VCR Lesson 5

Yasmeen Asmar

Guess the Word

Having neglected to wear hiking boots, he was unable to maintain a stable footing as the forest floor began to slope and found himself tumbling down the _______________.
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declivity (noun)

from Latin declivitas, made up of de- 'down' and clivus 'a slope'


a downward slope; the slope of a hill


The adjectival form is declivitous, which describes a slope as slanting downward.

Synonyms

Noun:

  • gradient: does not necessarily slope downward and does not have to be physical. Gradient can also refer to an increase or decrease in the value of something being measured in math or physics
  • descent: when used as a noun, descent can mean nearly the same thing as declivity
  • pitch: not a true synonym, pitch refers to the degree of slope in an incline or declivity, not the thing that is sloping


Adjective:

  • pitched
  • sloping
  • descending

Antonyms

Noun:

  • incline: an upward slope. The same surface could be both a declivity and an incline, depending on one's perspective.


Adjective:

  • level
  • plane

Practice

Choose the sentence in which the word is used incorrectly.



  1. Wishing it would snow for real, the child built a hill out of pillows in his bedroom and made his stuffed animals sled down the declivity.
  2. Hoping to burn some extra calories, he forced himself to run up the declivity despite being already thoroughly out of breath.
  3. Having stalled, the car began to roll backwards down the declivitous city street.
  4. After the heavy rains, the side of the road was covered in dirt and small rocks that had been washed off of the declivities on either side of the freeway.

And the answer is...

Number 2. Even though a single slope can be both an incline and a declivity, declivity refers to it as a downward slope and an incline is an upward slope. This sentence could be corrected by either changing "up"to "down" or "declivity" to "incline," but based on context the latter is better.