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.

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.
abrogate v.
To repeal or cancel.
abrogate v.
To put an end to.
adduce v.
To offer as proof or an example.
adherence n.
Devotion or support.
adjoin v.
To lie next to or be in contact with.
advocate n.
One who supports or defends a cause.
affliction n.
affluent adj.
aggregate n.
The total or whole amount.
alleged adj.
So-called; presumed; of questionable truth.
alleviate v.
To ease or make less severe.
alternation n.
The process of alternating or changing back and forth.
amalgamation n.
The process or result of combining or uniting things.
amenity n.
Something that contributes to physical comfort.
amicable n.
Friendly, without serious disagreement.
ample adj.
Plentiful; abundant.
anarchism n.
The belief that governments should be abolished and that people should organize themselves on a voluntary, peaceful basis.
anarchist n.
One who believes in or works for the elimination of governments.
animate adj.
animosity n.
A feeling of strong dislike; hostility.
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.
annul v.
To make void; to cancel.
antagonism adj.
Hostility; opposition.
aperture n.
An opening or hole.
appalling adj.
Dreadful; horrifying.
appropriations n.
Funds designated for a particular purpose.
arbitrary n.
Arrived at by chance, not by reason.
arbitration n.
The process of resolving a dispute with the help of an impartial third party.
aristocracy n.
People of the highest ranking social class.
armory n.
A place where military arms are kept.
arraign v.
To call before a court to charge with a crime.
ascertain v.
To determine with certainty.
ascribe v.
To attribute.
aspersion n.
An insulting remark.
aspirations n.
Goals; ambitions.
assail v.
To violently attack; to assault.
augment v.
To make larger; to increase.
autocratic adj.
Ruled by a person with unlimited power.
autonomous adj.
Independent; self-governing.
balsamic adj.
Pleasantly fragrant, balmy.
banish v.
To clear or send away.
befall v.
To happen or occur.
behest n.
A strong request; an order.
belated adj.
Late; delayed.
bestow v.
To give or impart something.
blacking n.
Substance such as shoe polish or stove polish used to give a black color.
blight n.
Destructive force; disease.
Botany n.
The study of plants.
brethren n.
Members; brothers.
burthen n.
carping adj.
Complaining; fault-finding.
caste n.
Class or social group.
censure n.
Criticism or show of disapproval.
chagrin n.
Disappointment; embarrassment; vexation.
chain gang n.
A group of convicts chained together, working outside the boundaries of the prison.
chancel n.
The part of the church where the alter stands.
chattel n.
A piece of property. Sometimes used to refer to a slave or servant.
circuit rider n.
A minister or preacher who travels on a set route from small town to town, or through the country, preaching to church members.
civics n.
The study of the rights and duties of a citizen.
clamor n.
Public outcry.
clandestine adj.
Done in secret; concealed.
coddle v.
To treat indulgently.
coerce v.
To control someone's thoughts or actions through force or intimidation.
collateral adj.
A relative descended from the same ancestral stock, but not of the same direct line.
commodity n.
A good to be traded or sold.
compel v.
To force.
composition n.
The art of writing prose or verse.
concede v.
To admit; to grant as a right.
conciliatory adj.
Showing a desire to overcome distrust or make peace.
condemn v.
Proven or pronounced guilty
condemnation n.
Expression of strong disapproval or criticism.
condescension n.
The act of speaking or behaving in a superior manner, as if the person being addressed is of lower rank or inferior in some other way.
confiscate v.
To take possession of; to seize.
conscientious adj.
Careful; painstaking attention to detail.
consensual adj.
By mutual consent; voluntary.
constituents n.
Members of a group represented by an elected official.
contingency n.
Emergency or an event that may occur.
contravene v.
To oppose.
contuse v.
To injure; to bruise.
convalescent n.
A person who is recovering from an illness.
convey v.
To act as a medium of transmission or transportation.
cortége n.
A funeral procession.
coup n.
