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498 terms

500 key words for the SAT

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abstract
theoretical; not concrete
abstruse
hard to understand
acclaim
praise; applaud
accolade
an award, or praise
acquiescent
reluctantly agreeable; compliant
acrimony
words or behavior filled with harshness or anger
adamant
refusing to change; stubborn, unyielding
adroit
skillful in physical activity, or in handling difficult situations
advocate
support; plead for; speak on behalf of
affable
friendly; easy-going
affirmation
positive statement; assertion; agreement
alienate
to push someone way, or cause him to separate from people
aloof
detached; apart; indifferent
altruistic
unselfish; caring
ambidextrous
able to use both hands with equal skill
ambiguous
unclear; vague; having several possible interpretations
ambivalence
indecision; feeling of being pulled in two directions
ameliorate
to make an unpleasant situation better; to improve
amity
friendship
amorphous
without form or shape
analogous
similar
anarchy
a lack of order; chaos
anathema
a religious curse, or the thing or person being cursed
antagonistic
in hostile competition; opposing
antiquated
too old to be useful; outdated; obsolete
antithesis
opposite
apathy
lack of interest or concern
apex
top; highest point; summit
appease
calm; pacify
arbitrary
selected by random choice and without solid reason
arcane
secret; mysterious
archaic
old; antiquated
arrogant
acting superior, obnoxious, smug or rude
articulate
able to speak clearly and effectively
ascendance
domination; controlling power
ascetic
person who rejects physical comfort and luxuy for self-discipline
asperity
roughness; harshness; irritability
assail
attack with words or force
assiduous
persistent; hard-working; diligent; attentive to detail
assuage
relieve; ease; pacify
astute
wise; insightfully clever; shrewd
atrophy
waste away; wither
audacious
brazen; brash; nervy
augment
make larger; increase
auspicious
taking place under promising conditions; likely to succeed
austere
stern; plain; without luxuries
avarice
greed
averse
feeling repelled; wanting to avoid
baleful
harmful; menacing
banal
boring; trite; insipid
beguile
to cheat or deceive, usually through charm; to amuse
belie
to give an impression that is the opposite of the way things really are; to misrepresent
belligerent
having a strong tendency to argue and fight
benediction
good wishes; a blessing
benevolent
kindhearted; good-natured; generous
benign
gentle; kind-hearted; mild
bequeath
to leave behind or hand down through a will; transmit
blight
decay; disease; widespread death
bolster
to support; to reinforce
bombast
speech or writing intended to impress the audience; pompous
brevity
briefness; conciseness
bumptious
pushy; obnoxiously self-assertive
cacophony
harshness of sound; opposite of harmony
cajole
to fool with flattery or false promises; coax; deceive
candor
honesty; frankness
capacious
large; roomy; spacious
capitulate
surrender; yield
capricious
unpredictable
castigate
scold; punish
caustic
burning, either with chemicals or sarcasm
celerity
speed
censure
to criticize
chasten
punish; discipline; castigate
chastise
scold; punish; castigate
choler
anger
circumscribe
draw a line around; define limits; confine; restrict
circumspect
cautious
clemency
mercy
coalesce
unite; grow together
cloister
secluded or isolated from the outside world; also, a place of seclusion
coerce
to force someone by threatening or physically overpowering him
complacent
self-satisfied; unconcerned
compliant
following someone else's demands; comforming; obeying
composure
calmness; equanimity
concede
admit reluctantly; yield
concise
short and to the point; terse
concur
agree
condone
to overlook, excuse, or pardon
confound
to mix up (in your own mind); or, to confuse someone else
consonance
a blending of sounds or opinions; harmony; agreement
consummate
to complete or make whole
contend
to argue a point or position; or, to struggle for
contingent
dependent upon other circumstances; conditional
contract
squeeze together; shrink
contrite
sorry; penitent
conundrum
riddle; mystery
converge
move together to meet at a common point
conviction
an opinion that is strongly held
convivial
fond of parties; sociable
copious
in large quantity; abundant
cordial
friendly; welcoming; gracious
corporeal
having to do with the body or the physical world
corroborate
support with evidence; tell the same story; confirm
criteria
requirements or standards used to make a decision
cryptic
hidden; secret; mysterious
culpable
guilty; blameworthy
cupidity
greed, especially for money
cursory
quickly and incompletely done; superficial
daunted
dismayed; disheartened; discouraged (made less courageous)
decadence
moral decay or decline
defame
to say things harmful to a person's reputation; malign; vilify
deference
the act of yielding to someone else out of respect
denounce
criticize; condemn
depleted
emptied; drained; used up
deplore
to express regret or disapproval; complain; criticize
deprecate
disapprove; belittle
deride
make fun of; ridicule
despondent
feeling hopeless or depressed
despot
tyrant
destitute
poor; lacking possessions
desultory
lacking a plan; aimless
dexterity
high level of skill, especially with hands; adroitness
diatribe
a bitterly critical speech
digress
to move away from the main topic when writing or speaking; to go off on a tangent
