LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Quartermaster n.
A military officer responsible for providing food, clothing, and other supplies.
abate v.
To lessen or decrease.
abhorrence n.
Strong disgust or hatred.
abide v.
To accept without question; to act in accordance with.
ablution n.
The act of washing or bathing.
abolish v.
To put an end to; to do away with.
abolition n.
The act of doing away with something; ending of slavery.
abolitionist n.
A person who supported or worked for the abolishment of slavery.
abridge v.
To shorten; in a legal sense, to cut short or limit.
abrogate v.
To repeal or cancel.
absolve v.
To set free or release.
accede v.
To agree to a request or demand.
accession n.
The act of coming to a political office or throne.
accoutrements n.
Accessory items.
acquiesce v.
Accept reluctantly.
acrimony n.
Bitterness; unfriendliness.
adjoin v.
To lie next to or be in contact with.
advocate n.
One who supports or defends a cause.
affirm v.
To confirm or support the validity of.
affirmative n.
Positive statement indicating agreement.
aforesaid adj.
Mentioned earlier.
aggressor n.
One who engages in attacks or other aggressive behavior.
agitation n.
Feeling of extreme excitement.
alleviate v.
To ease or make less severe.
allude v.
To refer to or mention indirectly.
amnesty n.
A pardon; forgiveness for past offenses.
amphibious adj.
(military) Using forces landed from the sea.
amputate v.
Cut off.
anarchy n.
A lawless situation; absence of a government.
annex v.
To add or attach to something larger or more important; or to incorporate territory into the domain of a city, state, or country.
antebellum adj.
The time before the Civil War.
anvil n.
A heavy steal or iron block, on which metal can be hammered and shaped.
apex n.
Highest point.
aphorism n.
A saying; a sentiment.
apothecary n.
Pharmacy or drugstore.
appease v.
To satisfy or yield to.
appertain v.
Relating to, or concerning.
appertain v.
To belong.
apportion v.
To divide.
apprehension n.
apprentice n.
A person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, such as a blacksmith. The apprentice has signed a contract, agreeing to work for a certain period of time to learn the trade, typically for low wages. The employer has agreed to teach the apprentice skills and provide food, clothing, and shelter.
appropriation n.
Money for a specific use or purpose.
appropriations n.
Funds designated for a particular purpose.
arbiter n.
A person making a judgment.
arduous adj.
armistice n.
An agreement made by opposing sides to end a war.
arsenal n.
A place where military weapons, ammunition, and equipment are stored.
artillery n.
Cannon and other large guns; also refers to the soldiers who use them.
ascendancy n.
A position of dominant power or influence.
assailant n.
An attacker
assent v.
To agree.
asylum n.
A refuge; a safe haven.
attain v.
To achieve or reach.
attribute n.
A characteristic or property of an object, such as size, color, or shape.
avaricious adj.
avert v.
To prevent.
avocation n.
A person's occupation or hobby.
battalion n.
A military unit made up of 500-1500 men. It is formed out of smaller units called companies.
battery n.
A structure heavily fortified with guns and men; also refers to a unit of artillery pieces and the men who fired them.
belligerent adj.
Hostile, or aggressive; the instigator of a war.
beneficiary n.
The person who will receive the profits or benefits.
benevolent adj.
Marked by goodwill and kindness.
beseech v.
To beg earnestly for.
betoken n.
To be a sign of, or to indicate.
blockade n.
The obstruction or barricade preventing access to a port.
bluster v.
To speak or brag in a loud, bullying or arrogant manner.
bombardment n.
A persistent attack, sometimes with missiles or bombs.
bon mots n.
A clever saying or witty remark.
breastwork n.
A temporary low wall or fortification.
brier n.
A patch of thorny plants.
brigade n.
A military unit, usually composed of several thousand troops.
burthen n.
bushwhackers n.
Independent, guerrilla-style fighters during the U.S. Civil War.
calamity n.
cannonading n.
A period of heavy, continuous, gun fire.
captivate v.
To attract the attention of; to charm.
caricature n.
