English Words in Action, Group P

(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.

pace (s) (noun), paces (pl)
1. An indication of the number of steps to be covered in a place when someone is moving forward: Take three paces forward and five paces to the left to find what you are looking for.
2. An easy or slow walk that a horse makes while going somewhere: The rider guided the horse as it moved at an easy pace towards the racetrack.
3. The rate at which something or someone moves towards a goal or completion of an undertaking: The work progressed at a slow pace partly because of the hot weather.
pace (verb), paces; paced; pacing
1. To move or to walk, often in a nervous manner: Sharon paced the floor, waiting for the phone to ring so she could find out how her mother was doing.
2. To move in a slow, casual, manner; to saunter or to amble: The horses paced around the ring during the circus performance.
pacify (PAHS uh figh") (s) (verb), pacifies; pacified; pacifying
1. To bring a peaceful result by ending a war, mob violence, or a group's strong discontent: The efforts of the military to pacify the rebels was not successful.
2. To reduce, or to ease the manifestations of anger or unrest: The king pacified the mob with promises of reform.
3. To cause someone, who is angry or upset, to become quiet or calm: Tabitha tried to pacify her crying child.
4. Etymology: from Latin pacificare, "to make peace"; from pax, "peace" + facere, "to make".
pact (PAKT) (s) (noun), pacts (pl)
1. A treaty or an agreement between two or more individuals, organizations, or countries which is often achieved through formal negotiations: Seven countries signed the trade pact.

Marge and George made a pact to go to the fitness studio at least two times a week.

2. Etymology" from Latin pactus, "agreed". This is derived from pacisci, "to make a covenant". Pact is also related to Latin pax, "peace".
pagan (PAY guhn) (s) (noun), pagans (pl)
1. A person or people who honor or pay homage to multiple gods instead of a monotheistic or one God: The pagans worshiped the gods of fire and rain among other things.

Some historians say that the idols of pagans were destroyed by Christian missionaries.

Some religious people are convinced that unreligious and atheistic people are pagans.

2. Etymology: from Latin paganus, "rustic, peasant" and is derived from Latin pagus, "the country, rural district".

From the second century on, Latin paganus had the additional meaning of "civilian, non-soldier". Early Christians were said to be fond of military metaphors, regarding themselves as "soldiers of Christ"; so, they applied the "non-soldier" word, or "heathen", to those who had not enlisted in the Church as "soldiers".

paladin (s) (noun), paladins (pl)
1. One of the twelve knights who were on duty for Charlemagne; emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from A.D. 800 to 814 who made many reforms in government and education in western Europe: The paladin was a knightly defender and champion who was a heroic soldier of chivalry.
2. Etymology: from French paladin, from Italian paladino, from Latin palatinus, "officer" of the palace.
A knight considered to be a champion.
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paltry (adjective), paltrier, paltriest
1. Insignificant or unimportant or very small in amount: Pete was offered a paltry sum of money for showing the ads on his web site.
2. Descriptive of something as trifling, insignificant, or of no consequence: The politician dismissed the statements made by his opponent as of paltry significance.
3. Etymology: it has been suggested that this adjective paltry was borrowed from Low German or East Frisian paltrig, "ragged, torn" and derived from palte, "rag".
Relating to having little or no value.
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Pertaining to being insignificant or trashy.
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Conveying something as being petty or inferior.
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pariah (s) (noun), pariahs (pl)
1. A person who is hated and rejected by other people: Jake is a talented player; however, his angry outbursts have made him a pariah in the sport of basketball.
2. Etymology: borrowed from Portuguese paria, "drummer" from parai, "large festival drum".
Someone who is despised by other people.
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parsimonious (adjective), more parsimonious, most parsimonious
1. A reference to being very unwilling to spend money: Susan was a very parsimonious shopper; especially, since her retirement restricted her income.
2. Descriptive of being frugal and thrifty: Because the elderly couple was parsimonious, they did not need to ask for financial aid from their children or other relatives.
3. Etymology: from Latin parcimonia, from parcere, "to spare" + –ous, "having the quality of".
Stingy about small items.
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Limited to small expenses.
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Excessive frugality.
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Stingy and sparing about spending money.
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pasquinade (s) (noun), pasquinades (pl)
1. A piece of writing that attacks and ridicules someone or something which is shown publicly for other people to see: Politicians and others often send out pasquinades on the internet, in newspapers, in tweets, or other messages sent by using Twitter, and used in meetings of groups, and even on TV programs, regarding those that they disagree with and which they want to denounce or to publicly condemn.