An overthrow; a revolution or rebellion.
cowed v.
Scared; intimidated.
cultivate v.
To prepare (land) for the raising of crops.
cultivation n.
The process of agriculture; preparing the land to grow crops.
Darwinian adj.
Having to do with the theories of Charles Darwin, specifically his theory of evolution. The term usually refers to the "survival of the fittest," the idea that when there is competition for scarce resources, only those best adapted to their environment will survive.
debauch v.
To reduce the quality of; to corrupt.
debilitate v.
To weaken greatly.
defer v.
Put of to a later time, postpone.
degradation n.
Dreadful living conditions.
delusive adj.
Misleading; deceptive.
demeanor n.
Manner or way of behaving.
demoralize v.
To undermine the confidence of; to discourage.
depreciate v.
To lessen in price or value.
depreciation n.
Decline in value.
desolation n.
The state of being wretched, miserable and alone.
despicable adj.
Shameful; dishonorable.
despoil v.
To ruin or spoil; to take by force.
diacritical adj.
Symbols or marks used to show different types of pronunciation of letters. Used in the study of grammar and public speaking.
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.
discourse n.
Dialogue; conversation; discussion.
disfranchise v.
To take away a citizen's rights, especially the right to vote.
disparage v.
To speak about in a disrespectful way.
dispassionate n.
Not influenced by strong emotion, and therefore able to be impartial.
disposition n.
One's usual mood or temperament.
dissolution n.
The dissolving of a substance in water; the act or process of ending.
diversion n.
A pastime or distraction from work.
divine n.
Proceeding from God or a god.
draft animal n.
Animals used for plowing or for pulling carts or agricultural equipment.
efficacious adj.
elated adj.
Very happy.
Elocution n.
The art of public speaking.
emancipation n.
The process of freeing someone from slavery or oppression.
eminent domain n.
The government's right to take hold of a citizen's private property, in exchange for appropriate compensation, without that citizen's consent.
emphatically adv.
Forcefully; with emphasis.
endeavor v.
try hard to achieve something
endorse v.
To support; to approve.
engender v.
To produce or cause.
enmity n.
Deep-seated hostility; hatred.
enterprise n.
A business or company.
exaction n.
An action of demanding or obtaining something from someone.
expenditure n.
The action of spending money.
extort v.
To obtain by force or threat.
faculties n.
Capabilities; powers of the mind.
falter v.
To stumble.
felony n.
A serious crime like murder or burglary.
feudal system adj.
The social and political system which prevailed in medieval Europe, in which the king owned the land and gave it to noblemen in return for military service. The noblemen in turn allowed peasants to farm the land in return for their free labor and a share of their produce. Under this system, it was impossible to change the social position into which one was born.
fidelity n.
Faithfulness to duties or obligations; loyalty.
fiend n.
A wicked person; a devil.
flail n.
A hand threshing device.
fluctuate v.
To change or shift back and forth.
fodder n.
Food for livestock.
forge v.
Make or shape a metal object by heating it in a furnace or fire and hammering or pounding on it.
forsake v.
To abandon; to desert.
fracas n.
Disorderly fight; a brawl.
fractious adj.
Unruly or difficult to control.
furlough n.
A vacation or leave of absence from active duty for a person enlisted in the military.
furrow n.
A long narrow trench created in the ground by a plow, for the purposes of planting crops.
futile adj.
Useless; ineffective.
gait n.
Way of walking.
gallantly adv.
In a brave, noble manner; chivalrously
grandeur n.
Splendor or impressiveness.
granulate n.
To form something (such as a tobacco leaf) into particles.
gratify v.
To satisfy.
grievous adj.
Serious or severe (causing someone to grieve).
grist n.
Grain that is ground into flour.
guerilla n.
Member of a small, independent force fighting irregular warfare, usually against a larger, regular army.
harrowed adj.
Broken up by a harrow -- an agricultural tool with sharp teeth used to even out ground after it has been plowed.
haunch n.