A picture that comically exaggerates the features of a person or thing.
carnage n.
The violent killing of many people.
carpetbagger n.
A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War to profit financially or politically from the conditions during Reconstruction. The term "carpetbagger" comes from the carpet bags that travelers carried, which were inexpensive suitcases made of carpet.
cavalry n.
Collective name for horse-soldiers.
censure n.
Criticism or show of disapproval.
charred v.
Partially burnt so that the surface is blackened.
chattel n.
A piece of property. Sometimes used to refer to a slave or servant.
chloroform n.
A liquid made from acetone, acetaldehyde, or ethyl alcohol by the reaction of chloride of lime; used in the past as an anesthetic.
clad v.
Dressed or covered.
clamorous adj.
Noisy; demanding attention.
clemency n.
Mercy; leniency.
coarse adj.
Vulgar; crude.
coax v.
To persuade someone with flattery.
coerce v.
To control someone's thoughts or actions through force or intimidation.
commemorate v.
To honor or serve as a reminder of.
Commence v.
To begin, to start.
commerce n.
The buying and selling of goods.
commercial adj.
Of or relating to the buying and selling of goods, especially on a large scale, as between cities or nations.
commodity n.
A good to be traded or sold.
comrade n.
A friend.
conceal v.
keep close or secret
concur v.
To agree.
concurrent adj.
Occurring or existing at the same time.
confederation n.
A league or alliance; a loosely united group of states.
conformity n.
Acting and thinking like others; Behavior that meets socially accepted standards.
conglomeration n.
A mass or whole.
congregate v.
To assemble or gather.
Conscript n.
A soldier who has been drafted into the military.
consignment n.
Goods are sent to an agent who will try to sell them with an understanding that payment and any unsold goods will be returned at a later date.
consonance n.
Agreement between opinion and actions.
conspicuous adj.
Easily seen; obvious.
constituents n.
Members of a group represented by an elected official.
constitute v.
To make up; to compose.
contempt n.
A feeling of hatred, disrespect or scorn.
contingent n.
A military unit.
contraband n.
Illegal goods; used during the Civil War to refer to slaves who escaped over Union lines.
contrite adj.
Feeling remorseful; affected by guilt.
controversial adj.
Causing argument; divisive.
cooper n.
A person who makes or repairs barrels, casks, and other wooden containers.
cordially adj.
Politely; graciously.
cormorant adj.
Insatiably greedy. A cormorant is a bird known for its massive appetite.
countenance v.
(v.) Permitted or tolerated; (n.) a facial expression.
countervail v.
To act against with equal power or force.
covetous adj.
Jealous; desirous of something that belongs to another.
cutlery n.
Knives and similar cutting utensils.
de facto adj.
In fact, whether or not by right or by law.
deem v.
To think or believe.
defiance adj.
Bold disobedience.
deject n.
Sad or depressed.
demoralize v.
To undermine the confidence of; to discourage.
denunciation n.
The act of denouncing someone or something; a public condemnation.
deplorable adj.
Completely unacceptable; wretched.
depot n.
A place where large quantities of food or equipment are stored.
deprecate v.
To express disapproval of someone or something.
depredation n.
Destruction or damage.
deride v.
To mock or laugh at.
desertion n.
The act of abandoning one's military duty without permission.
desolate adj.
Lonely; gloomy; barren.
despise v.
To look down on or scorn; to hate.
despoil v.
To ruin or spoil; to take by force.
despotism n.
A dictatorship; absolute power; a country ruled by a despot.
destitute adj.
Suffering from a complete lack of resources.
destitution n.
Extreme poverty.
detain v.
delay the progress of
diffuse v.
To spread over a wide area.
disaffected adj.
disaffection n.
disembark v.
To get off of a ship or other passenger vehicle.
disfranchise v.
To take away a citizen's rights, especially the right to vote.
dispatch n.
A report or message; v. to send off or away.
disperse v.
To separate, scatter or spread widely
dissenter n.
Someone who disagrees or differs in their opinions.
dissolute adj.
Unrestrained; reckless.
divisive n.
