GRE Basic

500 Essential Words to Know to Do Well on the GRE
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abscond
depart secretly and hide
adversity
a state of misfortune or affliction
aggravate
make worse
arduous
difficult to accomplish
belie
to contradict, to give a false impression
bombast
pompous or pretentious talk or writing
castigation
punishment; severe criticism or disapproval
censure
harsh criticism or disapproval
coercive
serving or intended to compel by force or authority
condemn
express strong disapproval of
conspire
engage in plotting or enter into a conspiracy, swear together
covert
secret or hidden
cower
To crouch or shrink away from in fear or shame
denigrate
to attack the reputation of; to speak ill of
denounce
to accuse or condemn or openly or formally or brand as disgraceful
derision
the act of deriding or treating with contempt
diatribe
a bitter and prolonged verbal attack
discomfit
cause to lose one's composure
disingenuous
not straightforward; crafty
dissemble
hide under a false appearance
exacerbate
make worse
fraud
something intended to deceive
furtive
marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
impudent
marked by casual disrespect
inopportune
coming at a bad time; not appropriate
irascible
quickly aroused to anger
malevolent
wishing or appearing to wish evil to others
martial
suggesting war or military life
misanthrope
someone who dislikes people in general
morose
showing a brooding ill humor
obsequious
attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
obstinate
persist stubbornly
onerous
troubling; burdensome
pedantic
marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects
perjury
criminal offense of making false statements under oath
recalcitrant
stubbornly disobedient, resisting authority
secrete
generate and separate from cells or bodily fluids
spurious
plausible but false
tirade
a long, angry speech, usually very critical
vexation
something or someone that causes anxiety
amalgamate
to bring or combine together or with something else
assuage
to make easier or milder, relieve; to quiet, calm; to put an end to, appease, satisfy, quench
bolster
support and strengthen
burgeon
grow and flourish
buttress
(v.) to support, prop up, strengthen; (n.) a supporting structure
capricious
impulsive and unpredictable
catalyst
something that causes an important event to happen
caustic
harsh or corrosive in tone
centrifuge
an apparatus that uses centrifugal force to separate particles from a suspension
converge
move or draw together at a certain location
conversion
the act of changing from one use or function or purpose to another
corrosion
a state of deterioration in metals caused by oxidation or chemical action
decibel
unit of measurement for the loudness of sounds
distill
remove impurities from, increase the concentration of, and separate through the process of distillation
divest
reduce or dispose of
enervate
weaken mentally or morally
ephemeral
enduring a very short time
eradicate
destroy completely, as if down to the roots
expel
force to leave or move out
extend
span an interval of distance, space or time
facilitate
make easier
incubation
maintaining something at the most favorable temperature for its development
intransigent
not capable of being swayed or diverted from a course
inundate
fill or cover completely, usually with water
lackluster
lacking brilliance or vitality
lethargic
deficient in alertness or activity
luminous
softly bright or radiant
obviate
prevent the occurrence of
pervasive
spreading throughout
placate
to appease, soothe, pacify
plod
walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud
plummet
drop sharply
precipitate
bring about abruptly
propagate
transmit or cause to broaden or spread
prune
weed out unwanted or unnecessary things
rarefy
to make or become thin, less dense; to refine
rectify
make right or correct
retard
cause to move more slowly or operate at a slower rate
saturate
infuse or fill completely
sever
cut off from a whole
tentative
under terms not final or fully worked out or agreed upon
vigor
active strength of body or mind
viscous
having a gelatinous or gluey quality, lacking in easy movement or fluidity
vitality
an energetic style
volatile
liable to lead to sudden change or violence
waver
the act of pausing uncertainly
aberrant
markedly different from an accepted norm
ambiguous
having more than one possible meaning
anomalous
deviating from the general or common order or type
anomaly
deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule
archaic
so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period
commensurate
corresponding in size or degree or extent
