KA WORDCAST Passages: Lesson 7

KA WORDCAST Passages: Lesson 7

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Passages Lesson 7 Reading Passage

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KA WORDCAST Passages: Lesson 7

Today we will be looking at nine key words from the reading passage in Lesson 7 of KA’s Passages textbook.  The reading comes from a short story by Dorothy Parker entitled “The Standard of Living.”  Parker (1893–1967) was an American poet, critic, and short-story writer who wrote satirically about urban life in the first half of the 20th century.  She was as well known for her witty remarks and conversational skills as she was for her poetry and fiction.  For example, she once said, “I don’t care what is written about me as long as it isn’t true.”  In the 1940s and 1950s, Dorothy Parker worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, and two of her screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards.  She was also politically active, campaigning for civil rights and feminist causes.  “The Standard of Living” is the story of two rather silly young office workers named Annabel and Midge.  They dream of a better life filled with fame, fortune, and romance.  They spend all of their free time together, often playing a familiar old game, but with a new twist.

To listen to a recording of the passage, please tune in to the KA Voicecast website.



Annabel had invented the game; or rather she had EVOLVED it from an old one.

EVOLVE is a verb that means to develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form.  Synonyms include grow, advance, progress, and change over time.  It is usually used intransitively, as in the following:

From its beginnings in the early eighties as a large, cumbersome instrument, the mobile phone has now EVOLVED into the small, flat, pocket device that we all know and love today.

Jared Diamond’s book explains how environment and resources availability allowed some nations to EVOLVE into highly developed industrial powers.

I am reporting live from NASA headquarters, where the situation is EVOLVING rapidly as data flows in from the Mars probe, which has just landed on the surface of the Red Planet.

Britain’s Parliamentary system of government was not planned or designed, but EVOLVED naturally out of the needs of the monarch, his government, and the people.

EVOLVE can also be used as a transitive verb with a direct object, as in:

We have now EVOLVED a system that allows people to register as organ donors on a central database so that matches can be made quickly when organs become available.

I think it was Toyota that first EVOLVED the “just in time” manufacturing method whereby parts are brought to the production line only as needed.

In biology, EVOLVE is used to talk about living things that change over time from one form to another.

Paleontologists now agree that modern birds EVOLVED from dinosaurs.

Though many of us believe that human beings have stopped EVOLVING, that is simply not the case; we are changing and developing all the time, albeit nearly imperceptibly.

There are two adjective forms, EVOLVED and EVOLVING.

These highly EVOLVED solar panels are efficient and inexpensive to produce and could be the answer to all our energy needs.

In this EVOLVING incident, police have now surrounded the warehouse where the twenty people are being held and are negotiating the hostages’ release with the terrorists.

The noun EVOLUTION is defined as the process by which something EVOLVES or changes from one form or condition to another.  The word is used in biology, computer science, and many other fields.

When Charles Darwin published his theory of the EVOLUTION of species, in 1859, religious leaders condemned it for disputing the Biblical “creation” story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.

Japan’s remarkable EVOLUTION from a feudal society to a modern, industrialized world power took less than 100 years.

This new “biography” of the computer traces its EVOLUTION from the invention of the abacus in China some 5,000 years ago, through Charles Babbage’s 19th-century computing machine, to the incredibly complex machines we have today.

The adjective form is EVOLUTIONARY.

Darwin theorized that the EVOLUTIONARY process is carried on by what he called natural selection, that is, the process whereby species adapt to their environment in order to survive.



According to Midge’s INNOVATIONS, the eccentric who died and left you the money was not anybody you loved, or, for the matter of that, anybody you even knew.

In this sentence, INNOVATION is a noun meaning invention, creation, introduction, or fabrication.  It comes from the verb INNOVATE, which we’ll look at first.  INNOVATE means to make or think up something new (the root word “nov” is Latin for new).  Synonyms include invent, create, introduce, and fabricate.  A popular phrase these days that means to INNOVATE is “think outside he box.”

Smartphone makers must INNOVATE continuously to remain competitive.

