GRE Words, page 10

stigmatize

The Chicago scientists admit to another possible defect: “There is no way to get around the fact some people might conceal information,” says Stuart Michaels of the Chicago team, whose expertise is designing questions to get at those subjects people are most reluctant to discuss. The biggest hot button, he says, is homosexuality. “This is a stigmatized group. There is probably a lot more homosexual activity going on than we could get people to talk about.”
Now for the Truth About Americans and Sex By Philip Elmer-Dewitt. @ time.com…
stigma = A mark made with a burning iron; a brand; symbol of disgrace.

penultimate

“How far have you gone?”; “I'm at the penultimate level”. (of a video game.)

mecca

Armed with a software product that combined search-and-retrieval with automatic hypertext linking, subject-grouping and automatic abstracting (the Excite Search we all know and love today), Phone Boy began calling all up and down Sand Hill Road, the mecca for West Coast venture capital firms. Response was initially ice cold — Architext even received a letter of rejection from a company they had never sent a proposal to. It was not until more than a year and a half after the landmark evening in Rosita~s that the guys would hit paydirt. But in December of 1994, paydirt came in the form of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, and Institutional Venture Partners. Chief supporter Vinod Khosla of KPCB even wooed them right off the bat with a badly needed $4,000 hard drive. “We just met the man and he bought us a hard drive. That went a long way,” explained Kraus.
Excite Background Source. On history of Excite (a popular search engine in late 1990s).

screed

“Look,” I said, sensing her lack of interest. “Why don't you get more involved in this. You could be selling, too. You aren't working. You don't have a job. You don't do anything. Why, you could make us an extra $1,000 a month with hardly any effort!”

That's when my wife started shouting, about how she drove the kid hither and yon and made breakfast, lunch, and dinner and tended to the garden and mopped the floors and did the laundry and did I happen to notice the falling-down ceiling in the living room and who was I to say she didn't work, didn't do anything, when all I did was spend all day every day on eBay, and no longer lived in the real world, and wasn't in bed at night when she needed me to be in bed, and wasn't making the money I used to make as someone who could make $200 an hour with his real job, which was now seeming more like his former job, and yes, she had been poking around my office and had seen what was going on, and did I think I could fool her, like I'm always trying to fool her with some moneymaking scheme, like using that stupid FastTrack mutual-fund software I once so loved to make money trading mutual funds, how much did I gamble away using that, and she's about had it, I'm too selfish, a selfish bastard, really, and if I don't take care of some things around here, she's going to find a handyman who can.

It was a blistering screed that rocked me back on my heels.
This Is Your Brain On eBay By Erik Hedegaard. @ Source

vitriolic

Surely a person who pours forth vitriolic contempt as you do can stand to be teased lightly?
friend Robby Villegas
vitriolic = Biting, bitter or caustic.

caste

There is nothing accidental about this difference between a church and its founder. As soon as absolute truth is supposed to be contained in the sayings of a certain man, there is a body of experts to interpret his sayings, and these experts infallibly acquire power, since they hold the key to truth. Like any other privileged caste, they use their power for their own advantage. They are, however, in one respect worse than any other privileged caste, since it is their business to expound an unchanging truth, revealed once for all in utter perfection, so that they become necessarily opponents of all intellectual and moral progress.
See also: caste

perdition

Before the rise of Christianity this persecuting attitude was unknown to the ancient world except among the Jews. If you read, for example, Herodotus, you find a bland and tolerant account of the habits of the foreign nations he visited. Sometimes, it is true, a peculiarly barbarous custom may shock him, but in general he is hospitable to foreign gods and foreign customs. He is not anxious to prove that people who call Zeus by some other name will suffer eternal punishment and ought to be put to death in order that their punishment may begin as soon as possible.

aggrandize

After all, such individuals aggrandize themselves by pushing hard on young people who don't understand how they are being taken advantage of.
aggrandize = To make great or greater in power, rank, honor, or wealth; To make appear great or greater; to exalt.
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2008