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      v[IT] destroy sth slowly, esp by chemical action, or be destroyed in this way
      Drinks like Pepsi, Coca Cola, etc are known to corrode the teeth.
      The acid will start to corrode the copper pipes.
      Titanium does not corrode.
      Some chemicals like hydrofluoric acid can corrode the ceramic vessels they are kept in; coating them with Teflon prevents corrosion.
      When a society's instincts for the good have been corroded by the sight of bankers trousering bonuses that dwarf the lifetime salary of an average employee, or by the rise of a super-rich City-based clique which threatens to leave for somewhere more congenial when asked to contribute taxes, is it so much of a surprise that the people occupying the bottom rungs of the ladder start behaving badly too?
      adj faster than the speed of sound
      Our ability to fly at supersonic speeds over land in commercial aircraft depends on the effort to reduce the sonic boom.
      A sonic boom is the sound associated with the shock waves created by an object travelling through the air faster than the speed of sound.
      Sonic booms generate enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion.
      The crack of a supersonic bullet passing overhead is an example of a sonic boom.
      The nuclear-powered rover is the biggest ever built for planetary exploration, weighing in at 1 ton, about the size of a small car, and carries a complex chemistry kit to zap rocks, drill soil and test for radiation. The landing is a daring and unprecedented maneuver that involves penetrating the atmosphere at a speed of 21,240 km per hour, slowing down with the help of a supersonic parachute and dropping down gently with tethers from a rocket-powered sky crane.
      The Sky crane system lowered Curiosity rover to a soft landing on the surface of Mars during the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
      China found its first export customer (Pakistan) for its new CM-400AKG supersonic cruise missile.
      adj unwilling to speak about your thoughts or feelings, reserved ¶ reluctant, unwilling
      Canadians are reticent to discuss their personal lives with business associates.
      I admit I am sometimes very reticent to express my own views when they are contrary to those of my friend on facebook for example.
      Quite understandably, Jennifer Lopez has been reticent to talk about her split from husband Marc Anthony.
      UK banks are reticent to lend to small businesses.
      Most IT departments are reticent to move to a new Windows within 12 to 18 months of its release anyway.
      n[U] an inflated conception of self-worth, arrogance
      n[C] cleverly-phrased witty expression
      Nothing beats the conceit of GB. Having a prefix of GREAT before Britian is like blowing one's own woebegone trumpet in the contemporary world.
      From the first moment I met you, your arrogance and conceit, your selfish disdain for the feelings of others made me realize that you were the last man in the world I could ever be prevailed upon to marry.
      In drama and other art forms, the central conceit of a work of fiction is the underlying fictitious assumption which must be accepted by the audience with suspension of disbelief so the plot may be seen as plausible.
      An example from popular culture is the way many cartoons feature animals that can speak to each other, and in many cases can understand human speech, but humans cannot understand the speech of animals.
      This conceit is seen, and sometimes exploited for plot purposes, in such films as Over the Hedge, the Balto series, and Brother Bear.
      In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem.
      n[C] a small simple tube-shaped water animal ¶ a small lump that grows inside the body, esp in the nose
      A polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue projecting from a mucous membrane.
      Polyps are commonly found in the colon, stomach, nose, sinus(es), urinary bladder and uterus.
      They may also occur elsewhere in the body where mucous membranes exist like the cervix, vocal folds, and small intestine.
      In the class Anthozoa, comprising the sea anemones and corals, the individual is always a polyp.
      Polyps are approximately cylindrical in shape and elongated at the axis of the vase-shaped body.
      adj bending and twisting like a snake ¶ complicated and difficult to understand
      Starting in the second position, the Cardinal slogged through the winding, serpentine course and fought to get the boat up to top speed.
      A serpentine belt, also known as a multi-vee, poly-v, or multi-rib belt, is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor, air pump, etc.
      The Serpentine (also known as the Serpentine River) is a 40-acre (16 ha) recreational lake in Hyde Park, London, England, created in 1730 at the behest of Queen Caroline.