The CEO was stubborn and resistant to change, and his company’s failure to diversify and INNOVATE eventually led to its downfall.

We were having flooding problems in our back yard until our gardener INNOVATED an ingenious drainage system for us.

It is the author’s ability to INNOVATE fantastically complex plots and to create realistic, relevant characters that keeps young readers enthralled.

The noun INNOVATION means the action or result of INNOVATING.  Synonyms include invention, creation, and fabrication.

In the old days, Japanese products were produced more through imitation than INNOVATION, but of course, that is no longer true.

The Amish people of Pennsylvania and Ohio try to live simply without modern conveniences and INNOVATIONS.

Our new line of household appliances features the latest technological INNOVATIONS designed to save you time, energy, and money.

The adjective form is INNOVATIVE (or its less commonly used synonym, INNOVATIONAL), which is used to describe people and/or things that show INNOVATION, invention, or creativity.

Wow, that’s a fantastic model you’ve built there.  What a clever design!  How INNOVATIVE!

Here at gadgets r us, you will find tools and devices that are cheaper yet more INNOVATIVE than any similar products you will find anywhere else.

Given our nation’s high level of unemployment, it is high time the government came up with INNOVATIVE ways to help get the jobless back to work.

The exhibit showcases six artists who have taken discarded materials and recycled them in INNOVATIVE ways into authentic works of art. 

The adverb form is INNOVATIVELY.

When I asked you to come up with a new ad campaign, Peter, I expected you to think more INNOVATIVELY and to approach the assignment more conscientiously.

INNOVATOR is a noun meaning someone who innovates.  Synonyms include groundbreaker, pioneer, inventor, and modernizer.

Tim Berners Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web, is one INNOVATOR who has changed the world in a profound way but whose name is still not well known to the average person.

Welcome to our school’s annual Science Day Awards Presentation.  Today, we are honoring five student INNOVATORS who have done outstanding work in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and ecology.



The game could be played anywhere, and indeed, was, but the great shop windows STIMULATED the two players to their best form.

The verb STIMULATE means to encourage (something or someone) to start or progress further.  Synonyms include encourage, motivate, induce, prompt, and spur.

The project aims to support the expansion of small businesses, which in turn will create new jobs and STIMULATE the local economy.

The book club discussion points at the back of this new biography of the actress Angelina Jolie are intended to encourage critical reading and STIMULATE lively debate.

We have initiated a comprehensive profit-sharing program that we believe will STIMULATE productivity and promote corporate loyalty.

It was a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art when I was in middle school that STIMULATED my interest in the impressionist painters and led to my becoming a curator.

Pre-school education at St. Martha’s Preparatory School will STIMULATE your child and foster in him or her a life-long passion for learning.

Dan Brown’s bestselling thriller novel The Da Vinci Code will STIMULATE and win over even the most sceptical reader.

In medicine or animal research, STIMULATE can also mean to increase the activity of a body part or organ.  Synonyms include arouse, energize, activate, and excite.

There is no miracle way to STIMULATE hair growth, and any products that claim to “cure baldness” are lying.

So-called brain foods are thought to STIMULATE mental function in some way and to improve cognition and memory.

Dangerous or high-stress situations STIMULATE the adrenal glands to produce adrenalin, causing our hearts to beat faster and blood to flow faster.

STIMULATING is an adjective that describes something or someone that inspires enthusiasm, action, and so on.  Synonyms include exciting, inspiring, stirring, provoking, and rousing.

The annual Invention Convention is fascinating as well as STIMULATING in that what is on display can inspire inventors to greater innovation.

Though my new job doesn’t pay as well as the last, I am much happier here because of the office’s friendly and STIMULATING working environment.

STIMULATING (and its less commonly used synonyms, STIMULATIVE and STIMULATORY) can also mean making one feel refreshed and energetic.  Synonyms include invigorating, bracing, and revitalizing.

At the end of a long, hard day at work, I find a quick dip in the ocean to be both STIMULATING and relaxing.

