Difficult Words: Caricature, Capitulate, Capricious, Castigate, Catalyst and Categorical

Difficult Words ( Caricature, Capitulate, Capricious, Castigate, Catalyst and Categorical) and their usages have been explained here in detail.

Capitulate (Kuh PICH uh LATE) v: to surrender; to give up or give in

I urged him to take off his cap. When I threatened to knock his head off, he capitulated.

On the twentieth day of the stricken, the workers capitulated and went back to work without a new contract.

To recapitulate is not to capitulate again. To recapitulate is to summarize.

Few students did not pay attention to Mr. Jones that he had to recapitulate his major points at the end of the class.


Capricious (kuh PRISH us, kuh PREE shus) adj: unpredictable; likely to change at any moment

Bill was very capricious. One minute he said his favorite car was a Chevy Caprice. The next minute he said it was a Cameo.

The weather is often said to be capricious. One minute it's snowing, the next minute it's 120 degree in the shade.

A caprice is a whim.

Penny attempted a quadruped somersault off the ten-meter diving board as a caprice. It was a painful caprice.

Caricature (KAR uh kuh Chur, KAR uh kuh choor) n: a portrait or description that is purposely distorted or exaggerated, often to prove some point about its subject

Editorial cartoonists often draw caricatures. Big noses, enormous glasses, floppy ears, and other distortions are common in such drawings. A politician who has been convicted of bribery might be depicted in a prison uniform or with a ball and chain around his ankle. If the politician has big ears to begin with, the ears might be drawn vastly bigger.

A caricature uses exaggeration to bring out the hidden character of its subject.

The word can also be used as a verb. To caricature someone is to create such a distorted portrait.


Castigate (KAS tuh GATE) v: to criticize severely, to chastise

Jim's mother-in-law castigated him for forgetting to pick her up at the airport.

Catalyst (KAT uh list) n: in chemistry, something that changes the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being changed; any thing that makes something happen without being directly involved in it.

When the mad scientist dropped a few grains of the catalysts into his test tube, the bubbling liquid began to boil furiously.

This word is often used outside the laboratory as well. The launching of Sputnik by the Russians provided the catalyst for the creation of the modern American space program.

The tragic hijacking provided the catalyst for Congress's new antiterrorist legislation.


Categorical (KAT uh GAWR I kul) adj: unconditional; absolute

A categorical denial is one without exception-it covers every category. Crooked politicians often make categorical denials of various charges against them. Then they go to jail.

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