SAT: The 1,000 Most Common Vocab Words Notes | Knowt (2024)


abase (v.) to humiliate, degrade (After being overthrown and abased, the deposed

leader offered to bow down to his conqueror.)

abate (v.) to reduce, lessen (The rain poured down for a while, then abated.)

abdicate (v.) to give up a position, usually one of leadership (When he realized that the

revolutionaries would surely win, the king abdicated his throne.)

abduct (v.) to kidnap, take by force (The evildoers abducted the fairy princess from her

happy home.)

aberration (n.)something that differs from the norm (In 1918, the Boston Red Sox won

the World Series, but the success turned out to be an aberration, and the Red Sox

have not won a World Series since.)

abet (v.) to aid, help, encourage (The spy succeeded only because he had a friend on the

inside to abet him.)

SAT Vocabulary


abhor (v.) to hate, detest (Because he always wound up kicking himself in the head

when he tried to play soccer, Oswald began to abhor the sport.)

abide 1. (v.) to put up with (Though he did not agree with the decision, Chuck decided

to abide by it.) 2. (v.) to remain (Despite the beating they’ve taken from the weather

throughout the millennia, the mountains abide.)

abject (adj.) wretched, pitiful (After losing all her money, falling into a puddle, and

breaking her ankle, Eloise was abject.)

abjure (v.) to reject, renounce (To prove his honesty, the President abjured the evil

policies of his wicked predecessor.)

abnegation (n.) denial of comfort to oneself (The holy man slept on the floor, took only

cold showers, and generally followed other practices of abnegation.)

abort (v.) to give up on a half-finished project or effort (After they ran out of food, the

men, attempting to jump rope around the world, had to abort and go home.)

abridge 1. (v.) to cut down, shorten (The publisher thought the dictionary was too long

and abridged it.) 2. (adj.) shortened (Moby-Dick is such a long book that even the

abridged version is longer than most normal books.)

abrogate (v.) to abolish, usually by authority (The Bill of Rights assures that the

government cannot abrogate our right to a free press.)

abscond (v.) to sneak away and hide (In the confusion, the super-spy absconded into the

night with the secret plans.)

absolution (n.) freedom from blame, guilt, sin (Once all the facts were known, the jury

gave Angela absolution by giving a verdict of not guilty.)

abstain (v.) to freely choose not to commit an action (Everyone demanded that Angus

put on the kilt, but he did not want to do it and abstained.)

abstruse (adj.) hard to comprehend (Everyone else in the class understood geometry

easily, but John found the subject abstruse.)

accede (v.) to agree (When the class asked the teacher whether they could play baseball

instead of learn grammar they expected him to refuse, but instead he acceded to

their request.)

accentuate (v.) to stress, highlight (Psychologists agree that those people who are

happiest accentuate the positive in life.)


SAT Vocabulary

accessible (adj.) obtainable, reachable (After studying with SparkNotes and getting a

great score on the SAT, Marlena happily realized that her goal of getting into an

Ivy-League college was accessible.)

acclaim (n.) high praise (Greg’s excellent poem won the acclaim of his friends.)

accolade (n.) high praise, special distinction (Everyone offered accolades to Sam after

he won the Noble Prize.)

accommodating (adj.) helpful, obliging, polite (Though the apartment was not big

enough for three people, Arnold, Mark, and Zebulon were all friends and were

accommodating to each other.)

accord (n.) an agreement (After much negotiating, England and Iceland finally came to

a mutually beneficial accord about fishing rights off the cost of Greenland.)

accost (v.)to confront verbally (Though Antoinette was normally quite calm, when the

waiter spilled soup on her for the fourth time in 15 minutes she stood up and accosted

the man.)

accretion (n.) slow growth in size or amount (Stalactites are formed by the accretion of

minerals from the roofs of caves.)

acerbic (adj.) biting, bitter in tone or taste (Jill became extremely acerbic and began to

cruelly make fun of all her friends.)

acquiesce (v.) to agree without protesting (Though Mr. Correlli wanted to stay outside

and work in his garage, when his wife told him that he had better come in to dinner,

he acquiesced to her demands.)

acrimony (n.) bitterness, discord (Though they vowed that no girl would ever come

between them, Biff and Trevor could not keep acrimony from overwhelming their

friendship after they both fell in love with the lovely Teresa.)

acumen (n.) keen insight (Because of his mathematical acumen, Larry was able to figure

out in minutes problems that took other students hours.)

acute 1. (adj.) sharp, severe (Arnold could not walk because the pain in his foot was so

acute.) 2. (adj.) having keen insight (Because she was so acute, Libby instantly

figured out how the magician pulled off his “magic.”)

adamant (adj.) impervious, immovable, unyielding (Though public pressure was

intense, the President remained adamant about his proposal.)

adept (adj.) extremely skilled (Tarzan was adept at jumping from tree to tree like a


SAT Vocabulary


adhere 1. (n.) to stick to something (We adhered the poster to the wall with tape.) 2. (n.)

to follow devoutly (He adhered to the dictates of his religion without question.)

admonish (v.) to caution, criticize, reprove (Joe’s mother admonished him not to ruin

his appetite by eating cookies before dinner.)

adorn (v.) to decorate (We adorned the tree with ornaments.)

adroit (adj.) skillful, dexterous (The adroit thief could pick someone’s pocket without

attracting notice.)

adulation (n.) extreme praise (Though the book was pretty good, Marcy did not believe

it deserved the adulation it received.)

adumbrate (v.) to sketch out in a vague way (The coach adumbrated a game plan, but

none of the players knew precisely what to do.)

adverse (adj.) antagonistic, unfavorable, dangerous (Because of adverse conditions, the

hikers decided to give up trying to climb the mountain.)

advocate 1. (v.) to argue in favor of something (Arnold advocated turning left at the

stop sign, even though everyone else thought we should turn right.) 2. (n.) a person

who argues in favor of something (In addition to wanting to turn left at every stop

sign, Arnold was also a great advocate of increasing national defense spending.)

aerial (adj.) somehow related to the air (We watched as the fighter planes conducted

aerial maneuvers.)

aesthetic (adj.) artistic, related to the appreciation of beauty (We hired Susan as our

interior decorator because she has such a fine aesthetic sense.)

affable (adj.) friendly, amiable (People like to be around George because he is so affable

and good-natured.)

affinity (n.)a spontaneous feeling of closeness (Jerry didn’t know why, but he felt an

incredible affinity for Kramer the first time they met.)

affluent (adj.) rich, wealthy (Mrs. Grebelski was affluent, owning a huge house, three

cars, and an island near Maine.)

affront (n.) an insult (Bernardo was very touchy, and took any slight as an affront to his


aggrandize (v.) to increase or make greater (Joseph always dropped the names of the

famous people his father knew as a way to aggrandize his personal stature.)


SAT Vocabulary

aggregate 1. (n.) a whole or total (The three branches of the U.S. Government form an

aggregate much more powerful than its individual parts.) 2. (v.) to gather into a

mass (The dictator tried to aggregate as many people into his army as he possibly


aggrieved (adj.) distressed, wronged, injured (The foreman mercilessly overworked his

aggrieved employees.)

agile (adj.) quick, nimble (The dogs were too slow to catch the agile rabbit.)

agnostic (adj.) believing that the existence of God cannot be proven or disproven

(Joey’s parents are very religious, but he is agnostic.)

agriculture (n.)farming (It was a huge step in the progress of civilization when tribes left

hunting and gathering and began to develop more sustainable methods of obtaining

food, such as agriculture.)

aisle (n.) a passageway between rows of seats (Once we got inside the stadium we

walked down the aisle to our seats.)

alacrity (n.) eagerness, speed (For some reason, Chuck loved to help his mother

whenever he could, so when his mother asked him to set the table he did so with


alias (n.) a false name or identity (He snuck past the guards by using an alias and fake


allay (v.) to soothe, ease (The chairman of the Federal Reserve gave a speech to try to

allay investors’ fears about an economic downturn.)

allege (v.) to assert, usually without proof (The policeman had alleged that Marshall

committed the crime, but after the investigation turned up no evidence, Marshall

was set free.)

alleviate (v.) to relieve, make more bearable (This drug will alleviate the symptoms of

the terrible disease, but only for a while.)

allocate (v.) to distribute, set aside (The Mayor allocated 30 percent of the funds for

improving the town’s schools.)

aloof (adj.) reserved, distant (The scientist could sometimes seem aloof, as if he didn’t

care about his friends or family, but really he was just thinking about quantum


altercation (n.) a dispute, fight (Jason and Lionel blamed one another for the car

accident, leading to an altercation.)

SAT Vocabulary


amalgamate (v.) to bring together, unite (Because of his great charisma, the presidential

candidate was able to amalgamate all democrats and republicans under his banner.)

ambiguous (adj.) uncertain, variably interpretable (Some people think Caesar married

Cleopatra for her power, others believe he was charmed by her beauty. His actual

reasons are ambiguous.)

ambivalent (adj.) having opposing feelings (My feelings about Calvin are ambivalent

because on one hand he is a loyal friend, but on the other, he is a cruel and vicious


ameliorate (v.) to improve (The tense situation was ameliorated when Sam proposed a

solution everyone could agree upon.)

amenable (adj.) willing, compliant (Our father was amenable when we asked him to

drive us to the farm so we could go apple picking.)

amenity (n.) an item that increases comfort (Bill Gates’s house is stocked with so many

amenities, he never has to do anything for himself.)

amiable (adj.) friendly (An amiable fellow, Harry got along with just about everyone.)

amicable (adj.) friendly (Claudia and Jimmy got divorced, but amicably and without

hard feelings.)

amorous (adj.) showing love, particularly sexual (Whenever Albert saw Mariah wear

her slinky red dress, he began to feel quite amorous.)

amorphous (adj.) without definite shape or type (The effort was doomed from the start,

because the reasons behind it were so amorphous and hard to pin down.)

anachronistic (adj.) being out of correct chronological order (In this book you’re

writing, you say that the Pyramids were built after the Titanic sank, which is


analgesic (n.) something that reduces pain (Put this analgesic on the wound so that the

poor man at least feels a little better.)

analogous (adj.)similar to, so that an analogy can be drawn (Though they are unrelated

genetically, the bone structure of whales and fish is quite analogous.)

anarchist (n.) one who wants to eliminate all government (An anarchist, Carmine

wanted to dissolve every government everywhere.)

anathema (n.) a cursed, detested person (I never want to see that murderer. He is an

anathema to me.)


SAT Vocabulary

anecdote (n.) a short, humorous account (After dinner, Marlon told an anecdote about

the time he got his nose stuck in a toaster.)

anesthesia (n.) loss of sensation (When the nerves in his spine were damaged, Mr.

Hollins suffered anesthesia in his legs.)

anguish (n.) extreme sadness, torment (Angelos suffered terrible anguish when he

learned that Buffy had died while combating a strange mystical force of evil.)

animated (adj.) lively (When he begins to talk about drama, which is his true passion, he

becomes very animated.)

annex 1. (v.) to incorporate territory or space (After defeating them in battle, the

Russians annexed Poland.) 2. (n.) a room attached to a larger room or space (He

likes to do his studying in a little annex attached to the main reading room in the


annul (v.) to make void or invalid (After seeing its unforeseen and catastrophic effects,

Congress sought to annul the law.)

anomaly (n.) something that does not fit into the normal order (“That rip in the space-

time continuum is certainly a spatial anomaly,” said Spock to Captain Kirk.)

anonymous (adj.) being unknown, unrecognized (Mary received a love poem from an

anonymous admirer.)

antagonism (n.) hostility (Superman and Bizarro Superman shared a mutual

antagonism, and often fought.)

antecedent (n.)something that came before (The great tradition of Western culture had

its antecedent in the culture of Ancient Greece.)

antediluvian (adj.) ancient (The antediluvian man still believed that Eisenhower was

president of the United States and that hot dogs cost a nickel.)

anthology (n.) a selected collection of writings, songs, etc. (The new anthology of Bob

Dylan songs contains all his greatest hits and a few songs that you might never have

heard before.)

antipathy (n.) a strong dislike, repugnance (I know you love me, but because you are a

liar and a thief, I feel nothing but antipathy for you.)

antiquated (adj.) old, out of date (That antiquated car has none of the features, like

power windows and steering, that make modern cars so great.)

antiseptic (adj.) clean, sterile (The antiseptic hospital was very bare, but its cleanliness

helped to keep patients healthy.)

SAT Vocabulary


antithesis (n.) the absolute opposite (Your values, which hold war and violence in the

highest esteem, are the antithesis of my pacifist beliefs.)

anxiety (n.) intense uneasiness (When he heard about the car crash, he felt anxiety

because he knew that his girlfriend had been driving on the road where the accident


apathetic (adj.) lacking concern, emotion (Uninterested in politics, Bruno was

apathetic about whether he lived under a capitalist or communist regime.)

apocryphal (adj.) fictitious, false, wrong (Because I am standing before you, it seems

obvious that the stories circulating about my demise were apocryphal.)

appalling (adj.) inspiring shock, horror, disgust (The judge found the murderer’s crimes

and lack of remorse appalling.)

appease (v.) to calm, satisfy (When the child cries, the mother gives him candy to

appease him.)

appraise (v.) to assess the worth or value of (A realtor will come over tonight to

appraise our house.)

apprehend 1. (v.) to seize, arrest (The criminal was apprehended at the scene.) 2. (v.) to

perceive, understand, grasp (The student has trouble apprehending concepts in

math and science.)

approbation (n.) praise (The crowd welcomed the heroes with approbation.)

appropriate (v.) to take, make use of (The government appropriated the farmer’s land

without justification.)

aquatic (adj.) relating to water (The marine biologist studies starfish and other aquatic


arable (adj.) suitable for growing crops (The farmer purchased a plot of arable land on

which he will grow corn and sprouts.)

arbiter (n.) one who can resolve a dispute, make a decision (The divorce court judge

will serve as the arbiter between the estranged husband and wife.)

arbitrary (adj.) based on factors that appear random (The boy’s decision to choose one

college over another seems arbitrary.)

arbitration (n.) the process or act of resolving a dispute (The employee sought official

arbitration when he could not resolve a disagreement with his supervisor.)

arboreal (adj.) of or relating to trees (Leaves, roots, and bark are a few arboreal traits.)


SAT Vocabulary

arcane (adj.) obscure, secret, known only by a few (The professor is an expert in arcane

Lithuanian literature.)

archaic (adj.) of or relating to an earlier period in time, outdated (In a few select regions

of Western Mongolian, an archaic Chinese dialect is still spoken.)

archetypal (adj.) the most representative or typical example of something (Some

believe George Washington, with his flowing white hair and commanding stature,

was the archetypal politician.)

ardor (n.) extreme vigor, energy, enthusiasm (The soldiers conveyed their ardor with

impassioned battle cries.)

arid (adj.) excessively dry (Little other than palm trees and cacti grow successfully in

arid environments.)

arrogate (v.) to take without justification (The king arrogated the right to order

executions to himself exclusively.)

artifact (n.) a remaining piece from an extinct culture or place (The scientists spent all

day searching the cave for artifacts from the ancient Mayan civilization.)

artisan (n.) a craftsman (The artisan uses wood to make walking sticks.)

ascertain (v.) to perceive, learn (With a bit of research, the student ascertained that

some plants can live for weeks without water.)

ascetic (adj.) practicing restraint as a means of self-discipline, usually religious (The

priest lives an ascetic life devoid of television, savory foods, and other pleasures.)

ascribe (v.) to assign, credit, attribute to (Some ascribe the invention of fireworks and

dynamite to the Chinese.)

aspersion (n.) a curse, expression of ill-will (The rival politicians repeatedly cast

aspersions on each others’ integrity.)

aspire (v.) to long for, aim toward (The young poet aspires to publish a book of verse


assail (v.) to attack (At dawn, the war planes assailed the boats in the harbor.)

assess (v.) to evaluate (A crew arrived to assess the damage after the crash.)

assiduous (adj.) hard-working, diligent (The construction workers erected the

skyscraper during two years of assiduous labor.)

assuage (v.) to ease, pacify (The mother held the baby to assuage its fears.)

