The Metro vocabulary

The meaning given for each word is contextual meaning, that is to say it is the specific meaning of the word within the context of the story. Some of these words have other meanings not shown here.

For each word, an example sentence is shown in italics.

advances (n)
approaches of a sexual nature
The waitress didn't appreciate the advances from the men in the bachelor party.

amicably (adv)
in a friendly way
The taxi driver amicably offered the poor lady a free ride.

amorous (adj)
full of passion
The couple that met on the beach had an amorous relationship for one week.

antithesis (n)
the complete opposite
Even though they are identical twins, Joe and John are the antithesis of each other.

astute (adj)
crafty, clever
The astute fisherman had the hole in the boat patched before it sank.

atrocity (n)
very cruel happening or treatment
It was an atrocity when George's friends locked him outside in the snow with no shoes or socks.

bizarre (adj)
very strange
It was so bizarre when the clown at the party knelt down and asked Judy to marry him.

bleak (adj)
discouraging, unappealing
I couldn't believe that homeless people were living in that bleak alley.

blower (n)
(slang) the telephone
Sandy got on the blower with her sister as soon as she heard the juicy gossip.

brief somebody (v)
give somebody the background information/details they need
"Can you brief me on the condition of the patient?" the doctor asked the nurse.

brusquely (adv)
quickly, abruptly
The woman brusquely pointed out the thief in the line up of criminals.

buskers (n)
people who beg or entertain for money on the street
I gave the buskers a few dollars to play my favourite song.

cannabis (n)
drug from a hemp plant
The police found cannabis in the house where the thieves were living.

captivated (past participle)
unable to stop looking at something
The young children were captivated by the fireworks display.

caught in the act (idiom)
found in the middle of doing something (here, having sex)
I caught my aunt and uncle in the act in our basement when I was a child.

Chihuahua (n)
tiny breed of Mexican dog
Chihuahuas have huge eyes for such little dogs.

clairvoyants (n)
people who claim they are able to see the future
I asked Becky if she was a clairvoyant because she always knows when I am dating someone new.

claustrophobic (adj)
afraid of small spaces
I tried to sleep in the attic, but I was too claustrophobic.

coax (v)
persuade gently
Can I coax you into buying some chocolates for charity?

come to a head (v)
come to a point where you can't ignore something any more
The couple's financial problems came to a head when Nancy became pregnant.

concierge (n)
resident caretaker for apartments or hotel
I asked the concierge to call a taxi for room 101.

consultation (n)
a meeting to discuss possible future action or business
The bride often goes for a hair consultation before her big day in the salon.

corpse (n)
dead body
The shipmates buried the corpse at sea.

cramped (adj)
having no spare room
It was so cramped on the bus that we had to sit on our bags.

crave (v)
want badly (often food)
My sister craved peaches through her whole pregnancy.

curse (v)
use bad or rude language
My uncle was cursing as the Christmas lights fell off the roof.

cynic (n)
a person who doesn't believe another is being sincere
I never vote because I'm a cynic when it comes to politicians.

decapitate (v)
cut someone's head cut off
Long ago, prisoners were decapitated after committing serious crimes.

defer (v)
put off until later
My holiday time was deferred because our company was so busy this summer.

deflect (v)
turn away
I always deflect phone calls from people trying to sell me something.

demoralized (adj)
having lost hope
The demoralized cyclist put his damaged bike on his shoulders and walked to the finish line.

despair (v)
worry intently
Amanda despaired because her husband was more than three hours late from work.

despondently (adv)
without hope
I despondently called for help but I knew there was nobody home.

Deutschmark (n)
German currency (pre-Euro)
I transferred my American savings into Deutschmarks before I went to Germany.

disdainfully (adv)
without respect, with dislike
My grandmother stared at my new boyfriend disdainfully because of his long hair.

dismally (adv)
gloomily, without hope
The children stared dismally out the window until the sun finally came out.

dismay (n)
consternation, distress
Rebecca was full of dismay when we jumped out from behind the couch.

disparity (n)
big difference
There was quite a disparity between Anne and George's accounts of why their marriage failed.

dispatch (v)
send to do something (often emergency services)
The police dog team was dispatched to an area in the woods where the criminal had been spotted.

domain (n)
subject of interest or expertise
Since I was five years old dancing has been my domain.

duvet (n)
heavy quilt filled with feathers
We don't use our duvet on the bed in the summer; we just use a sheet.

ecstasy (n)
great pleasure (often sexual)
Eileen had never known true ecstasy before she started dating Charles.

emerge (v)
come out from somewhere
The mouse finally emerged from under the fridge.

enduring (adj)
lasting a long time
The minister wished the newlyweds enduring happiness and love.

envisage (v)
imagine
I envisage my first home as an old farm in the country.

evaporate (v)
disappear
All of the water in the frog's tank had evaporated by the time we got home from our weekend away.

exodus (n)
mass departure
There was an exodus of young people on the Monday of Spring break.

