Definitions for Levels 4, 5 and 6 of Tejay Sener's Vocabulary Test*

Since it can take a lot of time to look up the definitions for all the words in this test, I have prepared a summary list of the definitions of the items in Levels 4, 5 and 6—the more difficult words in the test. (Fifteen of these words I found only in my Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, and three more of them I couldn’t find even there.)

If anyone reveals their scores to me, I won’t convey them to anyone else without obtaining explicit authorization to do so. In a few weeks, I hope to have additional information about the meaning of these tests and then I’ll check to see what "you all" want to do with the results. (An anonymous summary curve or listing of scores would be one possibility.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Bob Seitz

August 11, 1998


* - Tejay mentions in his discussion of this test that the words come from Gyles Brandreth's, "The Joy of Lex". Gyles' book says of this test,
"The tests that follow -- scientifically devised by experienced educationalists and philologists and developed and refined over a period of years...", implying that the words have been carefully chosen and filtered to provide a proper test of total vocabulary.

    Tejay has also pointed out that the definitions I'm summarizing below may vary from reference to reference, and that interpretations may be different in some contexts. What I've given below is a very casual and subjective list of definitions. The Oxford English Dictionary would undoubtedly have a lot more to say about these words, and would say it a lot better.


DEFINITIONS FOR TEJAY'S VOCABULARY TEST

Test 1:

Level 4:
 
 
abhorrent Repulsive
amorphous Formless, lacking a crystalline structure, as in amorphous rock
crustacean A family of shelled arthropods (crabs, lobsters, shrimp, barnacles)
declivity Decline, descending slope
emaciated Wasted away. Extremely thin.
fabrication Lie, deception.
galaxy A lens-shaped aggregation of stars
heretical Violating church dogma. Departure from established beliefs.
igneous solidifying from the molten state.. igneous rock
nomenclature  A system of naming. A system of names used in an art or a science.

Level 5:
 
 
abscissa  X-axis (vs. ordinate)
badinage  Persiflage. Light, playful banter.
cartel  Monopoly. A group of price-fixing businesses.
daemon  Demon, Internet server
dendrite Nerve fiber (dendritic brushes); spreading filaments or fibers in general
exordium Beginning or introductory part, such as of a speech or treatise.
inchoate Just begun, not yet organized.
moraine Glacial moraine: dirt and pebbles typically laid down by glaciers
rubric Red 1st letters in medieval manuscripts; something highlighted or emphasized
soutane A type of priest’s cassock.

Level 6:
 
 
abulia Lack of will. A psycho-physiological malady.
bicuspid semi-molar between molars and incisors
caracole A curvet (horse)
chalybeate Iron-bearing, as in water. Tasting of iron.
croton Bush (croton oil) Castor oil plant.
dysphoria Feeling bad.. the opposite of euphoria
gazebo As in gazebo concert. A pergola or belvedere
kymograph A pen-and-ink recorder
ortolan A European bunting.
quadrat Blank type face

Test 2:

Level 4:
 
 
actuate To effect, to set in motion
bravura  Brilliant (musical) technique
comber A long, rolling, breaking sea wave
gouache A gum-based, water-color painting method
hieroglyphic "Sacred writings), ancient Egyptian pictographic script
hybrid Something of mixed origin or composition
iconoclast "Icon-breaker", a rebel or nonconformist
maelstrom Whirlpool of extraordinary violence
muezzin The blind cryer (in the Tower of Darkness) who calls the faithful to worship 5 times daily
resurgent To surge again, to surge back

Level 5:
 
 
antimony The metal
carronade A ship-born cannon
dithyrambic A wild, passionate poem. An irregular poetic expression.
hebdomada Seven-fold. (hebdomadal: weekly)
infusoria Miniscule diatomaceous sea animals, like plankton but with calciferous shells
linage Payment for poetry by the line
medusa The Medusa. One of the three Gorgons. Snakes for hair. Death to behold.
myrmidon Minion. Henchman. A faithful follower who carries out orders unquestionably.
paradigm An example or model. (Comes from grammatical declination).
topology That branch of mathematics that deals with shapes independently of formulae 

Level 6:
 
 
antonomasia Epithets
cartouche Scrollwork on arch capitals; paper covering fireworks
dorter A dormitory, particularly in a monastery
elvan Pertaining to elves. A feldspathic, porphyritic dike rock found in Cornwall.
filemot The dull brownish color of dead leaves
isomer Same chemical formula but different chemical structure
lasher One who lashes.
noumenon Abstractions (like geometry) that exist independently of corporeal reality
pulvinate Having a swelling at the base, like a leafstalk.
velleity A faint wish or whim, unaccompanied by action. The lowest level of volition.

