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.

abhor v.
To hate or loathe.
abolitionist n.
A person who supported or worked for the abolishment of slavery.
aborigine n.
The original inhabitants of a region.
abrogate v.
To repeal or cancel.
accrue v.
Build up; accumulate.
acquiescence n.
Compliance; agreement.
activism n.
Using mass action and campaigning to work for social or political change.
actuate v.
To motivate.
adjacent n.
Next to something else.
adjoin v.
To lie next to or be in contact with.
adjourn v.
To postpone or suspend until another time.
adjure v.
To ask for seriously.
admonish v.
To caution or warn.
adversity n.
A condition of misfortune, catastrophe or trouble.
advocate n.
One who supports or defends a cause.
affinity n.
Relationship between individuals or groups of people.
aggrandisement n.
The acting of enlarging or improving one's status.
aggregate n.
The total or whole amount.
allay v.
To lessen or calm
allegation n.
Accusation; charge.
alleviate v.
To ease or make less severe.
almshouse n.
A house for the poor, supported by alms or charity.
amaranth n.
A type of plant used for food and for ornamental purposes. Its flower is long-lasting when cut and since ancient times has symbolized immortality.
ample adj.
Plentiful; abundant.
anecdote n.
A short story.
annals n.
A record of written yearly, or historical records generally.
annihilate v.
To destroy completely.
apparatus n.
Instruments or tools that have a certain use.
appellation n.
Name or title.
apprehend v.
approbation n.
articulate v.
Express verbally; present clearly.
ascertain v.
To determine with certainty.
assailant n.
An attacker
audacious adj.
Extremely bold.
austere adj.
Severe or strict; plain, allowing no luxuries.
auxiliary n.
Additional or used as a substitute.
avaricious adj.
avert v.
To prevent.
bantling n.
Very small child.
barbarian n.
A fierce, insensitive person; a savage.
barbarity n.
Cruel, brutal or savage actions.
barometric adj.
Relating to atmospheric pressure.
bastile n.
Prison; fortified tower.
beget v.
behoove v.
To be necessary or worthwhile.
benevolent adj.
Marked by goodwill and kindness.
benign adj.
beseech v.
To beg earnestly for.
bidden v.
biennially adj.
Happening every two years.
boast v.
Brag; speak about with pride.
bowel n.
The intestines.
brethren n.
Members; brothers.
brigand n.
An armed bandit or thief.
burthen n.
calamity n.
callous n.
canker n.
A chronic, non-healing sore, usually spreading into the surrounding tissue in the body.
caprice n.
A sudden, unpredictable action or change of mind.
captivate v.
To attract the attention of; to charm.
cardinal adj.
cede v.
To give up.
chivalrous adj.
Courteous, gracious, polite
circumscribe v.
Limited or defined
clamber n.
to climb, move, or get out of something that is difficult and requires a lot of effort.
clannish adj.
Tending to associate only with one group; cliquish.
clergy n.
Body of people who are ordained to perform church services.
coalesce v.
To grow together or fuse.
combatant n.
A person engaged in fighting.
commerce n.
The buying and selling of goods.
commodious adj.
Advantageous or profitable.
commodity n.
A good to be traded or sold.
compensate v.
To make a payment; to reimburse.
compensation n.
Money or other goods offered in exchange for something or to make up for the loss of something.
complacency n.
Satisfaction; contentment.
concourse n.
condemn v.
Proven or pronounced guilty
confiscate v.
To take possession of; to seize.
conjecture v.
To form an opinion based on guessing or incomplete evidence.
consolation n.
conspicuous adj.
Easily seen; obvious.
consternation n.
Amazement, dismay, or anxiety that causes confusion.
contaminate adj.
contaminate adj.
contemptible adj.
Despicable; shameful; deserving of contempt.
contradistinguish v.
To show the differences between two things by contrasting their opposite qualities.
contrary adj.
convene v.
To come together; to assemble.
conversant adj.
converse v.
To talk with; to engage in casual conversation.
conveyance n.
Means of transportation; the transfer of something from one person to another.
countenance v.
(v.) Permitted or tolerated; (n.) a facial expression.
court v.