The hip or upper leg on a four-legged animal.
hectare n.
10,000 square meters, or about 2.5 acres.
hegemony n.
Dominance by one group over others.
homogeneous adj.
Of the same or similar nature or kind; uniform in structure or composition throughout.
horticulture n.
The cultivation of gardens whose foods supplement those obtained from some other primary source, such as hunting, gathering, fishing, or shell fishing.
Hosiery n.
A collective name for stockings, socks, and tights.
humbug v.
To deceive.
husbandry n.
Cultivation and breeding of crops and livestock.
hydroponics n.
The process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients, but without soil.
illiterate adj.
Unable to read or write.
imbecility adj.
immemorial adj.
impartial adj.
Without bias; fair.
imperative adj.
Absolutely necessary.
implement n.
A tool.
inanimate adj.
indemnification n.
Payment for a loss.
indemnity n.
Security against a financial loss; also a payment made as compensation, as by the loser of a war to the winner as part of the conditions for peace.
indictment n.
A formal document in which a person is accused of a crime or a wrongdoing.
indignation n.
anger as a response to unfair treatment
indite v.
To write.
indolence n.
Laziness; one who is indolent is lazy.
inevitably adj.
Unavoidable; sure to happen.
inexorable adj.
Unalterable; unchangeable.
infatuation n.
A temporary, passionate fascination or obsession
infrastructure n.
The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.
ingratitude n.
iniquity n.
wickedness; immorality.
injunction n.
A court order that prevents an action from being taken or requires an action to be taken.
inquest n.
Legal examination or inquiry.
insolence adj.
Disrespect; impertinence.
insurrection n.
An uprising against authority.
inter v.
To bury a dead body.
irresolute adj.
judiciary n.
The judicial authority of a country, or its judges as a whole.
lien n.
A legal claim on another person's property as payment for a debt that is owed.
lineal adj.
Being in line of direct ancestry.
litigation n.
A claim or dispute argued before a court of law.
livery stable n.
A stable where horses are kept or let out for rent.
loath adj.
Unwilling; reluctant.
macadam n.
Broken stone used to surface a road, covered with a type of adhesive, such as cement or tar.
malaria n.
A contagious disease transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and characterized by chills and fever.
manifest v.
To show or demonstrate.
meager adj.
Thin or under-nourished.
melee n.
A confused fight.
menace v.
To threaten or present a danger to.
merchant n.
A person involved in trade, either buying or selling goods that will then be sold to customers.
miasma n.
Fumes or vapors rising from rotting organic matter.
militia n.
An army composed of citizen soldiers rather than professional soldiers.
Milliner n.
A person who makes or sells women's hats.
mongrel adj.
Being of a mixed breed.
monopoly n.
Exclusive control or ownership.
mortgage n.
A lien on a house or piece of land given by a borrower as security on a loan. If the borrower is unable to pay back the loan, the lender may take the house or land instead.
nefarious adj.
nominal adj.
Insignificant or small; a token.
obdurate adj.
Stubborn; inflexible; pig-headed.
oblige v.
To force or require.
oblivious adj.
Unconsciousness; unaware.
omniscience n.
All knowing; having total knowledge.
opiate n.
A drug that contains opium.
oration n.
An impassioned, formal, or long-winded speech.
orator n.
A person skilled at giving public speeches.
oratorical adj.
Pertaining to the skill of public speaking
ordinance n.
A custom or practice established by an authority; ofter refers to religious ceremonies.
palatable adj.
Pleasant to taste.
palpable adj.
Tangible; capable of being touched.
pander v.
To indulge the expectations and desires of others.
panorama n.
An unobstructed view of the scenery in all directions.
pariah n.
An outcast from society.
parlous adj.
Dangerous or uncertain.
paroxysm n.
A sudden attack or spasm.
parsonage-house n.
The house of a religious minister.
pauperization n.
The act of making someone poor.
peculations n.