Creating disruption or disagreement.
domestic adj.
Related to the home or family; also refers to the internal affairs of a nation.
earnest adj.
Serious and sincere.
ecclesiastical adj.
Associated with the church.
economize v.
To save; to avoid waste; to spend less.
efface v.
To erase.
eloign v.
To remove or carry far away.
emancipation n.
The process of freeing someone from slavery or oppression.
embolden v.
To make bolder or braver.
emissary n.
A representative or agent on a mission; a spy.
emolument n.
Profit or salary.
emphatic adj.
Definite; forceful.
encroach v.
To gradually and stealthily take another's possessions or rights.
endeavor v.
try hard to achieve something
endeavors n.
Actions; undertakings.
enfranchise v.
To give voting or citizenship rights to a group of people.
engender v.
To produce or cause.
enjoin v.
1. To forbid or prohibit. 2. To direct or prescribe an action.
enlist v.
To enroll in or sign up for a cause.
entreaty n.
An earnest or humble request.
enumerate v.
To mention or list things one by one.
epithet n.
An abusive or insulting term.
espouse v.
Adopt or support.
estuary n.
The mouth of a river where it meets the sea, and where freshwater from the river mixes with the salty water of the sea. [more]
ether n.
A liquid made from the distillation of ethyl alcohol with sulfuric acid that was used in the past as an anesthetic.
etiquette n.
The customary code of polite conduct.
evade v.
To escape; to avoid.
evince v.
To show, make clear, prove
exacerbate v.
To make worse.
executor n.
The person who is in charge of administrating the terms of a deceased person's will.
exorbitant adj.
Unreasonably high.
extra-legal adj.
Outside the law.
extravagant adj.
Spending more than is necessary; exceeding reasonable limits.
exultant adj.
Triumphant; thrilled.
facetious adj.
Using inappropriate humor; not taking things seriously.
falter v.
To stumble.
fastidious adj.
Fussy; hard to please.
felicity n.
Something that causes happiness.
fidelity n.
Faithfulness to duties or obligations; loyalty.
fiend n.
A wicked person; a devil.
firkin n.
A small wooden barrel; a British unit of capacity equal to one-quarter of a barrel.
flagrant adj.
Glaring; shockingly obvious or unconcealed.
flotilla n.
A fleet of ships or boats.
fodder n.
Food for livestock.
folly n.
Foolishness, silliness.
forbear v.
To refrain from. Also, to give up or part with, as a plant with its fruit.
forbearance n.
Self-control; restraint and tolerance.
foreboding n.
A strong sense that there will be misfortune or evil in the future.
forlorn adj.
Sad; lonely.
fortification n.
A work constructed to defend against attack.
fraud n.
Deceiving someone for financial, personal, or political gain.
free-soil adj.
Believing that slavery should not be extended into the western territories of the United States.
furlough n.
A vacation or leave of absence from active duty for a person enlisted in the military.
gallantly adv.
In a brave, noble manner; chivalrously
galvanize v.
To stimulate or startle into activity.
garret n.
An attic.
gerrymander v.
To manipulate something in order to gain an unfair advantage. Usually used in reference to drawing voting districts in a way that gives an advantage to a particular party or group.
gird v.
To fasten or bind.
guerilla n.
Member of a small, independent force fighting irregular warfare, usually against a larger, regular army.
guile n.
Deceit; trickery.
gunboat n.
A small, fast moving ship, equipped with guns.
habeas corpus n.
In Latin habeas corpus means: "[We command] that you have the body." The writ of habeas corpus is a legal action that can be taken when a person is detained or imprisoned indefinitely by the government. It ensures that the person who has been arrested will be brought before a court and receive a trial.
harpy n.
In Greek mythology, a monster sometimes depicted as a bird of prey with a woman's face.
hasten v.
To hurry.
haughty adj.
Conceited; proud; arrogant.
hogshead n.
Hogshead is a large wooden barrel. It holds about 63 gallons.
hostility adj.
Unfriendliness; opposition.
humble adj.
idle adj.