Test 3:

Level 4:
 
 
ecology Study of the relationships between living organisms and their environments
laconic Parsimonious in use of words (Jimmy Stewart)
linden Type of tree (Unter den Linden)
maxilla One of a pair of bones forming the upper jaw
paragon Outstanding role model ("A paragon of virtue"). A peerless example.
prolixity Verbosity ("Senator Bilbo waxed prolix")
redolent Fragrant, aromatic
stertorous Heavy snoring sound
timbre Quality of sound distinguishing it from other sounds
vellum A fine parchment made from skin

Level 5:
 
 
asymptotic Approaching its asymptotes (limiting lines of parabolas, hyperbolas).
burlap Coarse fabric made of hemp or jute
echidna Burrowing, egg-laying Australian anteater
henry Mks unit of magnetic inductance
interfacial Involved in interfacing (interfacial muscles)
jeton Counters or tokens of metal or ivory.
paregoric A narcotic. A soothing agent. Camphorated tincture of opium for diarrhea.
rachitic Spinal weakness caused by rickets. Pertaining to rickets.
tanager Bird (scarlet tanager)
syncretism Pulling disparate parts together into an synthesized whole (as in information and ideas)

Level 6:
 
 
bisque A seafood soup. A biscuit. Pale orange-yellow to yellowish gray. Salmon?
colporteur A street vendor, particularly of religious merchandise.
decuman Every tenth, in order (like the Tenth Legion)
grallotorial Wading (birds)
isomorphous Having the same shape
orc The killer whale (like a grampus)
parataxis The coordination of grammatical elements by arrangement, without using conjunctions.
riviere A necklace of diamonds or gems.
tanagra Terra cotta figurines
urticant Any substance like poison ivy that causes itching or stinging.

Test 4:

Level 4:
 
 
calculus That branch of mathematics that deals with the differentiation & integration of formulae
debouch To emerge or issue forth
gargantuan Gigantic
ibid. "The same place" Used for multiple references when referring the second or third time
laissez-faire "Let it be". Avoidance of governmental intervention in commerce beyond the minimum.
literati Leading literary figures
neurology The study of the nervous system.
obloquy Abusively detractive language or utterance.
patois A regional dialect. Illiterate or insubstantial speech.
rabid As in rabies. Fanatical, overzealous.

Level 5:
 
 
aclinic Flat. Neither rising nor falling. The magnetic equator. (Clinometer)
banshee Irish spirit that presages death ("The wail of the banshee!")
illation A conclusion, deduction, The act of inferring or drawing conclusions.
keelson A boat-keel stiffener above the keel.
lachrymal Relating to tears – lachyrmose
martingale A horse restraint designed to keep the horse from throwing back its head.
newton The mks unit of force (kilograms/g)
occipital Occipital lobe: the lower, posterior area of the brain that mediates vision
petrology Study and science of rocks
ratline The ladder-lines on the rigging of a boat

Level 6:
 
 
Babbittry Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt – hence, narrow-mindedness, provincialism
calumet Ceremonial Indian pipe
dehiscent Opening, spreading pollen, blooming
gault A heavy, thick Lower Cretaceous clay
hypocaust Brick ductwork that distributed heat in ancient times.
kenosis Christ’s relinquishment of Godhood to become flesh.
knap To knap or chip flints
limnology The study of freshwater lakes, ponds, and streams
mithradatism Tolerance for a poison by taking gradually larger doses of it. 
unau The two-toed sloth.

