Essential Vocabulary

Vocabulary Notes

1. character n 1) mental or moral nature, e.g. He is a man of fine (strong, Weak, independent) character. In order to know a person's character we must know how he thinks, feels and acts. They differ in character, 2) the qualities that make a thing what it is, (is the character of the work, soil, climate, etc. 3) moral strength, e.g. He is a man of character. Character-building is not an easy thing. 4) a person in a play or novel, as the characters in the novel; good (bad, important) characters; e.g. Many characters of the novel are real people, others are fictional. 5) a person who does something unusual, e.g. He's quite a character. 6) a description of a person's abilities, e.g. He came to our office with a good character.

characteristic adj showing'the character of a thing, as the characteristic enthusiasm of the youth. It's characteristic of her.

characterized vt to show the character of, e.g. His work is characterized by lack of attention to detail. The camel is characterized by an ability to go for many days without water.

2. disguise vt 1) to change the appearance in order to deceive, e.g. The woman disguised herself as a man. It's easier to disguise one's appearance than to disguise one's voice. The door was disguised as a bookcase. 2) to hide one's feelings, thoughts, intentions, e.g. He disguised his sorrow beneath a cheerful appearance.

disguise n 1) change of the appearance in order not to be recognized, e.g. For many years he had to live in a foreign country in disguise. 2) the means used in order not to be recognized, e.g. What a clever disguise! She made no disguise of her feelings.


3. threat n 1) a statement of an intention to punish or hurt, e.g. Nobody is afraid of your threats. 2) a sign or warning of coming trouble, danger, etc., e.g. There was a threat of rain in the dark sky.

threaten vt/i 1) to give warning of, e.g. The clouds threatened rain. 2) to seem likely to come or occur, e.g. He was unconscious of the danger that threatened him. 3) to use threats towards; to threaten to do smth., e.g. Andrew threatened to report the incident to the authorities, to threaten smb. with smth., e.g. The criminal threatened his enemy with death.

threatening adj full of threat, as a threatening attitude (voice); to give smb. a threatening look

4. relax vt/i to ease; to rel ieve; to loosen, as to relax muscles (one's grasp, discipline, one's attention, efforts); to relax international tension, e.g. He relaxed his hold. You look tired and spent, sit down and relax. By and by his features relaxed.

5. sink (sank, sunk) vi/t 1) to go slowly downward; to go below the horizon or under the surface of water, e.g. The sun was sinking in the west. Wood does not sink in water. The ship sank. The drowning man sank like a stone. 2) to become lower or weaker, e.g. My spirits sank. Having displayed his cowardice, he sank in our estimation. 3) to fall; to allow oneself to fall, e.g. He sank to the ground wounded. She sank intb the chair and burst into tears.

sink (sank, sunk) n a basin with a drain, usually under a water tap in a kitchen, e.g. Put the dirty dishes into the kitchen sink and ask your sister to help you to wash up.

6. sense n 1) any of the special faculties of the body, e.g. The five senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. 2) a feeling, understanding, as a sense of duty (humour, beauty, proportion, time, security, danger, pain, cold, etc.), e.g. He has a strong sense of duty. 3) (pl) a normal, ordinary state of mind, as in one's right senses. Ant. to be out of one's senses to be insane, e.g. Are you out of your senses that you talk such nonsense? 4) intelligence; practical wisdom, e.g. He is a man of sense. He has plenty of sense (common sense). There is a lot of sense in what he says. There is no sense in doing it. What's the sense of-doing that? 5) a meaning, as in a strict (literal, figurative, good, bad) sense, e.g. This word cannot be used in this sense, to make sense to have a meaning that can be understood, e.g. I cannot make sense of what he is saying. Ant. to make no sense, e.g. It makes no sense.

sensitive adj easily hurt, as to have a sensitive skin; to be sensitive to pain (other people's suffering, blame, criticism); to be sensitive about one's physical defects

sensible adj reasonable, as a sensible fellow (idea, suggest ion), e.g. That was very sensible of you.