To seek or invite. n. A place where legal judgments are administered.
covetousness n.
Strong desire to own what belongs to someone else.
cull v.
To select; to gather or collect
cull v.
To select; to gather or collect
cultivate v.
To prepare (land) for the raising of crops.
cultivation n.
The process of agriculture; preparing the land to grow crops.
decimate v.
To destroy large numbers of people.
decorous adj.
Polite and restrained; in keeping with good taste.
decorum n.
Good manners or behavior.
decrepit adj.
Worn down by age; weakened.
deem v.
To think or believe.
deference n.
Respectful giving in to someone else's wishes, opinion, etc.
deferential adj.
Showing deference; respectful.
degeneracy n.
A decline.
delegation n.
A group of people appointed to represent others.
delude v.
To mislead or deceive.
denominate v.
To give a name or title
denomination n.
A religious group or community called by the same name and sharing a common leadership and set of beliefs.
deportment n.
General way of behaving; conduct.
depraved adj.
Evil; immoral.
depreciate v.
To lessen in price or value.
depredation n.
Destruction or damage.
deputation n.
dereliction n.
The act of neglecting or abandoning something.
derision n.
Ridicule; mockery.
derive v.
To obtain.
descry v.
To catch sight of.
despoil v.
To ruin or spoil; to take by force.
destitute adj.
Suffering from a complete lack of resources.
detain v.
delay the progress of
devious adj.
Tricky, sneaky.
devotion n.
Ardent dedication or affection.
dexterity n.
Skill in performing physical tasks.
diabolical adj.
Like the devil, usually in being evil or cruel.
dialect n.
A regional variant of a particular language. A dialect can sometimes be so different in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that it is not understood by speakers of another dialect of the same language.
diffuse v.
To spread over a wide area.
disaffection n.
disbursement n.
Money paid out.
discharge v.
To excuse from duty; to carry out or perform a duty.
disconsolate adj.
Without comfort; unhappy.
discourse n.
Dialogue; conversation; discussion.
disfranchise v.
To take away a citizen's rights, especially the right to vote.
dismember v.
Divided into parts.
dispatch n.
A report or message; v. to send off or away.
disperse v.
To separate, scatter or spread widely
disposition n.
One's usual mood or temperament.
dissipation n.
The act of spending wastefully or squandering one's talents, fortune, etc.
dissolution n.
The dissolving of a substance in water; the act or process of ending.
distaff n.
A short stick used to hold raw fiber while spinning it into thread or yarn.
diversion n.
A pastime or distraction from work.
docile adj.
Ready and willing to receive instruction; submissive.
domain n.
Territory or land.
egalitarian adj.
Characterized by social equality.
elated adj.
Very happy.
elopement n.
The act of running away.
embargo n.
An order from the government that restricts trade with another nation or the movement of trading ships.
embolden v.
To make bolder or braver.
emigrate v.
To leave one country or region and settle in another.
emigration v.
The act of leaving one country or state to live in another.
eminence n.
High rank.
emulate v.
The desire to imitate or equal another.
emulous adj.
The desire to be equal to or better than someone.
endeavor v.
try hard to achieve something
enigma n.
A puzzling situation.
enjoin v.
1. To forbid or prohibit. 2. To direct or prescribe an action.
entreat v.
To ask earnestly or to beg someone for something.
enumeration n.
A list of items, possibly numbered.
equipage n.
erudition n.
Knowledge that is the result of study and instruction.
eschew v.
To avoid.
evangelical adj.
Having to do with the Christian gospels. Also refers to a Christian tradition emphasizing the authority of the Bible, personal conversion, and salvation by faith, as well as an enthusiastic teaching of those principles.
evangelism n.
Promotion of the teachings of the Christian church.
ever and anon adv.
Every so often; occasionally.
evince v.
To show, make clear, prove
excrescence n.
A growth, usually as the result of disease.
execration n.
A curse.
exemplify v.
To clarify by giving an example of.
exertion n.
Physical work or effort.
exhortation n.
Communication that urges or cautions.
expedient adj.
Suitable to meet a certain purpose; convenient.
extenuation n.
