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Portend means indicate; an omen or sign of something to come.
For example, “Keith felt that the weak sales figures in the first quarter portended even more financial trouble the rest of the year.”
Cacophony means a harsh, grating mixture of sounds.
For example, “The cacophony of voices coming from the break room made Keith decide to eat lunch in the parking lot.”
Abstruse means difficult to comprehend.
For example, “The instructions on how to set up the new printer were so abstruse that Keith slammed the printer manual down and walked away.”
Wordy, convoluted, unclear writing has been a problem for centuries in both the public and private sectors. But the federal government took a big step to address the issue by passing the Plain Writing Act of 2010. Simply put, the Act states that every document a federal employee writes that will be read by a taxpayer must be written in plain English. Here are some of the highlights of the Act:
- The purpose of this Act is to improve the effectiveness and accountability of Federal agencies to the public by promoting clear Government communication that the public can understand and use.
- The head of each agency shall designate one or more senior officials within the agency to oversee the agency implementation of this Act, communicate the requirements of this Act to the employees of the agency, and train employees of the agency in plain writing.
- Agencies will also create and maintain a plain writing section of the agency’s website that is accessible from the homepage of the agency’s website.
- Beginning not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, each agency shall use plain writing in every document the agency issues or substantially revises.
Perspicacious means keen, having acute mental vision or discernment.
For example, “Keith was perspicacious about the challenges facing the company, and wrote a report detailing what he felt could be done to address the problems.”
Enervate means to weaken, to cause someone or thing to feel drained of energy.
For example, ” Missing his quarterly sales quota did not enervate Keith, in fact it had the opposite effect and spurred him to action.”
Approbation means commendation, praise.
For example, “Keith constantly sought the approbation of his colleagues.”
Cumulate means to gather or combine, pile in a heap.
For example, “Keith asked the intern to cumulate the sales reports for the last three years.”
Clement means inclined to be merciful, lenient; not severe, mild.
For example, “Keith appreciated the clement attitude of the police officer who pulled him over for speeding.”
Venal means corrupt, able to be bribed.
For example, “Though only a small number of politicians have been convicted of taking money, Keith believed that all politicians were venal.”