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.

dab (s) (noun), dabs (pl)
1. A limited quantity of something applied to a surface: You can put a dab of butter on your toast, if you want it.
2. A gentle touch executed quickly: Susana applied her makeup with fast dabs.
dab (DAHB, DAB) (verb), dabs; dabbed; dabbing
To apply a substance in a gentle way: Trudy dabbed some cold cream on her face.
dabble (verb), dabbles; dabbled; dabbling
1. To participate or have an interest in an activity in a casual or superficial way. Shirley is a secretary for a company, but she has been known to dabble in writing short stories.
2. To play or to play around in water: Jackie was was dabbling her feet in the cool water of the swimming pool as she sat on the side dangling her feet.
To do anything in a slight or superficial manner.
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daft (adjective), more daft, most daft
Descriptive of someone who is crazy or foolish: Sally was considered to be a daft comedian by most of her audience.

The teacher told Jimmy not to answer her question with such a daft response.

Referring to a foolish or silly person.
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dastard (DAS tuhrd) (s) (noun), dastards (pl)
A sneaking, malicious coward; someone who is very cruel or who uses tricks to hurt people: During the invasion of the city, that dastard shot at and killed many unarmed and innocent people.
dastardly (DAS tuhrd lee) (adjective), more dastardly, most dastardly
To describe an individual or something that commits atrocious acts and which is cruel, or vile: A driver who drives wildly through a city at excessive speeds must be a dastardly person who doesn't care about other people.
daze (s) (noun), dazes (pl)
A state of disorientation or confusion, a state of shock: After the accident, those who were involved walked around in a daze.
daze (DAYZ) (verb), dazes; dazed; dazing
1. To become confused or stunned sometimes as a result of a trauma or shock: The strong tackle by the football player obviously dazed the other player, but he wasn't hurt.
2. To be astonished or amazed: Walking around the top of the new "tallest building in the world" did indeed daze the visitors.
deadlock (s) (noun), deadlocks (pl)
A situation in which it is impossible to end a disagreement or to come to a consensus because neither side is willing to give up whatever it wants to do: The U.S. Congress apparently is having more deadlocks about too many issues rather than having mutual agreements.

The negotiations between the union and the company representatives reached a deadlock, or a stalemate, after hours of arguing back and forth.

A complete stalemate or hopeless deadlock.
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deal (s) (noun), deals (pl)
1. A large amount or number: It took her a good deal of time to finish the project.
2. The distribution of playing cards among players in a card game: Jack said, "Mike, it's your turn to make another deal."
3. An agreement arranged between people or groups that is meant to help each person or group: The salesman made a deal with the customer for the purchase of the new car tires.
4. An indication of how someone is treated: The supervisor was thinking about accepting a promotion with her company; however, she was offered a better deal with another organization.
deal (verb), deals; dealt; dealing
1. To administer or to dispense a part of something: Several players were dealt severe penalties for their excessively rough behavior.
2. To divide or to give among several individuals: Hans was dealing out the cards for the poker game.
3. To inflict, to give, or to deliver: The boxer dealt his opponent a blow to the jaw.
4. Buying and selling such things as drugs, art works, etc.: A girl was caught dealing drugs at the high school.
dearth (s) (noun), dearths (pl)
1. A scarcity of something; such as, new ideas, job skills, financial aid, or food: During these financially hard times, there is a dearth of new jobs even for college graduates.
2. Lacking a sufficient supply; for example, of food that results in a famine: There is a growing dearth of rice in Asia.
3. An acute scarcity, shortage, paucity, deficiency, or an insufficient amount: There is a dearth of skilled workers in the area; especially, because there is a dearth of sufficient funds to pay them.

Since there is such a dearth of evidence, the court can't convict the accused person of the crime.

4. Etymology: from about 1250, derthe, "scarcity", abstract noun formed from the root of Old English deore, "precious, costly, dear".

Originally the sense of the Middle English word was used with reference to famine, when food was scarce and costly; but the word was extended to the meaning of "scarcity of anything" from about 1330.

Scarcity or an inadequate supply.
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Lacking sufficient funds.
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debauch (di BAWCH) (verb), debauches; debauched; debauching
1. To persuade someone to behave in a corrupt way: The wicked old man attempted to debauch his nephew by encouraging him to commit illegal activities.
2. To seduce someone to participate in unacceptable activities: The scandal sheets are full of stories of efforts to debauch young people by some adults.
3. To participate in a wild get-together that may involve inappropriate, loud, and excessive behavior: The rowdy gang gathered in the local pub to debauch in celebration of winning the pennant.
4. To cause a change in the value or quality of something: The vandal debauched the delicate painting by splashing green paint all over it.
5. Etymology: from Old French, "to leave work, to be idle; to turn someone away from work; to entice away, to lead astray".

A term coined from the Latin prefix de-, "from, away from, down from, out of" + French balc, bauch, bau, "beam" and it went through the following phases of development; "to rough down or to trim timber (wood) to make a beam; then, to split, to cleave; to separate; to turn someone away from his or her work or duty; to entice away; to lead astray".

— Compiled from information located in
A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the English Language;
by Dr. Ernest Klein, Volume I; Elsevier Publishing Company;
New York; 1966; page 406.
To lead from virtue and excellence and to corrupt.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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debauchedly (adverb), more debauchedly, most debauchedly
1. A descriptive term for corruption and sinfulness: Devon's debauchedly written poetry was highly criticized.
2. A reference to being lead away from excellence or virtue: Rosetta encouraged debauchedly inappropriate behavior among her friends.
3. Related to the reduction of the value, quality, or excellence of someone or something; that which is debased: The company has debauchedly produced products that are worthless.
debauchedness (s) (noun) (no plural)
Someone or something that displays behavior that is corrupt, illicit, or self indulgent: The debauchedness of some of the radio talk-show hosts is becoming more and more disgusting.

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.