SAT Vocabulary


astute (adj.) very clever, crafty (Much of Roger’s success in politics results from his

ability to provide astute answers to reporters’ questions.)

asylum 1. (n.) a place of refuge, protection, a sanctuary (For Thoreau, the forest served

as an asylum from the pressures of urban life.) 2. (n.) an institution in which the

insane are kept (Once diagnosed by a certified psychiatrist, the man was put in an


atone (v.) to repent, make amends (The man atoned for forgetting his wife’s birthday

by buying her five dozen roses.)

atrophy (v.) to wither away, decay (If muscles do not receive enough blood, they will

soon atrophy and die.)

attain (v.) to achieve, arrive at (The athletes strived to attain their best times in


attribute 1. (v.) to credit, assign (He attributes all of his success to his mother’s undying

encouragement.) 2. (n.) a facet or trait (Among the beetle’s most peculiar attributes is

its thorny protruding eyes.)

atypical (adj.) not typical, unusual (Screaming and crying is atypical adult behavior.)

audacious (adj.) excessively bold (The security guard was shocked by the fan’s

audacious attempt to offer him a bribe.)

audible (adj.) able to be heard (The missing person’s shouts were unfortunately not


augment (v.) to add to, expand (The eager student seeks to augment his knowledge of

French vocabulary by reading French literature.)

auspicious (adj.) favorable, indicative of good things (The tennis player considered the

sunny forecast an auspicious sign that she would win her match.)

austere (adj.) very bare, bleak (The austere furniture inside the abandoned house made

the place feel haunted.)

avarice (n.) excessive greed (The banker’s avarice led him to amass a tremendous

personal fortune.)

avenge (v.) to seek revenge (The victims will take justice into their own hands and

strive to avenge themselves against the men who robbed them.)

aversion (n.) a particular dislike for something (Because he’s from Hawaii, Ben has an

aversion to autumn, winter, and cold climates in general.)


SAT Vocabulary


balk (v.) to stop, block abruptly (Edna’s boss balked at her request for another raise.)

ballad (n.) a love song (Greta’s boyfriend played her a ballad on the guitar during their

walk through the dark woods.)

banal (adj.) dull, commonplace (The client rejected our proposal because they found

our presentation banal and unimpressive.)

bane (n.) a burden (Advanced physics is the bane of many students’ academic lives.)

bard (n.) a poet, often a singer as well (Shakespeare is often considered the greatest bard

in the history of the English language.)

bashful (adj.) shy, excessively timid (Frankie’s mother told him not to be bashful when

he refused to attend the birthday party.)

battery 1.(n.) a device that supplies power (Most cars run on a combination of power

from a battery and gasoline.) 2. (n.)assault, beating (Her husband was accused of

assault and battery after he attacked a man on the sidewalk.)

beguile (v.) to trick, deceive (The thief beguiled his partners into surrendering all of

their money to him.)

behemoth (n.) something of tremendous power or size (The new aircraft carrier is

among several behemoths that the Air Force has added to its fleet.)

benevolent (adj.) marked by goodness or doing good (Police officers should be

commended for their benevolent service to the community.)

benign (adj.) favorable, not threatening, mild (We were all relieved to hear that the

medical tests determined her tumor to be benign.)

bequeath (v.) to pass on, give (Jon’s father bequeathed his entire estate to his mother.)

berate (v.) to scold vehemently (The angry boss berated his employees for failing to

meet their deadline.)

bereft (adj.) devoid of, without (His family was bereft of food and shelter following the


beseech (v.) to beg, plead, implore (The servant beseeched the king for food to feed his

starving family.)

bias (n.) a tendency, inclination, prejudice (The judge’s hidden bias against smokers led

him to make an unfair decision.)

SAT Vocabulary


bilk (v.) cheat, defraud (The lawyer discovered that this firm had bilked several clients

out of thousands of dollars.)

blandish (v.) to coax by using flattery (Rachel’s assistant tried to blandish her into

accepting the deal.)

blemish (n.) an imperfection, flaw (The dealer agreed to lower the price because of the

many blemishes on the surface of the wooden furniture.)

blight 1. (n.) a plague, disease (The potato blight destroyed the harvest and bankrupted

many families.) 2. (n.) something that destroys hope (His bad morale is a blight

upon this entire operation.)

boisterous (adj.) loud and full of energy (The candidate won the vote after giving

several boisterous speeches on television.)

bombastic (adj.) excessively confident, pompous (The singer’s bombastic performance

disgusted the crowd.)

boon (n.) a gift or blessing (The good weather has been a boon for many businesses

located near the beach.)

bourgeois (n.) a middle-class person, capitalist (Many businessmen receive criticism for

their bourgeois approach to life.)

brazen (adj.) excessively bold, brash (Critics condemned the novelist’s brazen attempt

to plagiarize Hemingway’s story.)

brusque (adj.) short, abrupt, dismissive (The captain’s brusque manner offended the


buffet 1. (v.) to strike with force (The strong winds buffeted the ships, threatening to

capsize them.) 2. (n.) an arrangement of food set out on a table (Rather than sitting

around a table, the guests took food from our buffet and ate standing up.)

burnish (v.) to polish, shine (His mother asked him to burnish the silverware before

setting the table.)

buttress 1. (v.) to support, hold up (The column buttresses the roof above the statue.) 2.

(n.)something that offers support (The buttress supports the roof above the statues.)


cacophony (n.) tremendous noise, disharmonious sound (The elementary school

orchestra created a cacophony at the recital.)


SAT Vocabulary

cadence (n.) a rhythm, progression of sound (The pianist used the foot pedal to

emphasize the cadence of the sonata.)

cajole (v.) to urge, coax (Fred’s buddies cajoled him into attending the bachelor party.)

calamity (n.) an event with disastrous consequences (The earthquake in San Francisco

was a calamity worse than any other natural disaster in history.)

calibrate (v.) to set, standardize (The mechanic calibrated the car’s transmission to

make the motor run most efficiently.)

callous (adj.) harsh, cold, unfeeling (The murderer’s callous lack of remorse shocked the


calumny (n.) an attempt to spoil someone else’s reputation by spreading lies (The local

official’s calumny ended up ruining his opponent’s prospect of winning the election.)

camaraderie (n.) brotherhood, jovial unity (Camaraderie among employees usually

leads to success in business.)

candor (n.) honesty, frankness (We were surprised by the candor of the mayor’s speech

because he is usually rather evasive.)

canny (adj.) shrewd, careful (The canny runner hung at the back of the pack through

much of the race to watch the other runners, and then sprinted past them at the end.)

canvas 1. (n.) a piece of cloth on which an artist paints (Picasso liked to work on canvas

rather than on bare cement.) 2. (v.) to cover, inspect (We canvassed the

neighborhood looking for clues.)

capacious (adj.) very spacious (The workers delighted in their new capacious office


capitulate (v.) to surrender (The army finally capitulated after fighting a long costly


capricious (adj.) subject to whim, fickle (The young girl’s capricious tendencies made it

difficult for her to focus on achieving her goals.)

captivate (v.)to get the attention of, hold (The fireworks captivated the young boy, who

had never seen such things before.)

carouse (v.) to party, celebrate (We caroused all night after getting married.)

carp (v.) to annoy, pester (The husband divorced his wife after listening to her carping

voice for decades.)

SAT Vocabulary


catalog 1. (v.) to list, enter into a list (The judge cataloged the victim’s injuries before

calculating how much money he would award.) 2. (n.) a list or collection (We

received a catalog from J. Crew that displayed all of their new items.)

catalyze (v.) to charge, inspire (The president’s speech catalyzed the nation and

resuscitated the economy.)

caucus (n.) a meeting usually held by people working toward the same goal (The

ironworkers held a caucus to determine how much of a pay increase they would


caustic (adj.) bitter, biting, acidic (The politicians exchanged caustic insults for over an

hour during the debate.)

cavort (v.) to leap about, behave boisterously (The adults ate their dinners on the patio,

while the children cavorted around the pool.)

censure 1. (n.) harsh criticism (The frustrated teenager could not put up with anymore

of her critical mother’s censure.) 2. (v.) to rebuke formally (The principal censured

the head of the English Department for forcing students to learn esoteric


cerebral (adj.) related to the intellect (The books we read in this class are too cerebral—

they don’t engage my emotions at all.)

chaos (n.) absolute disorder (Mr. Thornton’s sudden departure for the lavatory

plunged his classroom into chaos.)

chastise (v.) to criticize severely (After being chastised by her peers for mimicking

Britney Spears, Miranda dyed her hair black and affected a Gothic style.)

cherish (v.) to feel or show affection toward something (She continued to cherish her

red plaid trousers, even though they had gone out of style and no longer fit her.)

chide (v.) to voice disapproval (Lucy chided Russell for his vulgar habits and sloppy


choreography (n.) the arrangement of dances (The plot of the musical was banal, but the

choreography was stunning.)

chronicle 1. (n.) a written history (The library featured the newly updated chronicle of

World War II.) 2. (v.) to write a history (Albert’s diary chronicled the day-to-day

growth of his obsession with Cynthia.)

chronological (adj.) arranged in order of time (Lionel carefully arranged the snapshots

of his former girlfriends in chronological order, and then set fire to them.)


SAT Vocabulary

circuitous (adj.) roundabout (The bus’s circuitous route took us through numerous

outlying suburbs.)

circumlocution (n.) indirect and wordy language (The professor’s habit of speaking in

circumlocutions made it difficult to follow his lectures.)

circ*mscribed (adj.) marked off, bounded (The children were permitted to play tag

only within a carefully circ*mscribed area of the lawn.)

circ*mspect (adj.) cautious (Though I promised Rachel’s father I would bring her home

promptly by midnight, it would have been more circ*mspect not to have specified a


circumvent (v.) to get around (The school’s dress code forbidding navel-baring jeans

was circumvented by the determined students, who were careful to cover up with

long coats when administrators were nearby.)

clairvoyant (adj.) able to perceive things that normal people cannot (Zelda’s uncanny

ability to detect my lies was nothing short of clairvoyant.)

clamor 1. (n.) loud noise (Each morning the birds outside my window make such a

clamor that they wake me up.) 2. (v.)to loudly insist (Neville’s fans clamored for

him to appear on stage, but he had passed out on the floor of his dressing room.)

clandestine (adj.) secret (Announcing to her boyfriend that she was going to the gym,

Sophie actually went to meet Joseph for a clandestine liaison.)

cleave 1. (v.) to divide into parts (Following the scandalous disgrace of their leader, the

entire political party cleaved into warring factions.) 2. (v.) to stick together firmly

(After resolving their marital problems, Junior and Rosa cleaved to one another all

the more tightly.)

clemency (n.) mercy (After he forgot their anniversary, Martin could only beg Maria

for clemency.)

clergy (n.) members of Christian holy orders (Though the villagers viewed the church

rectory as quaint and charming, the clergy who lived there regarded it as a mildewy

and dusty place that aggravated their allergies.)

cloying (adj.) sickeningly sweet (Though Ronald was physically attractive, Maud

found his constant compliments and solicitous remarks cloying.)

coagulate (v.) to thicken, clot (The top layer of the pudding had coagulated into a thick


SAT Vocabulary


coalesce (v.) to fuse into a whole (Gordon’s ensemble of thrift-shop garments coalesced

into a surprisingly handsome outfit.)

cobbler (n.) a person who makes or repairs shoes (I had my neighborhood cobbler

replace my worn-out leather soles with new ones.)

coerce (v.) to make somebody do something by force or threat (The court decided that

Vanilla Ice did not have to honor the contract because he had been coerced into

signing it.)

cogent (adj.)intellectually convincing (Irene’s arguments in favor of abstinence were so

cogent that I could not resist them.)

cognizant (adj.) aware, mindful (Jake avoided speaking to women in bars because he

was cognizant of the fact that drinking impairs his judgment.)

coherent (adj.) logically consistent, intelligible (Renee could not figure out what

Monroe had seen because he was too distraught to deliver a coherent statement.)

collateral 1. (adj.)secondary (Divorcing my wife had the collateral effect of making me

poor, as she was the only one of us with a job or money.) 2. (n.) security for a debt

(Jacob left his watch as collateral for the $500 loan.)

colloquial (adj.) characteristic of informal conversation (Adam’s essay on sexual

response in primates was marked down because it contained too many colloquial


collusion (n.)secret agreement, conspiracy (The three law students worked in collusion

to steal the final exam.)

colossus (n.) a gigantic statue or thing (For 56 years, the ancient city of Rhodes featured

a colossus standing astride its harbor.)

combustion (n.) the act or process of burning (The unexpected combustion of the

prosecution’s evidence forced the judge to dismiss the case against Ramirez.)

commendation (n.) a notice of approval or recognition (Jared received a commendation

from Linda, his supervisor, for his stellar performance.)

commensurate (adj.) corresponding in size or amount (Ahab selected a very long roll

and proceeded to prepare a tuna salad sandwich commensurate with his enormous


commodious (adj.)roomy (Holden invited the three women to join him in the back seat

of the taxicab, assuring them that the car was quite commodious.)


SAT Vocabulary

compelling (adj.) forceful, demanding attention (Eliot’s speech was so compelling that

Lenore accepted his proposal on the spot.)

compensate (v.) to make an appropriate payment for something (Reginald bought

Sharona a new dress to compensate her for the one he’d spilled his ice cream on.)

complacency (n.) self-satisfied ignorance of danger (Colin tried to shock his friends out

of their complacency by painting a frightening picture of what might happen to


complement (v.) to complete, make perfect (Ann’s scarf complements her blouse

beautifully, making her seem fully dressed even though she isn’t wearing a coat.)

compliant (adj.) ready to adapt oneself to another’s wishes (Sue had very

strong opinions about what to do on a first date, and Ted was

absolutely compliant.)

complicit (adj.) being an accomplice in a wrongful act (By keeping her daughter’s affair

a secret, Maddie became complicit in it.)

compliment (n.) an expression of esteem or approval (I blushed crimson when Emma

gave me a compliment on my new haircut.)

compound 1. (v.) to combine parts (The difficulty of finding a fire escape amid the smoke

was compounded with the dangers posed by the panicking crowds.) 2. (n.) a

combination of different parts (My attraction to Donna was a compound of

curiosity about the unknown, physical desire, and intellectual admiration.) 3. (n.) a

walled area containing a group of buildings (When the fighting started, Joseph

rushed into the family compound because it was safe and well defended.)

comprehensive (adj.) including everything (She sent me a comprehensive list of the

ingredients needed to cook rabbit soufflé.)

compress (v.) to apply pressure, squeeze together (Lynn compressed her lips into a


compunction (n.) distress caused by feeling guilty (He felt compunction for the shabby

way he’d treated her.)

concede (v.) to accept as valid (Andrew had to concede that what his mother said about

Diana made sense.)

conciliatory (adj.) friendly, agreeable (I took Amanda’s invitation to dinner as a very

conciliatory gesture.)

SAT Vocabulary


concise (adj.) brief and direct in expression (Gordon did not like to waste time, and his

instructions to Brenda were nothing if not concise.)

concoct (v.) to fabricate, make up (She concocted the most ridiculous story to explain her


concomitant (adj.) accompanying in a subordinate fashion (His dislike of hard work

carried with it a concomitant lack of funds.)

concord (n.) harmonious agreement (Julie and Harold began the evening with a

disagreement, but ended it in a state of perfect concord.)

condolence (n.) an expression of sympathy in sorrow (Brian lamely offered his

condolences on the loss of his sister’s roommate’s cat.)

condone (v.) to pardon, deliberately overlook (He refused to condone his brother’s


conduit (n.) a pipe or channel through which something passes (The water flowed

through the conduit into the container.)

confection (n.) a sweet, fancy food (We went to the mall food court and purchased a

delicious confection.)

confidant (n.) a person entrusted with secrets (Shortly after we met, she became my

chief confidant.)

conflagration (n.) great fire (The conflagration consumed the entire building.)

confluence (n.) a gathering together (A confluence of different factors made tonight the

perfect night.)

conformist (n.) one who behaves the same as others (Julian was such a conformist that

he had to wait and see if his friends would do something before he would commit.)

confound (v.) to frustrate, confuse (MacGuyver confounded the policemen pursuing

him by covering his tracks.)

congeal (v.) to thicken into a solid (The sauce had congealed into a thick paste.)

congenial (adj.) pleasantly agreeable (His congenial manner made him popular

wherever he went.)

congregation (n.) a gathering of people, especially for religious services (The priest told

the congregation that he would be retiring.)

congruity (n.) the quality of being in agreement (Bill and Veronica achieved a perfect

congruity of opinion.)


SAT Vocabulary

connive (v.) to plot, scheme (She connived to get me to give up my vacation plans.)

consecrate (v.) to dedicate something to a holy purpose (Arvin consecrated his spare

bedroom as a shrine to Christina.)

consensus (n.) an agreement of opinion (The jury was able to reach a consensus only

after days of deliberation.)

consign (v.) to give something over to another’s care (Unwillingly, he consigned his

mother to a nursing home.)

consolation (n.) an act of comforting (Darren found Alexandra’s presence to be a

consolation for his suffering.)

consonant (adj.) in harmony (The singers’ consonant voices were beautiful.)

constituent (n.) an essential part (The most important constituent of her perfume is

something called ambergris.)

constrain (v.)to forcibly restrict (His belief in nonviolence constrained him from taking

revenge on his attackers.)

construe (v.) to interpret (He construed her throwing his clothes out the window as a

signal that she wanted him to leave.)

consummate (v.) to complete a deal; to complete a marriage ceremony through sexual

intercourse (Erica and Donald consummated their agreement in the executive


consumption (n.) the act of consuming (Consumption of intoxicating beverages is not

permitted on these premises.)

contemporaneous (adj.) existing during the same time (Though her novels do not

feature the themes of Romanticism, Jane Austen’s work was contemporaneous with

that of Wordsworth and Byron.)

contentious (adj.) having a tendency to quarrel or dispute (George’s contentious

personality made him unpopular with his classmates.)

contravene (v.) to contradict, oppose, violate (Edwidge contravened his landlady’s rule

against overnight guests.)

contrite (adj.) penitent, eager to be forgiven (Blake’s contrite behavior made it

impossible to stay angry at him.)

contusion (n.) bruise, injury (The contusions on his face suggested he’d been in a fight.)