Inactive; lazy.
ignominious adj.
Causing shame or disgrace.
illusory adj.
Based on an illusion; not real.
Impeach v.
To accuse of misconduct. Impeachment is the act of impeaching.
impending adj.
About to happen.
implement n.
A tool.
impromptu n.
Done without previous planning or preparation.
impudent adj.
Sassy; disrespectful.
inaugural adj.
Relating to an inauguration, such as the swearing in of a new president.
inaugurate v.
To formally swear someone into office.
incarnate adj.
Embodied in human form.
incessant adj.
Unending; ceaseless.
incite v.
To provoke or stir up.
inconsiderable n.
Not significant or important.
incur v.
To bring upon oneself.
indictment n.
A formal document in which a person is accused of a crime or a wrongdoing.
induce v.
To persuade or influence.
inertia n.
A tendency to do nothing.
inevitable adj.
Expected; certain.
inexplicable adj.
Mysterious; incomprehensible.
infamy n.
Bad reputation for outrageous or criminal acts.
infantry n.
Collective name for foot-soldiers.
infirmary n.
Medical center; hospital.
inflame v.
Excite or arouse the feelings
ingenuous adj.
Innocent; naive.
iniquity n.
wickedness; immorality.
inoperative adj.
Not working; broken.
insurgent n.
One who rises in revolt against authority.
insurrection n.
An uprising against authority.
inviolate adj.
Undisturbed; kept pure.
invoke v.
To call on.
Ironclad n.
A warship covered in iron plating.
jaconet n.
Light cotton cloth used for clothing and bandages.
jennet n.
A female donkey.
jeux d'esprit n.
A lighthearted display of wit.
judicial adj.
Relating to the administration of justice. [more]
judicious adj.
Using good judgment or good sense.
juggernaut n.
An overwhelmingly powerful force.
jurisdiction n.
Authority or control.
legally void n.
Illegal; having no truth or validity under the law.
leniency n.
The quality of being easygoing or indulgent.
levy n.
(n.) An amount owed, as in taxes. (v.) to impose.
liable adj.
Legally obligated.
magnanimous adj.
Generous or forgiving.
malice n.
A desire to hurt others or see them suffer.
mangle v.
To destroy or disfigure.
manifest v.
To show or demonstrate.
manifestly adv.
maraud n.
To raid for goods.
martial adj.
martial law n.
Rule by military force, in which civilian law is suspended.
meager adj.
Slight, deficient.
militia n.
An army composed of citizen soldiers rather than professional soldiers.
minion n.
A servant or dependent.
missive n.
A letter.
monarchy n.
A state or nation that is governed by a monarch, one who rules for life by hereditary right.
monolithic n.
A large, unchanging whole
mortar n.
A short, smoothbore gun for firing shells (bombs) at high angles.
muster n.
A military gathering.
mutiny n.
Revolt or rebellion.
naturalized v.
Granted the rights of a citizen.
negligible adj.
So small as not to be worth mentioning.
null adj.
Zero; without value. A contract that is null and void has no legal force.
oakum n.
Fiber used to caulk the seams of ships.
oblige v.
To force or require.
obsolete adj.
Outdated; old-fashioned.
odious adj.
Deserving or causing hatred.
onerous adj.
Burdensome; difficult.
oppressive adj.
Harsh; repressive.
opprobrious adj.
Abusive; scornful.
ordain v.
Order or decree.
ordinance n.
Legislation, especially by a city or county; sometimes a decree or order (as in the "ordinance of secession").
ordnance n.
Military weapons and ammunition.
ostracize v.
To exclude or shun a person.
palatable adj.
Agreeable to the taste.
pall n.
A coffin; the cloth spread over a coffin.
panegyric n.
A public speech or published text in praise of a person or thing.
parley n.
A conference or discussion between enemies to negotiate the terms of a truce.
partisan adj.
Strongly supporting a cause or a particular side in a political debate.
perilous adj.
perpetual adj.
Everlasting; continuous.
perpetuate v.
To cause to endure, or to be continued indefinitely; to preserve from extinction or oblivion.
perplexity n.
