be a mystery or bewildering to
It baffles her physician as well, and has got doctors increasingly worried.
— Time (Mar 23, 2012)
deadly or sinister
His glance fell on Van Bleit, pallid, red-eyed, obviously suffering, observing him with the baleful look of some savage captive beast.
— Young, F.E. Mills
refuse to comply
Congressional Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives, have balked at raising the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by significant spending cuts.
— Reuters (Jun 19, 2011)
a narrative song with a recurrent refrain
And in the encore there was a new ballad, “Silent Treatment,” which Ms. Bryan sang gently, backed only by Mr. Dafydd on acoustic guitar.
— New York Times (Apr 1, 2012)
prohibit especially by legal means or social pressure
That’s why gambling and wagers are heavily regulated or banned outright in nearly every country.
— Slate (Apr 4, 2012)
repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
Not bare or messy — that might be interesting — just banal.
— New York Times (Mar 8, 2011)
something causing misery or death
Knee pain is the bane of many runners, sometimes causing them to give up altogether.
— Seattle Times (Jun 7, 2010)
expel, as if by official decree
He, however, was destined never to return but was proscribed and banished.
— Stark, James H.
be silly or tease one another
Instead, they bantered, enthused, tripped over each other's words and generally offered their audience the warmest welcome imaginable.
— Seattle Times (Jan 25, 2011)
without civilizing influences
The law was immediately hailed as a victory by animal welfare groups over what they consider to be a barbaric and outdated practice.
— New York Times (Jul 28, 2010)
the heavy fire of artillery to saturate an area rather than hit a specific target
They destroyed army communications, local cellphone towers and laid down a barrage of mortar fire.
— Reuters (Feb 10, 2012)
providing no shelter or sustenance
New homes are sprouting from farmland once irrigated by the nearby Tigris River but rendered barren by war and neglect.
— New York Times (Mar 14, 2012)
projecting part of a rampart or other fortification
Dinner over, melons disposed of, fort, stores, and quarters examined, arrangements were made for sleeping in the various sheds and bastions of the fort.
— Gray, William Henry
effusively or insincerely emotional
Taken together, her tribulations have the makings of bathetic melodrama.
— New York Times (Jul 14, 2011)
characteristic way of bearing one's body
He thought her face, her whole bearing, singularly composed in view of his announcement.
— Weyman, Stanley John
summon with a wave, nod, or some other gesture
Ten minutes more and the orderly opened the door, and, obedient to my beckoning finger, stepped out as the lady was ushered in.
— King, Charles
a state of extreme confusion and disorder
With more than 190 people killed and hundreds wounded just three days before the country’s general election, Spain was thrown into political bedlam.
— Newsweek (May 5, 2011)
be confusing or perplexing to; cause to be unable to think clearly
But regulators are profiling data to help find patterns in trading activity that previously would have left regulators befuddled and scratching their heads.
— Reuters (Apr 20, 2011)
attract; cause to be enamored
This is such an entertaining, beguiling, charming and exciting picture.
— The Guardian (Jul 14, 2011)
someone or something that is abnormally large and powerful
Behemoths like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and UBS have snapped up numerous small firms to create industry giants.
— Reuters (Jul 19, 2010)
under a moral obligation to someone
Now, this obligation has offended me very much, because I am proud, and do not like to be beholden to people.
— Thackeray, William Makepeace
be appropriate or necessary
The Hamburg magistrates had offered one hundred thalers for my arrest; consequently it behooved me to be very cautious.
— J?kai, M?r
be in contradiction with
Tang's congenial and accommodating administrative style, however, sometimes belies a harder edge.
— Reuters (Nov 26, 2011)
lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of
A splendid or an affecting story may be degraded or belittled by being told in an unworthy style.
having or showing a ready disposition to fight
So far from unduly fostering a bellicose spirit tending to war, these would be tactful preventives of wasteful foreign and civil broils.