conspicuous
obvious to the eye or mind
derivative
unoriginal; derived from another source
deviance
a state or condition markedly different from the norm
deviation
departure or wandering away from the accepted standard
discrete
constituting a separate entity or part
diffuse
spread out
digress
wander from a direct or straight course
discordant
not in agreement or harmony
disinterest
lack of bias or involvement; impartiality; (ed) uninvolved; free from self-interest
dispersed
distributed or spread over a considerable extent
eccentric
conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual
emulate
strive to equal or match, especially by imitating
enigmatic
mysterious, inexplicable, puzzling
eclectic
made up of a variety of sources or styles
flamboyant
elaborately or excessively ornamented
heretical
characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards
innocuous
unlikely to harm or disturb anyone
idiosyncracy
an odd, unusual, or peculiar behavior
imperturbable
not easily perturbed or excited or upset
marginal
of something or someone close to a lower limit or lower class
maverick
independent in behavior or thought
mitigate
lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of
monotonous
tediously repetitious or lacking in variety
ostracism
the act of excluding someone from society by general consent
perennial
lasting an indefinitely long time
recluse
one who lives in solitude
sporadic
recurring in scattered and irregular or unpredictable instances
superfluous
more than is needed, desired, or required
tangential
of superficial relevance if any
temper
make more temperate, acceptable, or suitable by adding something else
temperate
not extreme
admonish
to caution or advise against something; to scold mildly; to remind of a duty
advocate
speak, plead, or argue in favour of
anthology
a collection of selected literary passages
apprise
make aware of
approbation
official recognition or approval
articulate
expressing yourself easily or characterized by clear expressive language
aver
to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
brevity
the attribute of being brief or fleeting
candor
the quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech
circumspect
heedful of potential consequences
cogent
powerfully persuasive
corroborate
establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
disabuse
to free from deception or error, set right in ideas or thinking
discourse
extended verbal expression in speech or writing
discretion
the trait of judging wisely and objectively
eloquent
expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively
enumerate
determine the number or amount of
equivocate
be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information
eulogy
a formal expression of praise
euphemism
an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive
exculpate
pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
extemporaneous
with little or no preparation or forethought
fawn
try to gain favor by cringing or flattering
glib
marked by lack of intellectual depth
goad
to drive or urge on
inquisitive
showing curiosity
lucid
easily understood; clear
mollify
make more temperate, acceptable, or suitable by adding something else
parody
humorous or satirical mimicry
pertinent
having precise or logical relevance to the matter at hand
platitude
a boring or unoriginal remark
rescind
to repeal, cancel
rhetoric
using language effectively to please or persuade
sanction
a mechanism of social control for enforcing a society's standards
sanction
give authority or permission to
soliloquy
a (usually long) dramatic speech intended to give the illusion of unspoken reflections
stanza
a fixed number of lines of verse forming a unit of a poem
subpoena
a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding
subtle
be difficult to detect or grasp by the mind
succinct
brief and to the point
tacit
indicated by necessary connotation though not expressed directly
tact
consideration in dealing with others and avoiding giving offence
taciturn
habitually silent or quiet, inclined to talk very little
tout
advertize in strongly positive terms
veracity
adherence to the truth; truthfulness
anesthetic
a drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations
antipathy
a feeling of intense dislike
arbitrary
based on or subject to individual discretion or preference or sometimes impulse or caprice
aversion
a feeling of intense dislike
bent
a relatively permanent inclination to react in a particular way
compliant
easily influenced or imposed on
condone
excuse, overlook, or make allowances for
convention
something regarded as a normative example
defer
