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      v[T] make sth neutral ¶ stop sth from having an effect
      When a chemical substance neutralizes an acid, it makes it less acid.
      Discarded acid should be neutralized with alkali before disposal.
      Acids have a pH less than 7.0.
      A base is an acid's "chemical opposite."
      In chemistry, a salt is any neutral chemical compound made of cations (positive ions) attached to anions (negative ions).
      The treaty neutralized the Black Sea.
      The team of scientists considered the energy dump required to neutralize the threat of an Earth-destroying asteroid.
      Israel has a political imperative to neutralize Hamas' long-range rocket threat.
      adj parallel ¶ relating to sth but less important than it
      n[U] security
      Collateral damage is people who are hurt or killed, or property that is damaged accidentally in a war.
      If there is collateral damage afterwards, he does nt care.
      They did not want to risk significant collateral damage.
      Collateral is property that you agree to give to a bank if you fail to pay back money you have borrowed.
      In a nutshell, companies buy copper on margin, then use the metal as collateral to obtain low-cost loans, using the proceeds to bet on higher-yielding assets.
      Reuters had an interesting story on the the use of steel inventory as collateral for loans.
      Compare bilateral, collateral, and lateral.
      n[U] an odorless, colorless, flammable gas
      Methane (甲烷) is a hydrocarbon that is a gas at room temperature (20°C).
      Its molecular formula is CH4, so it has one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms in a molecule.
      It is often found as the main part of natural gas.
      Methane is a greenhouse gas 22 times more effective than carbon dioxide.
      The gas is odorless, but they add the smell so you know when there's a leak.
      adj enjoyable and interesting
      Something absorbing is so entertaining that you give it all your attention.
      FRIENDS is an absorbing American sitcom.
      I read Mrs. Bing last novel and found it very absorbing.
      The End of Sparta is a stirring drama and a rich, absorbing reading experience.
      adj mystical
      n[C] sb who practices or believes in mysticism
      Mysticism is the belief that people can directly experience God or true reality, rather than through books, ritual or other people.
      People who practice this are called mystics.
      Mystics exist within most religions, though not all people who practice religions are mystics.
      Mystics may experience visions or dreams, or hear God as a voice.
      Some ghosts can only be caught with a high mystic power.
      n[C] an official who acts as a judge in the lowest courts
      On August 16, 2012, United States Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck advised the restitution of nearly USD$55 million to the South African Government for the illegal harvesting of rock lobster by defendants Arnold Bengis, Jeffery Noll, and David Bengis.
      Police then brought Stewart before a magistrate for the first time.
      He served as a magistrate under the provisional government in North Carolina and later became a deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for the United States.
      Before any person arrested for a serious felony may be released on bail, a hearing may be held before the magistrate or judge, and the prosecuting attorney and the victim shall be given notice and reasonable opportunity to be heard on the matter.
      adj existing but not yet active, developed or visible
      The virus remains latent in the body for many years.
      Recent developments in the area have brought latent ethnic tension out into the open.
      So, Howard, have you and Rajesh finally summoned the courage to express your latent homosexual feelings toward one another?
      Howard, do you have latent homosexual tendencies?
      Latent Heat is the additional amount of heat supplied to boiling water to convert it into steam.
      v[T] moisten
      If you dampen something, you make it slightly wet.
      Wipe your infant's eyes with a washcloth dampened with water only, starting with one eye and wiping from the inner corner to the outer corner.
      This paper is dampened before it is printed on so that it will stretch slightly without breaking during the printing process.
      To dampen something such as someone's enthusiasm or excitement means to make it less lively or intense.
      She was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) at age 47, but it hasn't dampened her flair for comedy.
      Sure, this fun factor is dampened if you do most of your driving in stop-and-go traffic.
      Nothing you can say will dampen her determination.
      adj lacking moisture
      Arid land or an arid climate is very dry because it has very little rain.
      The Southern hairy nosed wombat lives in arid and semi-arid inland regions.
      It covers approximately 1.2 million square kilometres of arid and semi-arid Central Australia.
      Something that is arid is not very interesting or exciting.
      This was not an arid discussion of a policy issue which was of interest to both levels of government.
      n[C] a type of animal that lays eggs and whose body is covered in scales
      Reptile is the common name for one of the main groups of land vertebrates.
      The name "reptile" comes from Latin and means "one who creeps".
