English Words in Action, Group D

(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)

English vocabulary quizzes in random order from easy to more difficult for greater word skills.

Simply click on this banner (or the following link) and you will be on your way to stimulate your brain for greater word comprehension with quizzes based on some of the words in this unit.

drosscape (verb), drosscapes; drosscaped; drosscaping
1. To create new developments on landscapes that transform waste into more productive urbanized landscapes to some degree: The local government officials were trying to drosscape the area around the city in order to utilize regions of land in practical ways.
2. To conceive of plans that emphasize the productive integration and reuse of waste landscapes throughout the urban world: Landscape architects and city designers like to drosscape as a challenge to use existing conditions which others have condemned as unusable.
3. Etymology: a conception that dross, or "waste", is scaped, or "resurfaced", and reconstructed for the benefit of human existence.
drought (s) (noun), droughts (pl)
1. A lengthy period of abnormally low rainfall resulting in a shortage of water: The drought caused serious damage to the farmer's crops where Sam was living.
2. A prolonged absence of something which is specified: Karl ended a five-game hitting drought as a professional baseball player.
A significant shortage or deficiency in something.
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dudgeon (s) (noun), dudgeons (pl)
An angry or indignant attitude, feeling, or a resentful and rude manner: The woman walked out in high dudgeon when the clerk refused to let her look at some expensive purses simply because she was black; even though she was a millionaire.
Resentment and sullen anger.
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Angered and feeling resentment.
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dull (adjective), dullish, duller, dullest
1. Intellectually weak or obtuse; stupid; mentally very slow: Long hours working in the hot fields contributed to Nell's dullish behavior at the end of the day.
2. Lacking responsiveness or alertness; insensitive: Ray's dull response to the shattering news in the newspaper was unexpected.
3. Dispirited; depressed: Compared to other patients at the mental health clinic, Debora has a dull feeling.
4. Not brisk nor rapid; sluggish: Janine did not get a good night’s sleep last night and so she feels as if her brains are dull this morning.
5. Not having a sharp edge or point; blunt; such as, a dull knife: The knife was old and the blade was dull and not good for chopping vegetables.
6. Not intensely or keenly felt: Jacob has a dull headache today that simply won't go away.
7. Arousing no interest or curiosity; boring: It was a dull TV program.
8. A reference to a color; such as, a plain brown which is neither bright nor vivid: Helena's paintings were characterized by her use of dull colors with an occasional bright highlight.
9. Cloudy or overcast: Norbert looked out the window and saw a dull sky.
10. Not clear or resonant: Latonya heard a dull thud from the apartment above when someone up there dropped something.
11. Etymology: originally meant "slow-witted" and was borrowed from Middle Low German dul, and was a descendant of the prehistoric Germanic adjective dulaz.

It is recorded as having come from Middle English dulle, dull; from Old English dyl, a parallel form of Old English dol, "foolish, presumptuous", and related to Old English dwellan, "to lead astray".

dull (verb), dulls; dulled; dulling
1. To make less bright or to be less alert or keen; that is, to become or to cause something to become less clear, distinct, bright, or shiny: "The fog dulled the morning for a few hours until the sun came out."

"Special earplugs dulled the sound of the chain saw."

2. To make something; such as, a feeling less sharp, not as strong, or reduces severity: "The medication dulled her mind and hampered her thinking skills; however, it was also dulling her pain."

