parochial adj. Restricted in outlook; relating to the local parish
Marla moved from her rural community to get away from its parochial thinking.
Sending your children to a parochial school can cost as much as sending them to college.
rigor n. Strictness; difficult situations that come from following rules
The wrestler followed his diet with rigor.
The rigors of military life toughened the young men quickly.
Parts of speech rigorous adj
roster n. A list, especially of names
Two of the names on the roster were misspelled.
secular adj. Worldly rather than spiritual; not related to religion
Few private schools in the United States are secular.
suspend v. To cause to stop for a period; to hang as to allow free movement
The trial was suspended when the judge learned that one of the jury members knew the defense lawyer.
The circus acrobat was suspended in midair.
Parts of speech suspension n, suspension adj
allegiance n. Loyalty
My allegiance to my country is based on respect for its principles.
Usage tips Allegiance is commonly followed by a to phrase.
artillery n. Large guns that shoot powerful shells; army units that handle such guns
An artillery barrage broke down the city’s thick walls within seconds.
The 47th Artillery fired on rebels camped in the city center.
Usage tips When it means a part of an army, artillery is sometimes plural.
battle v. To fight against
The Viet Minh battled French forces at Dien Bien Phu for nearly two months in 1954.
Parts of speech battle n
cease v. Stop
The lightning continued even after the thunder had ceased.
Usage tips Cease is found in official statements, not usually in everyday speech.
Parts of speech cessation n, ceaseless adj
hierarchy n. A system of levels that places people high or low according to their importance
Starting as a lowly private, Burt Jones gradually rose through the hierarchy of the army.
Usage tips Hierarchy is often followed by an of phrase.
Parts of speech hierarchical adj, hierarchically adv
in the trenches adv. In the middle of the hardest fighting or work
With their unrealistic view of this war, our generals don’t know what things are like out in the trenches.
Usage tips Creates an image of soldiers fighting in a long, dug-out place in the battlefield.
mobilize v. To put members of a group into motion
After a terrible storm, the governor mobilized the National Guard to rescue victims.
Parts of speech mobilization n
ratio n. The relationship of one number or amount to another
Military analysts say that the ratio of attackers to defenders in a battle should be about three to one for the attackers to win.
Usage tips Ratio is very often followed by an of . . . to structure.
annex v. To make something (usually land) part of another unit
Bardstown grew by annexing several farms at the north edge of town.
Parts of speech annexation n, annex n
apex n. The highest point
Gregory knew that his running skills had to be at their apex during the tournament.
Usage tips Apex is often used to describe the high point of someone’s abilities.
conquest n. A takeover by force or continued effort
The first recorded conquest of Mt. Everest was by Tensing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hilary.
Usage tips Conquest is usually followed by an of phrase.
Parts of speech conquer v
invasive adj. Aggressively entering into someone else’s territory
Surgery with a laser is less invasive than surgery with a knife or scalpel.
Parts of speech invade v, invasion n, invader n
prevailing adj. Strongest or most common
The prevailing attitude among our neighbors is to be friendly but not too friendly.
Parts of speech prevail v, prevalence n
violation n. An action that breaks a law or agreement; mistreatment of something that deserves respect
The army’s testing of new weapons was a violation of the cease-fire agreement.
The sculptures at Mt. Rushmore may be a violation of sacred Indian land.
Usage tips Violation is often followed by an of phrase.
Parts of speech violate v, violator n
coincide v. Happen or exist at the same time
The Viking attacks on western Europe coincided with an abnormally warm period in the Earth’s climate.
Usage tips Coincide is often followed by a with phrase.
Parts of speech coincidence n, coincidental adj, coincidentally adv
diminish v. Make something smaller or weaker; become smaller or weaker
The Protestant Reformation diminished the power of the Roman Catholic Pope.
Mr. Partridge’s influence in the company diminished after he relocated to a branch office.
longitude n. A system of imaginary lines running from north to south along the Earth’s surface, where each line is numbered from 0º to 180 west or east
The prime meridian, a line running through Greenwich, England, is marked as longitude.
Parts of speech longitudinal adj, longitudinally adv
milieu n. General environment or surroundings
Many Vietnam veterans did not feel comfortable in the antiwar social milieu of the 1970s.
reconciliation n. Coming back together peacefully after having been enemies
South Africa avoided a bloodbath after apartheid by setting up a
Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Parts of speech reconcile v, reconciliatory adj
allocate v. To give out different amounts for different purposes
The budget allocates $58 billion to the military and only about $2 billion to education.
Usage tips Things that can be allocated are things that can be “spent”—money, time, energy, etc.
Parts of speech allocation n
decline v. To decrease in power or amount
America’s railroads declined because the automobile dominated American life.
Parts of speech decline n
equity n. The value of one’s share in an investment
Barnard’s equity in the business was one-third, or about $350,000.
Usage tips In this meaning, equity is always singular and usually followed by an in phrase.
per capita adv. For each person
Research shows we’re likely to sell 15 light bulbs per capita per year in medium-sized cities.
Parts of speech per capita adj
regulate v. Control according to a set of rules
Trading on the New York Stock Exchange is regulated by officials of the exchange and by federal law.
Parts of speech regulation n, regulatory adj
tangible adj. Obviously real because it can be seen, touched, or otherwise observed
One tangible benefit of putting electrical cables underground is a clearer view of the sky.