Today we are unveiling our new and improved line of all-natural energy drinks with a STIMULATIVE effect twice as powerful as any other on the market.

Coffee and tea have been consumed for millennia for their STIMULATORY effect as well as their taste.

STIMULATINGLY is the adverb form that describes something done in a manner that spurs, motivates, or invigorates.

The labor union representative spoke STIMULATINGLY to his assembled co-workers, urging them to demand better working conditions.

STIMULATION is a noun meaning the act of provoking something or someone into action.

A low growl from the sheepdog was enough STIMULATION to spur the sheep up the hill and into the enclosure.

For teachers of mixed ability classes, providing the more gifted students with enough STIMULATION to keep them from getting bored is a real challenge.

A STIMULANT is something that provokes or causes some sort of reaction.

A summer spent working at a boring menial job acted as a STIMULANT for Olivia, motivating her to take her college studies more seriously and to work harder towards her goal.

Mentally drained after his last final exam and in need of a STIMULANT, John put his favorite tunes on his iPod and played air guitar around his dormitory room.

STIMULANT can also mean a drug that temporarily makes us feel more energetic or alert.

Some herbal concoctions may be effective as STIMULANTS for ADHD.

Alcohol may seem to be a STIMULANT, but it is actually a depressant.

STIMULUS is a noun meaning any information or event that acts to arouse action of some sort.  Synonyms include incentive, spur, encouragement, impetus, and provocation.

Falling interest rates could act as a STIMULUS to the housing market, encouraging apprehensive first-time home-buyers to take the plunge.

Many people believe that children need the STIMULUS of competition to make them do well at school.

The school had a visit from an Olympic gymnast, which acted as a positive STIMULUS for my son, who had been struggling to find a sport he wanted to pursue.

Luke’s new friend Harry seems to be a negative STIMULUS or influence, because every time Luke spends time with him, Luke starts to behave really badly.



According to Midge’s innovations, the ECCENTRIC who died and left you the money was not anybody you loved, or, for the matter of that, anybody you even knew.

The word ECCENTRIC can be used as an adjective and as a noun, as in the sentence from the passage.  As an adjective it means conspicuously unconventional or unusual in behavior.  Synonyms include odd, strange, bizarre, off-the-wall, and outlandish.

Wait until you meet Mr. Lacroix, an ECCENTRIC character in our apartment building who has a pet python and always dresses in a zookeeper’s outfit.

Sadly, Harvey’s mother was diagnosed with dementia after her increasingly ECCENTRIC behavior led Harvey to get her assessed by a doctor.

As a noun, an ECCENTRIC is a person who acts in ways (though not criminal or anti-social) that deviate or are different from society’s accepted rules of behavior or norms.  Synonyms include character and nonconformist.  Some informal synonyms are weirdo, oddball, and freak.

My uncle Isaac is a real ECCENTRIC, an English gentleman whose oddball behavior can be as irritating as it is charming.

The old lady ECCENTRIC who lived down the street died and left all her wealth and worldly possessions to her beloved cat, much to the chagrin of her nephew, who had cared for her for years.

ECCENTRICALLY is an adverb meaning in an unusual manner.  Synonyms include bizarrely, strangely, and irregularly.

Behaving ECCENTRICALLY seems to be almost a right of passage for teenagers these days.

Perhaps most ECCENTRICALLY of all, my weird friend Zoe insists on allowing her poodle to sit at the dinner table with her and her family for their evening meal.

ECCENTRICITY is a noun meaning the quality of being ECCENTRIC.  Synonyms include unconventionality, unorthodoxy, singularity, oddness, queerness, strangeness, weirdness, and quirkiness.

Sometimes I think Jane’s behavior is not genuine ECCENTRICITY at all, but just an act to get attention.

For years, Frances put up with her husband’s many ECCENTRICITIES, including his almost pathological hoarding, but eventually they became too much for her.



There lay the HAZARD of the game.

The noun HAZARD is a synonym for danger.  Other synonyms include jeopardy, peril, risk, and threat.

Are you aware of the HAZARDS of white water rafting?  Are you sure you want to make this trip down the Snake River?