An attempt to lessen or diminish the seriousness of a crime
extinguish v.
To put out or end.
extravagant adj.
Spending more than is necessary; exceeding reasonable limits.
feasible adj.
Possible; capable of being done.
fervor n.
Passion or an intense feeling.
fictitious adj.
False, fake.
fidelity n.
Faithfulness to duties or obligations; loyalty.
filial adj.
Suggestive of the relationship of children to their parents.
flamboyant adj.
Bold, ornate or showy.
fold n.
Archaic term meaning an increase of 100%. Also, the crease or bend in a folded item.
folly n.
Foolishness, silliness.
forbearance n.
Self-control; restraint and tolerance.
fortnight n.
A period of two weeks.
fortuitous adj.
Happening by accident or by chance.
fretfully adv.
fruition n.
The realization or success of a plan or project. To come to fruition means to be completed or to achieve success.
futile adj.
gallantly adv.
In a brave, noble manner; chivalrously
gild v.
To cover or coat with gold.
gratify v.
To satisfy.
gull v.
Trick; deceive.
harangue n.
A speech, usually loud and passionate, addressed to an assembled group of people.
harlot n.
A female prostitute.
harrowing adj.
Extremely distressing or disturbing.
heinous adj.
Especially wicked; atrocious.
hereditary adj.
Passed down from parent to child; inherited.
hierarchy n.
System of ranking people according to status.
hitherto adv.
Until now.
hoary adj.
White with age.
humility n.
The state of being humble.
husbandman n.
One who tills and cultivates land; a farmer.
hypothesis n.
A proposed explanation or interpretation that can be tested by further investigation.
idle adj.
Inactive; lazy.
illiterate adj.
Unable to read or write.
imbibe v.
To take in or absorb.
immensity n.
Enormous amount.
immoderately adj.
Excessively; extremely.
imperative adj.
Absolutely necessary.
impertinent adj.
Improperly forward or direct; behaving without proper respect for superiors.
implacable adj.
Impossible to satisfy or pacify.
implicate v.
To show someone's involvement or to connect them to something, often a crime.
impolitic adj.
imprecise adj.
Not exact.
impress v.
To force someone to do something; to firmly fix something into one's mind.
imputation n.
Accusations or suggestions.
impute v.
Attribute; to credit to.
incentive n.
A reward or punishment that motivates one to take action.
incursion n.
An entrance onto someone's land; an invasion.
indefatigable adj.
Incapable of becoming tired.
indefeasible adj.
Cannot be undone; cannot be made void.
indelible adj.
Permanent; unable to be removed.
indifference n.
Lack of interest.
indigent adj.
Poor or needy.
indolence n.
Laziness; one who is indolent is lazy.
induce v.
To persuade or influence.
inducements n.
Incentive; positive offer or action that motivates or encourages.
indulgence n.
Something given as a luxury to satisfy the desires.
indurated v.
inevitable adj.
Expected; certain.
infatuation n.
A temporary, passionate fascination or obsession
inference n.
A conclusion derived from observations.
infidel n.
A person who doesn't accept a particular religion, usually Christianity.
inflame v.
Excite or arouse the feelings
injunction n.
A court order that prevents an action from being taken or requires an action to be taken.
insurgent n.
One who rises in revolt against authority.
insurrection n.
An uprising against authority.
intemperance n.
Excess; greed; gluttony.
interpose v.
To step or come between two parties; verbally, to inject or put in a comment or question.
intrepidity n.
inviolable adj.
Incapable of being violated or corrupted.
itinerant adj.
Traveling from one place to another.
joist n.
A beam that supports a wall or ceiling.
judicious adj.
Using good judgment or good sense.
jurisdiction n.
Authority or control.
knell n.
The sound of a bell, especially when ringing at a funeral.
lamentable adj.
Unfortunate, regrettable.
languish v.
To become weak; to lose strength.
languishing adj.
To get weaker; to decay.
lavish adj.
Rich, elaborate, or luxurious.
liberality n.
licentiousness n.
Unrestrained in behavior or morality.
lofty adj.
Grand; ambitious.
magnanimity adj.
Generosity of spirit.
malicious adj.
