I've undertaken to read the dictionary while I'm at work (specifically, the Oxford American Desk Dictionary & Thesaurus, Third Edition*). Here are some of my favorite words that start with A. I've shortened, lengthened, or otherwise improved their definitions, to avoid infringement and inspire wonder!
(in psychology) pertaining to the release of repressed emotion through revisiting past experience.
(in memoirs) boring, quite likely solipsistic.
allowing oneself little or no food, booze & satisfaction in general
(of a Christian) not fun to be with, probably Pelagian.
the language of academic writers, characterized by arcane usage conventions & affected diction
e.g., Just pick a scholastic article from any field.
unpleasantly bitter or acidic
(of espresso) less than 97% perfect
sharpness of thought & perception
(of an egg) rotten
refer to something as evidence
"The article adduced irrelevant statistics in support of its claims."
1. the part of the tonsils where nose meets throat
2. 1st name of Charlie Chaplin's Hitler burlesque in "The Great Dictator"
3. a minor character (also representing Hitler) in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow
a young, very handsome motherfucker
intentionally vague / presented in outline
"The writer's early efforts at exposition were dull and adumbrative."
an artificial action or style designed to impress
e.g. everything middle school kids ever do, listening to Animal Collective, hating on Animal Collective fans, fashion in general, undertaking to read the dictionary
to stick firmly
(like, with glue I guess.)
eager to see / hear something
|me at the Sasquatch festival in central WA|
not serious about something others are taking seriously
(also) the only helpful attitude for dealing with these psychos.
transliteration of the letter H
egg-white. that is all.
1. depending on chance
2. (in music) composed, produced or performed with random elements
e.g. the guitar solo (starting @ 1:26) personifying the mayfly on "Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair" by Sufjan Stevens
able to walk
"Wanna go for a run?" "Sorry bro, I'm non-ambulatory at the moment."
apt to criticize or pass judgment
e.g. Holden Caulfield, debating politicians, Mark Driscoll, me most of the time
unlikely to cause offense
"The King's Speech was rated R." "What? That movie's totes anodyne!"
apologia pro vita sua [n.]
"a defense of one's life"
to be avoided when: giving a commencement address, preaching a sermon, accepting an award; also on most other occasions
e.g., most John Goodman characters
highest level of something's development
"You might be a hipster if: you think 'The Lonesome Crowded West' is the apotheosis of Modest Mouse's career."
snarky term for a bureaucrat
(of a person's nose) curved like an eagle's beak
e.g., "Shark, shark."
door- or window-frame
"Dope dreamcatcher yo! Imma hang that motha from the architrave."
circular area of darker skin around a human nipple
e.g., everyone's nipples, except the Italian girl in Godfather I. Srsly; look it up.
member of the nouveau riche
(a useful insult for someone whose ability to not be poor makes you jealous)
1. straightforward & sincere
2. of someone who just had all their art stolen (not really)
ascorbic acid [n.]
"Hit me up with summa that ascorbic acid, homes: don't want no scurvy."
with a suspicious/disapproving look
pronounce a word with an H-sound at the start
secret meeting, esp. between lovers
e.g., Snake & Queerman
inherited from cave men
e.g., (definitely:) propensity for procreation & protecting your offspring, desire to eat meat; (probably:) fear of snakes, impulse to pee off bridges, appreciation of music, aversion to country music.
(generally) of / resembling gold
(of language) pointlessly elaborate
the external part of the ear
"Check out her auricles' aureate appurtenances." (see what I did there?)
kind/friendly toward someone younger
"You're letting Patrice babysit?" "Hell yeah; homeboy's avuncular as shit!"
A-word usage notes:
accusative - (linguistics) the case applying to the object of a verb
accusatory - engaging in or prone to accusation
adz - an axe with an curved blade
ADZ - "Anno Domini Z": Sufjan's acronym for the end times.
aesthetic - concerning beauty/art
ascetic - forgoing pleasure in one's life (by choice)
asthetic - [not a word]
AM - amplitude modulation
am - 1st person singular conjugation of "be"
a.m. - in the morning
Apocalypse - the total destruction of the world, as described in the book of Revelation
Armageddon - (in the New testament) the final battle between good and evil, before the Day of Judgment
apocalypse - a catastrophically destructive event
armageddon - a conflict (i.e. war) of sufficient scale to destroy the world or the human race
arrant - total, absolute ("The gnostic gospels are arrant nonsense.")
errant - being in error ("The gnostic gospels are historically & theologically errant.")
Did I forget your favorite A-word? Submit an entry for Jon's Dictionary in the comments!
*Not all of these words appear in the OAD&T 3rd ed.; nor do they necessarily carry equivalent definitions here. This isn't probably a very useful GRE study tool.