What the heck does detente and levelheaded mean?

Words can be super fun.  What strange words do you love?  Even if they’re not very strange many of these SAT/ACT words aren’t used in normal, everyday language.  We dare you to use one of these words in one of your conversations today!  Example:  “You look serene today Julie.”   Do it for the vine?


Statuesque; adj. Unusually large or outstanding in carriage and/or demeanor.

The statuesque soap opera cast made headlines.
Surfeit; n, v.

Noun: overindulgence, as in food or drink.

An excessive amount.

The rich town was seen as having a surfeit of material goods.

Verb: to feed or supply to excess, even to the point of disgust.

She was able to surfeit canned goods to me in my time of need and now I have too many canned goods, I don’t know what to do with them.
Titanic; adj. Of or relating to something awesome or great in size or scope.

The rain hit us in titanic proportions and our basement flooded.

Acumen; n. Keenness of mind; good insight; quickness; accuracy.

Her scientific acumen is so sharp that she was chosen to work in the labs months before the rest of her class.
Acute; adj. Clever; sharp of mind; incisive.

My hearing is so acute that no whispers sneak past me.
Astute; adj. Clever and insightful; having an innate ability to understand or perceive.

My mother has an astute mind and so I always go to her for advice.
Canny; adj. Careful; shrewd; clever; wily; full of guile.

She is so canny that she gets away with everything.
Discernment; n. Keenness of insight and judgement.

I try hard to discern between what’s right and wrong.
Judicious; adj. Having sound and prudent judgement.

My father is a judicious person who leads out family with rules to keep us safe.
Keenness; n. Smartly cutting or marked by remarkable mental quickness or understanding.

I have a keen mind and so I understand people well.
Perceptive; adj. Having a keen sense of understanding and discernment.

Because I am perceptive, I understand when my friends are having a hard day.

Assuage; v. To lessen; to take the edge off; to tone down.
To assuage his hunger I gave him two granola bars until we arrived at the destination.
Appease; v. To pacify or make tranquil; to calm down or settle something or someone.

To appease the argument I separated the two.
Composed; adj. Serene and self-possessed; calm and not easily agitated.

I composed myself and then walked in the door of my new classroom, ready to take on the class.
Détente; n. A relaxing or easing of tensions between rivals, often but not always, in a political sense.

It will take years to détente my relationship with my grandparents.
Dormant; adj. Lying asleep or in a calm state, but having the suggestion of life or activity that is temporarily quiet.

When I go to sleep after my three day shift I lie dormant for the next few days.
Imperturbable; adj. Not easily shaken; calm, cool, and easygoing; slow to become excited.

I had to learn to become imperturbable when I got my new boss that is hard to deal with.
Levelheaded; adj. Usually composed and in control; not easily rattled or swayed by differing opinions.

My teacher remains levelheaded unless Jason messes around in class.
Mitigate; v. To moderate in force or intensity; to calm or cool down; to lessen in intensity.

It’s hard to mitigate some peoples anger but a thing to try is to explain the circumstances of why you let them down.
Placate; v. To appease, pacify, soothe, or make amends.

I was able to placate the baby by giving him his bottle.
Placid; adj. Undisturbed, unflappable, calm, serene, and satisfied.

I sat by the placid lake in the early morning and watched the sun rise.
Quiescent; adj. Quiet; still; at rest; serene and calm.

I am a very quiescent girl who loves to read and sit by the lake.
Repose; n, v. Noun: Quiet tranquility; the state of being at rest or asleep.

My grandma’s repose was obvious when we heard her sigh as she watched the sunset.
Serene; adj. Quiet and unperturbed; unaffected by disturbance; at peace within oneself.

The serene scene of the pasture made my anger dissolve.

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Words: Paucity to Prodigious

Use some of the words below to describe amounts: “There are SO MANY ants in our yard!”  Sounds much smarter when you say, “There’s a plethora of ants in our yard!”  Say that and you’ll get all the ladies, boys.

