2020欧洲杯时间

Call Me Maybe: Words That Could Go Either Way

English has voluminous verbiage for things that might not be what they seem, or statements that need to be tested or proved in some way before they're believed. Take our word for it!
Read more...

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. allege
    report or maintain
    But as he awaited sentencing, Flynn changed legal teams and sought to undo his plea, alleging a host of misconduct, including that he was entrapped by the FBI agents who interviewed him.
    If someone is accused of a crime, then that person is alleged to have broken the law. It originated in the Latin verb allegare, which also gave rise to the English verb allegate, where we get allegation: a not-yet-proven accusation of wrongdoing.
  2. assert
    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
    “Wikipedia frequently asserts, in its own voice, that many of Trump’s statements are ‘false.’
  3. claim
    assert or affirm strongly
    Trump’s claims about mail-in voting leading to voter fraud are baseless.
    Clamare is Latin for "to demand as a right," and it has a couple of main meanings in English. The first is in line with the Latin: a Prospector during the gold rush would stake a claim on a piece of land and begin mining it. But you can also claim that something is true, though you might not be able to prove it. Proclaim, below, and exclaim both derive from the same root.
  4. hypothetical
    a conjectural possibility or circumstance
    Asked what he would do if a state prevented houses of worship from opening, she called that a “ hypothetical” and did not answer.
    Hypothesis is a Greek word meaning "the foundation or basis for an argument." So if you begin a sentence with "what if" or "let's say" or "for the sake of argument," what follows is hypothetical.
  5. imply
    express or state indirectly
    The implied message seemed to be that viewership numbers weren’t what Netflix needed them to be, so the show wasn’t renewed.
    From implicare, the same Latin verb that gives us implicate, to imply is to mean something without saying it outright.
  6. maintain
    state or assert
    Lawyers for the McMichaels said their clients maintained their innocence, and said many questions loomed over the fatal confrontation between them and Mr. Arbery.
  7. ostensible
    appearing as such but not necessarily so
    The briefings fail spectacularly at their ostensible task of informing the public, so explanations for their huge audience tend to draw on the notion that we instinctually flock to the president in dark times.
    Ostensible is a pretty close synonym for supposed, below: something that's assumed to be what it's presented as, but may not be.
  8. possible
    capable of happening or existing
    It made me long to travel in a way that, I later realised, is not actually possible.
  9. proclaim
    state or announce
    He later sought to withdraw that plea proclaiming his innocence.
    See claim, above.
  10. profess
    state insincerely
    The president maintains that he is strong on China, despite routinely professing admiration for Chinese President Xi Jinping, including for actions surrounding the pandemic.
    If you make a show of saying something but don't really mean it, you're professing.
  11. purport
    have the often misleading appearance of being or intending
    The New England Patriots employ float tanks, which purport to create the benefits of a four-hour nap in 40 minutes.
    In Latin, proportare means "to put or carry forth." In English, purport carries the connotation of suspicion; like ostensible, above, the thing in question may not turn out to be authentic.
  12. suggest
    imply as a possibility
    The proposal also suggests installing plexiglass barriers “where physical distancing is not feasible.”
  13. supposed
    based primarily on surmise rather than adequate evidence
    Your scientific theories are equal to my Twitter theories, just as your FBI investigation into Russia is equal to Rudy’s supposed investigation into Ukraine.
  14. tergiversate
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead
    "The more she tergiversated, the greater grew the ardency of the reporters for an interview."
    A rare word, tergiversate comes from the Latin verb tergiversari, meaning "to turn one's back" or "to be evasive." It's an ancient version of "flip-flopping," changing your mind or opinion so often that nobody can tell what you think.
Created on February 13, 2020 (updated July 17, 2020)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, sheffieldwind.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.