      The Serpentine Galleries are two contemporary art galleries in Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Central London.
      adj not afraid of continuing to try to do something in spite of difficulties or danger
      In his temper and disposition he was mild, gentle, and forbearing, yet firm, undaunted, and inflexible in his duty.
      Undaunted by her obvious disinterest in him, Vincent attempted to visit her at her family's home, but was refused entry. Kee's father repeatedly told him that she was not at home.
      Thinking this might be a case of police stupidity I wrote to the Chief Constable asking for clarification. He must be busy, because he hasn't answered my letter yet. Undaunted, I wrote to the UK Criminal Prosecution Service asking why they would bring such a charge in what is so evidently a misdemeanour, if it is anything.
      In desperation, her lover broke free of his guards, jumped ship and swam to join her. This was the last straw, and her 'loving uncle' left her there to perish. Undaunted, the young lovers immediately set to work, building a hut and a home, but planning to hail down the next vessel that passed their way.
      Compare discouraged, disheartened, unafraid, undaunted, undeterred, and untiring.
      adv on the surface, in appearance
      Jimmy Carter was the most outwardly religious president, of the modern era at least.
      Coming in second on the survey was Audi, with Mercedes-Benz a close third. While BMW may not be outwardly proud of this "victory," we're sure at least someone in Munich is glad to have bested its German rivals.
      Outwardly the liners are not much different from the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, but they have much more cargo and passenger space because it is no longer necessary to carry about 12,000 tons of fuel.
      Bandwidth costs are already proving to be the bane of YouTube's existence, possibly resulting in $470 million in loses for this year alone.
      So while YouTube's outwardly celebrating that we're dumping 20 hours of video on their servers every minute, we think they should count their blessings with a little more realism since, based on previous patterns, this number, along with bandwidth costs, will only continue to rise.
      v[T] predict
      Harry Potter became Voldemort's mortal enemy after the Dark Lord heard part of a prophecy that foretold the birth of an individual destined to destroy him.
      This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses.
      The movie, 2012, was filled with doom and gloom and did not foretell an accurate picture of what December 21, 2012 really means.
      The Jewish scriptures foretell the coming of " another Prophet " like Moses and the return of Elijah from heaven.
      adj cannot be cured ¶ impossible to change
      Age is looked upon as an incurable disease.
      ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, is an incurable illness that gradually destroys bodily functions and causes an agonizing slow death.
      Another serious back ailment, wobbler syndrome is an incurable condition in which pressure on the spinal cord causes the horse to lose control of its limbs.
      Maybe I'm an incurable romantic, but when I stand at the railing of the famous Star Ferry as it glides across the harbor, ride a rickety old tram as it winds its way across Hong Kong Island, or marvel at the stunning views afforded from atop Victoria Peak, I can't help but think I must have somehow landed in the middle of an epic drama where the past has melted into the present.
      n[C] sb who deliberately damages things, esp public property
      Firstly, a lot of people judge Graff art because of the bad publicity of the unacceptable element 'TAGGING'.
      This element is dirty and ugly. Writing your hit on houses, fences, shops and public property that is not yours is unacceptable.
      People use everything from spray paint to paint, ink markers, sand paper for scratching window, bucket paint, twink, anything that gives a permanent mark.
      These surfaces are expensive to replace. It is not okay and you are labelled as a vandal.
      You get seriously charged and even convicted for tagging, it gives the culture a bad reputation and it's pretty much pointless.
      "And then, I tried to find a pay phone, and the receiver was cut off." "What happened?" "Vandalism."
      The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe, or group of tribes, who were first heard of in southern Poland, but later moved around Europe establishing kingdoms in Spain and later North Africa in the 5th century.
      n[U]  betrayal or violation of trust
      And yet it would be the blackest treachery to Holmes to draw back now from the part which he had intrusted to me.
      Other people might call his utterances treachery but, to Scarlett, they always rang with common sense and truth.
      The president always treasured that moment when he had offered to give Don Corleone a written document proving his ownership of the shares, to preclude any treachery.
