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Adverb or adjective: Sotto voce  (sah-toh-VOH-chee) 1. Under the breath; in an undertone; also, in a private manner. 2. Very softly; used as a direction in music. Sample sentence: As her husband headed for the kitchen, our hostess began telling us sotto voce about the upcoming surprise party for him.

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Noun: Demesne  (dih-MEYN) Definition: 1. Possession of land as one’s own. 2. An estate or part of an estate occupied and controlled by, and worked for the exclusive use of, the owner. 3. Land belonging to and adjoining a manor house; estate. 4. The dominion or territory of a sovereign or state; domain. 5. A […]

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Noun: Solipsism  (SOH-lip-sih-zum) Definition:  A theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and the self is the only existent thing: also, extreme egocentrism. Sample sentence: The actor’s memoirs of the years during which he struggled to break into show business is loaded with so much introspection that it borders on […]

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Verb: Expropriate  (ek-SPROH-pree-ayt) Definition: 1. To deprive of possession or proprietary rights. 2. To transfer the property of another to one’s own possession. Sample sentence: The city council rejected a proposal to expropriate private property for the highway expansion.

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Verb: Wheedle  (WEE-dul) Definition: 1. To influence or entice by soft words or flattery. 2. To gain or get by coaxing or flattering. 3. To use soft words or flattery. Sample sentence: Susie always tried to wheedle the babysitter into letting her stay up an hour past her bedtime.

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Adjective: Rapier  (RAY-pee-er) Definition: Extremely sharp or keen. Sample sentence: The wit and keen insight found in Betty’s blog are a testament to her rapier mind.

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Noun: Gutta-percha  (guh-tah-pur-chah Definition: A tough plastic substance from the latex of several Malaysian trees of the sapodilla family that resembles rubber but contains more resin and is used especially as insulation and in dentistry. Sample sentence: My dentist used gutta-percha to fill my tooth after he performed a root canal.

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Verb: Carouse  (kuh-ROWZ) Definition: 1. To drink liquor freely or excessively. 2. To take part in a drunken revel: engage in dissolute behavior. Sample sentence: The sailor planned to carouse with his buddies during  his shore leave.

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Noun: Palaver  (puh-LAV-er) Definition: 1. A long discussion or meeting usually between persons of different cultures or levels of sophistication. 2. Idle talk or misleading or beguiling speech. Sample sentence: I don’t know how people can listen to all that palaver on the midday talk shows on television.

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Adjective: Teleological  (tel-ee-uh-LAH-jih-kul) Definition: Exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature. Sample sentence: At dinner, Sandra and Miguel debated whether or not the complex structure of the human eye implied a teleological origin.

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