      All living reptile species are cold blooded, have scaly skin, and lay cleidoic eggs.
      Many important groups of reptiles are now extinct.
      Some reptiles are more closely related to birds than they are to other reptiles. 
      Crocodiles are more closely related to birds than they are to lizards.
      Theropod dinosaurs are even more closely related, because birds evolved from them.
      A reptile is someone you do not like and do not trust.
      v[T] make sb extremely angry
      In fact, those very same sanctions only infuriate Iran more against the world community who initiated the sanctions on Iran.
      Will the election results further infuriate already anxious and angry residents in devastated areas?
      His dishonesty is so in your face that it infuriates me to see him still prancing around.
      Obama infuriated Democrats two years ago by siding with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts.
      Compare enrage, fury, infuriate, madden, and wrath.
      n[C] a long speech by one person
      Earlier in this scene Hamlet asks the First Player to recite a monologue retelling Hecuba's response to the death of her husband, King Priam.
      I just got a call about an audition. It's down at the Astor Theatre and you need to have a monologue prepared.
      I don't think that your monologue from Star Wars is gonna help me right now, Joe!
      My boss launched into a long monologue about how wonderful the company was.
      n[C] a more direct route than the usual one ¶ a means of saving time or effort
      On the way home we took a shortcut to avoid traffic.
      A shortcut is a quicker way than usual to do or achieve something, often a method that produces a result that is not good enough.
      A shortcut is a computer icon or a combination of keys on the keyboard such as Ctrl + C that helps you do something on the computer more quickly, for example go to a particular program or copy information.
      The iPhone allows you to create your own shortcuts and your own dictionary.
      You can reorder tabs by dragging and dropping them, and use keyboard shortcuts to cycle through them.
      v[T] examine by questioning formally or officially
      Interrogated by local authorities in Abu Dhabi, Beghal stated that he was called to Afghanistan in late 2000 by Abou Zoubeida, a military leader of bin Laden's organization, Al Qaeda.
      They were held there and interrogated by officials from multiple US agencies for weeks.
      The tag is interrogated by an RFID reader which transmits and receives radio signals to and from the tag.
      Parents should casually listen to what they say. They should not interrogate the children by asking numerous questions.
      The object of the course is to encourage its students to interrogate the origins of the concept of' Britain' as a political and economic entity.
      He will come back to Sweden kicking and screaming, he will be interrogated and then released, I guess, or maybe sentenced to a fine.
      An undertaking that individuals associated with WikiLeaks or Mr Assange not be further targeted or harassed by FBI agents, including very recently individuals detained, interrogated and pressured to become informants by FBI officers.
      n[CU] a short part of a film,story or play that goes back to events in the past ¶ a sudden,clear memory of a past event or time,usu one that was bad
      In literature and dramatic media, a flashback is an interjected scene that takes the narrative back in time from the current point.
      A flashback episode is an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes.
      A flashback, or involuntary recurrent memory, is a psychological phenomenon in which an individual has a sudden, usually powerful, re-experiencing of a past experience or elements of a past experience.
      The clothes Rachel wears during the flashback are the same clothes she wore in Pilot.
      During the song, each of the girls has a flashback to the moment in which they first laid eyes upon their love.
      To clap/set/lay eyes on someone or something means to see them.
      adj existing in small amounts
      Information coming out of the disaster area is sparse.
      She was an older woman now, they grey in her hair no longer sparse enough to bother plucking out.
      Sorry our accommodations are so sparse.
      This house was sparsely furnished and heated by a wood-burning furnace.
      The Pacific Northwest coast is sparsely populated for the most part.
      Compare dense, sparse and thick.
      adj big, beautiful, or impressive in a calm and serious way
      Spread at the foot of majestic mountains, Salzburg is often called the Gateway to the Alps.
      Hotel Majestic is the historical hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
      It is virtually impossible to portray even a hint of its majestic beauty.
      The site allows you to take a glimpse or even a perfect majestic view of oceans such as the Southern California Shoreline, Catalina Island, Pacific Ocean and Dana Point Harbor.
      n[s] the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun
      Neptune is the eighth and farthest planet from the Sun in the Solar System.
      Neptune was the first planet found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation.
      Neptune was discovered in 1846.
      Neptune is similar in composition to Uranus, and both have compositions that differ from those of the larger gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn.