3. To become or to cause something; such as, a knife or blade to become less sharp: "This knife has been dulled because of so much usage."
dullard (s) (noun), dullards (pl)
1. Someone who is considered unintelligent, boring, ignorant, not very bright, or even a stupid person: "Shanon quit working there because she was convinced that the company was run by a bunch of dullards."
2. People who are regarded as mentally incompetent; that is, unintelligent or slow to comprehend: "Some people are beginning to think that the country is being run by too many political dullards."
dullness (s) (noun), dullnesses (pl)
1. That which is without sharpness of an edge or a point: There is a dullness in Alisha's eyes that suggests that she did not get enough sleep last night.
2. A lack of visual brightness: It was so foggy in the afternoon that the dullness got to Debora and she felt that she needed a cup of tea to lift her spirits.
3. That which lacks interest: The speaker’s topic had such a dullness about it that many in the audience got up and left early.
4. A condition or situation that results in being slow to understand or to recognize something: The dullness of the old dog was accentuated by its inability to recognize its owners when they came home.
dumbstruck (adjective), more dumbstruck, most dumbstruck
Descriptive of someone who is so disturbed or astonished as to be rendered speechless: Jill was thoroughly dumbstruck when she suddenly saw her husband standing at the door when he actually was supposed to come home the following week!
Relating to a person being surprised and shocked.
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dumfound (verb), dumfounds; dumfounded; dumfounding
1. To greatly amaze or to astound: Jill’s ability to play the piano totally stunned and dumfounded the small audience at the recital because she had had only four lessons altogether!
2. To bewilder or to confuse: The bill from the cabinet maker completely dumfounded Jack because it was twice as high as he had expected!
To render speechless with surprise or astonishment.
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dun (verb), duns; dunned; dunning
To make persistent demands that someone pay his or her debt: The auto company started to dun Joe's sister for what she owed for the new car that she purchased from them but had not been paying since she lost her job.
To demand someone again and again to pay what he or she owes, sometimes in a threatening way.
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dust (adjective) (not comparable)
A cloud of fine, dry particles consisting of sand, dirt, etc.: A dust storm, several hundred kilometers in diameter, moved into China from the Gobi Desert.
dust (s) (noun), dusts (pl)
1. Very small dry particles of a substance; such as, sand, dirt, or coal, either in the form of a deposit or in a cloud: The wind was blowing the various dusts from the deserts to non-desert areas.

A towering cloud of Gobi Desert sand dwarfed the rows of houses as it descended on a small village in central China while the residents hid inside their homes with their windows and doors locked shut as the desert dust swept through the region advancing 70 feet a minute.

2. The small particles of dirt that settle on surfaces in buildings; including, houses, public buildings, industrial areas, etc.: The housekeeper was unable to keep up with the dust that drifted in from the local highway construction.
3. The small particles that something, especially a human body, is thought to be reduced to by decay after death: After cremation, Jennifer's remains were just particles of dust.
4. The earth, particularly that of someone's grave (a literary term): Many authors have referred to the grave or an individual buried in a grave as the dust of the earth.
5. Etymology: form Old English, "dust", from German Dunst, "mist, vapor". The meaning of "that to which living matter decays" was in Old English; hence, figuratively, "mortal life".
dust (verb), dusts; dusted; dusting
1. To make something clear, or cleaner, by brushing or wiping dirt from the surface of something: The cleaning lady dusted the tables, bookshelves, etc. at least once a week.

When Christa comes back from the beach, she always dusts the sand off her legs before she goes into her house.

2. To cover something with a fine powder: The police dusted the table and chairs for fingerprints.

William's mother usually dusts the cake with powdered sugar.

The farmer is dusting his crops with a pesticide.

3. Etymology: from about 1200, "to rise as dust"; later it came to mean both "to sprinkle with dust" and "to rid of dust". The meaning, "to kill" is a U.S. slang term that was first recorded 1938; such as, "he was known to bite the dust as a result of the auto accident".

dust bin (s) (noun), dust bins (pl) (British)
A can for trash or for garbage: Patrick and Patricia put their trash in the dust bin after cleaning up before the truck came to pick it up.
dust bowl (s) (noun), dust bowls (pl)
A land area that was used for farming but which became a kind of desert because of insufficient rainfall to support agriculture production: Many people in the Midwestern states of the U.S. left the dust bowl and moved west in hopes of improving their way of life.

Links to all of the groups of English words in action, Groups A to Z.

You may see the bibliographic list of sources of information for these words in action.