— Lee, Carson Jay
characteristic of an enemy or one eager to fight
He was carrying his war tools and stood facing me for an instant in quite a belligerent attitude.
— O'Neil, Owen Rowe
Facing life-threatening surgery, Adam calls his therapist and bemoans all the things he’s never done.
— BusinessWeek (Sep 30, 2011)
perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements; filled with bewilderment
Alternately bemused, puzzled, and intrigued, he read it over again and again.
— Scientific American (Jan 30, 2012)
a person who helps people or institutions (especially with financial help)
Even world-class universities such as Oxford and Cambridge live off "old money" from property assets and a few key benefactors.
— BusinessWeek (May 12, 2011)
showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding and generosity
Invariably gentle, attentive, serious, benevolent, easily satisfied, he remained serene and peaceful.
— Leonard, Arthur Glyn
not dangerous to health; not recurrent or progressive (especially of a tumor)
But its images cannot distinguish malignant tumors from benign growths filled with harmless breast tissue.
— Scientific American (May 10, 2011)
leave or give by will after one's death
The widow lived for a few years, and, at her death, he bequeathed upon the daughter of his adoption all that his mother possessed.
censure severely or angrily
At almost every move through the drill he berated them caustically, though in such faultless military language of reproof as to keep him from censure.
— Hancock, H. Irving (Harrie Irving)
state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one
The team also helps the patients' families, instructing them in caring techniques and providing bereavement counseling after death.
— Washington Post (Sep 7, 2010)
ask for or request earnestly
Mr. Binney pleaded and besought, but all to no avail, and left his Tutor's presence at last, a disgraced and despairing man.
— Marshall, Archibald
surround so as to force to give up
The troops in the Potomac army were all lying in front of Petersburg, under fire day and night, preparing to besiege the place.
— Terrill, J. Newton
smear so as to make dirty or stained
Because the dealer, widely respected in the Zurich art world, did not want his reputation besmirched, he agreed to settle the claim out of court.
— New York Times (Sep 24, 2010)
There was stillness in the room—utter stillness as at last Percivale laid his sleeping wife down, and, bending over her, bestowed a parting kiss.
— Reynolds, Mrs. Baillie
the person to whom you are engaged
Perhaps he thinks an engaged young lady should be demure and dutiful, having no eyes or ears for any one except her betrothed.
— Harland, Marion
perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements; filled with bewilderment
Only the most commonplace things were said, and yet she puzzled him, bewildered him.
— Hocking, Joseph
influence in an unfair way
Analytical thinking happens in the left hemisphere of the brain and is essential to making more objective, less biased decisions.
— Inc (Dec 9, 2011)
argue over petty things
At times it felt like the candidates had already talked themselves out on the big themes and could only bicker over table scraps.
— Slate (Feb 23, 2012)
divided into or made up of two parts
Like Lost, it’s story, at least at first, is bifurcated, taking place half in the magical world, half in ours.
— Time (Oct 21, 2011)
affecting or undertaken by two parties
Economic issues took up about half of the bilateral talks between the two leaders, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
— Reuters (Jan 20, 2011)
characterized by great swelling waves or surges
It was here that the Army cooked up chemical weapons, launched poison-packed mortar shells and sent gas clouds billowing over the fields.
— New York Times (Mar 17, 2012)
an occasion for excessive eating or drinking
The government surveys showed binge drinking — having more than five drinks in one day — increased among all ethnic groups and genders, but particularly among men.
— Seattle Times (Dec 22, 2010)
turn pale, as if in fear
Officers and men stood aghast, with blanched faces, scarce knowing how to act.
— Le Queux, William
lacking stimulating characteristics; uninteresting
Many critics were less than enamored with the kind of “easy listening” Mr. Williams embodied, deriding his approach as bland and unchallenging.
— New York Times (Oct 9, 2011)
flattery intended to persuade
He had expected coaxings, blandishments, the pleadings and wiles with which Virginia the elder had made him so intimately acquainted.