SAT Vocabulary


conundrum (n.) puzzle, problem (Interpreting Jane’s behavior was a constant


convene (v.) to call together (Jason convened his entire extended family for a


convention 1. (n.) an assembly of people (The hotel was full because of the cattle-

ranchers’ convention.) 2. (n.) a rule, custom (The cattle-ranchers have a convention

that you take off your boots before entering their houses.)

convivial (adj.) characterized by feasting, drinking, merriment (The restaurant’s

convivial atmosphere put me immediately at ease.)

convoluted (adj.) intricate, complicated (Grace’s story was so convoluted that I couldn’t

follow it.)

copious (adj.) profuse, abundant (Copious amounts of Snapple were imbibed in the


cordial (adj.) warm, affectionate (His cordial greeting melted my anger at once.)

coronation (n.) the act of crowning (The new king’s coronation occurred the day after

his father’s death.)

corpulence (adj.)extreme fatness (Henry’s corpulence did not make him any less

attractive to his charming, svelte wife.)

corroborate (v.) to support with evidence (Luke’s seemingly outrageous claim was

corroborated by witnesses.)

corrosive (adj.) having the tendency to erode or eat away (The effect of the chemical

was highly corrosive.)

cosmopolitan (adj.) sophisticated, worldly (Lloyd’s education and upbringing were

cosmopolitan, so he felt right at home among the powerful and learned.)

counteract (v.) to neutralize, make ineffective (The antidote counteracted the effect of

the poison.)

coup 1. (n.) a brilliant, unexpected act (Alexander pulled off an amazing coup when he

got a date with Cynthia by purposely getting hit by her car.) 2. (n.) the overthrow of

a government and assumption of authority (In their coup attempt, the army officers

stormed the Parliament and took all the legislators hostage.)

covet (v.) to desire enviously (I coveted Moses’s house, wife, and car.)


SAT Vocabulary

covert (adj.)secretly engaged in (Nerwin waged a covertcampaign against his enemies,

while outwardly appearing to remain friendly.)

credulity (n.) readiness to believe (His credulity made him an easy target for con men.)

crescendo (n.) a steady increase in intensity or volume (The crescendo of the brass

instruments gave the piece a patriotic feel.)

criteria (n.) standards by which something is judged (Among Mrs. Fields’s criteria for

good cookies are that they be moist and chewy.)

culmination (n.) the climax toward which something progresses (The culmination of

the couple’s argument was the decision to divorce.)

culpable (adj.) deserving blame (He was culpable of the crime, and was sentenced to

perform community service for 75 years.)

cultivate (v.) to nurture, improve, refine (At the library, she cultivated her interest in

spy novels.)

cumulative (adj.) increasing, building upon itself (The cumulative effect of hours spent

in the sun was a deep tan.)

cunning (adj.) sly, clever at being deceitful (The general devised a cunning plan to

surprise the enemy.)

cupidity (n.) greed, strong desire (His cupidity made him enter the abandoned gold

mine despite the obvious dangers.)

cursory (adj.) brief to the point of being superficial (Late for the meeting, she cast a

cursory glance at the agenda.)

curt (adj.) abruptly and rudely short (Her curt reply to my question made me realize

that she was upset at me.)

curtail (v.) to lessen, reduce (Since losing his job, he had to curtail his spending.)


daunting (adj.) intimidating, causing one to lose courage (He kept delaying the

daunting act of asking for a promotion.)

dearth (n.) a lack, scarcity (An eager reader, she was dismayed by the dearth of classic

books at the library.)

debacle (n.) a disastrous failure, disruption (The elaborately designed fireworks show

turned into a debacle when the fireworks started firing in random directions.)

SAT Vocabulary


debase (v.) to lower the quality or esteem of something (The large raise that he gave

himself debased his motives for running the charity.)

debauch (v.) to corrupt by means of sensual pleasures (An endless amount of good wine

and cheese debauched the traveler.)

debunk (v.) to expose the falseness of something (He debunked her claim to be the

world’s greatest chess player by defeating her in 18 consecutive matches.)

decorous (adj.)socially proper, appropriate (The appreciative guest displayed decorous

behavior toward his host.)

decry (v.) to criticize openly (The kind video rental clerk decried the policy of charging

customers late fees.)

deface (v.) to ruin or injure something’s appearance (The brothers used eggs and

shaving cream to deface their neighbor’s mailbox.)

defamatory (adj.) harmful toward another’s reputation (The defamatory gossip

spreading about the actor made the public less willing to see the actor’s new movie.)

defer (v.) to postpone something; to yield to another’s wisdom (Ron deferred to Diane,

the expert on musical instruments, when he was asked about buying a piano.)

deferential (adj.) showing respect for another’s authority (His deferential attitude

toward her made her more confident in her ability to run the company.)

defile (v.) to make unclean, impure (She defiled the calm of the religious building by

playing her banjo.)

deft (adj.) skillful, capable (Having worked in a bakery for many years, Marcus was a

deft bread maker.)

defunct (adj.) no longer used or existing (They planned to turn the defunct schoolhouse

into a community center.)

delegate (v.) to hand over responsibility for something (The dean delegated the task of

finding a new professor to a special hiring committee.)

deleterious (adj.) harmful (She experienced the deleterious effects of running a

marathon without stretching her muscles enough beforehand.)

deliberate (adj.) intentional, reflecting careful consideration (Though Mary was quite

upset, her actions to resolve the dispute were deliberate.)

delineate (v.) to describe, outline, shed light on (She neatly delineated her reasons for

canceling the project’s funding.)


SAT Vocabulary

demagogue (n.) a leader who appeals to a people’s prejudices (The demagogue

strengthened his hold over his people by blaming immigrants for the lack of jobs.)

demarcation (n.) the marking of boundaries or categories (Different cultures have

different demarcations of good and evil.)

demean (v.) to lower the status or stature of something (She refused to demean her

secretary by making him order her lunch.)

demure (adj.) quiet, modest, reserved (Though everyone else at the party was dancing

and going crazy, she remained demure.)

denigrate (v.) to belittle, diminish the opinion of (The company decided that its

advertisem*nts would no longer denigrate the company’s competitors.)

denounce (v.) to criticize publicly (The senator denounced her opponent as a greedy


deplore (v.) to feel or express sorrow, disapproval (We all deplored the miserable

working conditions in the factory.)

depravity (n.) wickedness (Rumors of the ogre’s depravity made the children afraid to

enter the forest.)

deprecate (v.) to belittle, depreciate (Always over-modest, he deprecated his

contribution to the local charity.)

derelict (adj.) abandoned, run-down (Even though it was dangerous, the children

enjoyed going to the deserted lot and playing in the derelict house.)

deride (v.) to laugh at mockingly, scorn (The bullies derided the foreign student’s


derivative (adj.) taken directly from a source, unoriginal (She was bored by his music

because she felt that it was derivative and that she had heard it before.)

desecrate (v.) to violate the sacredness of a thing or place (They feared that the

construction of a golf course would desecrate the preserved wilderness.)

desiccated (adj.) dried up, dehydrated (The skin of the desiccated mummy looked like

old paper.)

desolate (adj.) deserted, dreary, lifeless (She found the desolate landscape quite a

contrast to the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded city.)

SAT Vocabulary


despondent (adj.) feeling depressed, discouraged, hopeless (Having failed the first

math test, the despondent child saw no use in studying for the next and failed that

one too.)

despot (n.) one who has total power and rules brutally (The despot issued a death

sentence for anyone who disobeyed his laws.)

destitute (adj.) impoverished, utterly lacking (The hurricane destroyed many homes

and left many families destitute.)

deter (v.) to discourage, prevent from doing (Bob’s description of scary snakes couldn’t

deter Marcia from traveling in the rainforests.)

devious (adj.) not straightforward, deceitful (Not wanting to be punished, the devious

girl blamed the broken vase on the cat.)

dialect (n.) a variation of a language (In the country’s remote, mountainous regions, the

inhabitants spoke a dialect that the country’s other inhabitants had difficulty


diaphanous (adj.) light, airy, transparent (Sunlight poured in through the diaphanous

curtains, brightening the room.)

didactic 1. (adj.) intended to instruct (She wrote up a didactic document showing new

employees how to handle the company’s customers.) 2. (adj.) overly moralistic (His

didacticstyle of teaching made it seem like he wanted to persuade his students not to

understand history fully, but to understand it from only one point of view.)

diffident (adj.) shy, quiet, modest (While eating dinner with the adults, the diffident

youth did not speak for fear of seeming presumptuous.)

diffuse 1. (v.) to scatter, thin out, break up (He diffused the tension in the room by

making in a joke.) 2. (adj.) not concentrated, scattered, disorganized (In her

writings, she tried unsuccessfully to make others understand her diffuse thoughts.)

dilatory (adj.) tending to delay, causing delay (The general’s dilatory strategy enabled

the enemy to regroup.)

diligent (adj.) showing care in doing one’s work (The diligent researcher made sure to

check her measurements multiple times.)

diminutive (adj.) small or miniature (The bullies, tall and strong, picked on the

diminutive child.)

dirge (n.) a mournful song, especially for a funeral (The bagpipers played a dirge as the

casket was carried to the cemetery.)


SAT Vocabulary

disaffected (adj.) rebellious, resentful of authority (Dismayed by Bobby’s poor

behavior, the parents sent their disaffected son to a military academy to be


disavow (v.) to deny knowledge of or responsibility for (Not wanting others to criticize

her, she disavowed any involvement in the company’s hiring scandal.)

discern (v.)to perceive, detect (Though he hid his emotions, she discerned from his body

language that he was angry.)

disclose (v.) to reveal, make public (The CEO disclosed to the press that the company

would have to fire several employees.)

discomfit (v.) to thwart, baffle (The normally cheery and playful children’s sudden

misery discomfited the teacher.)

discordant (adj.) not agreeing, not in harmony with (The girls’ sobs were a discordant

sound amid the general laughter that filled the restaurant.)

discrepancy (n.) difference, failure of things to correspond (He was troubled by the

discrepancy between what he remembered paying for the appliance and what his

receipt showed he paid for it.)

discretion (n.) the quality of being reserved in speech or action; good judgment (Not

wanting her patient to get overly anxious, the doctor used discretion in deciding how

much to tell the patient about his condition.)

discursive (adj.) rambling, lacking order (The professor’s discursive lectures seemed to

be about every subject except the one initially described.)

disdain 1. (v.) to scorn, hold in low esteem (Insecure about their jobs, the older

employees disdained the recently hired ones, who were young and capable.) 2. (n.)

scorn, low esteem (After learning of his immoral actions, Justine held Lawrence in


disgruntled (adj.) upset, not content (The child believed that his parents had unjustly

grounded him, and remained disgruntled for a week.)

disheartened (adj.) feeling a loss of spirit or morale (The team was disheartened after

losing in the finals of the tournament.)

disparage (v.) to criticize or speak ill of (The saleswoman disparaged the competitor’s

products to persuade her customers to buy what she was selling.)

disparate (adj.) sharply differing, containing sharply contrasting elements (Having

widely varying interests, the students had disparate responses toward the novel.)

SAT Vocabulary


dispatch (v.) to send off to accomplish a duty (The carpenter dispatched his assistant to

fetch wood.)

dispel (v.) to drive away, scatter (She entered the office as usual on Monday, dispelling

the rumor that she had been fired.)

disperse (v.) to scatter, cause to scatter (When the rain began to pour, the crowd at the

baseball game quickly dispersed.)

disrepute (n.) a state of being held in low regard (The officer fell into disrepute after it

was learned that he had disobeyed the orders he had given to his own soldiers.)

dissemble (v.) to conceal, fake (Not wanting to appear heartlessly greedy, she

dissembled and hid her intention to sell her ailing father’s stamp collection.)

disseminate (v.) to spread widely (The politician disseminated his ideas across the town

before the election.)

dissent 1. (v.) to disagree (The principal argued that the child should repeat the fourth

grade, but the unhappy parents dissented.) 2. (n.) the act of disagreeing

(Unconvinced that the defendant was guilty, the last juror voiced his dissent with

the rest of the jury.)

dissipate 1. (v.) to disappear, cause to disappear (The sun finally came out and

dissipated the haze.) 2. (v.) to waste (She dissipated her fortune on a series of bad


dissonance (n.) lack of harmony or consistency (Though the president of the company

often spoke of the company as reliant solely upon its workers, her decision to increase

her own salary rather than reward her employees revealed a striking dissonance

between her alleged beliefs and her actions.)

dissuade (v.) to persuade someone not to do something (Worried that he would catch a

cold, she tried to dissuade him from going out on winter nights.)

distend (v.) to swell out (Years of drinking beer caused his stomach to distend.)

dither (v.) to be indecisive (Not wanting to offend either friend, he dithered about

which of the two birthday parties he should attend.)

divine (adj.) godly, exceedingly wonderful (Terribly fond of desserts, she found the rich

chocolate cake to be divine.)

divisive (adj.) causing dissent, discord (Her divisive tactics turned her two friends

against each other.)


SAT Vocabulary

divulge (v.) to reveal something secret (Pressured by the press, the government finally

divulged the previously unknown information.)

docile (adj.) easily taught or trained (She successfully taught the docile puppy several


dogmatic (adj.) aggressively and arrogantly certain about unproved principles (His

dogmatic claim that men were better than women at fixing appliances angered


dormant (adj.) sleeping, temporarily inactive (Though she pretended everything was

fine, her anger lay dormant throughout the dinner party and exploded in screams of

rage after everyone had left.)

dour (adj.)stern, joyless (The children feared their dour neighbor because the old man

would take their toys if he believed they were being too loud.)

dubious (adj.) doubtful, of uncertain quality (Suspicious that he was only trying to get a

raise, she found his praise dubious.)

duplicity (n.) crafty dishonesty (His duplicity involved convincing his employees to let

him lower their salaries and increase their stock options, and then to steal the money

he saved and run the company into the ground.)

duress (n.) hardship, threat (It was only under intense duress that he, who was

normally against killing, fired his gun.)

dynamic (adj.) actively changing (The parents found it hard to keep up with the

dynamic music scene with which their children had become very familiar.)


ebullient (adj.) extremely lively, enthusiastic (She became ebullient upon receiving an

acceptance letter from her first-choice college.)

eclectic (adj.) consisting of a diverse variety of elements (That bar attracts an eclectic

crowd: lawyers, artists, circus clowns, and investment bankers.)

ecstatic (adj.) intensely and overpoweringly happy (The couple was ecstatic when they

learned that they had won the lottery.)

edict (n.) an order, decree (The ruler issued an edict requiring all of his subjects to bow

down before him.)

SAT Vocabulary


efface (v.) to wipe out, obliterate, rub away (The husband was so angry at his wife for

leaving him that he effaced all evidence of her presence; he threw out pictures of her

and gave away all her belongings.)

effervescent (adj.) bubbly, lively (My friend is so effervescent that she makes everyone


efficacious (adj.) effective (My doctor promised me that the cold medicine was

efficacious, but I’m still sniffling.)

effrontery (n.) impudence, nerve, insolence (When I told my aunt that she was boring,

my mother scolded me for my effrontery.)

effulgent (adj.) radiant, splendorous (The golden palace was effulgent.)

egregious (adj.) extremely bad (The student who threw sloppy joes across the cafeteria

was punished for his egregious behavior.)

elaborate (adj.) complex, detailed, intricate (Dan always beats me at chess because he

develops such an elaborate game plan that I can never predict his next move.)

elated (adj.) overjoyed, thrilled (When she found out she had won the lottery, the

writer was elated.)

elegy (n.) a speech given in honor of a dead person (At the funeral, the widow gave a

moving elegy describing her love for her husband.)

elicit (v.) to bring forth, draw out, evoke (Although I asked several times where the exit

was, I elicited no response from the stone-faced policeman.)

eloquent (adj.) expressive, articulate, moving (The priest gave such an eloquent sermon

that most churchgoers were crying.)

elucidate (v.) to clarify, explain (I didn’t understand why my friend was so angry with

me, so I asked Janine to elucidate her feelings.)

elude (v.) to evade, escape (Despite an intense search, the robber continues to elude the


emaciated (adj.) very thin, enfeebled looking (My sister eats a lot of pastries and

chocolate but still looks emaciated.)

embellish 1. (v.) to decorate, adorn (My mom embellished the living room by adding

lace curtains.) 2. (v.)to add details to, enhance (When Harry told me that he had

“done stuff” on his vacation, I asked him to embellish upon his account.)