Test 5:

Level 4:
 
 
aurochs The extinct forerunner of domestic cattle
beriberi A vitamin-B1 deficiency disease
cornice Horizontal crown of a building. Crown molding. Concealing cover over drapery rods.
denary Based on tens, tenth
gratuitous Free. Unnecessary of unwarranted (gratuitous advice)
hertz One cycle per second
hiatus Lacuna. Interruption. Break in sequence.
medial At the median. In the middle.
teredo A ship-worm, or mollusk containing the worm
valetudinarian A hypochondriac

Level 5:
 
 
bergamot A pear-shaped fruit whose rind contains perfume base
brevier A type size (8-pt.) used in printing breviaries
deemster A judge.
homologous Corresponding.
lamina A layer.
largo Slow, stately (Handel’s Largo)
pantheon A temple for all gods; all the gods of a people.
refulgence Brilliance
savory Delectable
triolet A poem with rhyme scheme ABaAabaAB

Level 6:
 
 
anlegate To send a legate (ambassador) abroad.
algorism The decimal (Arabic number) system. algoristic: closed-form (exact) solution.
baltimore City?
bezel Beveled
leat An artificial water trench to or from a mill
mittimus Order for imprisonment
myosotis Forget-me-not family
peneplain Flat plain at late stage of erosion
prunella A strong, heavy fabric of worsted twill
windlestraw A weak grass straw used for making rope

Test 6

Level 4:
 
 
botulism An extremely violent form of food poisoning caused by bacterially-produced botulin.
cutaneous Pertaining to the skin
datum A single item of data
distrait Inattentive, especially through anxiety
encyclical A Papal letter to bishops intended for wide distribution
gamma The third letter in the Greek alphabet
lacerate Torn, mangled, wounded. Having jagged edges. To rip, cut or tear.
mandate An authoritative command. The wishes of the electorate.
martinet A stickler for rules. Demands absolute adherence.
nacelle Pod (jet engine nacelles)

Level 5:
 
 
chamfer To round off a corner or to cut a flute
eschatology Branch of theology dealing with last things
giaour A non-believer. An infidel (typically, a Christian)
imprest An advance or loan of government funds; past tense of impress.
lapidate To stone; to kill by stoning
nadir The lowest point
oblate Shortened (as opposed to prolate spheroid). Flattened at the poles. Acolyte.
samphire The glasswort. St. Peter’s herb.
satrap A Persian provincial governor.
ukase A Czarist decree.

Level 6:
 
 
champleve Engrailed enamel, fired
deadlight A strong porthole shutter or thick porthole
enchiridion a handbook
geodic pertaining to a geode; hollow
jokul A snow-covered mountain
laches negligence, delay in pressing a claim, neglect; lewd, wanton
maud Scottish woolen shawl
pedicular Of or pertaining to lice
spandrel  The space between the curve of an arch and the rectangular frame.
vavosor The tenure of a fee (held in vavosor). Feudal tenant directly below a baron.

Test 7:

Level 4:
 
 
agoraphobia Fear of crowds
barograph Recording barometer
concatenation To connect in a series or chain
demography The study of the characteristics of human populations.
iceblink A white streak in the sky caused by reflection from ice.
megrim A migraine
olfactory Pertaining to smell.
radian The natural unit of angular measure = 57° 17’ 44.6". Angle for which arc-length = radius.
risotto Rice cooked in broth with grated cheese and seasonings.

Level 5:
 
 
animism The primitive idea that everything has a spirit in it
boulevardier A man about town.
canticle A non-metrical hymn taken from a prayer-book.
homophone Same sound, different spelling.
lammergeier A large, predatory, Old World bird.
mangone Catapult.
natterjack A common brownish-yellow toad.
Paleozoic The period of early life following the Archeozoic (single-celled) before the Mesozoic.
peignoir Loose-fitting, sexy dressing gown.
reticle A scale in the eyepiece of an instrument.

Level 6:
 
 
acarpous Fruitless, sterile.
chanterelle Edible yellow mushroom.
demersal Sinking to the bottom, as do fish eggs.
eclampsia Convulsions during pregnancy.
gonfalon Flag, emblem, insignia.
jeofail A mistake in legal proceedings, or the acknowledgement of same.
orris Iris, iris root.
pyx Chest in which eucharist is taken to sick; chest in mint in which coins are kept for assay.
ret  To moisten or soak (as in flax).
sachem The chief or high official of a tribe

Test 8:

Level 4:
 
 
chicanery Deception by trickery or sophistry.
gravamen The part of a charge that weighs most heavily against the accused
holocaust Terrible disaster (as in the Jewish Holocaust). Great or total destruction.
lethargic Sluggish indifference, apathy.
pinnace A small rowboat or sailboat, often carried aboard a ship.
ramify Branch out.
scrutineer One who scrutinizes, as of elections
tangential Peripheral to or veering away from. Only superficially relevant.
unction An ointment, a balm

. That which soothes. Oily. Insincere earnestness.