exquisite (v)
very beautiful, wonderful
The queen looked exquisite in her royal gown.

extricate (v)
free someone from a difficult situation
The car was badly smashed up but he managed to extricate himself.

festoon (v)
decorate
The hotel was festooned with streamers and balloons to welcome the celebrities.

fetch (v)
go and get
If you want the dog to fetch the bone you have to throw it into the ocean.

fiddle around (v)
do casual work using one's hands
Ben fiddled around with the wires until he got the computer working again.

flock (v)
go as a group
The children flocked to the ice cream truck.

forensic evidence (n)
scientific proof at a crime scene (for example: blood)
The forensic evidence proved that the murderer was male.

frantic (adj)
wild and scared
The people grew frantic as the tornado got closer to the city.

frisson (n)
shiver
When I watched the car accident on the news it sent a frisson up my back.

fruitlessly (adv)
unsuccessfully
The baby fruitlessly pulled at the top of the jar of candy.

gaze (v)
stare at with wide eyes
The children gazed at the field of sunflowers.

germane (adj)
related to the situation
At the germane moment the father walked in and heard the baby saying "Dad" for the first time.

glower (v)
stare angrily
I glowered at the bus driver who closed his doors just as I arrived at the stop.

grandiose (adj)
large and impressive
The couple had grandiose dreams about winning the lottery.

graphology (n)
the study of handwriting
Police use graphology to tell if a suspect is nervous.

gratitude (n)
thankfulness
The students showed their gratitude by sending their retired teacher flowers.

grotesque (adj)
disgusting, hard to look at
The horror movie was so grotesque I had to walk out of the theatre.

grudgingly (adv)
without wanting to
The child grudgingly took the garbage out for his mom.

hastily (adv)
quickly and with little thought
We packed so hastily that I forgot my bathing suit.

hawkers (n)
people who sell goods on the street
I bought this necklace from some hawkers in Amsterdam.

head-shrink (n)
(slang) psychiatrist
Annie cries so much I think she might need a head-shrink.

heroin (n)
strong narcotic drug derived from morphine
People who use heroin often need help getting over their addiction.

hocus pocus (n)
(slang) magic
It was like hocus pocus when the door shut by itself.

homicidal (adj)
likely to kill someone
The police were extremely concerned, because the criminal that got away was homicidal.

hue (n)
shades of colour
When painting, artists often blend many hues.

huskiness (n)
rough and dry voice
Smokers often speak with a distinct huskiness.

imperative (adj)
very important
It is imperative that you wear your seat belt during take-off.

impromptu (adj)
without being planned
We took an impromptu vacation to Hawaii at Christmas.

incongruity (n)
quality of being out of place
The only female felt the incongruity as the men stared at her during her workout.

indiscretion (n)
something, especially a sexual relationship, that might be embarrassing or morally wrong
His indiscretion cost him his marriage.

insulate (v)
protect
The front seat passengers were insulated by the car's air bags.

intently (adv)
eagerly, with interest
We watched intently as Monica jumped from the airplane.

intersected (v)
cross paths
The two highways intersected at the downtown core.

irritable (adj)
grumpy
I'm always irritable when it's this hot outside.

jaded (adj)
tired or lacking enthusiasm after having too much of something
The jaded playboy had completely lost interest in women.

lash (v)
hit violently
Mark got stung after he lashed at the bee in his hair.

lead (n)
clue to solving a crime
We don't have any leads except that the thief is driving a brown car.

legible (adj)
readable
The photocopy of my driver's license is barely legible.

line (n)
a route on a subway or metro
I took the wrong subway line so I was late for my date.

lovelorn (adj)
sad because one is not loved back by another
The lovelorn man wrote 100 letters to his sweetheart but never got one in return.

mahogany (adj)
reddish coloured wood
The mahogany bookshelf doesn't go with the maple furniture.

manicured (adj)
well kept
My manicured nails would get ruined if we didn't have a dishwasher.

memorabilia (n)
things you buy that remind you of somewhere (for example: hats, postcards, magnets)
They sell lots of 1950's memorabilia in the front lobby of the diner.

meticulous (adj)
precise, perfect
My father is meticulous when it comes to balancing his finances.

monotone (n)
sound with no change in pitch
My science teacher is so boring because he speaks in a monotone.

mumbo-jumbo (n)
(slang) nonsense
Most parenting books tell you a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about how you should raise your kids.

nonchalant (adj)
casual
The driver was pretty nonchalant about the accident even though his car was destroyed.

nominal (adj)
(of money) small amount, a token
There is just a nominal fee to cover the cost of coffee and sandwiches.

papers (n)
(informal) immigration forms that legalize a person to work or stay in another country
Migel was living in America without his papers so he wasn't able to find legal work.

pique (v)
irritate
The drivers were piqued by the way the cyclist slowed down the traffic.

placid (adj)
calm
The placid woman sang a song in the elevator until the power was restored.