Donald Trump's usage of social media has attracted attention worldwide and the main coverage has been about his tweets regarding various subjects, after he joined the social networking site Twitter in March, 2009.

Trump has frequently used Twitter and other social media platforms to make comments, or pasquinades about other politicians, celebrities and the daily news media.

The attention on Trump's Twitter activity has significantly increased since he was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States and has continued to post his controversial pasquinades of opinions and statements.

— Compiled from information about "Donald Trump on social media" from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia located at wikipedia.org.
2. Etymology: from the late 16th century; Italian pasquinata, "the name of a statue in Rome on which abusive Latin verses were posted annually".
A satire that is presented for other people to see.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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pasteurization (s) (noun), pasteurizations (pl)
The process by which food or beverages are subjected to a specific heat for a required time in order to destroy potentially harmful microorganisms: The farmer took his milk to the central dairy for pasteurization so it could protect consumers before it would be sold at stores .

The word pasteurization refers to the process originated by Louis Pasteur in which milk or another liquid is heated to a specified moderate temperature for a set period of time; for example, to 60 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes, in order to kill pathogenic bacteria and to delay the growth of other harmful germs.

pasteurize (verb), pasteurizes; pasteurized; pasteurizing
1. To treat food or beverages to high temperatures in order to kill microorganisms which could cause illness: The scientist invented a new machine to pasteurize milk at the local dairy.
2. Etymology: Named after the French chemist and bacteriologist, Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), whose name has been immortalized in the word pasteurize.

Pasteur's discovery of a method for checking excessive fermentation and reducing disease in such liquids as wine, beer, and milk by pasteurizing them with heat has revolutionized the French wine and beer industries.

As a result, dairy products which are being pasteurized continue to save the lives of many thousands of milk drinkers and the consumers of foods made from milk; such as, cheese, butter, ice cream, etc.

patch (s) (noun), patches (pl)
1. A piece of cloth or other material that is used to mend or to strengthen a garment or to make patchwork, a sewn-on pocket, etc.: Timmy’s pants had knee patches because he had worn holes in them while playing outside.
2. A pad or a shield worn over a sightless or injured eye: Captain Hook in Peter Pan wore a patch over one of his eyes.
3. A small piece of computer code that is inserted into a program in order to improve its functioning or to correct an error: A computer patch can be added to software in order to fix a bug; especially, as a temporary correction between two releases.
4. An adhesive piece of drug impregnated material that is worn on the skin so the drug can be absorbed gradually over time: Frank's wife wanted to know why he had so many patches on his skin and he told her, "This patch makes me stop smoking, this one makes me eat less, this one reminds me to put my clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, and this last one helps me to remember to put the toilet seat back down."
5. A small piece of ground; especially, one that is used for gardening: Max and Mary spend some time each day taking care of their vegetable patch in their back yard.
patch (verb), patches; patched; patching
1. A piece of material that is used to mend fabric, or an item of clothing, with a piece of material over a hole or a weak spot in it: Mary's grandmother patched up the elbows of her husband's favorite jacket because the woolen cloth had worn through.
2. Something that is put over a wound or an injury to help the healing process: Monroe's doctor told him that he should patch his mouth shut whenever he felt the need to smoke in order to help him stop smoking.
patchwork (s) (noun), patchworks (pl)
1. That which is made up of different things: The community is a patchwork of immigrants who are hoping to find jobs on the nearby farms.
2. Cloth that consists of different colors and shapes which are sewn together in patterns: Mike's mother was working on the patchwork of the bedspreads for his two children.

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.