SAT Vocabulary

embezzle (v.) to steal money by falsifying records (The accountant was fired for

embezzling $10,000 of the company’s funds.)

emend (v.) to correct or revise a written text (If my sentence is incorrect, the editor will

emend what I have written.)

eminent 1. (adj.) distinguished, prominent, famous (Mr. Phillips is such an eminent

scholar that every professor on campus has come to hear him lecture.) 2. (adj.)

conspicuous (There is an eminent stain on that shirt.)

emollient (adj.) soothing (This emollient cream makes my skin very smooth.)

emote (v.) to express emotion (The director told the actor he had to emote, or else the

audience would have no idea what his character was going through.)

empathy (n.) sensitivity to another’s feelings as if they were one’s own (I feel such

empathy for my sister when she’s in pain that I cry too.)

empirical 1. (adj.) based on observation or experience (The scientist gathered empirical

data on the growth rate of dandelions by studying the dandelions behind his house.)

2. (adj.) capable of being proved or disproved by experiment (That all cats hate

getting wet is an empirical statement: I can test it by bathing my cat, Trinket.)

emulate (v.) to imitate (I idolize Britney Spears so much that I emulate everything she

does: I wear her outfits, sing along to her songs, and date a boy named Justin.)

enamor (v.) to fill with love, fascinate, usually used in passive form followed by “of” or

“with” (I grew enamored of that boy when he quoted my favorite love poem.)

encore (n.) the audience’s demand for a repeat performance; also the artist’s

performance in response to that demand (At the end of the concert, all the fans

yelled, “Encore! Encore!” but the band did not come out to play again.)

encumber (v.) to weigh down, burden (At the airport, my friend was encumbered by

her luggage, so I offered to carry two of her bags.)

enervate (v.) to weaken, exhaust (Writing these sentences enervates me so much that I

will have to take a nap after I finish.)

enfranchise (v.) to grant the vote to (The Nineteenth Amendment enfranchised


engender (v.) to bring about, create, generate (During the Olympics, the victories of

U.S. athletes engender a patriotic spirit among Americans.)

enigmatic (adj.) mystifying, cryptic (That man wearing the dark suit and dark glasses is

so enigmatic that no one even knows his name.)

SAT Vocabulary


enmity (n.) ill will, hatred, hostility (Mark and Andy have clearly not forgiven each

other, because the enmity between them is obvious to anyone in their presence.)

ennui (n.) boredom, weariness (I feel such ennui that I don’t look forward to anything,

not even my birthday party.)

entail (v.) to include as a necessary step (Building a new fence entails tearing down the

old one.)

enthrall (v.) to charm, hold spellbound (The sailor’s stories of fighting off sharks and

finding ancient treasures enthralled his young son.)

ephemeral (adj.) short-lived, fleeting (She promised she’d love me forever, but her

“forever” was only ephemeral: she left me after one week.)

epistolary (adj.) relating to or contained in letters (Some people call me “Auntie’s boy,”

because my aunt and I have such a close epistolary relationship that we write each

other every day.)

epitome (n.) a perfect example, embodiment (My mother, the epitome of good taste,

always dresses more elegantly than I do.)

equanimity (n.) composure (Even though he had just been fired, Mr. Simms showed

great equanimity by neatly packing up his desk and wishing everyone in the office


equivocal (adj.) ambiguous, uncertain, undecided (His intentions were so equivocal

that I didn’t know whether he was being chivalrous or sleazy.)

erudite (adj.) learned (My Latin teacher is such an erudite scholar that he has translated

some of the most difficult and abstruse ancient poetry.)

eschew (v.) to shun, avoid (George hates the color green so much that he eschews all

green food.)

esoteric (adj.) understood by only a select few (Even the most advanced students

cannot understand the physicist’s esoteric theories.)

espouse (v.) to take up as a cause, support (I love animals so much that I espouse animal


ethereal (adj.) heavenly, exceptionally delicate or refined (In her flowing silk gown and

lace veil, the bride looked ethereal.)

etymology (n.) the history of words, their origin and development (From the study of

etymology, I know that the word “quixotic” derives from Don Quixote and the

word “gaudy” refers to the Spanish architect Gaudí.)


SAT Vocabulary

euphoric (adj.) elated, uplifted (I was euphoric when I found out that my sister had

given birth to twins.)

evanescent (adj.) fleeting, momentary (My joy at getting promoted was evanescent

because I discovered that I would have to work much longer hours in a less friendly


evince (v.) to show, reveal (Christopher’s hand-wringing and nail-biting evince how

nervous he is about the upcoming English test.)

exacerbate (v.) to make more violent, intense (The gruesome and scary movie I saw last

night exacerbated my fears of the dark.)

exalt (v.) to glorify, praise (Michael Jordan is the figure in basketball we exalt the most.)

exasperate (v.) to irritate, irk (George’s endless complaints exasperated his roomate.)

excavate (v.) to dig out of the ground and remove (The pharaoh’s treasures were

excavated by archeologists in Egypt.)

exculpate (v.) to free from guilt or blame, exonerate (My discovery of the ring behind

the dresser exculpated me from the charge of having stolen it.)

excursion (n.) a trip or outing (After taking an excursion to the Bronx Zoo, I dreamed

about pandas and monkeys.)

execrable (adj.) loathsome, detestable (Her pudding is so execrable that it makes me


exhort (v.) to urge, prod, spur (Henry exhorted his colleagues to join him in protesting

against the university’s hiring policies.)

exigent (adj.) urgent, critical (The patient has an exigent need for medication, or else he

will lose his sight.)

exonerate (v.) to free from guilt or blame, exculpate (The true thief’s confession

exonerated the man who had been held in custody for the crime.)

exorbitant (adj.) excessive (Her exorbitant praise made me blush and squirm in my


expedient (adj.) advisable, advantageous, serving one’s self-interest (In his bid for

reelection, the governor made an expedient move by tabling all controversial


expiate (v.) to make amends for, atone (To expiate my selfishness, I gave all my profits to


SAT Vocabulary


expunge (v.) to obliterate, eradicate (Fearful of an IRS investigation, Paul tried to

expunge all incriminating evidence from his tax files.)

expurgate (v.) to remove offensive or incorrect parts, usually of a book (The history

editors expurgated from the text all disparaging and inflammatory comments about

the Republican Party.)

extant (adj.) existing, not destroyed or lost (My mother’s extant love letters to my

father are in the attic trunk.)

extol (v.) to praise, revere (Violet extolled the virtues of a vegetarian diet to her meat-

loving brother.)

extraneous (adj.) irrelevant, extra, not necessary (Personal political ambitions should

always remain extraneous to legislative policy, but, unfortunately, they rarely are.)

extricate (v.) to disentangle (Instead of trying to mediate between my brother and

sister, I extricated myself from the family tension entirely and left the house for the


exult (v.) to rejoice (When she found out she won the literature prize, Mary exulted by

dancing and singing through the school’s halls.)


fabricate (v.) to make up, invent (When I arrived an hour late to class, I fabricated some

excuse about my car breaking down on the way to school.)

façade 1. (n.) the wall of a building (Meet me in front of the museum’s main façade.) 2.

(n.) a deceptive appearance or attitude (Despite my smiling façade, I am feeling


facile 1. (adj.) easy, requiring little effort (This game is so facile that even a four-year-

old can master it.) 2. (adj.) superficial, achieved with minimal thought or care,

insincere (The business was in such shambles that any solution seemed facile at best;

nothing could really helpit in the long-run.)

fallacious (adj.) incorrect, misleading (Emily offered me cigarettes on the fallacious

assumption that I smoked.)

fastidious (adj.) meticulous, demanding, having high and often unattainable standards

(Mark is so fastidious that he is never able to finish a project because it always seems

imperfect to him.)

fathom (v.) to understand, comprehend (I cannot fathom why you like that crabby and

mean-spirited neighbor of ours.)


SAT Vocabulary

fatuous (adj.) silly, foolish (He considers himself a serious poet, but in truth, he only

writes fatuous limericks.)

fecund (adj.) fruitful, fertile (The fecund tree bore enough apples to last us through the

entire season.)

felicitous 1. (adj.) well suited, apt (While his comments were idiotic and rambling, mine

were felicitous and helpful.) 2. (adj.) delightful, pleasing (I spent a felicitous

afternoon visiting old friends.)

feral (adj.) wild, savage (That beast looks so feral that I would fear being alone with it.)

fervent (adj.) ardent, passionate (The fervent protestors chained themselves to the

building and shouted all night long.)

fetid (adj.) having a foul odor (I can tell from the fetid smell in your refrigerator that

your milk has spoiled.)

fetter (v.) to chain, restrain (The dog was fettered to the parking meter.)

fickle (adj.) shifting in character, inconstant (In Greek dramas, the fickle gods help

Achilles one day, and then harm him the next.)

fidelity (n.) loyalty, devotion (Guard dogs are known for the great fidelity they show

toward their masters.)

figurative (adj.) symbolic (Using figurative language, Jane likened the storm to an

angry bull.)

flabbergasted (adj.) astounded (Whenever I read an Agatha Christie mystery novel, I

am always flabbergasted when I learn the identity of the murderer.)

flaccid (adj.) limp, not firm or strong (If a plant is not watered enough, its leaves

become droopy and flaccid.)

flagrant (adj.) offensive, egregious (The judge’s decision to set the man free simply

because that man was his brother was a flagrant abuse of power.)

florid (adj.) flowery, ornate (The writer’s florid prose belongs on a sentimental

Hallmark card.)

flout (v.) to disregard or disobey openly (I flouted the school’s dress code by wearing a

tie-dyed tank top and a pair of cut-off jeans.)

foil (v.)to thwart, frustrate, defeat (Inspector Wilkens foiled the thieves by locking them

in the bank along with their stolen money.)

SAT Vocabulary


forage (v.) to graze, rummage for food (When we got lost on our hiking trip, we foraged

for berries and nuts in order to survive.)

forbearance (n.) patience, restraint, toleration (The doctor showed great forbearance in

calming down the angry patient who shouted insults at him.)

forestall (v.) to prevent, thwart, delay (I forestalled the cold I was getting by taking

plenty of vitamin C pills and wearing a scarf.)

forlorn (adj.) lonely, abandoned, hopeless (Even though I had the flu, my family

decided to go skiing for the weekend and leave me home alone, feeling feverish and


forsake (v.) to give up, renounce (My New Year’s resolution is to forsake smoking and


fortitude (n.) strength, guts (Achilles’ fortitude in battle is legendary.)

fortuitous (adj.) happening by chance, often lucky or fortunate (After looking for

Manuel and not finding him at home, Harriet had a fortuitous encounter with him

at the post office.)

forum (n.) a medium for lecture or discussion (Some radio talk-shows provide a good

forum for political debate.)

foster (v.)to stimulate, promote, encourage (To foster good health in the city, the mayor

started a “Get out and exercise!” campaign.)

fractious (adj.) troublesome or irritable (Although the child insisted he wasn’t tired, his

fractious behavior—especially his decision to crush his cheese and crackers all over

the floor—convinced everyone present that it was time to put him to bed.)

fraught (adj.) (usually used with “with”) filled or accompanied with (Her glances in his

direction were fraught with meaning, though precisely what meaning remained


frenetic (adj.) frenzied, hectic, frantic (In the hours between night and morning, the

frenetic pace of city life slows to a lull.)

frivolous (adj.) of little importance, trifling (Someday, all that anxiety about whether

your zit will disappear before the prom will seem totally frivolous.)

frugal (adj.) thrifty, economical (Richard is so frugal that his diet consists almost

exclusively of catfish and chicken liver—the two most inexpensive foods in the



SAT Vocabulary

furtive (adj.) secretive, sly (Jane’s placement of her drugs in her sock drawer was not as

furtive as she thought, as the sock drawer is the first place most parents look.)


garish (adj.) gaudy, in bad taste (Mrs. Watson has poor taste and covers every object in

her house with a garish gold lamé.)

garrulous (adj.) talkative, wordy (Some talk show hosts are so garrulous that their

guests can’t get a word in edgewise.)

genial (adj.) friendly, affable (Although he’s been known to behave like a real jerk, I

would say that my brother is an overall genial guy.)

gluttony (n.) overindulgence in food or drink (Ada’s fried chicken tastes so divine, I

don’t know how anyone can call gluttony a sin.)

goad (v.) to urge, spur, incite to action (Jim may think he’s not going to fight Billy, but

Billy will goad Jim on with insults until he throws a punch.)

gourmand (n.) someone fond of eating and drinking (My parents, who used to eat little

more than crackers and salad, have become real gourmands in their old age.)

grandiloquence (n.) lofty, pompous language (The student thought her grandiloquence

would make her sound smart, but neither the class nor the teacher bought it.)

grandiose (adj.) on a magnificent or exaggerated scale (Margaret planned a grandiose

party, replete with elephants, trapeze artists, and clowns.)

gratuitous (adj.) uncalled for, unwarranted (Every morning the guy at the donut shop

gives me a gratuitous helping of ketchup packets.)

gregarious (adj.) drawn to the company of others, sociable (Well, if you’re not

gregarious, I don’t know why you would want to go to a singles party!)

grievous (adj.) injurious, hurtful; serious or grave in nature (Electrocuting the inmate

without being sure of his guilt would be a truly grievous mistake.)

guile (n.) deceitful, cunning, sly behavior (Because of his great guile, the politician was

able to survive scandal after scandal.)


hackneyed (adj.) unoriginal, trite (A girl can only hear “I love you” so many times

before it begins to sound hackneyed and meaningless.)

SAT Vocabulary


hallowed (adj.) revered, consecrated (In the hallowed corridors of the cathedral, the

disturbed professor felt himself to be at peace.)

hapless (adj.) unlucky (My poor, hapless family never seems to pick a sunny week to go

on vacation.)

harangue 1. (n.) a ranting speech (Everyone had heard the teacher’s harangue about

gum chewing in class before.) 2. (v.) to give such a speech (But this time the teacher

harangued the class about the importance of brushing your teeth after chewing


hardy (adj.)robust, capable of surviving through adverse conditions (I too would have

expected the plants to be dead by mid-November, but apparently they’re very


harrowing (adj.) greatly distressing, vexing (The car crash was a harrowing experience,

but I have a feeling that the increase in my insurance premiums will be even more


haughty (adj.) disdainfully proud (The superstar’s haughty dismissal of her costars will

backfire on her someday.)

hedonist (n.) one who believes pleasure should be the primary pursuit of humans

(Because he’s such a hedonist, I knew Murray would appreciate the 11 cases of wine

I bought him for his birthday.)

hegemony (n.) domination over others (Britain’s hegemony over its colonies was

threatened once nationalist sentiment began to spread around the world.)

heinous (adj.) shockingly wicked, repugnant (The killings were made all the more

heinous by the fact that the murderer first tortured his victims for three days.)

heterogeneous (adj.) varied, diverse in character (I hate having only one flavor so I

always buy the swirled, or should I say heterogeneous, type of ice cream.)

hiatus (n.) a break or gap in duration or continuity (The hiatus in service should last

two or three months—until the cable lines are repaired .)

hierarchy (n.) a system with ranked groups, usually according to social, economic, or

professional class (Women found it very difficult to break into the upper ranks of the

department’s hierarchy.)

hypocrisy (n.) pretending to believe what one does not (Once the politician began

passing legislation that contradicted his campaign promises, his hypocrisy became



SAT Vocabulary

hypothetical (adj.) supposed or assumed true, but unproven (Even though it has been

celebrated by seven major newspapers, that the drug will be a success when tested in

humans is still hypothetical.)


iconoclast (n.) one who attacks common beliefs or institutions (Jane goes to one protest

after another, but she seems to be an iconoclast rather than an activist with a

progressive agenda.)

idiosyncratic (adj.) peculiar to one person; highly individualized (I know you had

trouble with the last test, but because your mistakes were highly idiosyncratic, I’m

going to deny your request that the class be given a new test.)

idolatrous (adj.) excessively worshipping one object or person (Xena’s idolatrous

fawning over the band—following them on tour, starting their fan club, filming

their documentary—is really beginning to get on my nerves.)

ignominious (adj.) humiliating, disgracing (It was really ignominious to be kicked out of

the dorm for having an illegal gas stove in my room.)

illicit (adj.) forbidden, not permitted (The fourth-grader learned many illicit words

from a pamphlet that was being passed around school.)

immerse (v.) to absorb, deeply involve, engross (After breaking up with her boyfriend,

Nancy decided to immerse herself in her work in order to avoid crying.)

immutable (adj.) not changeable (The laws of physics are immutable and constant.)

impassive (adj.) stoic, not susceptible to suffering (Stop being so impassive; it’s healthy

to cry every now and then.)

impeccable (adj.) exemplary, flawless (If your grades were as impeccable as your sister’s,

then you too would receive a car for a graduation present.)

impecunious (adj.) poor (“I fear he’s too impecunious to take me out tonight,” the

bratty girl whined.)

imperative 1. (adj.) necessary, pressing (It is imperative that you have these folders

organized by midday.) 2. (n.) a rule, command, or order (Her imperative to have

the folders organized by midday was perceived as ridiculous by the others.)

imperious (adj.) commanding, domineering (The imperious nature of your manner led

me to dislike you at once.)

