CHAPTER 39 on Word Groups


Meaning: Ofthe right path or route

Use: Damian and Sherie went astray in town and arrived late for their appointment.

AWRY (Adj.)

Meaning: Not working correctly or happening in an expected way

Use: The awry wig that Mary was wearing looked funny with the back part in the front!

ASKEW (Adj.)

Meaning: Not straight or level

Use: Karl’s tie was askew in a picture that was taken for the family album.

AMISS (Adj.)

Meaning: In the wrong way or not correct

Use: Seeing her frown, he wondered if anything were amiss.


Meaning: Not having a plan or purpose

Use: Mildred was talking in a desultory sequence by jumping from one idea to another one in an illogical way.




Explanation:  Detour (Verb), Veer (Verb), Swerve (Verb), Digress (Verb) means to deviate or to change direction.


Meaning: A deviation from a direct course or the usual procedure

Use: We had to make a detour around the heaviest traffic.


Meaning: to deviate or to change direction.

Use: The police officer was detouring traffic around the scene of the accident.

VEER (Verb)

Meaning: To change direction

Use: After what seemed an eternity, the wind veered to the east and the storm abated.


Meaning: to deviate or to change direction

Use: The car swerved wildly as the driver struggled to regain control of the wheel.


Meaning: act of deviating or act of changing direction

Use: The tall and rather narrow little car could not cope with sudden swerves.


Meaning: Deviate from the main subject temporarily

Use: The politician digressed from this topic when someone yelled in opposition to what he was saying.




Explanation: Boar (Noun) means wild pig. Boorish (Adj.) means resembling a boar (as showing insensitivities to other’ s feelings).


Meaning: Rough, bad mannered person

Use:  The boorish conduct of one of the members of Mr. Kline’s psychology class irritated him and the other students.


Meaning: Rude or aggressive

Use: The loutish bully did not have a whole lot of friends.


Meaning: Rude or bad mannered

Use: When Sam’s wife asked him why he didn’t eat some spinach during dinner, he replied with a churlish comment: “Because I hate it, that’s why!”


Meaning: Unsophisticated, Behaving in a silly or playful way

Use: The clownish antics of some of the teenagers at the wedding reception.


Meaning: Lacking good manners

Use: When Clement started to yell at his host at the party, everyone thought he was certainly a very uncouth and uncivilized person.


Meaning: socially awkward

Use: Mike showed his gauche behavior when he spoke to the president of the company as “Old Buddy”.

SURLY (Adj.)

Meaning: Rude and unfriendly

Use: The neighborhood children were afraid of the surly or unfriendly storekeeper, Mr. Evans.






Meaning: Feeling or showing irritation

Use: The shopper was snappish and rude with the salesclerk.


Meaning: Very angry and annoyed

Use: The newspaper publisher’ s splenetic editorials often struck fear into local politicians.


Meaning: Easily annoyed

Use: Extremely waspish, she uses her wit viciously when irritated.

TESTY (Adj.)

Meaning: Become annoyed or angry easily

Use: Maxine has had many experiences with testy people; for example a testy cab driver, a testy refusal by a clerk to help her, and a neighbor who was upset when he accused her of playing opera music too loudly.


Meaning: Feeling or showing irritation

Use: Sabina made a snappish remark when the man in the elevator asked her where she was working in the building.


Meaning: Often angry and annoyed

Use: None of the students dared to talk back to the crotchety old teacher.


Meaning: Become angry very easily

Use: Dick’s neighbor has an irascible, or irritable and surly, disposition.


Meaning: Having a bad temper

Use: A lack of sleep would make anyone grouchy.


Meaning: Made angry easily

Use: David’s red face gave away the choleric nature of his personality.


Meaning: Often angry and annoyed

Use: Sometimes Nancy’s cantankerous boss is easily annoyed and becomes angry when the members of his staff don’t do their assignments as quickly as he wants them to.


Meaning: Easily annoyed or easily become angry

Use: When Jan doesn’t get her way at home, she usually gets very petulant with her parents.


Meaning: Feeling or showing irritation

Use: A pettish baby who always seemed to be crying.


Meaning: Easily annoyed or angered

Use: I was feeling grumpy after my long fight.


Meaning: A person who is easily annoyed or angered

Use: Brandon’s neighbor is a lonely old curmudgeon who is unhappy that her children don’t come to visit her more often.




Explanation:  Plague (Noun) means a disease that causes death and that spreads quickly to a large number of people. Plague (Verb) means to cause continuous trouble.

BESET (Verb)

Meaning: To cause problems or difficulties for (someone or something)

Use: Many vexing problems beset the American public-school system.


Meaning: To cause constant or repeated trouble for (a person, business etc.)

Use: The lack of funds that beleaguers schools.


Meaning: a disease that causes death and that spreads quickly to large number of people

Use: The country was hit by a plague of natural disasters that year.


Meaning: To cause constant or repeated trouble, illness etc. for (someone or something)

Use: Crime plagues the inner city.

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