C or U ]
a comment that is very often made and is therefore not original and not
My wedding day - and I know it's a clich - was just the happiest day of my
zeitgeist /tsat.gast/ , /zat-/ noun [ S ]
the general set of ideas, beliefs, feelings, etc. which is typical of a particular
period in history

humungous , US humongous /hjum.gs/ adjective INFORMAL

extremely large
Zesto's restaurant serves humungous burgers.
This minor glitch has turned into a humungous problem for the airline.
quip /kwp/ noun [ C ]
a humorous and clever remark
It was Oscar Wilde who made the famous quip about life mimicking art.
cavil /kv. l/ verb [ I ] -ll- or US USUALLY -l- FORMAL
to make unreasonable complaints, especially about things that are not

predicament /prdk..mnt/ /pr-/ noun [ C ] SLIGHTLY FORMAL

an unpleasant situation which is difficult to get out of
She is hoping to get a loan from her bank to help her out of her financial
I'm in a bit of a predicament because I've accidentally accepted two invitations
to dinner on the same night.
rancour , US rancor /r.k r / /-k/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
a feeling of hate and continuing anger about something in the past
They cheated me, but I feel no rancour towards/against them.
excoriate /eksk.ri.et/ /-skr.i-/ verb [ T ] FORMAL
to state the opinion that a play, a book, a political action, etc. is very bad
His latest novel received excoriating reviews.
The President excoriated the Western press for their biased views.

whittle away at sth phrasal verb

to gradually reduce the size or importance of something
A series of new laws has gradually whittled away at the powers of the trade
unions in this country.
whittle sth down phrasal verb [ M ]
to gradually reduce the size of something or the number of people in a group
We had eighty applicants for the job, but we've whittled them down to six.
intramural /n.trmj.rl/ /-mjr. l/ adjective
happening within or involving the members of one school, college or
an intramural basketball competition
frenetic /frnet.k/ /-net -/ adjective
involving a lot of movement or activity; extremely active, excited or
After weeks of frenetic activity , the job was finally finished.
There was frenetic trading on the Stock Exchange yesterday.
disdain /dsden/ noun [ U ] FORMAL
when you dislike someone or something and think that they do not deserve
your interest or respect
He regards the political process with disdain.
philistine /fl..stan/ /-stin/ noun [ C ] DISAPPROVING

a person who refuses to see the beauty or the value of art, literature, music or
culture in any form
I wouldn't have expected them to enjoy a film of that quality anyway - they're
just a bunch of philistines!