SAT Vocabulary


impertinent (adj.)rude, insolent (Most of your comments are so impertinent that I don’t

wish to dignify them with an answer.)

impervious (adj.) impenetrable, incapable of being affected (Because of their thick layer

of fur, many seals are almost impervious to the cold.)

impetuous (adj.)rash; hastily done (Hilda’s hasty slaying of the king was an impetuous,

thoughtless action.)

impinge 1. (v.) to impact, affect, make an impression (The hail impinged the roof,

leaving large dents.) 2. (v.) to encroach, infringe (I apologize for impinging upon

you like this, but I really need to use your bathroom. Now.)

implacable (adj.) incapable of being appeased or mitigated (Watch out: once you shun

Grandma’s cooking, she is totally implacable.)

implement 1. (n.) an instrument, utensil, tool (Do you have a knife or some other sort of

implement that I could use to pry the lid off of this jar?) 2. (v.) to put into effect, to

institute (After the first town curfew failed to stop the graffiti problem, the mayor

implemented a new policy to use security cameras to catch perpetrators in the act.)

implicate (v.) to involve in an incriminating way, incriminate (Even though Tom wasn’t

present at the time of the shooting, he was implicated by the evidence suggesting that

he had supplied the shooters with guns.)

implicit (adj.) understood but not outwardly obvious, implied (I know Professor Smith

didn’t actually say not to write from personal experience, but I think such a message

was implicit in her instruction to use scholarly sources.)

impregnable (adj.) resistant to capture or penetration (Though the invaders used

battering rams, catapults, and rain dances, the fortress proved impregnable and

resisted all attacks.)

impudent (adj.) casually rude, insolent, impertinent (The impudent young man looked

the princess up and down and told her she was hot even though she hadn’t asked


impute (v.) to ascribe, blame (The CEO imputed the many typos in the letter to his lazy


inane (adj.) silly and meaningless (Some films are so inane that the psychology of the

characters makes absolutely no sense.)

inarticulate (adj.) incapable of expressing oneself clearly through speech (Though he

spoke for over an hour, the lecturer was completely inarticulate and the students had

no idea what he was talking about.)


SAT Vocabulary

incarnate 1. (adj.) existing in the flesh, embodied (In the church pageant, I play the role

of greed incarnate.) 2. (v.) to give human form to (The alien evaded detection by

incarnating himself in a human form.)

incendiary 1. (n.) a person who agitates (If we catch the incendiary who screamed

“bomb” in the middle of the soccer match, we’re going to put him in jail.) 2. (adj.)

inflammatory, causing combustion (Gas and lighter fluid are incendiary materials

that should be kept out of hot storage areas.)

incessant (adj.) unending (We wanted to go outside and play, but the incessantrain kept

us indoors for two days.)

inchoate (adj.) unformed or formless, in a beginning stage (The country’s government

is still inchoate and, because it has no great tradition, quite unstable.)

incisive (adj.) clear, sharp, direct (The discussion wasn’t going anywhere until her

incisive comment allowed everyone to see what the true issues were.)

inclination (n.) a tendency, propensity (Sarah has an inclination to see every foreign film

she hears about, even when she’s sure that she won’t like it.)

incontrovertible (adj.) indisputable (Only stubborn Tina would attempt to disprove the

incontrovertible laws of physics.)

incorrigible (adj.) incapable of correction, delinquent (You can buy Grandma nicotine

gum all you want, but I think that after sixty-five years of smoking she’s


increment (n.) an enlargement; the process of increasing(The workmen made the wall

longer, increment by increment.)

incumbent 1. (n.) one who holds an office (The incumbent senator is already serving his

fifth term.) 2. (adj.) obligatory (It is incumbent upon this organization to offer aid to

all who seek it.)

indefatigable (adj.)incapable of defeat, failure, decay (Even after traveling 62 miles, the

indefatigable runner kept on moving.)

indigenous (adj.) originating in a region (Some fear that these plants, which are not

indigenous to the region, may choke out the vegetation that is native to the area.)

indigent (adj.) very poor, impoverished (I would rather donate money to help the

indigent population than to the park sculpture fund.)

indignation (n.) anger sparked by something unjust or unfair (I resigned from the

sorority because of my indignation at its hazing of new members.)

SAT Vocabulary


indolent (adj.) lazy (Why should my indolent children, who can’t even pick themselves

up off the couch to pour their own juice, be rewarded with a trip to the mall?)

indomitable (adj.) not capable of being conquered (To be honest, Jim, my indomitable

nature means I could never take orders from anyone, and especially not from a jerk

like you.)

induce (v.) to bring about, stimulate (Who knew that our decision to boycott school

lunch would induce a huge riot?)

ineffable (adj.) unspeakable, incapable of being expressed through words (It is said

that the experience of playing with a dolphin is ineffable and can only be understood

through direct encounter.)

inept (adj.) not suitable or capable, unqualified (She proved how inept she was when

she forgot three orders and spilled a beer in a customer’s lap.)

inexorable (adj.) incapable of being persuaded or placated (Although I begged for

hours, Mom was inexorable and refused to let me stay out all night after the prom.)

inextricable (adj.) hopelessly tangled or entangled (Unless I look at the solution

manual, I have no way of solving this inextricable problem.)

infamy (n.) notoriety, extreme ill repute (The infamy of his crime will not lessen as the

decades pass.)

infusion (n.) an injection of one substance into another; the permeation of one

substance by another (The infusion of Eastern religion into Western philosophy

created interesting new schools of thought.)

ingenious (adj.) clever, resourceful (Her ingenious use of walnuts instead of the peanuts

called for by the recipe was lauded by the other garden club members who found her

cake delicious.)

ingenuous (adj.) not devious; innocent and candid (He must have writers, but his

speeches seem so ingenuous it’s hard to believe he’s not speaking from his own heart.)

inhibit (v.) to prevent, restrain, stop (When I told you I needed the car last night, I

certainly never meant to inhibit you from going out.)

inimical (adj.) hostile, enemylike (I don’t see how I could ever work for a company that

was so cold and inimical to me during my interviews.)

iniquity (n.) wickedness or sin (“Your iniquity,” said the priest to the practical jokester,

“will be forgiven.”)


SAT Vocabulary

injunction (n.) an order of official warning (After his house was toilet-papered for the

fifth time, the mayor issued an injunction against anyone younger than 21 buying

toilet paper.)

innate (adj.) inborn, native, inherent (His incredible athletic talent is innate, he never

trains, lifts weights, or practices.)

innocuous (adj.) harmless, inoffensive (In spite of their innocuous appearance, these

mushrooms are actually quite poisonous.)

innovate (v.) to do something in an unprecedented way (Because of the stiff

competition, the company knew it needed to pour a lot of energy into innovating

new and better products.)

innuendo (n.) an insinuation (During the debate, the politician made several innuendos

about the sexual activities of his opponent.)

inoculate (v.) to introduce a microorganism, serum, or vaccine into an organism in

order to increase immunity to illness; to vaccinate (I’ve feared needles ever since I

was inoculated against 37 diseases at age one; but I have also never been sick.)

inquisitor (n.) one who inquires, especially in a hostile manner (The inquisitor was

instructed to knock on every door in town in order to find the fugitive.)

insatiable (adj.) incapable of being satisfied (My insatiable appetite for melons can be a

real problem in the winter.)

insidious (adj.) appealing but imperceptibly harmful, seductive (Lisa’s insidious

chocolate cake tastes so good but makes you feel so sick later on!)

insinuate (v.) to suggest indirectly or subtly (I wish Luke and Spencer would stop

insinuating that my perfect report card is the result of anything other than my

superior intelligence and good work habits.)

insipid (adj.) dull, boring (The play was so insipid, I fell asleep halfway through.)

insolent (adj.) rude, arrogant, overbearing (That celebrity is so insolent, making fun of

his fans right to their faces.)

instigate (v.) to urge, goad (The demagogue instigated the crowd into a fury by telling

them that they had been cheated by the federal government.)

insular (adj.) separated and narrow-minded; tight-knit, closed off (Because of the

sensitive nature of their jobs, those who work for the CIA must remain insular and

generally only spend time with each other.)

SAT Vocabulary


insurgent (n.) one who rebels (The insurgent snuck into and defaced a different

classroom each night until the administration agreed to meet his demands.)

integral (adj.) necessary for completeness (Without the integral ingredient of flour, you

wouldn’t be able to make bread.)

interject (v.) to insert between other things (During our conversation, the cab driver

occasionally interjected his opinion.)

interlocutor (n.) someone who participates in a dialogue or conversation (When the

officials could not come to an agreement over the correct cover of the flags, the prime

minister acted as an interlocutor.)

interminable (adj.) without possibility of end (The fact that biology lectures came just

before lunch made them seem interminable.)

intimation (n.) an indirect suggestion (Mr. Brinford’s intimation that he would soon pass

away occurred when he began to discuss how to distribute his belongings among his


intractable (adj.) difficult to manipulate, unmanageable (There was no end in sight to

the intractable conflict between the warring countries.)

intransigent (adj.) refusing to compromise, often on an extreme opinion (The

intransigent child said he would have 12 scoops of ice cream, or he would bang his

head against the wall until his mother fainted from fear.)

intrepid (adj.) brave in the face of danger (After scaling a live volcano prior to its

eruption, the explorer was praised for his intrepid attitude.)

inundate (v.) to flood with abundance (Because I am the star of a new sitcom, my fans

are sure to inundate me with fan mail and praise.)

inure (v.) to cause someone or something to become accustomed to a situation (Twenty

years in the salt mines inured the man to the discomforts of dirt and grime.)

invective (n.) an angry verbal attack (My mother’s irrational invective against the way I

dress only made me decide to dye my hair green.)

inveterate (adj.) stubbornly established by habit (I’m the first to admit that I’m an

inveterate coffee drinker—I drink four cups a day.)

inviolable (adj.) secure from assault (Nobody was ever able to break into Batman’s

inviolable Batcave.)

irascible (adj.) easily angered (At the smallest provocation, my irascible cat will begin

scratching and clawing.)


SAT Vocabulary

iridescent (adj.) showing rainbow colors (The bride’s large diamond ring was

iridescent in the afternoon sun.)

irreverence (n.) disrespect (The irreverence displayed by the band that marched

through the chapel disturbed many churchgoers.)

irrevocable (adj.) incapable of being taken back (The Bill of Rights is an irrevocable

part of American law.)


jubilant (adj.) extremely joyful, happy (The crowd was jubilant when the firefighter

carried the woman from the flaming building.)

judicious (adj.) having or exercising sound judgment (When the judicious king decided

to compromise rather than send his army to its certain death, he was applauded.)

juxtaposition (n.) the act of placing two things next to each other for implicit

comparison (The interior designer admired my juxtaposition of the yellow couch

and green table.)


knell (n.) the solemn sound of a bell, often indicating a death (Echoing throughout our

village, the funeral knell made the stormy day even more grim.)

kudos (n.) praise for an achievement (After the performance, the reviewers gave the

opera singer kudos for a job well done.)


laceration (n.) a cut, tear (Because he fell off his bike into a rosebush, the paperboy’s skin

was covered with lacerations.)

laconic (adj.) terse in speech or writing (The author’s laconic style has won him many

followers who dislike wordiness.)

languid (adj.)sluggish from fatigue or weakness (In the summer months, the great heat

makes people languid and lazy.)

larceny (n.) obtaining another’s property by theft or trickery (When my car was not

where I had left it, I realized that I was a victim of larceny.)

largess (n.) the generous giving of lavish gifts (My boss demonstrated great largess by

giving me a new car.)

SAT Vocabulary


latent (adj.) hidden, but capable of being exposed (Sigmund’s dream represented his

latent paranoid obsession with other people’s shoes.)

laudatory (adj.) expressing admiration or praise (Such laudatory comments are unusual

from someone who is usually so reserved in his opinions.)

lavish 1. (adj.) given without limits (Because they had worked very hard, the

performers appreciated the critic’s lavish praise.) 2. (v.) to give without limits

(Because the performers had worked hard, they deserved the praise that the critic

lavished on them.)

legerdemain (n.) deception, slight-of-hand (Smuggling the French plants through

customs by claiming that they were fake was a remarkable bit of legerdemain.)

lenient (adj.) demonstrating tolerance or gentleness (Because Professor Oglethorpe

allowed his students to choose their final grades, the other teachers believed that he

was excessively lenient.)

lethargic (adj.) in a state of sluggishness or apathy (When Jean Claude explained to his

boss that he was lethargic and didn’t feel like working that day, the boss fired him.)

liability 1. (n.) something for which one is legally responsible, usually involving a

disadvantage or risk (The bungee-jumping tower was a great liability for the

owners of the carnival.) 2. (n.) a handicap, burden (Because she often lost her

concentration and didn’t play defense, Marcy was a liability to the team.)

libertarian (adj.) advocating principles of liberty and free will (The dissatisfied subjects

overthrew the monarch and replaced him with a libertarian ruler who respected

their democratic principles.)

licentious (adj.) displaying a lack of moral or legal restraints (Marilee has always been

fascinated by the licentious private lives of politicians.)

limpid (adj.) clear, transparent (Mr. Johnson’s limpid writing style greatly pleased

readers who disliked complicated novels.)

linchpin (n.) something that holds separate parts together (The linchpin in the

prosecution’s case was the hair from the defendant’s head, which was found at the

scene of the crime.)

lithe (adj.) graceful, flexible, supple (Although the dancers were all outstanding, Jae

Sun’s control of her lithe body was particularly impressive.)

litigant (n.) someone engaged in a lawsuit (When the litigants began screaming at each

other, Judge Koch ordered them to be silent.)


SAT Vocabulary

lucid (adj.) clear, easily understandable (Because Guenevere’s essay was so lucid, I only

had to read it once to understand her reasoning.)

luminous (adj.) brightly shining (The light of the luminous moon graced the shoulders

of the beautiful maiden.)

lurid (adj.) ghastly, sensational (Gideon’s story, in which he described a character

torturing his sister’s dolls, was judged too lurid to be printed in the school’s literary



maelstrom (n.) a destructive whirlpool which rapidly sucks in objects (Little did the

explorers know that as they turned the next bend of the calm river a vicious

maelstrom would catch their boat.)

magnanimous (adj.) noble, generous (Although I had already broken most of her

dishes, Jacqueline was magnanimous enough to continue letting me use them.)

malediction (n.) a curse (When I was arrested for speeding, I screamed maledictions

against the policeman and the entire police department.)

malevolent (adj.) wanting harm to befall others (The malevolent old man sat in the park

all day, tripping unsuspecting passersby with his cane.)

malleable (adj.) capable of being shaped or transformed (Maximillian’s political

opinions were so malleable that anyone he talked to was able to change his mind


mandate (n.) an authoritative command (In the Old Testament, God mandates that no

one should steal.)

manifest 1. (adj.) easily understandable, obvious (When I wrote the wrong sum on the

chalkboard, my mistake was so manifest that the entire class burst into laughter.) 2.

(v.) to show plainly (His illness first manifested itself with particularly violent


manifold (adj.) diverse, varied (The popularity of Dante’s Inferno is partly due to the

fact that the work allows for manifold interpretations.)

maudlin (adj.) weakly sentimental (Although many people enjoy romantic comedies, I

usually find them maudlin and shallow.)

maverick (n.) an independent, nonconformist person (Andreas is a real maverick and

always does things his own way.)