The state of being confused.
pestilence n.
Epidemic of disease.
phalanx n.
A tight formation of heavily armed soldiers.
philanthropy n.
A desire to promote the welfare of other people; charity.
piazza n.
A passageway that is open-sided and has a roof; or a porch or veranda.
pickets n.
A detachment of soldiers acting as sentries to guard against a surprise attack by the enemy.
pinion v.
To bind or shackle.
pinions n.
The end segments of birds' wings, bearing the primary flight feathers.
piteous adj.
Pitiful; sad.
plaintive adj.
Sad; mournful.
plantation n.
A large farm or estate on which crops are grown for commercial sale, usually by resident labor.
plunder v.
To steal by use of force, especially during war.
pomp n.
A show of magnificent splendor.
porous adj.
Full of pores or holes.
posterity n.
Descendants; future generations.
precipitate v.
To cause or bring about, especially suddenly.
predominately adv.
To be in the majority; to dominate.
preface v.
To introduce.
prepense adj.
Intentional or deliberate.
preponderance n.
The quality of being greater in number, quantity, or importance.
prepossessing adj.
Attractive or appealing in appearance.
presentiment n.
A premonition or feeling that something will happen.
prevalent adj.
Widespread or common.
privation n.
The absence of the typical comforts of life.
procure v.
To obtain.
profane n.
Disrespectful; sacrilegious.
profligate n.
A person who is recklessly wasteful or self-indulgent.
prophet n.
A person through whom the voice or will of a god is spoken.
proposition n.
Proposal; suggestion; plan.
propriety n.
The standard of what is considered appropriate in behavior, speech, or conduct.
prospective adj.
Potential or likely.
prosperity n.
Wealth, success.
provisional adj.
Existing for the present; temporary.
provisions n.
prowess n.
Superior skill or ability; or courage in battle.
proximity n.
prudent adj.
wise; using good judgment.
pugilist n.
Someone who fights with his or her fists, like a boxer.
quell v.
To put an end to; to subdue.
quinine n.
A bitter alkaloid used to treat malaria.
rapacious adj.
Aggressively greedy.
rapine n.
Violent theft.
ratify v.
To approve or confirm.
ration n.
A fixed portion of food or other provisions.
ravine n.
A narrow, steep valley.
raze v.
To destroy completely.
recalcitrant adj.
Uncooperative; unwilling to accept authority.
recant v.
To take back; retract.
rectitude n.
Righteousness; morally correct behavior.
redeem v.
To restore one's reputation; to make amends.
redemption n.
Salvation; the state of deliverance from sin.
redoubtable adj.
A formidable opponent.
refuge n.
Shelter or safety.
regiment n.
A unit of soldiers.
relinquish v.
To give up control of something.
remit v.
Cancel or refrain.
remnant n.
Something left over; a remainder.
rend v.
To pull or tear violently.
render v.
To make.
rendition n.
The act of returning or giving something; often used to refer to the return or surrender of prisoners.
renounce v.
To disown or reject.
repeal v.
To cancel or revoke.
repress v.
To keep down or restrain; to keep under control.
reproach n.
repudiate v.
To refuse to accept, or to deny that something is true. In a legal sense, to refuse to pay a debt or meet an obligation.
repulse v.
To drive back or repel.
reputable adj.
Honorable; respectable.
rescind v.
To take back or cancel.
resonate v.
To echo or ring with sound.
resuscitate n.
To revive.
retaliate v.
To repay in kind.
retrench v.
Reduction of costs or spending.
ridicule n.
Speech or action that is intended to bring about mocking laughter at someone or something.
rift n.
Split; separation; a break in a friendly relationship.
rigors n.
Difficulties or hardships.
rout n.
A crushing defeat.
sacred adj.
sagacious n.
having or showing good judgement
salient n.
A piece of land or part of a fort that juts outward, forming an angle.
sally port n.
A fortification with a controlled entrance.
saltpeter n.
Potassium nitrate, a component of gunpowder.
sanction v.
(v.) To authorize or allow. (n.) Approval.
sanguine adj.