The hidden rocks beneath the sea along the coastline in this area present a real HAZARD to shipping.

HAZARD used as a verb means 1) to put forward a guess or opinion despite the likelihood of facing criticism, disapproval, or failure; 2) to put at risk; 3) to take a risk in the hope of a favorable outcome.  Synonyms include jeopardize, risk, endanger, threaten, guess, suggest, and speculate.  Here are some examples.

“How old is Hillary Clinton?”  “I’m not sure, but if I may HAZARD a guess, I’d say she is nearing seventy.”

I told my daughter Greta that she was HAZARDING her reputation by running around with wild girls like Patsy and Kathy.

If you want to get to Omaha quickly, you could HAZARD a trip over the mountains, but at this time of year, the safest route is to drive around the long way.

HAZARDOUS is an adjective meaning involving great risk.  Synonyms include dangerous, risky, unsafe, precarious, and perilous.

Mother, these stairs are HAZARDOUS.   I’m going to talk to your landlord and get him to repair them.

It is both expensive and HAZARDOUS to send workers out to offshore wind farms to make repairs when there is a mechanical failure.

Working on a crab fishing boat in the Bering Sea is one of the most HAZARDOUS ways on Earth to make a living.

The HAZARDOUS wastes that had been illegally dumped in the lake killed off all its fish and was found to be the source of many local residents’ mysterious illness.

HAZARDOUSLY is an adverb meaning in a dangerous manner.  Synonyms include riskily and perilously.

The rope bridge swung HAZARDOUSLY back and forth as Jasmine struggled to make it to the other side of the ravine.

Walking home from the theater, Mark and Emma were nearly knocked down by a cyclist who careered HAZARDOUSLY along the sidewalk.

HAZARDOUSNESS is a noun that means the state of being dangerous.  Synonyms include perilousness and riskiness.

This trial run by professionals will be used to determine the HAZARDOUSNESS of the obstacle course.

I must emphasize the HAZARDOUSNESS of the rescue attempt, but if you still want to volunteer, the rescue team will be leaving in 15 minutes. 

HAZARD LIGHTS are the lights on a vehicle that blink to indicate that the vehicle poses a danger.

If your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, you should turn on your HAZARD LIGHTS, particularly if there is limited visibility because of fog or darkness.



Always the girls went to walk on Fifth Avenue on their free afternoons, for it was the IDEAL ground for their favorite game.

Here, IDEAL is used as an adjective to describe something that is a standard or model of perfection or excellence.  Synonyms include perfect, exemplary, and faultless.

The meadow at the Ashridge National Trust Estate, surrounded by nature and far away from traffic or other dangers, is an IDEAL place for children to play and run free.

Sunday was IDEAL kite-flying weather, so Tim and the children headed straight up to the heath with their kites. 

The university’s Careers Counseling Center is dedicated to helping soon-to-be graduates find their IDEAL life’s work.

As the hardest substance known, diamond is IDEAL for cutting through all sorts of other hard materials.

IDEAL is also a noun.  It means something that is perfect or the best than be expected.  Synonyms include epitome, standard, dream, and last word.

The Times food critic called that new restaurant on the corner of Main and Vine the IDEAL in fine Thai dining.

The IDEAL, of course, is total disarmament, but if that isn’t possible, let’s at least try to keep such weapons of mass destruction from proliferating.

The adverb form is IDEALLY.  It is most commonly used to modify or describe position or qualifications, as in:

The house is IDEALLY located near shops and only five minutes from a subway station.

With her education and experience, Margaret is IDEALLY qualified to replace Norman as head of the department. 

As a sentence modifier, IDEALLY is used to show that what a person really wants (usually a goal or attainment of some sort) may be difficult to obtain or achieve.

IDEALLY, I would like to specialize as a brain surgeon, but that would require many more years of study, and I simply can’t afford it.

IDEALLY, by this time next year, I will have saved enough money to make a down payment on a flat of my own.