SAT Vocabulary


mawkish (adj.) characterized by sick sentimentality (Although some nineteenth-

century critics viewed Dickens’s writing as mawkish, contemporary readers have

found great emotional depth in his works.)

maxim (n.) a common saying expressing a principle of conduct (Miss Manners’s

etiquette maxims are both entertaining and instructional.)

meager (adj.) deficient in size or quality (My meager portion of food did nothing to

satisfy my appetite.)

medley (n.) a mixture of differing things (Susannah’s wardrobe contained an

astonishing medley of colors, from olive green to fluorescent pink.)

mendacious (adj.) having a lying, false character (The mendaciouscontent of the tabloid

magazines is at least entertaining.)

mercurial (adj.) characterized by rapid change or temperamentality (Though he was

widely respected for his mathematical proofs, the mercurial genius was impossible to

live with.)

meritorious (adj.) worthy of esteem or reward (Manfred was given the congressional

medal of honor for his meritorious actions.)

metamorphosis (n.) the change of form, shape, substance (Winnifred went to the gym

every day for a year and underwent a metamorphosis from a waiflike girl to an

athletic woman.)

meticulous (adj.) extremely careful with details (The ornate needlework in the bride’s

gown was a product of meticulous handiwork.)

mitigate (v.) to make less violent, alleviate (When I had an awful sore throat, only

warm tea would mitigate the pain.)

moderate 1. (adj.) not extreme (Luckily, the restaurant we chose had moderate prices;

none of us have any money.) 2. (n.) one who expresses moderate opinions (Because

he found both the liberal and conservative proposals too excessive, Mr. Park sided

with the moderates.)

modicum (n.) a small amount of something (Refusing to display even a modicum of

sensitivity, Henrietta announced her boss’s affair in front of the entire office.)

modulate (v.) to pass from one state to another, especially in music (The composer

wrote a piece that modulated between minor and major keys.)

mollify (v.) to soften in temper (The police officer mollified the angry woman by giving

her a warning instead of a ticket.)


SAT Vocabulary

morass (n.) a wet swampy bog; figuratively, something that traps and confuses (When

Theresa lost her job, she could not get out of her financial morass.)

mores (n.) the moral attitudes and fixed customs of a group of people. (Mores change

over time; many things that were tolerated in 1975 are no longer seen as being

socially acceptable.)

morose (adj.) gloomy or sullen (Jason’s morose nature made him very unpleasant to

talk to.)

multifarious (adj.) having great diversity or variety (This Swiss Army knife has

multifarious functions and capabilities. Among other things, it can act as a knife, a

saw, a toothpick, and a slingshot.)

mundane (adj.) concerned with the world rather than with heaven, commonplace (He

is more concerned with the mundane issues of day-to-day life than with spiritual


munificence (n.) generosity in giving (The royal family’s munificence made everyone

else in their country rich.)

mutable (adj.) able to change (Because fashion is so mutable, what is trendy today will

look outdated in five years.)

myriad (adj.) consisting of a very great number (It was difficult to decide what to do

Friday night because the city presented us with myriad possibilities for fun.)


nadir (n.) the lowest point of something (My day was boring, but the nadir came when

I accidentally spilled a bowl of spaghetti on my head.)

nascent (adj.) in the process of being born or coming into existence (Unfortunately,

my brilliant paper was only in its nascent form on the morning that it was due.)

nebulous (adj.) vaguely defined, cloudy (The transition between governments meant

that who was actually in charge was a nebulous matter.)

nefarious (adj.) heinously villainous (Although Dr. Meanman’s nefarious plot to melt

the polar icecaps was terrifying, it was so impractical that nobody really worried

about it.)

negligent (adj.) habitually careless, neglectful (Jessie’s grandfather called me a

negligent fool after I left the door to his apartment unlocked even though there had

been a recent string of robberies.)

SAT Vocabulary


neophyte (n.) someone who is young or inexperienced (As a neophyte in the literary

world, Malik had trouble finding a publisher for his first novel.)

nocturnal (adj.) relating to or occurring during the night (Jackie was a nocturnal

person; she would study until dawn and sleep until the evening.)

noisome (adj.) unpleasant, offensive, especially to the sense of smell (Nobody would

enter the stalls until the horse’s noisome leavings were

taken away.)

nomadic (adj.) wandering from place to place (In the first six months after college, Jose

led a nomadic life, living in New York, California, and Idaho.)

nominal (adj.) trifling, insignificant (Because he was moving the following week and

needed to get rid of his furniture more than he needed money, Jordan sold

everything for a nominal fee.)

nonchalant (adj.) having a lack of concern, indifference (Although deep down she was

very angry, Marsha acted in a nonchalant manner when she found out that her best

friend had used her clothing without asking.)

nondescript (adj.) lacking a distinctive character (I was surprised when I saw the movie

star in person because she looked nondescript.)

notorious (adj.) widely and unfavorably known (Jacob was notorious for always

arriving late at parties.)

novice (n.) a beginner, someone without training or experience (Because we were all

novices at yoga, our instructor decided to begin with the basics.)

noxious (adj.) harmful, unwholesome (Environmentalists showed that the noxious

weeds were destroying the insects’ natural habitats.)

nuance (n.) a slight variation in meaning, tone, expression (The nuances of the poem

were not obvious to the casual reader, but the professor was able to point them out.)

nurture (v.)to assist the development of (Although Serena had never watered the plant,

which was about to die, Javier was able to nurture it back to life.)


obdurate (adj.) unyielding to persuasion or moral influences (The obdurate old man

refused to take pity on the kittens.)

obfuscate (v.) to render incomprehensible (The detective did want to answer the

newspaperman’s questions, so he obfuscated the truth.)


SAT Vocabulary

oblique (adj.) diverging from a straight line or course, not straightforward (Martin’s

oblique language confused those who listened to him.)

oblivious (adj.) lacking consciousness or awareness of something (Oblivious to the

burning smell emanating from the kitchen, my father did not notice that the rolls in

the oven were burned until much too late.)

obscure (adj.) unclear, partially hidden (Because he was standing in the shadows, his

features were obscure.)

obsequious (adj.) excessively compliant or submissive (Mark acted like Janet’s servant,

obeying her every request in an obsequious manner.)

obsolete (adj.) no longer used, out of date (With the inventions of tape decks and CDs,

which both have better sound and are easier to use, eight-track players are now

entirely obsolete.)

obstinate (adj.) not yielding easily, stubborn (The obstinate child refused to leave the

store until his mother bought him a candy bar.)

obstreperous (adj.) noisy, unruly (Billy’s obstreperous behavior prompted the librarian

to ask him to leave the reading room.)

obtuse (adj.) lacking quickness of sensibility or intellect (Political opponents warned

that the prime minister’s obtuse approach to foreign policy would embroil the nation

in mindless war.)

odious (adj.) instilling hatred or intense displeasure (Mark was assigned the odious task

of cleaning the cat’s litter box.)

officious (adj.) offering one’s services when they are neither wanted nor needed

(Brenda resented Allan’s officious behavior when he selected colors that might best

improve her artwork.)

ominous (adj.) foreboding or foreshadowing evil (The fortuneteller’s ominous words

flashed through my mind as the hooded figure approached me in the alley.)

onerous (adj.) burdensome (My parents lamented that the pleasures of living in a

beautiful country estate no longer outweighed the onerous mortgage payments.)

opulent (adj.) characterized by rich abundance verging on ostentation (The opulent

furnishings of the dictator’s private compound contrasted harshly with the meager

accommodations of her subjects.)

SAT Vocabulary


oration (n.) a speech delivered in a formal or ceremonious manner (The prime minister

was visibly shaken when the unruly parliament interrupted his oration about failed

domestic policies.)

ornate (adj.) highly elaborate, excessively decorated (The ornate styling of the new

model of luxury car could not compensate for the poor quality of its motor.)

orthodox (adj.) conventional, conforming to established protocol (The company’s

profits dwindled because the management pursued orthodox business policies that

were incompatible with new industrial trends.)

oscillate (v.) to sway from one side to the other (My uncle oscillated between buying a

station wagon to transport his family and buying a sports car to satisfy his boyhood


ostensible (adj.) appearing as such, seemingly (Jack’s ostensible reason for driving was

that airfare was too expensive, but in reality, he was afraid of flying.)

ostentatious (adj.) excessively showy, glitzy (On the palace tour, the guide focused on

the ostentatious decorations and spoke little of the royal family’s history.)

ostracism (n.) exclusion from a group (Beth risked ostracism if her roommates

discovered her flatulence.)


pacific (adj.) soothing (The chemistry professor’s pacific demeanor helped the class

remain calm after the experiment exploded.)

palatable (adj.) agreeable to the taste or sensibilities (Despite the unpleasant smell, the

exotic cheese was quite palatable.)

palette (adj.) a range of colors or qualities (The palette of colors utilized in the painting

was equaled only by the range of intense emotions the piece evoked.)

palliate (v.) to reduce the severity of (The doctor trusted that the new medication

would palliate her patient’s discomfort.)

pallid (adj.) lacking color (Dr. Van Helsing feared that Lucy’s pallid complexion was

due to an unexplained loss of blood.)

panacea (n.) a remedy for all ills or difficulties (Doctors wish there was a single panacea

for every disease, but sadly there is not.)

paradigm (n.) an example that is a perfect pattern or model (Because the new SUV was

so popular, it became the paradigm upon which all others were modeled.)


SAT Vocabulary

paradox (n.) an apparently contradictory statement that is perhaps true (The diplomat

refused to acknowledge the paradox that negotiating a peace treaty would demand

more resources than waging war.)

paragon (n.) a model of excellence or perfection (The mythical Helen of Troy was

considered a paragon of female beauty.)

paramount (adj.) greatest in importance, rank, character (It was paramount that the

bomb squad disconnect the blue wire before removing the fuse.)

pariah (n.) an outcast (Following the discovery of his plagiarism, Professor Hurley was

made a pariah in all academic circles.)

parody (n.) a satirical imitation (A hush fell over the classroom when the teacher

returned to find Deborah acting out a parody of his teaching style.)

parsimony (n.) frugality, stinginess (Many relatives believed that my aunt’s wealth

resulted from her parsimony.)

partisan (n.) a follower, adherent (The king did not believe that his rival could round up

enough partisans to overthrow the monarchy.)

patent (adj.) readily seen or understood, clear (The reason for Jim’s abdominal pain

was made patent after the doctor performed a sonogram.)

pathology (n.) a deviation from the normal (Dr. Hastings had difficulty identifying the

precise nature of Brian’s pathology.)

pathos (n.) an emotion of sympathy (Martha filled with pathos upon discovering the

scrawny, shivering kitten at her door.)

paucity (adj.) small in quantity (Gilbert lamented the paucity of twentieth century

literature courses available at the college.)

pejorative (adj.) derogatory, uncomplimentary (The evening’s headline news covered

an international scandal caused by a pejorative statement the famous senator had

made in reference to a foreign leader.)

pellucid (adj.) easily intelligible, clear (Wishing his book to be pellucid to the common

man, Albert Camus avoided using complicated grammar when composing The


penchant (n.) a tendency, partiality, preference (Jill’s dinner parties quickly became

monotonous on account of her penchant for Mexican dishes.)

penitent (adj.) remorseful, regretful (The jury’s verdict may have been more lenient if

the criminal had appeared penitent for his gruesome crimes.)

SAT Vocabulary


penultimate (adj.) next to last (Having smoked the penultimate cigarette remaining in

the pack, Cybil discarded the last cigarette and resolved to quit smoking.)

penurious (adj.) miserly, stingy (Stella complained that her husband’s penurious ways

made it impossible to live the lifestyle she felt she deserved.)

perfidious (adj.) disloyal, unfaithful (After the official was caught selling government

secrets to enemy agents, he was executed for his perfidious ways.)

perfunctory (adj.) showing little interest or enthusiasm (The radio broadcaster

announced the news of the massacre in a surprisingly perfunctory manner.)

permeate (v.) to spread throughout, saturate (Mrs. Huxtable was annoyed that the wet

dog’s odor had permeated the furniture’s upholstery.)

pernicious (adj.) extremely destructive or harmful (The new government feared that

the Communist sympathizers would have a pernicious influence on the nation’s


perplex (v.) to confuse (Brad was perplexed by his girlfriend’s suddenly distant


perspicacity (adj.) shrewdness, perceptiveness (The detective was too humble to

acknowledge that his perspicacity was the reason for his professional success.)

pert (adj.) flippant, bold (My parents forgave Sandra’s pert humor at the dinner table

because it had been so long since they had last seen her.)

pertinacious (adj.) stubbornly persistent (Harry’s parents were frustrated with his

pertinacious insistence that a monster lived in his closet. Then they opened the closet

door and were eaten.)

perusal (n.) a careful examination, review (The actor agreed to accept the role after a

two-month perusal of the movie script.)

pervasive (adj.) having the tendency to spread throughout (Stepping off the plane in

Havana, I recognized the pervasive odor of sugar cane fields on fire.)

petulance (n.) rudeness, irritability (The Nanny resigned after she could no longer

tolerate the child’s petulance.)

philanthropic (adj.) charitable, giving (Many people felt that the billionaire’s decision to

donate her fortune to house the homeless was the ultimate philanthropic act.)

phlegmatic (adj.) uninterested, unresponsive (Monique feared her dog was ill after the

animal’s phlegmatic response to his favorite chew toy.)


SAT Vocabulary

pillage (v.) to seize or plunder, especially in war (Invading enemy soldiers pillaged the

homes scattered along the country’s border.)

pinnacle (n.) the highest point (Book reviewers declared that the author’s

new novel was extraordinary and probably the pinnacle of

Western literature.)

pithy (adj.) concisely meaningful (My father’s long-winded explanation was a stark

contrast to his usually pithy statements.)

pittance (n.) a very small amount, especially relating to money (Josh complained that

he was paid a pittance for the great amount of work he did at the firm.)

placate (v.) to ease the anger of, soothe (The man purchased a lollipop to placate his

irritable son.)

placid (adj.) calm, peaceful (The placid lake surface was as smooth as glass.)

platitude (n.) an uninspired remark, cliché (After reading over her paper, Helene

concluded that what she thought were profound insights were actually

just platitudes.)

plaudits (n.) enthusiastic approval, applause (The controversial new film received

plaudits from even the harshest critics.)

plausible (adj.) believable, reasonable (He studied all the data and then came up with a

plausible theory that took all factors into account.)

plenitude (n.) an abundance (My grandmother was overwhelmed by the plenitude of

tomatoes her garden yielded this season.)

plethora (n.) an abundance, excess (The wedding banquet included a plethora of oysters

piled almost three feet high.)

pliable (adj.) flexible (Aircraft wings are designed to be somewhat pliable so they do not

break in heavy turbulence.)

poignant (adj.) deeply affecting, moving (My teacher actually cried after reading to us

the poignant final chapter of the novel.)

polemic (n.) an aggressive argument against a specific opinion (My brother

launched into a polemic against my arguments that capitalism was an unjust

economic system.)

portent (n.) an omen (When a black cat crossed my sister’s path while she was walking to

school, she took it as a portent that she would do badly on her spelling test.)

SAT Vocabulary


potable (adj.) suitable for drinking (During sea voyages it is essential that ships carry a

supply of potable water because salty ocean water makes anyone who drinks it sick.)

potentate (n.) one who has great power, a ruler (All the villagers stood along the town’s

main road to observe as the potentate’s procession headed towards

the capital.)

pragmatic (adj.) practical (The politician argued that while increased security measures

might not fit with the lofty ideals of the nation, they were a pragmatic necessity to

ensure everyone’s safety.)

precipice (n.) the face of a cliff, a steep or overhanging place (The mountain climber

hung from a precipice before finding a handhold and pulling himself up.)

preclude (v.) to prevent (My grandfather’s large and vicious guard dog precluded

anyone from entering the yard.)

precocious (adj.) advanced, developing ahead of time (Derek was so academically

precocious that by the time he was 10 years old, he was already in the ninth grade.)

predilection (n.) a preference or inclination for something (Francois has a predilection

for eating scrambled eggs with ketchup, though I prefer to eat eggs without any


preponderance (adj.)superiority in importance or quantity (Britain’s preponderance of

naval might secured the nation’s role as a military power.)

prepossessing (adj.) occupying the mind to the exclusion of other thoughts or feelings

(His prepossessing appearance made it impossible for me to think of anything else.)

presage (n.) an omen (When my uncle’s old war injury ached, he interpreted it as a

presage of bad weather approaching.)

prescient (adj.) to have foreknowledge of events (Questioning the fortune

cookie’s prediction, Ray went in search of the old hermit who was rumored to be


prescribe (v.) to lay down a rule (The duke prescribed that from this point further all of

the peasants living on his lands would have to pay higher taxes.)

presumptuous (adj.) disrespectfully bold (The princess grew angry after the

presumptuous noble tried to kiss her, even though he was far below her in social



SAT Vocabulary

pretense (n.)an appearance or action intended to deceive (Though he actually wanted

to use his parents’ car to go on a date, Nick borrowed his parents’ car under the

pretense of attending a group study session.)

primeval (adj.) original, ancient (The first primates to walk on two legs, called

Australopithecus, were the primeval descendants of modern man.)

privation (n.) lacking basic necessities (After decades of rule by an oppressive

government that saw nothing wrong with stealing from its citizens, the recent

drought only increased the people’s privation.)

probity (n.) virtue, integrity (Because he was never viewed as a man of great probity, no

one was surprised by Mr. Samson’s immoral behavior.)

proclivity (n.) a strong inclination toward something (In a sick twist of fate, Harold’s

childhood proclivity for torturing small animals grew into a desire to become a


procure (v.) to obtain, acquire (The FBI was unable to procure sufficient evidence to

charge the gangster with racketeering.)

profane (adj.) lewd, indecent (Jacob’s profane act of dumping frogs in the holy water in

the chapel at his boarding school resulted in his dismissal.)

profligate (adj.) dissolute, extravagant (The profligate gambler loved to drink, spend

money, steal, cheat, and hang out with prostitutes.)

profuse (adj.) plentiful, abundant (The fans were profuse in their cheers for the star

basketball player.)

promulgate (v.) to proclaim, make known (The film professor promulgated that both in

terms of sex appeal and political intrigue, Sean Connery’s James Bond was superior

to Roger Moore’s.)

propagate (v.) to multiply, spread out (Rumors of Paul McCartney’s demise propagated

like wildfire throughout the world.)

propensity (n.) an inclination, preference (Dermit has a propensity for dangerous

activities such as bungee jumping.)

propitious (adj.) favorable (The dark storm clouds visible on the horizon suggested that

the weather would not be propitious for sailing.)

propriety (n.) the quality or state of being proper, decent (Erma’s old-fashioned parents

believed that her mini-skirt lacked the propriety expected of a “nice” girl.)

