Enlarging Vocabulary through
Central Ideas 1-5
Part 1: SKILL
1. Adroit (adj)
Expert in using the hands or mind;
skillful; clever; deft; dexterous
Our adroit passing enabled us to score
2. Ambidextrous (adj)
Able to use both hands equally well
Ruth is an ambidextrous hitter; she
can bat right-handed or left-handed.
3. Apprentice (n)
Person learning an art or trade under a
skilled worker; learner; beginning;
Young Ben Franklin learned the printing
trade by serving as an apprentice to
his half brother James.
4. Aptitude (n)
Natural tendency to learn or
understand; bent; talent
Cindy is not clumsy with tools; she has
5. Craftsperson (n)
Skilled worker; artisan
To build a house, you need the services
of carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers,
and electricians; each one must be a
6. Dexterity (n)
Skill using the hands or mind; deftness;
You can’t expect an apprentice to have
the same dexterity as a skilled worker.
7. Maladroit (adj)
Clumsy; inept; awkward
A maladroit worker banged his thumb
with a hammer.
8. Versatile (adj)
Capable of doing many things well;
Leonardo da Vinci was remarkably
versatile. He was a painter, sculptor,
architect, musician, engineer, and
Part 2: Poverty
9. Destitute (adj)
Not possessing the necessities of life,
such as food, shelter, and clothing;
The severe earthquake killed hundreds
of persons and left thousands
10. Economize (v)
Reduce expences; be frugal
Consumers can economize by buying
their milk in gallon containers.
11. Frugal (adj)
Barely enough; scanty
Avoiding waste; economical; sparing; saving;
The old man had nothing to eat but bread and
cheese; yet he offered to share his frugal meal
with his visitor.
My weekly allowance for lunches and fares isn’t
much, but I can get by on it if I am frugal.
12. Impoverish (v)
Make very poor; reduce to poverty;
bankrupt; ruin; pauperize
The increase in dues of only a dollar a
year will not impoverish anyone.
13. Indigence (n)
By hard work, countless thousands of
Americans have raised themselves from
indigence to wealth.
Part 3: Wealth
14. Affluent (adj)
Very wealthy; rich; opulent
The new wing to the hospital is a gift
from an affluent humanitarian.
15. Avarice (n)
Excessive desire for wealth; greediness;
If manufacturers were to raise prices
without justification, they could be
accused of avarice.
16. Avaricious (adj)
Greedy; grasping; covetous
An avaricious person likes to get and
keep, but not to give or share.
17. Covet (v)
Desire; long for; crave, especially
something belonging to another
Jorge coveted his neighbor’s farm but
could not get her to sell it.
18. Dowry (n)
Money, property, etc., that a bride
brings to her husband
The dowry that his wife brought him
enabled the Italian engraver Piranesi to
devote himself completely to art.
19. Financial (adj)
Having to do with money matters;
monetary; pecuniary; fiscal
People who keep spending more than
they earn usually get into financial
20. Fleece (v)
(literally, to remove the wool from
sheep or a similar animal)
Deprive or strip of money or belongings
by fraud; charge excessively for goods
or services; rob; cheat; swindle
If your sister paid $9000 for that car, she
was fleeced. The mechanic says it was
21. Hoard (v)
Save and conceal; accumulate; amass
Aunt Bonnie had a reputation as a miser
who hoarded every penny she could get
her hands on.
22. Lavish (adj)
Too free in giving, using, or spending;
Given or spent too freely; very
abundant; extravagant; profuse
The young heir was warned that he would
soon have nothing left if he continued to
be lavish with money.
Vera’s composition is good, but it doesn’t
deserve the lavish praise that Linda gave
23. Lucrative (adj)
Because the gift shop did not produce a
sufficient profit, the owner decided to go
into a more lucrative business.
24. Means (n. pl)
Wealth; property; resources
To own an expensive home, a yacht, and a
limousine, you have to be a person of
25. Opulence (n)
Wealth; riches; affluence
Dickens contrasts the opulence of
France’s nobility with the indigence of her
26. Sumptuous (adj)
Involving large expense; luxurious;
The car with the leather upholstery and
thick rugs is beautiful but a bit
sumptuous for my simple tastes.
27. Apprehensive (adj)
Expecting something unfavorable;
Apprehensive parents telephoned the
school when the class was late getting
home from the museum.
28. Cower (v)
Draw back tremblingly; shrink or crouch
in fear; cringe; recoil
If you stand up to your bullying sister
instead of cowering before her, she may
29. Dastardly (adv)
Cowardly and mean
It was dastardly of the captain to desert
the sinking vessel and leave the
passengers to fend for themselves.
30. Intimidate (v)
Make fearful or timid; frighten; force by
fear; cow; bully
The younger children would not have given
up the playing field so quickly if the older
ones hadn’t intimidated them.
31. Poltroon (n)
Thorough coward; dastard; craven
Like the poltroon that he was, Tonseten
hid under the bed when he saw a fight
32. Timid (adj)
Lacking courage or self-confidence;
fearful; timorous; shy
If the other team challenges us, we should
accept. Let’s not be so timid!
33. Trepidation (n)
Nervous agitation; fear, fright;
I thought Carol would be nervous when
she made her speech, but she delivered it
34. Audacious (adj)
Bold; fearlessly daring
Too bold; insolent; impudent
The audacious sea captain set a couse for
After we had waited for about twenty
minutes, an audacious latecomer strolled
up and tried to get in at the head of our
35. Audacity (n)
Nerve; rashness; temerity
Oliver Twist, nine-year-old poorhouse
inmate, was put into solitary confinement
when he had the audacity to ask for a
second helping of porridge.
36. Dauntless (adj)
Fearless; intrepid; very brave; valiant
The frightened sailors wanted to turn back,
but their dauntless captain urged them to
37. Exploit (n)
Heroic act; daring deed; feat
Amelia Earhart won worldwide fame for
her expoits as an aviator.
38. Fortitude (n)
Courage in facing danger, hardship or
pain; endurance; bravery; pluck;
The officer showed remarkable fortitude in
remaining on duty despite a painful wound.
39. Indomitable (adj)
Incapable of being subdued;
The bronco that would not be broken
threw all its riders. It had an indomitable
will to be free.
40. Plucky (adj)
Courageous; brave; valiant; valorous
After two days on a life raft, the plucky
survivors were rescued by a helicopter.
41. Rash (adj)
Overhasty; foolhardy; reckless;
impetuous; taking too much risk
When you lose your temper, you may say
or do something rash and regret it