Difficult Words : Matriculate, Martyr, Maudlin, Maverick, Maxim and Mediate

Difficult Words : Matriculate, Martyr, Maudlin, Maverick, Maxim and Mediate

Martyr (MAHR tur) n: someone who gives up his or her life in pursuit of a cause, especially a religious one, one who suffers for a cause, one who makes show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy

Many of the saints were also martyrs. They were executed, often gruesomely, for refusing to renounce their religious beliefs.

Jacob is a martyr to his job. He would stay at his desk twenty-four hours a day if his wife and the janitor would let him.

Eloise played the martyr during hay fever season, trudging wearily from room to room with a jumbo box of Kleenex in each hand.

Matriculate (muh TRIK yuh LATE) v: to enroll, especially at a college

Benny told everyone that he was going to Harvard, but when he actually matriculated it was at the local junior college.

Maudlin (MA WD Lin) adj: silly and sentimental

The high school reunion grew more and more maudlin as the participants had more and more to drink.

The old lady had a maudlin concern for the worms in her yard. She would bang a gong before walking in the grass in order to give them a chance to get out of her way.

Maverick (MAV ur ik) n: a nonconformist, a rebel

The word maverick originated in the Old West. It is derived from the name of Samuel A. Maverick, a Texas banker who once accepted a herd of cattle in payment of a debt. Maverick was a banker, not a rancher. He failed to confine or brand his calves, which habitually wandered into his neighbors' pastures. Local ranchers got in the habit of referring to any unbranded calf as a maverick. The word is now used for anyone who has refused to be branded - who has refused to conform.

The political scientist was an intellectual maverick. Most of his theories had no followers except himself.

Maverick can also be an adjective.

The maverick police officer got in trouble with the department for using illegal means to track down criminals.

Maxim (MAK sim) n: a fundamental principle, an old saying

We always tried to live our lives according to the maxim that it is better to give than to receive.

No one in the entire world is entirely certain of the differences in meaning among the words maxim, adage, proverb and aphorism.

Mediate (MEE dee ATE) v: to help settle differences

The United Nations representative tried to mediate between the warring countries, but the soldiers just kept shooting at each other.

Joe carried messages back and forth between the divorcing husband and wife in the hope of mediating their differences.

To mediate is to engage in mediation.

When two opposing groups, such as a trade union and the management of a company, try to settle their differences through mediation, they call in a mediator to listen to their cases and make an equitable decision.
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