Full of hate or spite.
mandarin n.
A high ranking government official.
manifest v.
To show or demonstrate.
marauder n.
One who attacks in search of loot
massacre v.
killing of large numbers of people
meager adj.
Slight, deficient.
meliorate v.
To make better.
mercenary adj.
Acting in pursuit of payment or other personal gain.
merits n.
Admirable qualities, virtues.
migrate v.
To move from one country or part of a country to another.
migratory adj.
Traveling; wandering.
mirth n.
Delight, joy, amusement.
mitigate v.
To decrease or lessen; to make less severe
morality n.
Good behavior; action that is guided by what is considered morally right.
mortify v.
To humiliate, embarrass, shame.
muster n.
A military gathering.
navigation n.
Charting the course for a vessel; the act of navigating.
notable adj.
Important; prominent.
notorious adj.
Widely known, usually for some negative quality or deed.
null adj.
Zero; without value. A contract that is null and void has no legal force.
officiate v.
To preside as priest or minister
Ointment n.
A smooth oily cream that is rubbed on the skin for medical purposes.
omniscient adj.
Orthography n.
The study of spelling and how letters combine to form words.
ostentatious adj.
Designed to attract attention; showy.
overt adj.
Obvious or unconcealed; out in the open.
palliates v.
To make less serious.
partiality n.
A bias toward something or someone; a favorable prejudice.
patronage n.
The act of providing support.
patronize v.
To give one's business as a client or customer.
peculiar adj.
Unique; special.
pecuniary adj.
Relating to money or consisting of money.
pedagogue n.
School teacher; educator.
penury n.
Extreme poverty.
per annum adv.
Per year.
per diem adv.
Per day.
perpetrate v.
To commit
perseverance n.
Steady determination and persistence.
pervade v.
To spread or be present throughout.
perversion n.
Turning of good into bad; a falsification or distortion.
phalanx n.
A tight formation of heavily armed soldiers.
philanthropist n.
A kindhearted person who seeks to advance the well being of others.
plunder v.
To steal by use of force, especially during war.
polity n.
An organized society with a specific form of government.
posterity n.
Descendants; future generations.
precarious adj.
Dangerously lacking in security or stability; subject to chance or unknown conditions; lacking stability; insecure, shaky, tottering, unstable, unsteady, unsure, weak, wobbly.
precipice n.
A high cliff or other overhanging mass of rock.
preponderate v.
To be heavier than something else, either in weight or importance.
pretension n.
A claim or allegation.
prevarication n.
A distortion of the truth.
privation n.
The absence of the typical comforts of life.
procure v.
To obtain.
prodigious adj.
Of great size, extent, or amount.
profane n.
Disrespectful; sacrilegious.
proffer v.
To propose or suggest.
profligate n.
A person who is recklessly wasteful or self-indulgent.
prominent adj.
Big, large; important or noticeable.
propriety n.
The standard of what is considered appropriate in behavior, speech, or conduct.
prospect n.
The view afforded by a particular location or position; an extensive or commanding range of sight.
prosperity n.
Wealth, success.
prosperous adj.
protestation n.
A strong protest or objection.
providence n.
The protection of God; divine guidance or control.
provocation n.
Something that provokes irritation or anger.
proximity n.
pupilage n.
The state of being a student.
quack n.
A fake or fraud; a person who pretends to have skills, qualifications or knowledge that he or she does not really possess.
quorum n.
The number of people necessary to conduct a meeting or make a decision.
raiment n.
rapine n.
Violent theft.
rapport n.
Mutual understanding; a close and harmonious relationship.
reciprocate v.
To give back something in return for what was received
reconnoiter v.
To make an inspection; to survey or scout.
recourse n.
refinement n.
Improvement; elegance in manners or taste.
regiment n.
A unit of soldiers.
reiterate v.
To repeat.
reluctant adj.
Unwilling or hesitant.
renegade adj.
Rebel or traitor.
repartee n.
Quick, clever replies.
repentance n.
The feeling sorrow or regret over what one has done or left undone.
replete adj.
Filled or well-supplied.
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.
residue n.
The remains after a part has been taken away.
resistance n.