submit or yield to another's wish or opinion
dogma
a doctrine or code of beliefs accepted as authoritative
equivocal
open to two or more interpretations
extraneous
not essential
fortuitous
occurring by happy chance
frugality
prudence in avoiding waste
illusory
misleading, deceptive; lacking in or not based on reality
indifferent
showing no care or concern in attitude or action
insipid
lacking interest or significance
inured
made tough by habitual exposure
miserly
stingy; mean
nonplused
filled with bewilderment
penchant
a strong liking
penury
a state of extreme poverty or destitution
plethora
overabundance; excess
preempt
to supersede; appropiate for oneself
presumption
an assumption that is taken for granted
prodigal
recklessly wasteful
prone
having a tendency (to)
propensity
a natural inclination
qualm
uneasiness about the fitness of an action
reconciliation
the act of agreement after a quarrel, the resolution of a dispute
repudiate
reject as untrue, unfounded, or unjust
restitution
the act of restoring something to its original state
savor
derive or receive pleasure from
serenity
the absence of mental stress or anxiety
solvent
capable of meeting financial obligations
stint
supply sparingly and with restricted quantities
tranquil
free from disturbance
trivial
(informal terms) small and of little importance
audacious
disposed to venture or take risks
authoritarian
likened to a dictator in severity
beneficent
doing or producing good
burnish
to polish
connoisseur
an expert able to appreciate a field
consternation
dismay, confusion
cultured
marked by refinement in taste and manners
cunning
marked by skill in deception
deference
a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
facetious
cleverly amusing in tone
fidelity
the quality of being faithful
implacable
impossible to placate
ingenuity
the power of creative imagination
intemperance
consumption of alcoholic drinks
intrepid
invulnerable to fear or intimidation
membrane
a thin pliable sheet of material
meticulous
marked by extreme care in treatment of details
plasticity
the property of being physically malleable
porous
full of pores or vessels or holes
pragmatic
concerned with practical matters
presumptuous
excessively forward
pristine
immaculately clean and unused
prudent
wise, careful, cautious
slight
pay no attention to, disrespect
somber
grave or even gloomy in character
unfettered
not bound by shackles and chains
warranted
justified; authorized
abash
cause to be embarrassed
abate
become less in amount or intensity
abject
most unfortunate or miserable
abrasive
sharply disagreeable
abstain
to choose not to do something
abysmal
very great
adherent
someone who believes and helps to spread the doctrine of another
adulterate
corrupt, debase, or make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance
aesthetic
concerning or characterized by an appreciation of beauty or good taste
affable
courteous and pleasant, sociable, easy to speak to
affectation
unnatural or artificial behavior, usually intended to impress
aghast
horrified
alchemy
a pseudoscientific forerunner of chemistry in medieval times
allege
to assert without proof or confirmation
allusion
passing reference or indirect mention
aggregate
gather in a mass, sum, or whole
ambience
the atmosphere of an environment
ameliorate
to make better
amenable
disposed or willing to comply
amorphous
having no definite form or distinct shape
amortize
to diminish by installment payments
ancillary
subordinate or supplementary
animosity
a feeling of ill will arousing active hostility
antecedent
a preceding occurrence or cause or event
antithesis
exact opposite
amiable
diffusing warmth and friendliness
arcane
requiring secret or mysterious knowledge
archetype
an original model on which something is patterned
arrest
cause to stop
assimilate
become similar to one's environment
vigilant
carefully observant or attentive
vilify
to malign, to defame, to utter abusive statements against
voracious
excessively greedy and grasping
waffle
pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
waft
be driven or carried along, as by the air
wane
decrease in phase
zealous
marked by active interest and enthusiasm
satire
witty language used to convey insults or scorn
sedative
tending to soothe or tranquilize
shard
a fragment
singular
unusual or striking
sordid
unethical or dishonest
sparing
avoiding waste
sparse
meager, scant; scattered
spendthrift
someone who spends money prodigally
squalid
foul and run-down and repulsive
static
not active or moving
subliminal
below the threshold of conscious perception
supplant
take the place or move into the position of
sundry
various; miscellaneous
surreptitious
conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
tenuous
having little substance or significance
terse
brief and to the point
unremitting
uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
tender
offer or present for acceptance
placebo
something which has a positive mental effect, but no physical effect
precarious
not secure
refute
prove to be false or incorrect
raucous
unpleasantly loud and harsh
queue
form a queue, form a line, stand in line
query
pose a question
partisan
adhering or confined to a particular sect or denomination or party
pedagogy
the activities of educating or instructing or teaching
novel
new; original
peripheral
on or near an edge or constituting an outer boundary
paradox
a self-contradiction
personable
pleasing in appearance or personality, attractive
inherent
existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
intimate
imply as a possibility
insular
narrowly restricted in outlook or scope
inept
generally incompetent and ineffectual
inert
slow and apathetic
contentious
involving or likely to cause controversy
contiguous
very close or connected in space or time
copious
large in number or quantity (especially of discourse)
epitome
a standard or typical example
engender
to cause, to produce, to create
empirical
derived from experiment and observation rather than theory
espouse
take up the cause, ideology, practice, method, of someone and use it as one's own
estimable
deserving of respect or high regard
fallacy
a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning
gratitude
a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
cardinal
serving as an essential component
din
a loud harsh or strident noise
belabor
to work on excessively; to thrash soundly
bellicose
having or showing a ready disposition to fight
augment
enlarge or increase
austere
of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor
imminent
about to happen
avow
to declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
hegemony
domination over others
hyperbole
extravagant exaggeration
boisterous
violently agitated and turbulent
color
modify or bias
chauvinist
a person with a prejudiced belief in the superiority of his or her own kind
cognizant
aware; having knowledge of something
condolence
an expression of sympathy with another's grief
misconstrue
to interpret wrongly, mistake the meaning of
conciliatory
appeasing; soothing; showing willingness to reconcile
dilapidated
in deplorable condition
discrepancy
a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions
disparage
express a negative opinion of
disparate
fundamentally different or distinct in quality or kind
detraction
the act of discrediting or detracting from someone's reputation (especially by slander)
divulge
make known to the public information that was previously known only to a few people or that was meant to be kept a secret
manifest
reveal its presence or make an appearance
resolute
characterized by quickness and firmness
respite
a pause from doing something (as work)
resurrect
restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state
reticent
temperamentally disinclined to talk, reluctant to draw attention to yourself
reverent
feeling or showing profound respect or veneration
rubric
category name
rue
sadness associated with some wrong done or some disappointment
salient
prominent; of notable significance
salutary
tending to promote physical well-being
sap
deplete
tautology
useless repetition
tenacity
persistent determination
torque
a twisting force
travesty
a comedy characterized by broad satire and improbable situations
trepidation
a feeling of alarm or dread
vacillate
be undecided about something
veritable
actual, true, real
precursor
an indication of the approach of something or someone
petulant
easily irritated or annoyed
peruse
examine or consider with attention and in detail
paradigm
a standard or typical example, the generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time
provincial
lacking sophistication, narrow-minded
profuse
produced or growing in extreme abundance
qualify
make more specific
credulous
gullible
cursory
hasty and without attention to detail
daunt
to overcome with fear, intimidate; to dishearten, discourage
debacle
A complete failure; a total collapse
culpable
deserving blame or censure as being wrong or evil or injurious
curmudgeon
a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas
garner
acquire or deserve by one's efforts or actions
astute
marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
beleaguer
annoy persistently
benign
pleasant and beneficial in nature or influence
bereave
to make desolate with loneliness and grief.