Money that has been stolen or embezzled.
Pedagogies n.
The method and practice of teaching.
peddler n.
A person who travels from place to place and sells goods.
pedigree n.
Line of ancestors; family tree.
peevish adj.
perpetual adj.
Everlasting; continuous.
piazza n.
A passageway that is open-sided and has a roof; or a porch or veranda.
pilfer v.
To steal.
pliable adj.
pragmatic adj.
Practical; realistic.
predominance n.
Supremacy; superiority; power.
pretext n.
Alleged reason; made-up excuse.
prevailing adj.
Current; popular.
procure v.
To obtain.
profusely adv.
Abundantly; in large amount.
prohibition n.
The enactment of a law that forbids.
prominence n.
The state of being well-known, important, or distinctive.
prominent adj.
Big, large; important or noticeable.
proprietor n.
An owner; person who has the legal title to something.
prosperity n.
Wealth, success.
prosperous adj.
provocation n.
Something that provokes irritation or anger.
prowess n.
Superior skill or ability; or courage in battle.
proximity n.
pugnacious adj.
Aggressive; inclined to fight or quarrel.
rapt adj.
Deeply absorbed; captivated.
ratify v.
To approve or confirm.
redress v.
To impose fairness or compensation after a wrong has occurred.
refinement n.
Improvement; elegance in manners or taste.
regime n.
A government, especially an authoritarian one.
remnant n.
Something left over; a remainder.
remonstrate v.
To protest or object.
repertoire n.
The range of pieces that a musician can perform.
repress v.
To keep down or restrain; to keep under control.
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.
retrogression n.
The process of returning to a previous, worse, state.
revenue n.
Income; The money a government earns from taxes and other means.
salubrity n.
Good for one's health of well-being.
scion n.
Descendant of a notable family.
sentiments n.
Feelings; qualities.
shuck n.
The husk of an ear of corn.
slight n.
An insult or snub.
solicitor n.
A lawyer.
sovereign n.
Supreme ruler.
speculation n.
Taking part in business deals that involve a lot of risk, but offer the chance of large profits.
stalwart n.
An uncompromising person.
subsidy n.
Financial contribution to support an activity or enterprise.
subsistence n.
The means of supporting life, usually referring to food and other basic commodities.
substantial adj.
Significant; considerable.
subterfuge n.
Something intended to trick or deceive.
suffrage n.
The right to vote.
sulk v.
To be in a bad mood; to mope and feel sorry for yourself.
superintendent n.
An officer who has chief oversight or control.
supersede v.
To take the place or position of.
Supts n.
Abbreviation for Superintended.
surpass v.
To be greater than.
surpass v.
To be greater than.
susceptible adj.
At risk; vulnerable.
tardy n.
tedious adj.
Dull; boring.
tenant farmer n.
A farmer who works land owned by another and pays rent to the owner in cash or produce.
terrain n.
The physical features of land.
Textile n.
The industry involved in the manufacturing of cloth.
theoretically adv.
Based on theory or hypothesis, not on fact.
thrift n.
Prudent use of money; frugality.
till v.
To plow or otherwise prepare land for planting crops.
tilled v.
Prepare the land for planting crops.
tortuous adj.
Full of twists and turns.
treason n.
An act of disloyalty against one's own country.
trestle n.
Supporting beams or framework.
tutelage n.
The act of teaching or instructing.
tyranny n.
An oppressive government; cruel use of power.
ultimatum n.
A final demand.
unobtrusive n.
Not attracting attention.
unremunerative adj.
Bringing little to no profit.
vagrant n.
A wanderer; a tramp.
venality n.
The quality of being open to corruption or bribery.
venerable adj.
Respected; admired.
veranda n.
Large porch.
vigor n.
Strong physical health.
vile adj.
morally bad or wicked
viva voce n.
whim n.
A sudden impulse.
wretched adj.
Miserable; pitiful.
xenophobia n.
Fear or hatred of people from other countries.