  • Paucity; n. Smallness of number.
  • Those in charge of the election were disappointed when they saw the paucity of voters that came.
  • Scarcity of amount.
  • There was a paucity of clean water which caused some panic.
  • Petty; adj. Trivial; of little importance.
  • I am in charge of many things an I must leave the petty details to be taken care of by others.
  • Narrow-minded; shortsighted.
  • Don’t be petty and miss the big picture while being trivial over small details.
  • Mean and grudging.
  • She’s so petty that she’s still mad at me for the wrong I did to her ten years ago.
  • Pittance; n. A very small amount, often referring to an unusually meager amount of money.
  • I only earn a pittance at my current job and that is why I’m looking for new employment.
  • Scant; adj., v. Adjective: Barely sufficient; falling short of a necessary amount; inadequately supplied.
  • Because of the weather, only a scant amount of fans came to the baseball game.
  • Verb: To shortchange or deal with something inadequately or neglectfully.
  • Because of my demanding job, I scant on time with family.
  • Mammoth; n, adj.
  • noun: a great, hairy, prehistoric, elephant-like creature.
  • I have seen a replica of the remains of a prehistoric mammoth.
  • Anything if unusual size.
  • Did you see the mammoth mosquito?


  • Adjective: enormous; of great or unusual size or proportions.
  • Driving the enormous truck was a fun experience for me.


  • Monumental; adj. Resembling a monument.
  • The monumental gathering for the opening or the store was really fun.


  • Exceptionally large, sturdy, or enduring.
  • It may seem like a monumental undertaking but I know it will be worth it to write a book.


  • Plethora; n. An excessive amount; a surplus.
  • We had a plethora of jelly beans left over from Easter.


  • Prodigious; adj. Excessively great in size, force, or content.
  • The tornado caused such prodigious wind that many trees snapped in half.


  • Exceptionally talented.
  • She is a prodigious student in her school. She especially excels in theater.


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Words, Words, Words

Virago; n. A woman who is noisy, bold, or domineering.
The man’s wife was a virago. She yelled at him all the time.

A strong, often large, courageous, and brave woman.
She is a virago who is strong in her belief of education. Because of her belief she has opened up her own school.

Brash; adj. Hasty, unthinking, and impetuous; quick to act without considering the consequences.
I made the brash decision to not call on her birthday and now she won’t talk to me.

Capricious; adj. impulsive, whimsical.
My decision to move away from home was capricious but in the end it worked out for the better.

Daring; adj. Willing to take risks; bold and venturesome, sometimes without much sense.
It was daring of me to cliff jump into the ocean.

Derring-do; n. A reckless, daring, or careless action.
My action to skip school was a derring-do.

Plucky; adj. Having or displaying courage, tenacity, and resourcefulness under difficult or trying circumstances.

I will demonstrate my plucky approach to life by laughing all the time throughout my trial of infertility.
Resolute; adj. Firm, determined, and unwavering.
I am resolute in my determination to finish reading this book. I will do it.

Stalwart; adj. Strong, bold, daring, firm, and resolute; having determination and a stick-to-it attitude.
I will stand stalwart in my decision to work from home.

Steadfast; adj. Steady and reliable; dependable even during trying or dangerous times.
She stood steadfast in her value of not doing illegal things. She left the party quickly.

Tenacious; adj. Holding tight; not letting go or yielding to the opposition.
I will not believe he doesn’t love me. I am tenacious in my belief that he still cares.

Valiant; adj. Brave; full of valor and courage.
The valiant soldier did not run but stayed to fight.


Audacious; adj. Fearlessly bold; possibly even foolhardy and daring.

Her audacious behavior was helpful when she needed to stand up for her value.

Unrestrained by convention or propriety; insolent.
Her audacious outburst embarrassed me at dinner.

Spirited and original.
She is audacious in her bohemian style.
Bravado; n. A tendency toward showy defiance or false expressions of courage.
At the haunted house, I displayed bravado even though I was terrified.

Dauntless; adj. Not easily intimidated; courageous and brave.
I wish to be more dauntless and ask him out on a date.
Defiance; n. Bold resistance; brave opposition.
He withstood the bullying defiantly.

Arrogant attitude, often rude and dismissive.
He acted in complete defiance as he left and broke the rule.

Fortitude; n. Showing great strength and bravery under adverse conditions such as pain and torture.
I admired how she pressed forward with such fortitude during her trials.

Gallant; adj. Bold and dashing.
The gallant prince carried me over the mud puddle.

Bravely daring; selflessly courageous.
They made a gallant attempt to save the girl but with no success.

Stately; majestic; seemingly regal in demeanor.
That gallant china doll was very expensive.
Intrepid; adj. Courageous; acting with much determination and little fear.
She was an intrepid person to be one of the first to settle in Nevada.

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