Sunday, February 2, 2014

Test your higher-level English (free English vocabulary exercise)

precipitous (precipitously - adverb) - this adjective comes from the noun 'precipice.' A precipice is a high point or cliff on a mountain - if you accidentally step off a precipice, you drop to your death.  So 'precipitous' means a quick decision that you make without thinking about it and often you can't change it after you make it.

prodigious - basically this means huge or much bigger than normal

ambit - a range or a boundary within which something or someone works

ad hoc - put together for just one reason or purpose; often you will read about ad hoc committees or ad hoc action - this means a committee is put together or action is taken to address this one situation

enmity - very strong hatred toward someone; often enmity means that two groups or two people really hate each other

ruthless -  showing no mercy or pity or compassion for others when taking an action

to curdle - when milk is treated with chemicals to become harder, so that it can be made into cheese; this term usually has another common meaning though: if a person is really shocked or scared, he might say that his/her blood curdled.

Answers are beneath the exercise: 

It was very dark in the room, and the light switch would not work.  Suddenly I heard a scream that made my blood ______________________.

The pirates of the Caribbean were renowned for being totally __________________ toward any ship that provided resistance.  If a ship's captain surrendered, the crew was spared but the cargo was stolen. If the captain chose to fight, no mercy would be shown and the entire crew would be slaughtered. 

Bob was a little too ___________________ in his choice to marry Becky.  They had only gone out with each other for 2 months before he proposed marriage to her, and their marriage only lasted 6 months.

Cyrano, with his __________________ nose, is a story of unrequited love (un-returned) love. His huge nose made him ugly to women but he was able to coach his handsome friend to be beautifully eloquent and to win the heart of the woman that Cyrano, himself, loved. 

Bill was an amazing US History professor, but he had spent so much time doing research within his academic________________ that he knew very little else about other fields of study.

There seems to be so much long-standing ______________ between countries in the Mideast that some US presidents do not even try to initiate peaceful negotiations.

Bob was not the most organized person in the world, nor was he good at predicting problems.  Instead, he chose to deal with things in an _______________ manner.

Answers are below:


ad hoc

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