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Need-to-know GRE words


May 29, 2008 By Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)

99 words

2.

adamant

very hard native crystalline carbon valued as a gem

3.

approbation

official approval

4.

ascribe

attribute or credit to

5.

austere

of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect

6.

bastion

projecting part of a rampart or other fortification

7.

boorish

ill-mannered and coarse and contemptible in behavior or appearance

8.

bumptious

offensively self-assertive

9.

burgeon

grow and flourish

10.

cajole

influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering

11.

cant

a slope in the turn of a road or track; the outside is higher than the inside in order to reduce the effects of centrifugal force

12.

chauvinism

fanatical patriotism

13.

chimerical

being or relating to or like a chimera

14.

coquettish

like a coquette

15.

corpulence

the property of excessive fatness

16.

deign

do something that one considers to be below one's dignity

17.

deleterious

harmful to living things

18.

desultory

marked by lack of definite plan or regularity or purpose; jumping from one thing to another

19.

diffidence

lack of self-confidence

20.

dint

interchangeable with `means' in the expression `by means of'

21.

discursive

(of e.g. speech and writing) tending to depart from the main point or cover a wide range of subjects

22.

dupe

fool or hoax

23.

ebullient

joyously unrestrained

24.

elysian

relating to the Elysian Fields

25.

emendation

a correction by emending; a correction resulting from critical editing

26.

engender

make children

27.

ennui

the feeling of being bored by something tedious

28.

fastidious

giving careful attention to detail; hard to please; excessively concerned with cleanliness

29.

fodder

coarse food (especially for livestock) composed of entire plants or the leaves and stalks of a cereal crop

30.

fulminate

cause to explode violently and with loud noise

31.

glib

artfully persuasive in speech

32.

ignominious

(used of conduct or character) deserving or bringing disgrace or shame

33.

incorrigible

impervious to correction by punishment

34.

incumbent

necessary (for someone) as a duty or responsibility; morally binding

35.

ineffable

defying expression or description

36.

ingenuous

lacking in sophistication or worldliness

37.

invective

abusive or venomous language used to express blame or censure or bitter deep-seated ill will

38.

itinerant

traveling from place to place to work

39.

knavery

lack of honesty; acts of lying or cheating or stealing

40.

lachrymose

showing sorrow

41.

laconic

brief and to the point; effectively cut short

42.

livid

furiously angry

43.

lugubrious

excessively mournful

44.

maverick

someone who exhibits great independence in thought and action

45.

mendicant

a pauper who lives by begging

46.

mercurial

liable to sudden unpredictable change

47.

mordant

harshly ironic or sinister

48.

nugatory

of no real value

49.

obdurate

stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing

50.

odious

unequivocally detestable

51.

ostentatious

intended to attract notice and impress others

52.

pastiche

a work of art that imitates the style of some previous work

53.

paucity

an insufficient quantity or number

54.

pejorative

expressing disapproval

55.

penchant

a strong liking

56.

penitent

feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds

57.

penurious

excessively unwilling to spend

58.

perfidy

an act of deliberate betrayal

59.

perfunctory

hasty and without attention to detail; not thorough

60.

pernicious

exceedingly harmful

61.

perspicacious

mentally acute or penetratingly discerning

62.

petulant

easily irritated or annoyed

63.

precocious

characterized by or characteristic of exceptionally early development or maturity (especially in mental aptitude)

64.

pristine

immaculately clean and unused

65.

prodigal

recklessly wasteful

66.

progenitor

an ancestor in the direct line

67.

pugnacious

tough and callous by virtue of experience

68.

pungent

strong and sharp;"the pungent taste of radishes"

69.

pusillanimous

lacking in courage and manly strength and resolution; contemptibly fearful

70.

rancor

a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will

71.

recondite

difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge

72.

repose

freedom from activity (work or strain or responsibility)

73.

respite

a pause from doing something (as work)

74.

rife

excessively abundant

75.

risible

arousing or provoking laughter

76.

sardonic

disdainfully or ironically humorous; scornful and mocking

77.

saturnine

bitter or scornful

78.

savant

someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field

79.

sedition

an illegal action inciting resistance to lawful authority and tending to cause the disruption or overthrow of the government

80.

sedulous

marked by care and persistent effort

81.

solicitous

full of anxiety and concern

82.

specious

plausible but false

83.

stolid

having or revealing little emotion or sensibility; not easily aroused or excited

84.

strident

unpleasantly loud and harsh

85.

stultify

deprive of strength or efficiency; make useless or worthless

86.

subjugate

make subservient; force to submit or subdue

87.

taciturn

habitually reserved and uncommunicative

88.

tantamount

being essentially equal to something

89.

tortuous

marked by repeated turns and bends

90.

travesty

a composition that imitates or misrepresents somebody's style, usually in a humorous way

91.

trenchant

having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought, expression, or intellect

92.

truculent

defiantly aggressive

93.

turbid

(of liquids) clouded as with sediment

94.

turpitude

a corrupt or depraved or degenerate act or practice

95.

ubiquitous

being present everywhere at once

96.

venal

capable of being corrupted

97.

vicissitude

a variation in circumstances or fortune at different times in your life or in the development of something

98.

vituperate

spread negative information about

99.

winnow

the act of separating grain from chaff

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