Difficult Words: Comprise, Conciliatory, Concise, Concord, Concurrent and Condescend

Difficult Words: Comprise, Conciliatory, Concise, Concord, Concurrent and Condescend

Comprise (kum PRIZE) v: to consist of

A football team comprises eleven players on offense and eleven players on defense.

A company comprises employees of various educational backgrounds.

This word is very often misused. Be careful. Players do not comprise a football team, and employees do not comprise a company. Nor can a football team be comprised of players. Not can a company be comprised of employees. These are very common mistakes. Instead, you can say the players constitute or compose a team and that employees constitute or compose a company. You can also say that a team consists of players or a company consists of employees.


Conciliatory (kun SIL ee uh tarr ee) adj: making peace, attempting to resolve a dispute through goodwill

To be conciliatory is to kiss and make up. Come on, be conciliatory.

The warring countries were conciliatory at the treaty conference.

After dinner at the all-you-can-eat pancake house, the divorced couple began to feel conciliatory so they flew to Las Vegas and were remarried.

When peace has been made, we say that the warring parties have come to reconciliation.

To reconcile is to bring two things into agreement.

The accountant managed to reconcile the company books with cash on hand only with great creativity.


Concise (kun SISE) adj: brief and to the point; succinct

The scientist’s explanation was concise. It was brief and it helped us understand the difficult concept.

To be concise is to say much with few words.

A concise speaker is one who speaks concisely or who speaks with concision.


Concord (KON kawrd) n: harmony; agreement

Nations that live in concord are nations that live together in peace.

The War between the neighboring tribes ended thirty years of concord.

The faculty meeting was marked by concord. No one yelled at anyone else.

Discord is the opposite of concord.

A faculty meeting where everyone yelled at one another would be a faculty meeting marked by discord. It would be discordant meeting.


Concurrent (kun KUR unt) adj: happening at the same time; parallel

The criminal was sentenced to two concurrent fifteen-year sentences. The sentences will run at the same time and he will be out of jail in fifteen years.

High prices, falling demand and poor weather were three concurrent trends that made life especially difficult for popcorn farmers last month.

To concur means to agree. The assistant wanted to keep his job, so he always concurred with his boss.


Condescend (KON di send) v: to stoop to someone else's level, usually in an offensive way; to patronize

I was surprised that the president of the company had condescended to talk with me, a mere temporary employee.

Many grown-ups make the mistake of condescending to young children who usually prefer to be treated as equals or at least as rational beings.

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