broach
bring up a topic for discussion
coalesce
fuse or cause to grow together
complaisance
a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
contrite
feeling regret for a fault or offence
covet
wish, long, or crave for (something, especially the property of another person)
damp
lessen in force or effect
dearth
an insufficient quantity or number
debased
ruined in character or quality
debauchery
corruption; self-indulgence
deleterious
harmful, injurious
dissolution
separation into component parts, the termination of a relationship
dynamo
generator for producing electricity; energetic person
elucidate
make free from confusion or ambiguity
episodic
occurring or appearing at usually irregular intervals
opaque
not clearly understood or expressed
malleable
easily influenced
obtuse
slow to learn or understand
exonerate
pronounce not guilty of criminal charges
fervent
characterized by intense emotion
filibuster
a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches
flag
become less intense
odious
unequivocally detestable
ominous
threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
remuneration
the act of paying for goods or services or to recompense for losses
relegate
assign to a lower position
remedial
tending or intended to rectify or improve
renaissance
the revival of learning and culture
renege
to fail to honor a commitment; to go back on a promise
reconnaissance
exploration to gain knowledge or information
improbable
not likely to be true or to occur or to have occurred
incipient
only partly in existence
indefatigable
showing sustained enthusiastic action with unflagging vitality
indignation
a feeling of righteous anger
impassive
having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
impenetrable
impossible to understand
impediment
any structure that makes progress difficult
introspection
the contemplation of your own thoughts and desires and conduct
gratis
without payment
makeshift
something contrived to meet an urgent need or emergency; done or made using whatever is available
nominal
being such in name only
obdurate
showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings
milk
exploit as much as possible
metamorphose
change in outward structure or looks
multifaceted
having many aspects
incorrigible
incapable of being reformed or improved
incumbent
the official who holds an office; lying or leaning on something else
ethereal
characterized by lightness and insubstantiality
evanescent
vanishing, soon passing away; light and airy
exemplar
something to be imitated
flip
marked by casual disrespect
flout
treat with contemptuous disregard
forbearance
a delay in enforcing rights or claims or privileges
forestall
keep from happening or arising
forswear
formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure
founder
stumble and nearly fall, fail utterly
genial
diffusing warmth and friendliness
idolatrous
blindly or excessively devoted or adoring
impetuous
characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation
impunity
exemption from punishment or loss
indolent
disinclined to work or exertion
inerrancy
making no mistakes or errors
itinerant
traveling from place to place to work
itinerate
travel from place to place, as for work
judicious
marked by the exercise of good judgment or common sense in practical matters
lament
regret strongly
latent
potentially existing but not presently evident or realized
magnate
a very wealthy or powerful businessman
misappropriate
to misuse
oblique
indirect in departing from the accepted or proper way
ornery
having a difficult and contrary disposition
ostentatious
of a display that is tawdry or vulgar
patent
clearly apparent or obvious to the mind or senses
pine
have a desire for something or someone who is not present
pious
devoutly religious
poignant
deeply affecting, touching; keen or sharp in taste or smell
prime
first in rank, excellence, quality, importance, or time
proclivity
a natural inclination
proliferate
cause to grow or increase rapidly
quintessential
representing the perfect example of a class or quality
remonstrate
argue in protest or opposition
reproach
a mild rebuke or criticism
demure
affectedly modest or shy especially in a playful or provocative way
pompous
overly self-important in speech and manner; excessively stately or ceremonious
decimate
kill in large numbers
cavalier
carefree, happy; with lordly disdain
viable
capable of life or normal growth and development
myriad
a large indefinite number
forte
an asset of special worth or utility
weather
face or endure with courage
discreet
marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint
complement
something added to complete or make perfect
flounder
behave awkwardly
penultimate
next to the last
bedlam
a state of extreme confusion and disorder
tantalize
to tease, torment by teasing
whimsical
determined by chance or impulse or whim rather than by necessity or reason
slothful
disinclined to work or exertion
diabolic
extremely evil or cruel
indomitable
impossible to subdue
fancy
have a particular liking or desire for
avid
marked by active interest and enthusiasm
salve
anything that remedies or heals or soothes
buff
polish and make shiny
deride
treat or speak of with contempt
synergy
the working together of two things (muscles or drugs for example) to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects
pursuant
in conformance to or agreement with
dichotomy
a division into two parts
cynical
believing the worst of human nature and motives
irony
incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs
distraught
deeply agitated especially from emotion
relish
derive or receive pleasure from
hankering
a yearning for something or to do something
ardent
characterized by intense emotion
amorous
inclined toward or displaying love
belligerent
given to fighting, warlike; combative, aggressive; one at war, one engaged in war
schism
division of a group into opposing factions
staunch
firm and dependable especially in loyalty
contemptuous
feeling hatred; scornful
flush
in the same plane
androgynous
having both male and female characteristics
deign
do something that one considers to be below one's dignity
anarchy
a state of lawlessness and disorder (usually resulting from a failure of government)
miscreant
a person without moral scruples
acquiesce
to agree or express agreement
acrid
harsh in taste or odor; sharp in manner or temper
ardor
feelings of great warmth and intensity