      He can devise tales of others' treachery and of the cruelness of fate to explain away his defeat.
      I have learned to hate all traitors, and there is no disease that I spit on more than treachery.
      Compare treachery, treason, and traitor.
      adj moving and bending in a graceful way:
      I saw a ballerina-like girl, slim and lithe.
      She is a physically stunning girl, tall, lithe and gorgeous.
      He hunkered down beside her, his strong, lithe body blocking the light from the fires raging behind them and casting her in shadow.
      "I'm in the technology industry," he told the Boston Globe, comparing Uber's opponents to an atrophied Yahoo being challenged by a lithe young Google.
      adj relating to or like an island ¶ narrow-minded and avoiding contact with others
      The State is responsible for establishing an overall policy in land, insular and maritime border areas, preserving the territorial integrity, sovereignty, security, defense, national identity, diversity and environment in accordance with cultural, economic and social development and integration.
      I was rebuilding myself and getting my confidence back and becoming the person I've always wanted to be because I used to be very insular and isolated. That show brought it out of me.
      The fading class system also serves as a metaphor for the fading glory of the insular world of postwar England.
      In each hemisphere of the mammalian brain the insular cortex (often called insula, insulary cortex or insular lobe) is a portion of the cerebral cortex folded deep within the lateral sulcus (the fissure separating the temporal lobe from the parietal and frontal lobes).
      v[T] cook in water just below the boiling point ¶ treat sb with too much care and attention
      Many of her dishes are inspired by local favourites, such as her signature coddled maple syrup egg.
      But she also doesn't coddle them. She's very, very tough. She bawls the kids out.
      They don't all need to be wrapped in cotton wool and coddled.
      The Boomers, who were coddled by their parents' societal contributions and are now coddled by their children who are paying the bill for them, are doing more than calling the kettle black.
      Compare coddle and cuddle.
      adj friendly and kind
      The staff are genial and relaxed, and meals are delivered to the table with a smile.
      Anthony is a gracious and genial host.
      We met our guide, Paul, a genial man who had been working in the park for several years.
      His genial nature belies his reputation as a highly effective administrator who also happens to be one of best scientists of his day.
      Compare amiable, congenial and genial.
      adj seeking or preferring seclusion or isolation
      The professor is reclusive, but he's a true genius.
      He became a textbook example of the "lone wolf" who lived a reclusive life in an apartment.
      Midnight covert operations at sea. A lost nuclear submarine. An eccentric and reclusive billionaire. These aren't elements from a Cold War spy novel, but from the real-life history of a massive ship that is now getting a new lease on life.
      Maynard's account of her year-long relationship with the reclusive writer is the centerpiece of the book.
      The reclusive country was a mystery to many, and those who can not go across the border will have to contend with a taste of North Korea from this bank of the Yalu.
      adj behaving in a way that shows that you want to keep sth secret and do not want to be noticed
      "All right, let's get to it. Elizabeth said you found something on MG-3875?" "Uh, yeah," Lorne said, darting furtive glances at Elizabeth.
      Kathy was six months pregnant by then, but it didn't seem to affect her. A few days later, though, on a beach, I noticed a man sneaking furtive looks at her bulge, which was finally beginning to show.
      The stealthy manner of the man's entrance from the terrace instead of by the door, the plainly furtive way in which he crossed the room and the anxious expression of his face, a face which Perry saw at once to be criminal, was enough!
      Compare furtive, secretive, and sneaky.
      adj green with vegetation
      In the same way, the English word verdant, from the same Latin root, means "green", but also has connotations of lush vegetation. It's very much a name of freshness, spring time and new life.
      We were struck how the landscape quickly changed from flat pastures to verdant hills.
      For a large, crowded and often hot and humid country, Kashmir with its snow-capped mountains, verdant valleys and cool, heavenly springs was more than a pretty picture postcard - it was the perfect getaway where we could escape our humdrum existence.