Hopeful; optimistic.
satiate v.
To satisfy oneself completely.
saturate v.
To soak.
scalawag n.
White Southerners who worked for or supported the North during Reconstruction after the Civil War; a rascal.
schooner n.
A sailing vessel.
scoundrel n.
A villain; a disreputable person.
scuttle v.
To abandon (a ship).
sear v.
To burn or scorch.
secede v.
To formally withdraw from membership or association.
secession n.
The act of breaking away from an alliance with others. Often used in United States history to describe the withdrawal of the Southern states from the Union.
sentiments n.
Feelings; qualities.
serf n.
An agricultural labor bound to work for his lord or master.
servile adj.
sham n.
A fake; something that is not what it is said to be.
siege n.
A military attack or blockade.
Singularly n.
Exceptionally good; remarkable.
skiff n.
A shallow, flat-bottomed open boat.
skirmish n.
Brief fights; minor battles
solicitor n.
A lawyer.
sovereign n.
Supreme ruler.
sovereignty n.
Independence; freedom from external control.
speculation n.
Taking part in business deals that involve a lot of risk, but offer the chance of large profits.
speculator n.
A person who engages in risky business deals to make a profit.
spoliation n.
The act of destroying or spoiling something.
squadron n.
In the army, a cavalry unit composed of several hundred soldiers on horseback; in the navy, a group of warships under the command of a flag officer.
staunch v.
To stop the flow of.
stench n.
A stink; an unpleasant odor.
stipulate v.
To specify or require something.
stipulation n.
Terms or conditions.
straggle n.
To wander; to ramble.
stupefy v.
To stun; to astonish.
subdued adj.
Moderated; toned down; reduced in intensity.
subjugate v.
To conquer by force; to enslave.
submissive adj.
Humbly obedient; ready to submit to others.
subordinate adj.
Of lower rank.
substantial adj.
Significant; considerable.
subvert v.
To destroy or ruin.
suffice n.
To be adequate or sufficient enough.
suffrage n.
The right to vote.
supposition n.
suppress v.
To stop something or someone; to prevent, prohibit, or subdue.
surrogate n.
A substitute.
swindle n.
An act of deception; a fraud.
tacitly adv.
Understood without being spoken or expressed outright; implied.
tariff n.
A duty or tax charged on goods.
taunt n.
An insult; a scornful remark.
tedious adj.
Dull; boring.
tenacious adj.
Determined; persistent; inclined to hold on tightly to something that is of importance.
tendered v.
To formally present or offer something.
tenor n.
thwart v.
To prevent from happening; to frustrate.
Tory n.
First used to describe person loyal to the British government during the American Revolution. In the Civil War, the term was used to describe Southern Unionists.
tranquility n.
The state of being peaceful.
tremulous adj.
Quivering with fear.
trepidation n.
A state of anxiety or dread.
tribunal n.
A court of law.
tyrannical adj.
Unfairly harsh or cruel.
unabated adj.
Continuing at full strength.
unctuous adj.
Oily, greasy or soapy to the touch.
undissembled adj.
unrequited adj.
Not returned or rewarded.
vagrant n.
A wanderer; a tramp.
venal adj.
Willing to accept a bribe; corrupt.
vermin n.
Animals obnoxious or objectionable to humans.
vestments n.
Garments; clothing.
veto n.
A rejection of legislation.
vicinity n.
The surrounding or nearby area
victual v.
To supply oneself with provisions. As a noun, articles of food or provisions.
vidette n.
A mounted scout.
vigilance n.
vigilante n.
A citizen who attempts to enforce the law on his or her own, without official sanction or authority.
vindicate v.
To clear of accusation and blame.
virulent adj.
Powerful; potent.
wanton adj.
Deliberate and without being provoked; without concern for others.
wheelwright n.
Person who makes or repairs wheels.
wrath n.
Fury; anger; vengeance.
wretched adj.
Miserable; pitiful.
yclept v.
By the name of; called.
zeal n.
zealous adj.
Full of enthusiasm or passion.