Meaning of supplemental

supplemental You can use the adjective supplemental to describe something extra. You could volunteer to donate your collection of markers and colored pencils to a local school that needs supplemental art supplies. Something that’s supplemental is added when there’s a lack or deficiency. You might feed the runt from a litter of puppies supplemental milk … Read more

Meaning of appalled

appalled Appalled is an adjective that describes feeling shocked and disappointed. Being appalled happens suddenly, like when you find out your little sister has been blogging about your family, telling embarrassing stories. Appalled comes from the Latin word pallescere, meaning “to grow pale” — the kind of shock that drains the color from your face. … Read more

Meaning of heist

heist When a man with a gun walks into a bank and says, “Give me all your money,” that’s a heist or a robbery at gunpoint. Heist, pronounced “hīst,” is a slang word for an armed robbery. It’s also a slang word used to describe the act of stealing or breaking into someone’s house to … Read more

Meaning of subsume

subsume Subsume means to absorb or include. A successful company might subsume a failing competitor through a merger, or love may subsume you in the early stages of a romance. Subsume is a verb that comes from the Latin words sub, which means “from below,” and sumere, which means “take.” So subsume means “to take … Read more

Meaning of rapport

rapport Rapport is a good sense of understanding and trust. If you have good rapport with your neighbors, they won’t mind if you kick your ball onto their property every now and then. If you have rapport with someone, you two communicate with trust and sympathy. The word is often used to mean good interaction … Read more

Meaning of equivocate

equivocate When you are unwilling to make a decision and almost intentionally go back and forth between two choices, you are equivocating. When politicians equivocate, they are often afraid of upsetting, and thus alienating, voters with their decisions. A key part of equivocate is the root vocate, which comes from the Latin vocare or “voice.” … Read more

Meaning of feckless

feckless If a newspaper editorial describes a politician as feckless, you might wonder, “What is feck, and why doesn’t he have any?” In fact, the columnist is accusing the politician of being irresponsible and incompetent. Did you know that most varieties of English are in fact “feck”-less? They don’t contain a word feck, only the … Read more

Meaning of oligarchy

oligarchy Does it ever feel like just a few people have all the power? If it’s a government that’s run like this, it’s an oligarchy. A country that has this form of government is an oligarchy too. The political term, oligarchy, comes to English from the Greek with its meaning intact — a form of … Read more

Meaning of imprimatur

imprimatur If you give something your imprimatur, you give it your formal support or approval. An imprimatur is a fancy version of a thumbs-up sign. Originally, an imprimatur was a license that permitted a book to be printed. This word still has the meaning of official or public approval. When the president signs a bill, … Read more

Meaning of kowtow

kowtow Kowtow, which describes the act of kneeling and touching one’s head to the ground to show respect, used to be a custom in Chinese culture. Now it refers to acting like you’re doing that, whether you actually bow or not. Kowtow is derived from the Chinese word k’o-t’ou, which literally means “knock the head.” … Read more

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