SAT Vocabulary


prosaic (adj.) plain, lacking liveliness (Heather’s prosaic recital of the poem bored the


proscribe (v.) to condemn, outlaw (The town council voted to proscribe the sale of

alcohol on weekends.)

protean (adj.)able to change shape; displaying great variety (Among Nigel’s protean

talents was his ability to touch the tip of his nose with his tongue.)

prowess (n.) extraordinary ability (The musician had never taken a guitar lesson in his

life, making his prowess with the instrument even more incredible.)

prudence (n.) cautious, circ*mspect (After losing a fortune in a stock market crash, my

father vowed to practice greater prudence in future investments.)

prurient (adj.) eliciting or possessing an extraordinary interest in sex (David’s mother

was shocked by the discovery of prurient reading material hidden beneath her son’s


puerile (adj.) juvenile, immature (The judge demanded order after the lawyer’s puerile

attempt to object by stomping his feet on the courtroom floor.)

pugnacious (adj.) quarrelsome, combative (Aaron’s pugnacious nature led him to start

several barroom brawls each month.)

pulchritude (n.) physical beauty (Several of Shakespeare’s sonnets explore the

pulchritude of a lovely young man.)

punctilious (adj.) eager to follow rules or conventions (Punctilious Bobby, hall monitor

extraordinaire, insisted that his peers follow the rules.)

pungent (adj.) having a pointed, sharp quality—often used to describe smells

(The pungent odor in the classroom made Joseph lose his concentration during the


punitive (adj.) involving punishment (If caught smoking in the boys’ room, the punitive

result is immediate expulsion from school.)

putrid (adj.) rotten, foul (Those rotten eggs smell putrid.)


quagmire (n.) a difficult situation (We’d all like to avoid the kind of military quagmire

characterized by the Vietnam War.)

quaint (adj.) charmingly old-fashioned (Hilda was delighted by the quaint bonnets she

saw in Amish country.)


SAT Vocabulary

quandary (n.) a perplexed, unresolvable state (Carlos found himself in a quandary:

should he choose mint chocolate chip or cookie dough?)

quell (v.) to control or diffuse a potentially explosive situation (The skilled leader

deftly quelled the rebellion.)

querulous (adj.) whiny, complaining (If deprived of his pacifier, young Brendan

becomes querulous.)

quixotic (adj.) idealistic, impractical (Edward entertained a quixotic desire to fall in

love at first sight in a laundromat.)

quotidian (adj.) daily (Ambika’s quotidian routines include drinking two cups of coffee

in the morning.)


rail (v.) to scold, protest (The professor railed against the injustice of the college’s tenure


rancid (adj.) having a terrible taste or smell (Rob was double-dog-dared to eat the

rancid egg salad sandwich.)

rancor (n.) deep, bitter resentment (When Eileen challenged me to a fight, I could see

the rancor in her eyes.)

rapport (n.) mutual understanding and harmony (When Margaret met her paramour,

they felt an instant rapport.)

rash (adj.) hasty, incautious (It’s best to think things over calmly and thoroughly, rather

than make rash decisions.)

raucous (adj.) loud, boisterous (Sarah’s neighbors called the cops when her house party

got too raucous.)

raze (v.) to demolish, level (The old tenement house was razed to make room for the

large chain store.)

rebuke (v.) to scold, criticize (When the cops showed up at Sarah’s party, they rebuked

her for disturbing the peace.)

recalcitrant (adj.) defiant, unapologetic (Even when scolded, the recalcitrant young girl

simply stomped her foot and refused to finish her lima beans.)

recapitulate (v.) to sum up, repeat (Before the final exam, the teacher recapitulated the

semester’s material.)

SAT Vocabulary


reciprocate (v.) to give in return (When Steve gave Samantha a sweater for Christmas,

she reciprocated by giving him a kiss.)

reclusive (adj.) solitary, shunning society (Reclusive authors such as J.D. Salinger do

not relish media attention and sometimes even enjoy holing up in remote cabins in

the woods.)

reconcile 1. (v.) to return to harmony (The feuding neighbors finally reconciled when

one brought the other a delicious tuna noodle casserole.) 2. (v.) to make consistent

with existing ideas (Alou had to reconcile his skepticism about the existence of aliens

with the fact that he was looking at a flying saucer.)

rectitude (n.) uprightness, extreme morality (The priest’s rectitude gave him the moral

authority to counsel his parishioners.)

redoubtable 1. (adj.) formidable (The fortress looked redoubtable set against a stormy

sky.) 2. (adj.) commanding respect (The audience greeted the redoubtable speaker

with a standing ovation.)

refract (v.) to distort, change (The light was refracted as it passed through the prism.)

refurbish (v.) to restore, clean up (The dingy old chair, after being refurbished,

commanded the handsome price of $200.)

refute (v.) to prove wrong (Maria refuted the president’s argument as she yelled and

gesticulated at the TV.)

regurgitate 1. (v.) to vomit (Feeling sick, Chuck regurgitated his dinner.) 2. (v.) to

throw back exactly (Margaret rushed through the test, regurgitating all of the facts

she’d memorized an hour earlier.)

relegate 1. (v.) to assign to the proper place (At the astrology conference, Simon was

relegated to the Scorpio room.) 2. (v.) to assign to an inferior place (After spilling a

drink on a customer’s shirt, the waiter found himself relegated to the least lucrative


relish (v.) to enjoy (Pete always relished his bedtime snack.)

remedial (adj.) intended to repair gaps in students’ basic knowledge (After his teacher

discovered he couldn’t read, Alex was forced to enroll in remedial English.)

remiss (adj.) negligent, failing to take care (The burglar gained entrance because the

security guard, remiss in his duties, forgot to lock the door.)


SAT Vocabulary

renovate 1. (v.) restore, return to original state (The renovated antique candelabra

looked as good as new.) 2. (v.) to enlarge and make prettier, especially a house (After

getting renovated, the house was twice as big and much more attractive.)

renown (n.) honor, acclaim (The young writer earned international renown by winning

the Pulitzer Prize.)

renunciation (n.) to reject (Fiona’s renunciation of red meat resulted in weight loss, but

confused those people who thought she’d been a vegetarian for years.)

repentant (adj.) penitent, sorry (The repentant Dennis apologized profusely for

breaking his mother’s vase.)

replete (adj.) full, abundant (The unedited version was replete with naughty words.)

repose (v.) to rest, lie down (The cat, after eating an entire can of tuna fish, reposed in

the sun and took a long nap.)

reprehensible (adj.) deserving rebuke (Jean’s cruel and reprehensible attempt to dump

her boyfriend on his birthday led to tears and recriminations.)

reprieve (n.) a temporary delay of punishment (Because the governor woke up in a

particularly good mood, he granted hundreds of reprieves to prisoners.)

reproach (v.) to scold, disapprove (Brian reproached the customer for failing to rewind

the video he had rented.)

reprobate (adj.) evil, unprincipled (The reprobate criminal sat sneering in the cell.)

reprove (v.) to scold, rebuke (Lara reproved her son for sticking each and every one of

his fingers into the strawberry pie.)

repudiate (v.) to reject, refuse to accept (Kwame made a strong case for an extension of

his curfew, but his mother repudiated it with a few biting words.)

repulse 1. (v.) to disgust (Antisocial Annie tried to repulse people by neglecting to brush

her teeth.) 2. (v.) to push back (With a deft movement of her wrist and a punch to

the stomach, Lacy repulsed Jack’s attempt to kiss her.)

reputable (adj.) of good reputation (After the most reputable critic in the industry gave

the novel a glowing review, sales took off.)

requisition (n.) a demand for goods, usually made by an authority (During the war, the

government made a requisition of supplies.)

rescind (v.) to take back, repeal (The company rescinded its offer of employment after

discovering that Jane’s resume was full of lies.)

SAT Vocabulary


reservoir 1. (n.) reserves, large supply (Igor the Indomitable had quite a reservoir of

strengh and could lift ten tons, even after running 700 miles, jumping over three

mountains, and swimming across an ocean.) 2. (n.) a body of water used for storing

water (After graduation, the more rebellious members of the senior class jumped

into the town reservoir used for drinking water.)

resilient (adj.) able to recover from misfortune; able to withstand adversity (The

resilient ballplayer quickly recovered from his wrist injury.)

resolute (adj.) firm, determined (With a resolute glint in her eye, Catherine announced

that she was set on going to college in New York City even though she was a little

frightened of tall buildings.)

resolve 1. (v.) to find a solution (Sarah and Emma resolved their differences and shook

hands.) 2. (v.) to firmly decide (Lady Macbeth resolved to whip her husband into


respite (n.) a break, rest (Justin left the pub to gain a brief respite from the smoke and


resplendent (adj.) shiny, glowing (The partygoers were resplendent in diamonds and

fancy dress.)

restitution (n.) restoration to the rightful owner (Many people feel that descendants of

slaves should receive restitution for the sufferings of their ancestors.)

restive (adj.) resistant, stubborn, impatient (The restive audience pelted the band with

mud and yelled nasty comments.)

retract (v.) withdraw (As the media worked itself into a frenzy, the publicist hurriedly

retracted his client’s sexist statement.)

revel (v.) to enjoy intensely (Theodore reveled in his new status as Big Man

on Campus.)

revere (v.) to esteem, show deference, venerate (The doctor saved countless lives with

his combination of expertise and kindness and became universally revered.)

revoke (v.) to take back (After missing the curfew set by the court for eight nights in a

row, Marcel’s freedom of movement was revoked.)

rhapsodize (v.) to engage in excessive enthusiasm (The critic rhapsodized about the

movie, calling it an instant classic.)

ribald (adj.) coarsely, crudely humorous (While some giggled at the ribald joke

involving a parson’s daughter, most sighed and rolled their eyes.)


SAT Vocabulary

rife (adj.) abundant (Surprisingly, the famous novelist’s writing was rife with

spelling errors.)

ruminate (v.) to contemplate, reflect (Terry liked to ruminate while sitting on the banks

of the river, staring pensively into the water.)

ruse (n.) a trick (Oliver concocted an elaborate ruse for sneaking out of the house to

meet his girlfriend while simultaneously giving his mother the impression that he

was asleep in bed.)


saccharine (adj.) sickeningly sweet (Tom’s saccharine manner, although intended to

make him popular, actually repelled his classmates.)

sacrosanct (adj.) holy, something that should not be criticized (In the United States,

the Constitution is often thought of as a sacrosanct document.)

sagacity (n.)shrewdness, soundness of perspective (With remarkable sagacity, the wise

old man predicted and thwarted his children’s plan to ship him off to a nursing


salient (adj.) significant, conspicuous (One of the salient differences between Alison

and Nancy is that Alison is a foot taller.)

salutation (n.) a greeting (Andrew regularly began letters with the bizarre salutation

“Ahoy ahoy.”)

salve (n.) a soothing balm (After Tony applied a salve to his brilliant red sunburn, he

soon felt a little better.)

sanctimonious (adj.) giving a hypocritical appearance of piety (The sanctimonious

Bertrand delivered stern lectures on the Ten Commandments to anyone who would

listen, but thought nothing of stealing cars to make some cash on the side.)

sanguine (adj.) optimistic, cheery (Polly reacted to any bad news with a sanguine smile

and the chirpy cry, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”)

satiate (v.) to satisfy excessively (Satiated after eating far too much turkey and stuffing,

Liza lay on the couch watching football and suffering from

stomach pains.)

scathing (adj.) sharp, critical, hurtful (Two hours after breaking up with Russell,

Suzanne thought of the perfect scathing retort to his accusations.)

SAT Vocabulary


scintillating (adj.) sparkling (The ice skater’s scintillating rhinestone costume nearly

blinded the judges.)

scrupulous (adj.) painstaking, careful (With scrupulouscare, Sam cut a snowflake out of

white paper.)

scurrilous (adj.) vulgar, coarse (When Bruno heard the scurrilous accusation being

made about him, he could not believe it because he always tried to be nice to


sedentary (adj.) sitting, settled (The sedentary cat did little but loll in the sun.)

semaphore (n.) a visual signal (Anne and Diana communicated with a semaphore

involving candles and window shades.)

seminal (adj.) original, important, creating a field (Stephen Greenblatt’s essays on

Shakespeare proved to be seminal, because they initiated the critical school of New


sensual (adj.) involving sensory gratification, usually related to sex (With a coy smile,

the guest on the blind-date show announced that he considered himself a very

sensual person.)

sensuous (adj.) involving sensory gratification (Paul found drinking co*ke, with all the

little bubbles bursting on his tongue, a very sensuous experience.)

serendipity (n.) luck, finding good things without looking for them (In an amazing bit

of serendipity, penniless Paula found a $20 bill in the subway station.)

serene (adj.) calm, untroubled (Louise stood in front of the Mona Lisa, puzzling over

the famous woman’s serene smile.)

servile (adj.) subservient (The servile porter crept around the hotel lobby, bowing and

quaking before the guests.)

sinuous (adj.) lithe, serpentine (With the sinuous movements of her arms, the dancer

mimicked the motion of a snake.)

sobriety (n.) sedate, calm (Jason believed that maintaining his sobriety in times of crisis

was the key to success in life.)

solicitous (adj.) concerned, attentive (Jim, laid up in bed with a nasty virus,

enjoyed the solicitous attentions of his mother, who brought him soup and extra


solipsistic (adj.) believing that oneself is all that exists (Colette’s solipsistic attitude

completely ignored the plight of the homeless people on the street.)


SAT Vocabulary

soluble (adj.) able to dissolve (The plot of the spy film revolved around an untraceable

and water-soluble poison.)

solvent 1. (n.) a substance that can dissolve other substances (Water is sometimes called

the universal solvent because almost all other substances can dissolve into it.) 2.

(adj.) able to pay debts (Upon receiving an unexpected check from her aunt,

Annabelle found herself suddenly solvent.)

somnolent (adj.)sleepy, drowsy (The somnolent student kept falling asleep and waking

up with a jerk.)

sophom*oric (adj.) immature, uninformed (The mature senior rolled her eyes at the

sophom*oric gross-out humor of the underclassman.)

sovereign (adj.) having absolute authority in a certain realm (The sovereign queen,

with steely resolve, ordered that the traitorous nobleman be killed.)

speculative (adj.) not based in fact (Sadly, Tessa was convicted on merely speculative


spurious (adj.) false but designed to seem plausible (Using a spurious argument, John

convinced the others that he had won the board game on a technicality.)

stagnate (v.) to become or remain inactive, not develop, not flow (With no room for

advancement, the waiter’s career stagnated.)

staid (adj.) sedate, serious, self-restrained (The staid butler never changed his

expression no matter what happened.)

stingy (adj.) not generous, not inclined to spend or give (Scrooge’s stingy habits did not

fit with the generous, giving spirit of Christmas.)

stoic (adj.) unaffected by passion or feeling (Penelope’s faithfulness to Odysseus

required that she be stoic and put off her many suitors.)

stolid (adj.) expressing little sensibility, unemotional (Charles’s stolid reaction to his

wife’s funeral differed from the passion he showed at the time of her death.)

strenuous (adj.)requiring tremendous energy or stamina (Running a marathon is quite

a strenuous task. So is watching an entire Star Trek marathon.)

strident (adj.) harsh, loud (A strident man, Captain Von Trapp yelled at his daughter

and made her cry.)

stupefy (v.) to astonish, make insensible (Veronica’s audacity and ungratefulness

stupefied her best friend, Heather.)