Opposition to a force; confrontation
resolute adj.
Determined or resolved
retain v.
retribution n.
Revenge or payback
reverence n.
A feeling of profound respect and awe.
rudiment n.
The fundamental elements.
rue v.
To regret bitterly
sacred adj.
salutary adj.
Tending to benefit the well-being; wholesome.
salvation n.
Deliverance from the power of sin; redemption.
sanction v.
(v.) To authorize or allow. (n.) Approval.
satire n.
A literary work that ridicules or mocks.
scant adj.
Barely enough; very little.
sectarian adj.
secular n.
Not having to do with religion or spiritual beliefs.
sedentary adj.
Requiring sitting still.
sepulcher n.
A tomb or burial-place.
sepulchral adj.
Relating to tombs or burial.
servile adj.
skirmish n.
Brief fights; minor battles
skulk v.
To lurk or creep; to move in a sneaky manner
sluggish adj.
Lacking energy; lazy or slow.
sober adj.
Clearheaded; rational.
sobriety n.
Avoidance of excess or extravagance.
solemnity n.
the state of being serious
solicitation n.
A request.
sovereignty n.
Independence; freedom from external control.
specie n.
Money in coins.
speculation n.
Taking part in business deals that involve a lot of risk, but offer the chance of large profits.
spire n.
A tall, pointed roof on a tower.
spurious adj.
Counterfeit or pretend.
stationary adj.
Not moving, unchanging.
stimulus n.
Something that excites a response or causes an reaction.
stipulation n.
Terms or conditions.
stockade n.
A defensive enclosure made of strong posts or timbers standing upright, side by side.
strata n.
Layers (the plural of stratum); in archaeology, this term usually refers to layers of earth.
stratagem n.
Trick designed to outsmart or surprise an enemy.
suavity n.
Charming or smoothly agreeable quality.
subordination n.
The condition of being dependent or under the control of another.
subscribe v.
To pledge.
subservience adj.
Acting in a submissive, weak or obedient manner.
subservient adj.
Subordinate; belonging to a lower rank.
subside v.
To lessen or diminish
subsistence n.
The means of supporting life, usually referring to food and other basic commodities.
substantiate v.
confirm or verify by having proof or evidence
successive adj.
One following another, in order or sequence.
succinctly adv.
Expressed briefly, in a few words
sufficient adj.
Adequate; enough.
suffrage n.
The right to vote.
summit n.
The highest point.
supplant v.
To replace.
suppress v.
To stop something or someone; to prevent, prohibit, or subdue.
surplus adj.
Part that remains beyond what is needed; extra.
surveyor n.
Inspector or examiner.
temerity adj.
Recklessness; boldness.
temperance n.
Moderation or self-restraint. Also refers specifically to avoidance of alcoholic beverages.
temporal adj.
Having to do with this world rather than the next, or with secular affairs rather than spiritual ones.
thraldom n.
Slavery; bondage.
trifling adj.
turbulent adj.
Violently disturbed or agitated, as by storms; rough, stormy, tempestuous, tumultuous, violent, wild.
turpentine n.
A thin volatile essential oil obtained by steam distillation or other means from the wood or exudates (material that has oozed out) of certain pine trees and used as a paint thinner, solvent, and medicinally as a liniment.
ultimo adv.
In the preceding month
utilitarian adj.
Serving or capable of serving a useful purpose; functional, handy, practical, useful.
vassalage n.
The state of being a servant or slave.
venality n.
The quality of being open to corruption or bribery.
venerate v.
To hold in high esteem; to respect or revere.
vexation n.
Things that annoy or irritate.
viable adj.
Capable of succeeding or developing.
vicinity n.
The surrounding or nearby area
vigilance n.
vigilante n.
A citizen who attempts to enforce the law on his or her own, without official sanction or authority.
vigor n.
Strong physical health.
virtue n.
Moral righteousness; goodness.
visionary n.
Imaginary; speculative.
vociferation n.
Loud speaking or shouting; a clamor or outcry.
vouch v.
To guarantee or support as being true, reliable, trustworthy, etc.
wretch n.
A person of bad character
zealous adj.
Full of enthusiasm or passion.