— Reynolds, Mrs. Baillie
make a strident sound
First there were trumpets; then brasses blared and drums rumbled.
— Broun, Heywood
uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence
Dull-eyed, blase, frayed by the social whirl, worn out, pulseless, all of them.
— Reynolds, Francis J. (Francis Joseph)
blasphemous language (expressing disrespect for God or for something sacred)
Instead of becoming silent, he poured forth a fresh storm of blasphemy; and continued cursing all the time I remained within hearing.
— Beach, Charles A.
conspicuously and offensively loud; given to vehement outcry
Then there was great shouting among the Sophomores, with much blatant, exultant cheering.
— Williams, Jesse Lynch
offering little or no hope
Although the situation looks bleak, there’s still room for hope, he said.
— Washington Post (Dec 31, 2011)
a mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something (especially on a person's body)
Fine red lines often can be seen just under the skin, and some people also experience pimplelike blemishes.
— Seattle Times (Jan 19, 2011)
carefree and happy and lighthearted
Deep down inside her being something sang; outside, the carolling of the lark continued, blithe and joyous in the breaking dawn.
— Blackwood, Algernon
an embarrassing mistake
The candidate's first name was misspelled "John" on media badges, a blunder later repeated in some campaign mailings.
— Reuters (Nov 7, 2011)
characterized by directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion
Even my lady, so blunt and outspoken by nature, had shrunk from trying to question the Dutch girl about her lover.
— Weyman, Stanley John
But after that momentary pause he blurted out, "Is everything all right, Benny?"
— Titus, Harold
act in an arrogant, overly self-assured, or conceited manner
Ling was no longer an incarnate monster, a blustering, boisterous bully.
— Strang, Herbert
wear or display in an ostentatious or proud manner
A pompous, boasting sort of man, I did not like him at all.
— Wood, Mrs. Henry
indicate by signs
"Her early recovery is very promising," and bodes well for further improvement, he said.
— Seattle Times (Jan 20, 2011)
fraudulent; having a misleading appearance
Also, Tello allegedly put the wrong address on the letter and included fake bar codes and bogus fax and telephone numbers, they said.
— New York Times (Jan 11, 2012)
a nonconformist writer or artist who lives an unconventional life
Bohemians were typically urban, liberal in outlook, but with few visible political passions and, above all, creative.
— BBC (Mar 11, 2011)
noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline
Boys drinking champagne at adjacent tables were calling across to each other with boisterous merriment.
— Matthews, Brander
support and strengthen
Manufacturing bolstered the nation’s economic recovery in March, according to data released Monday, with companies reporting strong gains in production and employment.
— Washington Post (Apr 3, 2012)
an attack by dropping bombs
He made up air raids and heavy bombardments and fairly tore up the village in which he was living.
— Broun, Heywood
ostentatiously lofty in style
Once, only, your workmanship was not marred by schemes for titillating effects, for sensational contrasts, for grandiose and bombastic expression.
— Rosenfeld, Paul
a desirable state
The drilling has been an economic boon — creating jobs and reducing dependence on foreign energy.
— New York Times (Mar 18, 2012)
ill-mannered and coarse and contemptible in behavior or appearance
He becomes boorish, subject to fits of passion, violent and unaccountable.
— Zweig, Stefan
producing in abundance
The wheat harvest that year was so bountiful that grain overflowed storage facilities.
— Wall Street Journal (Feb 23, 2010)
(according to Marxist thought) being of the property-owning class and exploitive of the working class
This future son-in-law is very young, and remarkably good looking; he belongs to the upper bourgeois, even bordering on the nobility.
— Sue, Eug?ne
a period of illness
While out of work, struggling financially, and single-handedly responsible for three children, Pauline had several bouts of depression during which she felt completely isolated.
— BBC (Jan 30, 2012)
any of various members of the genus Bos
We can see handsome bovines at any fat cattle show.
— Lynch, Lawrence L.
edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate
Being an iconic classic, however, hasn’t protected “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from being banned, bowdlerized and bleeped.