7. cautious adj careful, e.g. A cautious thinker does not believe things without proof. Be cautious when crossing a busy street. Ant. careless, indiscreet


caution n carefulness, e.g. When you cross a busy street you should use caution.

caution vt (against) to give a caution to, e.g. The teacher cautioned us against being late.

precaution n a measure to avoid risk or to bring success, e.g. They took precautions against the flood.

8. slip vt/i 1) to slide, to glide; to escape from, e.g. The tablecloth slipped off the table. The fish slipped out of his hands. 2) to lose one's balance, e.g. She slipped and would have fallen if I had not steadied her. 3) to forget, e.g. The name has slipped my attention (my memory, my mind). 4) to go unnoticed, quickly or quietly, e.g. He slipped out of the house unnoticed. She slipped away for half an hour or so. Happiness slipped by me. 5) to make a careless mistake, e.g. He slips in his grammar. 6) to pull on or off quickly, e.g. He hurriedly slipped on (off) his clothes. 7) to put into, e.g. She slipped the letter into an envelope and sealed it.

slip n 1) a narrow strip of paper, e.g. May I use this slip of paper to mark a page? 2) fault, a slight mistake in speech, writing or conduct, as a slip of the tongue; a slip of the pen. 3) a sudden slide, to give smb. the slip to avoid him or escape from him

slippery adj so smooth (wet or polished) that it is hard to stand on, e.g. It's so slippery today, please be careful!

slippers n (pi) shoes for indoor wear

9. bitter adj sharp; tasting like quinine; painful; severe, as bitter words (complaints, disappointment); a bitter smile (remark, wind, enemy), e.g. Her lips twisted into a bitter smile. A bitter wind beat into the face.

bitterly adv 1) with bitterness, e.g. He laughed bitterly. "How could you be so blind?" she said bitterly. 2) very, e.g. It was bitterly cold. Syn. bitter (coll.), e.g. It was bitter cold:

10. stir vt/i 1) (vt) to move around, esp. with a spoon; mix thoroughly, as to stir tea (coffee, porridge) 2) (vt) to cause to move, e.g. The wind stirred the leaves, not to stir a finger to make no effort to help, e.g. What kind of friend is he? He wouldn't stir a finger to help me. not to stir an eyelid to show no surprise or alarm, e.g. It's amazing how calmly Ruth took the news: she did not stir an eyelid. 3) (vi) to move, to be in motion, e.g. It was so still, not a leaf stirred. Nobody stirred in the house.

11. injure vt to hurt, to do harm or damage to, as to injure one's health (part of the body, smb.'s feelings, reputation, etc.); to injure smth. accidentally (badly, seriously, slightly, etc.); to be injured in an accident (in a fire, in the war, etc.)

injured adj insulted, hurt, as smb.'s injured pride (feelings, look, tone, voice, etc.)

injury n harm, damage, as to receive (suffer) an injury (injuries) to the head, to the back, etc.


12. compel vt to force a person to do smth.; to get by force; to make it necessary to do smth., e.g. The student was compelled by illness to give up his studies. A heavy snowfall compelled us to put up there for the night. They were compelled to land. Syn. to force

compulsion n the act of compelling or using force, e.g. He claimed that he did not want to write the letter but did so under compulsion.

compulsory adj compelled or required, e.g. The attendance at lectures is compulsory.

13. revenge vtli to pay back evil or injury for, as to revenge an insult (an injustice), e.g. He swore to revenge the insult, to revenge oneself on (upon) a person to inflict injury on another in return for injury done to oneself, e.g. Yago revenged himself on Othello, to be revenged to revenge oneself, e.g. She was revenged but that brought her little satisfaction.

revenge n the act of paying back evil for evil, to take one's revenge on (upon) smb. to revenge oneself on (upon) smb., e.g. The fascists took their revenge on the peaceful population for the actions of the partisans. to do smth.. in revenge to injure smb. paying back evil, e.g. Andrew was aware that the man might do much harm in revenge.

revengeful adj desiring revenge, as revengeful people

Word Combinations and Phrases

to be under arrest to cut a foolish figure
to smile through one's tears to intercept information
to rob smb. of smth. to be taken aback
to fling smth. (flung, flung) to break down
to refuse pointblank to make a scene
to try one's tricks on smb. to go too far
to be beside oneself to make use of smb. (or smth.)


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