IDEALISM is a noun that means a way of thinking or seeing life in a positive, optimistic light.  IDEALISM can also mean elevated ideas or conduct.  Synonyms include high-mindedness and noble-mindedness.

Not even the disappointment he felt over his inability to turn his progressive ideas into effective public policy could crush the president’s IDEALISM.

IDEALISM can also be used to mean the habit of seeing things in their most perfect form rather than as they really are.  Synonyms include impracticality and romanticism.

Mary was driven to become a social worker by her IDEALISM, but this same IDEALISM often prevented her from being effective, as she failed to grasp the realities of life for her clients.

IDEALISTIC is an adjective meaning relating to or having the nature of an IDEALIST of IDEALISM.  Synonyms include perfectionist, romantic, optimist, visionary, and starry-eyed.

Newly elected Representative Noonan arrived in Congress filled with IDEALISTIC notions about how he was going to change the world, but he soon learned that such notions are difficult to put into practice.

My mother’s friend Dorothy had suffered through one family tragedy after another, but she remained cheerful and IDEALISTIC to the end.

Unless you buckle down and start studying, your plans to go to a prestigious Ivy League school are IDEALISTIC, to say the least.

Considering the current state of the economy, your proposed budget is far too, shall we say, IDEALISTIC to be feasible.

An IDEALIST is a person who adheres to or follows such IDEALISTIC ways of thinking or acting.

As an IDEALIST, I refuse to give up my belief that people are essentially good and that the world can be made a better place.

We need a realist for this job who can get things done, not an IDEALIST who dreams of better things.

The verb IDEALIZE means to see or regard someone or something as the best there is.

Young people often IDEALIZE the job of a professional athlete, overlooking the fact that such success takes years of hard work and dedication.

This is not a biography at all, but a hagiography that IDEALIZES its subject and ignores his faults.

IDEALIZATION is the noun form.

The urban dweller’s IDEALIZATION of life in remote rural communities is often carried out in ignorance of the harsh realities of living there.

By the way, IDEALISM, as opposed to materialism, is the philosophical position that ideas are the only reality and that all reality is mentally constructed.



These embroideries permitted Annabel and Midge to play their game in the LUXURY of peaceful consciences.

LUXURY as a noun means something nonessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort, or something expensive or hard to obtain. Synonyms include indulgence, treat, extravagance, frill, and non-essential.

Julia was a busy wife and mother whose half hour of sitting at the kitchen table and reading the morning papers while sipping on a latte was a little LUXURY that she never wanted to go without.

The LUXURY of a full night’s sleep seemed like a distant memory to Alicia as she woke up once again to feed her new baby son.

Movie tickets have become so expensive that they are no longer a form of cheap family entertainment but a LUXURY that many families cannot afford.

When my husband’s salary was reduced, our income plunged, and we had to learn to live without LUXURIES.

The noun LUXURY can also mean sumptuous living or surroundings. Synonyms include opulence, splendor, extravagance, affluence, and hedonism.

Having lived in LUXURY all her life, Sian was disdainful of the basic accommodation provided at her university hall of residence.

Rather than opt to live a life of LUXURY and ostentatious consumption like so many lottery winners, Mr. Poole continued with his old job and old lifestyle as if nothing had changed.

When used as an adjective, LUXURY means something that provides LUXURY.

The White Sands Island Resort has accommodation to suit almost every budget, from our rustic cabins to our top-of-the-line LUXURY villas.

Many endangered animal species are those that have pelts that are made into fur coats and hats and other LUXURY goods.

The automobile manufacturer dropped out of the LUXURY vehicle market to concentrate on producing its new affordable, all-electric, environment-friendly models.

LUXURIOUS is an adjective meaning marked by LUXURY.  Synonyms include extravagant and rich.

Emily was overwhelmed when she first visited her boyfriend’s parents’ home, which was huge and full of LUXURIOUS furniture and valuable works of art.

I tried to persuade my friend Darcy to come camping with us, but she screwed up her nose at the prospect and said, “I prefer more LUXURIOUS holidays, I’m afraid.”