SAT Vocabulary


subjugate (v.) to bring under control, subdue (The invading force captured and

subjugated the natives of that place.)

sublime (adj.) lofty, grand, exalted (The homeless man sadly pondered his former

wealth and once sublime existence.)

submissive (adj.) easily yielding to authority (In some cultures, wives are supposed to

be submissive and support their husbands in all matters.)

succinct (adj.) marked by compact precision (The governor’s succinct speech energized

the crowd while the mayor’s rambled on and on.)

superfluous (adj.) exceeding what is necessary (Tracy had already won the campaign so

her constant flattery of others was superfluous.)

surfeit (n.) an overabundant supply or indulgence (After partaking of the surfeit of

tacos and tamales at the All-You-Can-Eat Taco Tamale Lunch Special, Beth felt

rather sick.)

surmise (v.) to infer with little evidence (After speaking to only one of the students, the

teacher was able to surmise what had caused the fight.)

surreptitious (adj.)stealthy (The surreptitious CIA agents were able to get in and out of

the house without anyone noticing.)

surrogate (n.) one acting in place of another (The surrogate carried the child to term for

its biological parents.)

swarthy (adj.) of dark color or complexion (When he got drunk, Robinson’s white skin

became rather swarthy.)

sycophant (n.) one who flatters for self-gain (Some see the people in the cabinet as the

president’s closest advisors, but others see them as sycophants.)


tacit (adj.) expressed without words (I interpreted my parents’ refusal to talk as a tacit

acceptance of my request.)

taciturn (adj.) not inclined to talk (Though Jane never seems to stop talking, her brother

is quite taciturn.)

tangential (adj.) incidental, peripheral, divergent (I tried to discuss my salary, but the

boss kept veering off into tangential topics.)

tantamount (adj.) equivalent in value or significance (When it comes to sports, fearing

your opponent is tantamount to losing.)


SAT Vocabulary

tedious (adj.) dull, boring (As time passed and the history professor continued to drone

on and on, the lecture became increasingly tedious.)

temerity (n.) audacity, recklessness (Tom and Huck entered the scary cave armed with

nothing but their own temerity.)

temperance (n.) moderation in action or thought (Maintaining temperance will ensure

that you are able to think rationally and objectively.)

tenable (adj.) able to be defended or maintained (The department heads tore

down the arguments in other people’s theses, but Johari’s work proved to be quite


tenuous (adj.) having little substance or strength (Your argument is very tenuous, since

it relies so much on speculation and hearsay.)

terrestrial (adj.) relating to the land (Elephants are terrestrial animals.)

timorous (adj.) timid, fearful (When dealing with the unknown, timorous Tallulah

almost always broke into tears.)

tirade (n.) a long speech marked by harsh or biting language (Every time Jessica was

late, her boyfriend went into a long tirade about punctuality.)

toady (n.) one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors (The other kids referred to the

teacher’s pet as the Tenth Grade Toady.)

tome (n.) a large book (In college, I used to carry around an anatomy book that was the

heaviest tome in my bag.)

torpid (adj.) lethargic, dormant, lacking motion (The torpid whale floated, wallowing

in the water for hours.)

torrid (adj.) giving off intense heat, passionate (I didn’t want to witness the neighbor’s

torrid affair through the window.)

tortuous (adj.) winding (The scary thing about driving in mountains are the narrow,

tortuous roads.)

tractable (adj.) easily controlled (The horse was so tractable, Myra didn’t even need a


tranquil (adj.) calm (There is a time of night when nothing moves and everything

is tranquil.)

transgress (v.) to violate, go over a limit (The criminal’s actions transgressed morality

and human decency.)

SAT Vocabulary


transient (adj.) passing through briefly; passing into and out of existence (Because

virtually everyone in Palm Beach is a tourist, the population of the town is quite


transmute (v.) to change or alter in form (Ancient alchemists believed that it was

possible to transmute lead into gold.)

travesty (n.) a grossly inferior imitation (According to the school newspaper’s merciless

theater critic, Pacific Coast High’s rendition of the musical Oklahoma was a

travesty of the original.)

tremulous (adj.) fearful (I always feel a trifle tremulous when walking through

a graveyard.)

trenchant (adj.) effective, articulate, clear-cut (The directions that accompanied my new

cell phone were trenchant and easy to follow.)

trepidation (n.) fear, apprehension (Feeling great trepidation, Anya refused to jump into

the pool because she thought she saw a shark in it.)

trite (adj.) not original, overused (Keith thought of himself as being very learned, but

everyone else thought he was trite because his observations about the world were

always the same as David Letterman’s.)

truculent (adj.) ready to fight, cruel (This club doesn’t really attract the dangerous

types, so why was that bouncer being so truculent?)

truncate (v.) to shorten by cutting off (After winning the derby, the jockey truncated

the long speech he had planned and thanked only his mom and his horse.)

turgid (adj.) swollen, excessively embellished in style or language (The haughty writer

did not realize how we all really felt about his turgid prose.)

turpitude (n.) depravity, moral corruption (Sir Marcus’s chivalry often contrasted with

the turpitude he exhibited with the ladies at the tavern.)


ubiquitous (adj.) existing everywhere, widespread (It seems that everyone in the United

States has a television. The technology is ubiquitous here.)

umbrage (n.) resentment, offense (He called me a lily-livered coward, and I took

umbrage at the insult.)


SAT Vocabulary

uncanny (adj.) of supernatural character or origin (Luka had an uncanny ability to

know exactly what other people were thinking. She also had an uncanny ability to

shoot fireballs from her hands.)

unctuous (adj.) smooth or greasy in texture, appearance, manner (The unctuous

receptionist seemed untrustworthy, as if she was only being helpful because she

thought we might give her a big tip.)

undulate (v.) to move in waves (As the storm began to brew, the placid ocean began to

undulate to an increasing degree.)

upbraid (v.) to criticize or scold severely (The last thing Lindsay wanted was for Lisa to

upbraid her again about missing the rent payment.)

usurp (v.) to seize by force, take possession of without right (The rogue army general

tried to usurp control of the government, but he failed because most of the army

backed the legally elected president.)

utilitarian (adj.) relating to or aiming at usefulness (The beautiful, fragile vase couldn’t

hold flowers or serve any other utilitarian purpose.)

utopia (n.) an imaginary and remote place of perfection (Everyone in the world wants

to live in a utopia, but no one can agree how to go about building one.)


vacillate (v.) to fluctuate, hesitate (I prefer a definite answer, but my boss kept

vacillating between the distinct options available to us.)

vacuous (adj.) lack of content or ideas, stupid (Beyonce realized that the lyrics she had

just penned were completely vacuous and tried to add more substance.)

validate (v.) to confirm, support, corroborate (Yoko’s chemistry lab partner was asleep

during the experiment and could not validate the accuracy of her methods.)

vapid (adj.) lacking liveliness, dull (The professor’s comments about the poem were

surprisingly vapid and dull.)

variegated (adj.) diversified, distinctly marked (Each wire in the engineering exam was

variegated by color so that the students could figure out which one was which.)

vehemently (adv.) marked by intense force or emotion (The candidate vehemently

opposed cutting back on Social Security funding.)

SAT Vocabulary


veneer (n.) a superficial or deceptively attractive appearance, façade (Thanks to her

Chanel makeup, Shannen was able to maintain a veneer of perfection that hid the

flaws underneath.)

venerable (adj.) deserving of respect because of age or achievement (The venerable

Supreme Court justice had made several key rulings in landmark cases throughout

the years.)

venerate (v.) to regard with respect or to honor (The tribute to John Lennon sought to

venerate his music, his words, and his legend.)

veracity (n.) truthfulness, accuracy (With several agencies regulating the reports, it was

difficult for Latifah to argue against its veracity.)

verbose (adj.) wordy, impaired by wordiness (It took the verbose teacher two hours to

explain the topic, while it should have taken only fifteen minutes.)

verdant (adj.) green in tint or color (The verdant leaves on the trees made the world

look emerald.)

vestige (n.) a mark or trace of something lost or vanished (Do you know if the Mexican

tortilla is a vestige of some form of Aztec corn-based flat bread?)

vex (v.) to confuse or annoy (My little brother vexes me by poking me in the ribs for

hours on end.)

vicarious (adj.) experiencing through another (All of my lame friends learned to be

social through vicarious involvement in my amazing experiences.)

vicissitude (n.) event that occurs by chance (The vicissitudes of daily life prevent me

from predicting what might happen from one day to the next.)

vigilant (adj.) watchful, alert (The guards remained vigilant throughout the night, but

the enemy never launched the expected attack.)

vilify (v.)to lower in importance, defame (After the Watergate scandal, almost any story

written about President Nixon sought to vilify him and criticize his behavior.)

vindicate (v.) to avenge; to free from allegation; to set free (The attorney had no chance

of vindicating the defendant with all of the strong evidence presented by the state.)

vindictive (adj.) vengeful (The vindictive madman seeks to exact vengeance for any

insult that he perceives is directed at him, no matter how small.)

virtuoso (n.) one who excels in an art; a highly skilled musical performer (Even though

Lydia has studied piano for many years, she’s only average at it. She’s no virtuoso,

that’s for sure.)


SAT Vocabulary

viscous (adj.) not free flowing, syrupy (The viscous syrup took three minutes to pour

out of the bottle.)

vitriolic (adj.) having a caustic quality (When angry, the woman would spew vitriolic


vituperate (v.) to berate (Jack ran away as soon as his father found out, knowing he

would be vituperated for his unseemly behavior.)

vivacious (adj.) lively, sprightly (The vivacious clown makes all of the children laugh

and giggle with his friendly antics.)

vocation (n.) the work in which someone is employed, profession (After growing tired

of the superficial world of high-fashion, Edwina decided to devote herself to a new

vocation: social work.)

vociferous (adj.) loud, boisterous (I’m tired of his vociferous whining so I’m breaking

up with him.)


wallow (v.) to roll oneself indolently; to become or remain helpless (My roommate

can’t get over her breakup with her boyfriend and now just wallows in self-pity.)

wane (v.) to decrease in size, dwindle (Don’t be so afraid of his wrath because his

influence with the president is already beginning to wane.)

wanton (adj.) undisciplined, lewd, lustful (Vicky’s wanton demeanor often made the

frat guys next door very excited.)

whimsical (adj.) fanciful, full of whims (The whimsical little girl liked to pretend that

she was an elvin princess.)

wily (adj.) crafty, sly (Though they were not the strongest of the Thundercats, wily Kit

and Kat were definitely the most clever and full of tricks.)

winsome (adj.) charming, pleasing (After such a long, frustrating day, I was grateful for

Chris’s winsome attitude and childish naivete.)

wistful (adj.) full of yearning; musingly sad (Since her pet rabbit died, Edda missed it

terribly and sat around wistful all day long.)

wizened (adj.) dry, shrunken, wrinkled (Agatha’s grandmother, Stephanie, had the

most wizened countenance, full of leathery wrinkles.)

wrath (n.) vengeful anger, punishment (Did you really want to incur her wrath when

she is known for inflicting the worst punishments legally possible?)

SAT Vocabulary



yoke (v.) to join, link (We yoked together the logs by tying a string around them.)


zealous (adj.) fervent, filled with eagerness in pursuit of something (If he were any

more zealous about getting his promotion, he’d practically live at the office.)

zenith (n.) the highest point, culminating point (I was too nice to tell Nelly that she had

reached the absolute zenith of her career with that one hit of hers.)

zephyr (n.) a gentle breeze (If not for the zephyrs that were blowing and cooling us, our

room would’ve been unbearably hot.)

SAT: The 1,000 Most Common Vocab Words Notes | Knowt (2024)


What are the 1000 most common English words? ›

Letter-Wise 1000 Most Common Words in the English Language
  • Abundance.
  • Alleviate.
  • Astounding.
  • Adorn.
  • Adaptable.
  • Allure.
  • Ascend.
  • Audacious.
Feb 21, 2024

How do I memorize my SAT vocabulary? ›

Easy Ways to Build Your SAT Vocabulary
  1. Invest in a prep book. ...
  2. Read, read, read. ...
  3. Use a dictionary. ...
  4. Make new SAT words your own. ...
  5. Write it down. ...
  6. Practice with flashcards. ...
  7. Use it or lose it. ...
  8. Don't forget your Math vocabulary!

How many words do you need to memorize for the SAT? ›

Why 400 words? The SAT will test you on much more but I've found that 400 is the perfect dose to get the greatest score improvement with the least amount of effort. Students of mine have memorized all 400 (well, there's actually 405 in the deck) in as little as 2-3 weeks, 15 minutes per day.

How to answer SAT vocab questions? ›

An answer choice that is close to the primary definition of the word is usually a trap answer. So, when faced with a vocabulary question on the SAT or ACT Reading sections, rely on the overall meaning of the sentence and passage more so than your preconceived notions of the literal meaning of the word.

Is 1000 words enough in English? ›

Between 1,000 to 2,000 high-frequency words for basic conversation and everyday texts. More or less 8,000 words for advanced conversation. In the region of 10,000 to 20,000-word families (excluding fixed phrases and expressions) to read at a university level. That is a whole lot of words to learn and remember.

How long is 1,000 words to say? ›

How long does it take to speak 1,000 words? Assuming an average speaking speed of 125 to 150 words per minute, it would take approximately 6:30 to 8 minutes to speak 1,000 words.

How to break 1000 on the SAT? ›

The prescription for a 1000 includes:
  1. learning the basic content required for the math and grammar sections.
  2. strengthening basic reading skills.
  3. focusing on the easy and medium questions.
  4. gaining expertise on the SAT itself – you should have perfect knowledge of what's on the test and the best general strategies.

Is it worth studying vocab for SAT? ›

Studying for the SAT vocab can indeed be beneficial, though it's a different landscape than it used to be. Pre-2016, when the SAT had a strong focus on obscure vocabulary words, studying SAT vocabulary lists was a common tactic used by test-prep students.

What is the best SAT vocab practice? ›

By far the best way to study SAT vocab is to make flashcards and use the waterfall method. The waterfall method is a way of going through a deck of flashcards so that you learn all the words in it—even the hardest ones!

How many SAT questions can you miss to get a 1600? ›

Generally speaking, you can miss 1-2 questions on each section and still get a perfect 1600. How many questions you can miss on each section and still hit your target score will depend on your exam's difficulty level and how raw scores convert into scaled scores for that particular test.

How many questions can you miss on the SAT to get a 1500? ›

So, start answering the questions which you find easy. To get 1500 SAT, you need to get at least 48 right out of 52 in the Reading section. 41 right out of 44 in the Language section and 55 right out of 58 in the Maths section. It is essential to note that the marks are collectively calculated to derive an SAT score.

Is 20 days enough to study for SAT? ›

To improve between 50 and 150 points, a student should devote about 20 to 40 hours of study for one to two months leading up to the test. To improve by 150 to 250 points, expect to spend about 60 to 80 hours spread out over three months.

How do I ace my SAT vocabulary? ›

Official SAT practice tests and sample questions: Perhaps the best resources (aside from our own!) for SAT vocab practice are those made by the College Board itself. Look for words in official practice tests and questions, and make flashcards for the ones you don't know.

What is the best answer to guess on the SAT? ›

The best strategy, and the one that will maximize your overall point gain, is to pick your favorite letter and fill it in for every blind guess. Whether that letter is A, B, C, or D doesn't matter—just be sure to stick with it every single time.

Is SAT vocabulary hard? ›

The SAT verbal sections demand a robust vocabulary, but the path to mastering these often-daunting words can be fraught with errors. While diligent effort is essential, even the most dedicated student can fall prey to common pitfalls.

What are the 500 most common words? ›

500 Most Common Words in English
  • A. A. a. about. act. actually. add. after. again. against. age. ...
  • B. back. ball. base. be. beauty. because. become. bed. been. before. ...
  • C. call. came. can. car. care. carefully. carry. centre. certain. change. ...
  • D. D. dark. day. decide. decided. deep. develop. did. didn't. different. ...
  • E. each. early. earth. east. easy. eat. effort. enough. every.

What is the first 1,000 words in English? ›

The Usborne First Thousand Words in English serves as a comprehensive illustrated vocabulary-builder, teaching 1000 new English words by encouraging direct association of the English word with the object to ensure effective, long-term learning. Each double-page spread features a topic-based scene.

What is the number 1 most used word in English? ›

100 most common words
WordParts of speechOEC rank
73 more rows

Can you speak English with 1,000 words? ›

So, yes. 1000 should be comfortably functional, but very limited. Just for comparison, the average 14-year old in the US in 1950 had a 25,000 word vocabulary. Or think about Chinese for which you need to recognize 2000 characters at a minimum to read the newspaper.

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