Level 5:
 
 
ablaut A patterned change in root vowels
belvedere A gazebo. A lookout station.
dimity A sheer, crisp cotton fabic
gelation The process of forming a gel
homeopathy Natural medicine. Giving minute amounts of poisons to try build immunity.
morpheme A meaningful linguistic unit that cannot be divided into smaller units.
pis aller A last (dernier) resource.
psephology The study of political elctions (literally, pebbles. Used by the Greeks ato vote)
regulus The relatively pure metal that sinks to the bottom of a blast furnace.
sawder Flattery.

Level 6:
 
 
chibouk A turkish tobacco pipe with a long stem and a red clay bowl.
disembogue To discharge its water at the mouth of the river.
gemmule A bud. A gemma. A reproductive structure in sponges.
idolum An insubstantial image; a form of false thinking ("Idols of the Tribe").
lasque Flat, thin, inferior diamond.
oroide Imitation gold.
quintan Every fifth.
rampion Edible root plant (as in a "ramp" or wild scallion).
scammony The dried root of convolvulus scammonia or its resin. A cathartic.
sullage Sewage. Silt.

Test 9:

Level 4:
 
 
betise Stupidity; a stupid or foolish act.
clamant Urgent, compelling, clamorous.
dirigible Steerable. A lighter-than-air-ship with a rigid frame (unlike a blimp).
epitome The very essence of.. The peak.
histrionic Dramatic. Exaggerated emotional behavior calculated for effect.
logarithm The representation of a number as some other number raised to a power.
panegyric Encomium. Lavish praise. A eulogy.
rowel A spur-wheel.
simoom A strong, hot, sand-laden desert wind. A sandstorm.
stricture Something that restrains or limits. Censure. Constriction.

Level 5:
 
 
apercu A short outline or summary.
bleb A pustule; an air bubble.
decorticate To remove the cortex, as in a decorticated cat or removing the bark from a tree.
gauss The cgs unit of magnetic field strength
involute Having the margins rolled inward. Complexity. Curve made by a point on a rolling wheel
lambent Soft, gentle glow.
peculation Theft.
recidivist A repeat offender.
semiotics Semantics.
speculum A mirror used as a reflector in optical instruments.

Level 6:
 
 
crucian A European carp
deuteragonist The actor taking the parts of second importance
encaustic Prepared by means of heat
hoveler An unlicensed boatsman who assists at shipwrecks
immortelle Flowers which retain their shape and color after being dried
limpkin A brownish wading bird having a distinctive call.
mort A variety of dummy whist. Hunting horn note denoting the death of a deer. Great number.
peen The ball-shaped head on a hammer; metal pounded out that way
regelate Freeze together under pressure.
sandiver Glass gall. A saline whitish scum cast up by molten glass.

 
 

Test 10:

Level 4:
 
 
burnoose Cloak and hood worn by Arabs
cadenza Musical flourish
debenture An IOU. An unsecured voucher acknowledging a debt.
flense To strip the blubber or skin from a whale.
franklin A medieval freeholder of common birth but with extensive property
habergeon Jacket of mail, shorter than a hauberk
ignis fatuus Something that misleads or deludes, swamp gas glow
jocund Joking, jolly, jovial
mutability  Changeability
napoleon A 20-franc gold coin of France

Level 5:
 
 
catchpole A sheriff’s officer who arrests debtors
Greek calends A time that will never come, since the Greeks had no calends
Heaviside Layer The ionized E-layer in the atmosphere that reflects long radio waves
ichor Dragon drool, the blood of the gods, watery, acrid discharge from a wound
jussive A word, move or form used to express command
limen Threshold of a psychological or physiological response
nescience Awareness
obi Black Japanese waistband sash
panhandle Texas Panhandle
ramose Having many branches

Level 6:
 
 
calamary A squid
eparch A high guy. A very important official. An archbishop’s archbishop.
fleury Flowery, having a fleur-de-lis on each of its arms
grangerize To over-illustrate or mutilate books
jacobus  A gold coin. Also, the popular name of James I of England
levigate Grind into a smooth, fine powder
marshalsea Court in London and associated debtor’s prison
narthex The portico or lobby of a church
obol Small European coin, Greek coin
tetterwort The bloodroot, used to cure tetter