      High mountains feed broad rivers that cut their courses across the verdant countryside.
      adj not large enough
      The selection of TV shows is a little skimpy, but again, there are full seasons of good shows like True Blood, The Wire, Entourage, Sex and The City and The Sopranos.
      Every TV program has dancing girls in skimpy outfits.
      Some women love attention and will wear skimpy clothes to get it.
      Some women say wearing skimpy clothing makes them "feel feminine".
      There are the cheergirls with their skimpy shorts, low-cut tops and pom-poms, mothers who wash the socks and jerseys, and pandering wives and girlfriends who bask in the reflected glory of "their man".
      adj using or doing only a little of sth
      Another long-term solution for minimising hair damage from over-bleaching is to be sparing with shampoo.
      I am not in the garlic camp. I am sparing with olive oil, sometimes only adding a little at the end.
      Gudmundur and Mads are sparing with their words, but their answers below reveal some fascinating truths about designers working in the digital age.
      Our flat is about 900 square feet, and we're pretty sparing with the air conditioning, so electicity bills for bigger flats that are air-conditioned all summer will be far higher, e.g. 2-3K/month, or even more.
      n[U] kindness when giving a punishment, mercy
      Click here to sign the online petition to show your support for clemency for Terry.
      In 1974, President Ford also offered clemency to those who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War if they would swear allegiance and perform two years of public service.
      Similarly, those who deserted during the war could return for two years in the branch they left to achieve clemency.
      He said he regretted he did not more quickly explain that most of the people who received clemency were already out of prison and some had been for years.
      Compare clemency, commutation, pardon, and parole.
      adj that can be dissolved or solved
      Because Vitamin E is fat soluble, it is not excreted (easily) by the body.
      People take mega doses of Vitamin C (water soluble) for colds and you almost never hear of an overdose of Vitamin C.
      This is a highly soluble salt of a strong base and weak acid.
      The Constitution is not that. It enumerates not federally soluble problems, but federally available powers.
      Very well. Count the first, on or about the 28th day of April, the accused did knowingly and with malice aforethought deny access to the shared bathroom in a time of emergency, to wit, my back teeth were floating. Count the second, the accused exceeded the agreed upon occupancy of the shower, to wit, one, unless we are under attack by water-soluble aliens.
      Compare soluble and solvable.
      n[U] the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms
      Over the last 40 years, biochemistry has become so successful at explaining living processes that now almost all areas of the life sciences from botany to medicine are engaged in biochemical research.
      Today, the main focus of pure biochemistry is in understanding how biological molecules give rise to the processes that occur within living cells, which in turn relates greatly to the study and understanding of whole organisms.
      Biochemistry is closely related to molecular biology, the study of the molecular mechanisms by which genetic information encoded in DNA is able to result in the processes of life.
      Depending on the exact definition of the terms used, molecular biology can be thought of as a branch of biochemistry, or biochemistry as a tool with which to investigate and study molecular biology.
      Much of biochemistry deals with the structures, functions and interactions of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids, which provide the structure of cells and perform many of the functions associated with life.
      n[U] marriage that includes more than two partners
      When a man is married to more than one wife at a time, the relationship is called polygyny; and when a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry.
      If a marriage includes multiple husbands and wives, it can be called polyamory, group or conjoint marriage.
      Polygamy is used in related ways in social anthropology, sociology, as well as in popular speech. In contrast, monogamy is a marriage consisting of only two parties.
      Like monogamy, the term polygamy is often used in a de facto sense, applied regardless of whether the relationship is recognized by the state.
      In sociobiology and zoology, polygamy is used in a broad sense to mean any form of multiple mating.
      In countries that do not permit polygamy, a person who marries a second person while still being lawfully married is committing the crime of bigamy.
      Globally, acceptance of polygamy is common. According to the Ethnographic Atlas, of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous; 453 had occasional polygyny; 588 had more frequent polygyny; and 4 had polyandry.
      A Mormon polygamist family in 1888.
      A similar form of matrilineal, de facto polyandry can be found in the institution of walking marriage among the Mosuo of China.