plaque (n)
a flat ornament on which celebratory or memorializing words are written
Each member on the baseball team got a plaque for coming in second place.

poignant (adj)
emotionally moving
The movie was so poignant I cried at the end.

precision (n)
perfect accuracy
Janice paints her nails with such precision it looks like she gets them done professionally.

preposterous (adj)
ridiculous, impossible to be true
It was preposterous that the fourteen year old needed a babysitter.

prowl (v)
move about and search stealthily
The thief was prowling through our jewellery box when we got home.

publicity card (n)
small piece of paper (business card) that advertises your career or title
My publicity card has my picture and my company's email address on it.

rapport (n)
relationship
I have a good rapport with my boss, so I'm not afraid to ask for vacation time.

recoil (v)
move back in fear
I can't help but recoil when they show operations on television.

reconcile (v)
settle or reorganize (finances)
I reconciled my loans and savings accounts after getting my inheritance.

resignation (n)
the giving up of a job
The president of the company offered his resignation after he found out his illness was very serious.

revelries (n)
good times, festivities
Our New Year's Eve revelries kept the neighbours awake until 5:00 am.

ridicule (v)
made fun of
Leslie ridiculed her brother for always wearing mismatching socks.

sanctity (n)
holiness, purity
The sanctity of the church was questioned after the minister was arrested.

save for (prep)
except for
All of the girls at the party were wearing dresses save for Andrea, who always wears jeans.

severing (n)
the cutting off of
The severing of his own arm was what saved the climber's life.

shrine (n)
a place dedicated to a religious or important figure
My aunt's bedroom is like an Elvis Presleyshrine.

sob (v)
cry loudly
We were all sobbing at Angelica's farewell party.

splay (v)
spread wide apart
The woman's arms were splayed out as her husband stepped off the plane.

stern (adj)
strict
My grandfather was so stern that we had to eat every crumb on our dinner plate before we got up from the table.

stir (v)
move in one's sleep, wake slightly
The child stirred when the phone rang but thankfully went back to sleep.

straddle (v)
stand on both sides
When I went travelling, I often straddled borders for photographs.

stun (v)
surprise
I was stunned when my best friend told me she was moving to the other side of the world.

succulent (adj)
thick/juicy
The succulent watermelon was exactly what we needed on such a hot summer day.

sullenly (adv)
sulkily, unhappily
The dog stood sullenly beside our suitcases before we left for our vacation.

sweltering (adj)
very hot and humid
The bus was sweltering because there was no air conditioning.

tawdry (adj)
cheap, of fake appearance
The hostess was wearing a tawdry pearl necklace that looked like it came out of a cereal box.

tenement (adj)
a house divided into separate residences
Our salon is in a tenement building until we can buy our own place.

terminate (v)
put an end to
I tried to terminate my magazine subscription but they keep sending me new issues.

thrust (v)
push or give forcibly
Eric thrust Mia into the pool because she was taking so long to go in.

tolerable (adj)
just barely able to accept
I can't stand talking to the man next door, but his wife is tolerable.

tout (n)
person who bothers you to buy something
The touts on the street pressured us to buy their perfumes and colognes.

trifle (n)
a very small amount
This year's Christmas bonus was a trifle compared to last year's.

turmoil (n)
great uncertainty and confusion
Everyone is quitting because there is so much turmoil with our new boss.

turnstile (n)
entrance with revolving metal arms
You pay for the subway at the turnstiles.

uncanny (adj)
difficult to explain
It was uncanny how much the child looked like his adopted mother.

unfaithful (adj)
not keeping a promise to only have one sexual partner
Mrs. Jones divorced her husband when she learned that he was being unfaithful to her.

upholstered (adj)
covered with thick material
My grandfather's upholstered chair needs to be vacuumed.

vaguely (adv)
not clearly
I vaguely remember meeting you many years ago.

veritable (adj)
rightly called
The papers said the parade was a veritable disaster because of the poor weather.

virile (adj)
masculine, manly
There were many virile competitors in the body-building event.

vitality (n)
energy, life
I was filled with a sense of vitality following the graduation ceremony.

voodoo (adj)
a practice which involves sticking pins in dolls in order to cause pain to human beings
I was so mad when I saw my boyfriend with another woman that I actually thought about making a voodoo doll of her.

well (v)
filling with liquid
The sink was welling with soap and about to overflow.

whore (n)
prostitute; person who has sexual relations with strangers for money
The whores stand on the street and wait for men to pick them up.

wits' end (idiom)
unable to find a solution; no longer able to tolerate
I am at my wits' end trying to keep these ants out of the house.

wring (v)
clasp, squeeze tightly
The woman wrung her hands while the policeman wrote up her speeding ticket.

wryly (adv)
using dry, mocking humour
"Adam got caught trying to steal another car," his ex-girlfriend said wryly.

yearn for (v)
want intensely
My parents tell everyone how much they yearn for grandchildren.