LUXURIOUSLY is the adverb form.  Synonyms include extravagantly and richly.

Sam and Sue had been living LUXURIOUSLY and well beyond their means for a long time, and now, financial disaster was imminent.

The parade float was LUXURIOUSLY decorated with a million cherry blossoms and thousands of tiny colored lights.

The noun form is LUXURIOUSNESS.  Synonyms include sumptuousness, opulence, and luxury.

The LUXURIOUSNESS of the hotel honeymoon suite took the young bride’s breath away.

The adjective LUXURIANT means showing rich growth and is most often used to describe vegetation.  Synonyms include lush, dense, and abundant.

The jungle along the river had a LUXURIANT growth of orchids that delighted the people on the tour boat.

With her green thumb, Laura always has the most LUXURIANT garden in the neighborhood.

LUXURIANT can also mean very elaborate or ornate.  Synonyms include fancy, rococo, extravagant, flamboyant and sumptuous.

Waddesdon Manor in the Buckinghamshire countryside was built between 1874 and 1889 in the LUXURIANT style of a French chateau by the French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur.



Like all games it was all the more ABSORBING for being more difficult.

ABSORBING is an adjective that comes from the verb ABSORB.  ABSORB has a number of subtly different meanings.  First, in its most literal meaning, ABSORB means to take something (often a liquid of some sort) in.  Synonyms include soak up, adsorb, and sponge up.

This paper towel will ABSORB more spilled liquid than any other towel you can buy.

Refined sugars are ABSORBED into the blood stream very quickly, giving us a temporary rush of energy.

ABSORB can also mean to retain (radiation or sound, for example) wholly, without reflection or transmission.  Synonyms include cushion, suppress, soften, pillow, bolster, stifle, and dampen.

The sound-proofing was extremely successful in ABSORBING all of the noise from outside the booth, enabling the hearing tests to be conducted without interference.

Springstep Footwear uses its patented design to provide you with running shoes that will protect your knee joints by ABSORBING the impact from every step you take.

Always use sun block to ABSORB the sun’s rays and to help prevent skin cancer.

A car bumper that ABSORBS impact is an essential safety feature in all automobiles manufactured these days.

ABSORB can also be used figuratively to mean to occupy someone’s full attention.  Synonyms include engross, hold the interest of, involve, arrest, and occupy.

The students were all ABSORBED by their own experiments and failed to notice the smoke rising from Aaron’s test tube.

Linda had not expected to enjoy working as a legal assistant so much, but she found that the job ABSORBED her more completely than she could ever have imagined.

Kate was so ABSORBED in reading a new mystery novel when Angus got home that she failed to notice him come in and was given quite a fright when he said “Hello.”

ABSORB can mean to consume, use, spend, waste, employ, drain, or exhaust.

Work ABSORBED all my mother’s time, keeping her from the piano and the music she loved so much.

The triathlon ABSORBED every last ounce of Joe’s energy, leaving him completely exhausted but also exhilarated when he crossed the finish line.

The election campaign ABSORBED vast amounts of money that put the candidate deeply in debt, which led to his being tempted by bribes after he was elected.

ABSORBED can also mean to be successfully taken in or accepted, as in the following:

Thanks to the mayor’s and city council’s policy of encouraging tolerance and acceptance, the recently arrived immigrants have been smoothly ABSORBED into the community.

The drilling company was ABSORBED into the mining conglomerate with minimal disruption to the former’s ongoing business.

ABSORB can also mean to learn.  Synonyms include acquire, assimilate, digest, comprehend, and grasp.

Walt found his new job highly stressful because there was much to ABSORB in so little time.

Professor Jenkins packed so much information into his lectures that the students were always hard put to ABSORB everything.

ABSORB can also mean to pay for or assume the cost of something.  Synonyms include take over.

Just this once, I will ABSORB the costs your error has caused us, but make sure this never happens again.

ABSORBENT is an adjective meaning capable of ABSORBING.

Fried foods should be laid out onto ABSORBENT kitchen paper so that the excess fat can be soaked up.