      Neptune (Latin: Neptūnus) was the god of freshwater and the sea in Roman religion.
      Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto; the brothers presided over the realms of Heaven, the earthly world, and the Underworld.
      n[CU] the speed at which music is played or sung ¶ the speed at which sth happens
      In musical terminology, tempo ("time" in Italian; plural: tempi) is the speed or pace of a given piece.
      A piece of music's tempo is typically written at the start of the score, and in modern Western music is usually indicated in beats per minute (BPM).
      This means that a particular note value (for example, a quarter note, or crotchet) is specified as the beat, and that the amount of time between successive beats is a specified fraction of a minute.
      What is difference between rhythm and tempo? I always get them mixed up.
      Rhythm is the actual pattern of the beat, the tempo is how fast you're going.
      We're going to have to up the tempo if we're to finish on time.
      I find the tempo of city life exhausting.
      I soon adapted to the tempo of life on the island.
      n[U] great brightness, skill, or intelligence
      See, this is the brilliance of the show. I say always keep them running. All the time, running. Run. Run Yasmine, run like the wind.
      Well that's the brilliance of it. The pretty people... and the running.
      Sheldon, I owe you an apology. Taking the train was a stroke of brilliance.
      Excuse me, but was this not your goal? Financial independence through entrepreneurial brilliance and innovation?
      Look, Dr. Cooper, I really want this position. It would be an incredible honor to work for a man of your brilliance.
      This photo was taken a year and a half after the supernova explosion, so the brilliance of the white dwarf's last breaths is no longer visible.
      v[T] make sb do sth by using force or threats
      Usually it's the guards, rather than the inmates, who coerce them into sex.
      I have seen too many OB/GYNs coerce women into unnecessary procedures during the birthing process.
      She was pregnant as a teenager in the late 60s and was coerced by the social workers and her parents into giving up her baby.
      Iranian Jews are coerced by the regime to say that life is good for them.
      Pakistan had been coerced by the US to release American official Raymond Davis, arrested for killing two men in Lahore in Punjab on January 27, 2011.
      n[U] eagerness, energy, effort, or enthusiasm
      While we applaud the zeal of those who hold up large signs of bible verses at nationally broadcast football games, the bible should not be so trivialized.
      I was greatly amazed, and my zeal for continuing musical studies was doubled.
      A zealous person is full of zeal.
      Gingrich has turned to religion with missionary zeal in recent years, producing two documentaries and a book.
      v[IT] die or make sb die by preventing them from breathing ¶ prevent sth from developing in a positive way
      More does not equal merry. If there were 2, 000 people in this apartment right now, would we be celebrating? No, we'd be suffocating.
      Lady, I've got to open the window - it's suffocating in here!
      Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides - or fumigants - to suffocate or poison the pests within.
      In 1912, Garret Morgan invented what is now called a gas mask; the then called "Safety Hood and Smoke Protector" contained enough air to allow someone to stay in a room full of suffocating gases and smoke from fifteen to twenty minutes.
      Jealousy can suffocate any relationship.
      Compare smother, strangle, stifle, and suffocate.
      n[Cs] the natural color, texture, and appearance of the skin, esp that of the face ¶ the general character or nature of sth
      The fellow was of small size, of a dark complexion, and dressed in old gray clothes.
      Jill is described as being of a fair complexion, 165cm tall, slim build, long curly black hair and brown eyes.
      His complexion was darker than any of the men in the village
      Showing off her stunning green eyes and pale complexion, the British singer is seen resting her chin on her hands as she gazes at the camera.
      In contrast, folk singer Abbasuddin was fair complexioned and had a square face with strong jaw bones.
      They have now been converted into office complexes fetching very attractive rents and the whole complexion of the street has changed from a very cosy, quiet and calm residential location to a bustling business environment.
      n[C] a valuable or special possession that has belonged to one family for many years
      Yeah, my mom sent me a family heirloom that once belonged to my grandmother. Can you believe it?! A year ago I didn't even have a family, and now I have heirlooms for crying out loud.
      Well, the heirloom I ever got was a feather boa. Got it from my dad. He got it from his dad. How did I ever get born?
      The diamond brooch is a family heirloom which came down to her from her great-grandmother.
      The Geller's Garage, Monica is picking through her ruined childhood heirlooms with Ross.
      Compare heirloom, heritage, inheritance, and legacy.