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".

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.
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.
patchy (adjective), patchier, patchiest
1. Happening or existing in small, isolated sections: People who were going to work in the patchy fog on the highway had to be very careful so they wouldn't suddenly run into another car.
2. Inconsistent or not of the same quality throughout; having some parts that are good and some that are bad: Pete's patchy skills in writing didn't help him get accepted by the university when he applied for admittance.

Bettie had a patchier understanding about her brother's illness than her mother.

The new carpenter seemed to have the patchiest skills of any of the other construction workers.

patio (s) (noun), patios (pl)
An outside area, adjoining a house, which is usually paved and that is used for dining or recreation: Wolfgang and his family often sit outside on the patio when the weather is good.
patrimony (PAT ruh moh" nee) (s) (noun), patrimonies (pl)
1. Inheritance of money or property from a father or other ancestor which involves estates that have descended or been devised in a direct line from the father, and, by extension, from the mother or other ancestor: "Samuel was able to live well for many years with his patrimony."
2. Etymology: from Latin: patrimonium; from pater, "father".

perovskite (s) (noun), perovskites (pl)
A natural yellow, brownish-yellow, or grayish-black mineral that contains an oxide of calcium and titanium and sometimes embodies rare earth elements as well: Researchers have found a strange magnetism that takes place when two materials, identified as perovskites, are sandwiched or squeezed tightly together.

These particular perovskites are known as LAO (lanthanum aluminum oxide) and STO (strontium titanium oxide), and both of them are insulators; however, when they are sandwiched together, the resulting "heterostructure" (the interface that occurs between two layers or regions of dissimilar crystalline semiconductors) can conduct electricity at the surfaces where the materials meet.

When the two perovskites are cooled to near-absolute zero, the heterostructure becomes a superconductor, conducting electricity without any resistance.

Named for Russian mineralogist L. A. Perovski (1792-1856) in 1839.

—Compiled primarily from an article titled
"Man-made material show surprisingly magnetic personality"
by Lori Ann White; June 10, 2013; made available by Phys.org.

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.