— New York Times (Jan 7, 2011)
refuse to sponsor; refuse to do business with
In what became known as the Chilean Winter, students at university campuses and high schools across the country organized strikes, boycotted classes and occupied buildings.
— New York Times (Apr 5, 2012)
slightly salty (especially from containing a mixture of seawater and fresh water)
The waters of West Africa, salt, brackish, and fresh abound with fish, and many kinds are, if properly cooked, excellent eating.
— Kingsley, Mary Henrietta
vain and empty boasting
Biggie talks about money and drugs, but “Juicy” contains no braggadocio, no empty boasts.
— Time (Oct 24, 2011)
a very boastful and talkative person
In his cups he was a witty, though arrogant, braggart.
— Stocking, Charles Francis
Yelling, shouting, and brandishing their weapons, the insurgents poured down.
— Henty, G. A. (George Alfred)
Mr. Lancman, 43, is known for his brash, relentless and ambitious style.
— New York Times (Mar 19, 2012)
a swaggering show of courage
All their courage and bravado was gone, and now, like the miserable cowards that they were, they had sought safety in flight.
— Pinkerton, Allan
a noisy fight in a crowd
The slightest quarrel, the most commonplace street brawl are pretexts for rival factions to come out in battle array.
— Bastide, Charles
possessing muscular strength
He believes Hollywood has often have had an over-reliance on physical brawn as the deciding factor for portraying a strong man.
— Reuters (Jul 10, 2010)
unrestrained by convention or propriety
House has saved two lives, but Foreman is furious at his brazen disregard for the rules.
— Time (Nov 22, 2011)
make an opening or gap in
Just look at how hackers breached the accounts of Google’s mail service in the past year, other RIM executives have noted.
— Washington Post (Apr 4, 2012)
the extent of something from side to side
On the left side were also two store-houses, each thirty-six paces long by twelve in breadth, covered with shingles.
— Drake, Samuel Adams
the attribute of being brief or fleeting
Brevity is key; journalists do not have a lot of time.
— Inc (Feb 13, 2012)
the limit beyond which something happens or changes
Patterson often asked Groce to ease up in Taylor's demanding timed conditioning drills, noticing he was on the brink of hyperventilating from pushing his limits.
— Chicago Tribune (Mar 31, 2012)
quick and energetic
The rooms were scrupulously clean, the table service brisk and punctual.
— Boyd, Mary Stuart
bring up a topic for discussion
Funeral directors must also navigate a topic that, even under normal circumstances, can prove uncomfortable to broach: money.
— New York Times (Dec 29, 2011)
hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing
In fact, a daunting quietness brooded over the spot.
— Bindloss, Harold
discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate
For ten minutes he bullied and browbeat the luckless sergeant, whose men had not been responsible for opening fire.
— Westerman, Percy F. (Percy Francis)
main force of a blow etc
While Texas, an epicenter now for wildfires and crop losses, is taking the brunt of the drought, surrounding states are also suffering.
— Reuters (May 12, 2011)
(used with regard to idealized country life) idyllically rustic
He is glad when he sees men busy fishing, planting, and hunting, and engaged in all manner of bucolic occupations.
— Vondel, Joost van den
a rude or vulgar fool
They were sluggards, buffoons, dimwits, liars, brutes, and—without exception—drunks.
— The New Yorker (Aug 2, 2010)
characterized by liveliness and lightheartedness
By nature he was sunny and buoyant, taking life as he found it.
— Penny, F. E.
an onerous or difficult concern
Reconstruction spending is adding to the nation's huge debt burden.
— Wall Street Journal (Mar 9, 2012)
any organization in which action is obstructed by insistence on unnecessary procedures and red tape
Professors and graduate students have benefited from improved working conditions, quicker turnaround for photocopying and scanning, and decreased bureaucracy and red tape.
— New York Times (Mar 21, 2012)
grow and flourish