English Words in Action, Group A

(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.

aloofness (noun) (no plural)
The appearance of being unfriendly or distant: Rosetta has been criticized for her aloofness in school; however, it is probably because she is very shy.
amenable (uh MEE nuh b'l) (adjective), more amenable, most amenable
Willing and responsive to suggestions; easily persuaded or controlled: Alexandria was amenable to the suggestion of having a picnic instead of going to the movies on Saturday afternoon.
Willing to agree or to accept something that is asked for.
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amok (uh MUHK) (adjective), amuck (uh MUHK); more amok, more amuck; most amok, most amuck
Relating to being crazed with murderous frenzy: The amuck troops invaded the town shooting at everyone who could be seen.
amok (adverb), amuck; more amok, more amuck; most amok, most amuck
1. A reference to something or someone who is out-of-control or in a frenzy: The newspapers frequently have stories about gunmen who have run amok somewhere in the world.
2. Wildly; without self-control: Bradley went amok berserk one day when he went around shooting at everyone.

Click on this berserk link if you want more information about it.

3. Pertaining to a confused or disorganized condition; especially, when armed and dangerous: The sheriff was looking for an escaped prisoner who was running amok in the forest.

In her unclear and mixed state of mind, Marita left her home and wandered amok on the prairie for hours.

4. A description of a jumbled or disorganized situation: No matter how many experts Jack and Jill had consulted, all of their travel plans went amuck!
5. Etymology: from Malay amok, "attacking furiously". Earlier the word was used as a noun or adjective meaning "a frenzied Malay"; originally from a Portuguese form amouco or amuco.

Today anyone who wantonly shoots people is said to have run amuck (run amuck is the usual phrase to use); and so it indicates mental derangement, a madness to do violence or to kill indiscriminately.

amulet (AHM yuh lit) (s) (noun), amulets (pl)
An object worn, usually around the neck, as a charm against evil, disease, misfortune, or injury: Jane’s mother gave her an amulet which was meant to give her protection and fortune in her life.
A small object worn to protect against harm.
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A small object worn to protect against harm.
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antivity (s) (noun), antivities (pl)
1. A word play on the "activity of ants": The antivity of the children on the first day of school gave the impression to one teacher that they were running around like a bunch of ants.
2. Etymology: formed by ant + ivity [-ity "condition or quality of being"].
apolaustic (ap uh LAW stik) (adjective), more apolaustic, most apolaustic
1. A reference to someone being devoted to seeking enjoyment and pleasures; self-indulgent: An apolaustic person is one whose aim in life is the attainment of enjoyment and who continually expends his or her energy in the search for pleasure.
2. Etymology: from Greek apolaustikos and related to the verb apolauein, "to enjoy".
Devoted to enjoyment and pleasure.
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apopemptic (ap uh PEMP tik) (adjective), more apopemptic, most apopemptic
1. A description of anything that is addressed to someone or to those who are leaving; whether spoken or sung; a farewell message: Bruce sang his apopemptic song to his guests before they all started to go home from his birthday party.
2. Etymology: from Greek apopemptikos, "sending away"; from the prefix apo-, "away" + pempein, "to send".

Now the practical automatic apopemptic message is, "Have a nice day!"
Someone might respond with: "I will, if I can find one."

—Based on information that is located in
1000 Most Challenging Words by Norman W. Schur;
Facts On File Publications; New York; 1987; page 36.
Sung or addressed to those who are departing.
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app, application (AP, ap" li KAY shuhn) (s) (noun); apps, applications (pl)
A complete, self-contained program that performs a specific function directly for users: The term app is defined as a shorthand abbreviation of application, meaning a way of using a product or a program.

An app is not the same as computer software; such as, the operating systems, server processes, libraries which exist to support application programs, and utility programs.

arcane (adjective), more arcane, most arcane
1. That which is known or understood by only a few people: The professor was involved with arcane elements of science that are too difficult for most people to comprehend.
2. A reference to something that is secret or mysterious: Helena was known for acquiring arcane messages from extrasensory sources which helped her clients solve some extraordinary problems.

Richard's psychology professor presented some theories that were filled with arcane details about how some people become psychopaths or have mental illnesses that make them behave in violent ways with other human beings.

Something that is hidden and secret and so it is understood by only a few people.
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archetype (adjective) (not comparable)
A reference to an original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated: Chelsie was considered an archetype writer of children's books.
archetype (AR ki tighp") (s) (noun), archetypes (pl)
1. An original pattern or model from which copies are made; a prototype: Chrissy was an archetype of great singing, which attracted many devoted students to her.
2. Etymology: from Greek archetypon, from arch, "chief" and typos, "stamp, pattern".

The "ch" in archtype is pronounced as k. So, according to The American Heritage Dictionary, the preferred pronunciation is AR ki tighp". The same k sound is found in "archaic", "archangel", and "archipelago".

archetypical (adjective), more archetypical, most archetypical
Representing or constituting an original or idealized model after which other similar things are patterned: James developed an archetypical business that resulted in providing many jobs for those who were willing to learn new skills in computer technology.
arduous (adjective), more arduous, most arduous
1. A reference to something that demands great effort or work; very difficult: There is a great deal of arduous work involved in compiling understandable definitions and applicable sentences for the word entries in this lexicon.
2. Severely testing the endurance of some activity: Wars are always too long and arduous for both soldiers and civilian populations in warring countries.

It has become a very arduous task for people to endure the tornadoes that have been going through some areas of the country.

3. Etymology: "hard to accomplish, difficult to do", from Latin arduus, "high, steep".
Man must walk up 95 floors because of elevator break down.  
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Frustrated golfer is critical of the course.  
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Man has ladder to climb to the top of the company.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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argot (AR goh, AR guht) (s) (noun), argots (pl)
1. A specialized vocabulary or set of idioms used by a particular group: The two organizations were still able to communicate with each other in their separate argots.
2. The language of a particular group which is associated with similar activities; for example, the language of street gangs or criminals: Before the fight started, the mobs were yelling out their peculiar argots, or special slang terms, to communicate with their fellow mob members as a kind of code.

The teenagers were confusing their teachers by using special argots in their written reports.

The British have their argots and Americans usually have completely different argots which often result in a lack of understanding of the argots of the two cultures.

Sometimes it can be very difficult to understand the various argots of scientists, lawyers, and even medical professionals.
3. Etymology: about 1860, from French argot, "the jargon of Paris rogues and thieves"; earlier "the company of beggars"; from Middle French (the French language as written and spoken about 1400 to 1600), "a group of beggars", otherwise, the origin of the term is unknown.

Conventional slang of some group.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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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.