The adjective ABSORBABLE describes something that can be soaked or sponged up.

With this incredible new tablecloth, any spilled liquid is instantly ABSORBABLE and any stain quickly and easily removable.

The noun ABSORBABILITY means the capacity to be ABSORBED.

Our chemistry teacher had us conduct an experiment to determine the different ABSORBABILITIES of different materials.



These embroideries permitted Annabel and Midge to play their game in the luxury of peaceful CONSCIENCES.

The noun CONSCIENCE means the motivation that comes from the ethical or moral principles that govern our actions.  Synonyms include moral sense, scruples, compunction, and sense of right and wrong.

Unlike many of his unscrupulous colleagues, Howard’s CONSCIENCE would not allow him to lie to his customers in order to make a sale.

Melissa’s CONSCIENCE forced her to go to the police and confess everything.

I have battled with my CONSCIENCE over whether to tell you this, but I can no longer keep silent: I read your diary.

CONSCIENCE can also mean conformity to what a person believes to be correct conduct.

In an ideal world, our leaders would be people with an unflagging CONSCIENCE who would always do the right thing.

I try to teach my children to follow their CONSCIENCES and to treat people as the children themselves would like to be treated.

Voting according to one’s CONSCIENCE can sometimes mean that the outcome is for the greater public good rather than for one’s own personal benefit.

Finally, CONSCIENCE means a feeling of shame when you do something ethically or morally wrong.  Synonyms include guilt, regret, remorse, and contrition.

My CONSCIENCE kept me awake at night after I went out with my best friend’s boyfriend behind her back.

CONSCIENCE-STRICKEN is an adjective meaning feeling anxious or guilty for having behaved badly.

Weeks later, Kerrie was still CONSCIENCE-STRICKEN about her angry, jealous outburst at the senior prom.  Would she never be able to forgive herself?  Would she never live it down?

A GUILTY CONSCIENCE is a feeling of remorse for having dome something wrong. Synonyms include guilt feelings, guilt trip, and compunction.

Erin couldn’t shake her GUILTY CONSCIENCE over the way she had spoken to the waitress at the diner.  She had been really rude to her just because she was having a bad day.

To have a CLEAR CONSCIENCE is to feel that you have done nothing wrong.

Bert’s getting fired has nothing to do with me, and I can say that with a CLEAR CONSCIENCE.

CONSCIENTIOUS is an adjective that means characterized by extreme care and effort.  Synonyms include painstaking, careful, hard-working, and scrupulous. CONSCIENTIOUS also means guided by a sense of right or wrong or according to one’s CONSCIENCE.  CONSCIENTIOUSLY is the adverb form.

I recommend Suzanne for the position of assistant manager.  She is our most CONSCIENTIOUS worker. Nothing is too much trouble for her, and she does everything with the utmost care. 

Matt studied CONSCIENTIOUSLY for the final, but despite his best efforts, he only managed to get a low C.

Even though she had been sworn to secrecy, Charlotte made the CONSCIENTIOUS decision to tell the teachers that her best friend Victoria was being bullied.

Paul CONSCIENTIOUSLY withdrew his name from consideration for the position of student representative because he had to admit to himself that Margaret would put more time and effort into it.

For your information, a CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR is someone who refuses to serve in the armed forces because he or she objects to war and killing.

And by the way, don’t make the mistake of confusing CONSCIENCE and CONSCIENTIOUSNESS with CONSCIOUS and CONSCIOUSNESS.  The latter two have to do with being aware of oneself and one’s surroundings.  In medicine, CONSCIOUS means being awake or not in a coma.

“Let me know the minute the patient becomes CONSCIOUS again,” the doctor ordered.

“Has my husband regained CONSCIOUSNESS?” his wife asked the attending nurse. 

Are you CONSCIOUS of the audience when you are performing, or are you so deeply into character that you don’t even notice them?

CONSCIOUS can also mean deliberate or intentional.

Sheila made the CONSCIOUS decision to be less aggressive and demanding in her relations with those who worked under her.


Tune in next week for new words from Passages: Lesson 8!