dilatory
causing lateness; stalling
discerning
insightful; perceptive
disclose
provide information; reveal
discord
disagreement; dissonance
discourse
exchange of ideas; conversation
disdain
a feeling of scorn or contempt
disparage
say negative things; belittle
disparate
different
disperse
spread around; scatter
dissent
to disagree, especially with the majority, or with an authority
dissolution
separation into parts; the process of dissolving
distended
swollen; extended
divergence
the act of splitting off into different directions
diverse
different; various
dogmatic
sticking to long-held beliefs, even when faced with contrary evidence; close-minded
doleful
extremely sad
eclectic
choosing from many different sources; carefully selective
eccentric
different from most, especially in personality or behavior
efface
erase
efficacy
ability to produce desired results
effervescence
the quality of being bubbly or full of life
elated
extremely happy; overjoyed
eloquence
powerfully effective speech
embellish
to make more beautiful; decorate; adorn
emulate
imitate
endemic
native to a particular country or among a particular group
endorse
promote; recommend
enervate
sap the strength; weaken
enhance
intensify; improve
enigma
mystery; puzzle
enmity
mutual hatred
ephemeral
temporary; short-lived
eradicate
remove completely and permanently; exterminate
erratic
unpredictable; differing from what is normal or expected
erudition
the knowledge acquired through many years of study
esoteric
known to, or understood by, a limited group of people
ethereal
heavenly; fine; delicately beautiful
eulogize
to praise highly; extol
euphemism
a word or phrase that's used to make an unpleasant idea sound better
evasive
tending to avoid giving direct answers
exacerbate
to make a bad situation worse
exalt
raise in rank; elevate; praise
expurgate
to remove offensive words, ideas, or symbols; censor
expunge
erase
extemporaneous
done without planning; improvised
extol
praise
extraneous
unnecessary; irrelevant
extricate
to free from a trap or difficult situation; to disentangle
exuberant
uncontrollably joyous
fallacious
false; misleading
fastidious
difficult to please
fickle
lacking loyalty; unpredictably changeable; erratic
fervor
strong passion
flaccid
lacking firmness; soft; limp
flagrant
openly and obviously evil; glaring; conspicuous
fledgling
beginner
flippancy
treating a serious situation with arrogant humor or disrespect
foment
to stir into action; rouse; incite
foresight
the ability to see ahead, anticipate, or predict
frugal
careful with money; thrifty
fulminate
to explode, either with sound or anger
furtive
sneaky; secretive
futile
hopelessly ineffective; useless; in vain
garbled
changed so much that the original meaning has been distorted; scrambled
garish
flashy; gaudy
garner
collect; gather; accumulate; earn
garrulous
very talkative; loquacious
genial
friendly; generous; kind
germane
relevant; fitting
girth
distance around an object; circumference
glutton
a person who consumes large quantities of food or drink; someone with great endurance
gravity
seriousness
gregarious
sociable; extroverted; enjoying companionship
hackneyed
unoriginal; trite
gullible
easily deceived
hamper
interfere with movement or progress
haphazard
without plan or direction
harangue
a long, lecturing speech
harbor
to provide shelter or refuge; hide
hardy
bold; brave; capable of withstanding harsh conditions
hedge
to avoid giving a clear answer, thereby escaping responsibility or blame
heed
notice; pay attention to
heresy
an opinion expressed in defiance of generally accepted ideas
heinous
shockingly evil
hiatus
gap; interruption; break in continuity; a pause
hierarchy
a group of people in authority, ranked in order of power; a sequential listing
homage
respect paid to someone or something; tribute; honor
homogeneous
the same throughout; consistent; uniform
hyperbole
extreme exaggeration
imbue
to fill, as with a strong dye or strong feeling
hypocrite
an insincere person; one who pretends to have feelings he doesn't really possess
imminent
about to take place; happening soon
idolatry
the worship of objects or people as gods
immutable
unable to change
impair
weaken in strength or value
impasse
a situation from which you cannot escape; stalemate
impassive
without feeling; expressionless
impede
get in the way; hinder
impetuous
taking sudden action; hasty; impulsive
impostor
pretender
inane
silly; insignificant
impudence
rudeness; insolence
inaugurate
begin; induct into
inadvertent
unintentional
incessant
continuous; endless
inchoate
not yet fully developed
incite
arouse into action; stir up; foment
incompatible
incapable of existing together in peace
incongruous
out of place
incorrigible
impossible to correct, control, or discipline
incredulous
unwilling or unable to believe
indict
charge with a crime; accuse
indigent
very poor
indolent
lazy
induce
cause to happen; bring about
inert
lacking movement; inactive; sluggish
infallible
incapable of making a mistake
infamy
a bad reputation; notoriety
infer
to figure out, based on given information; conclude; deduce
infiltrate
penetrate by passing through gaps; enter secretly and become established, such as a spy might do in an enemy organization.
ingenuous
naive; unsophisticated; inexperienced
innate
having a quality that arises from within, rather than learned or acquired from the outside; native; inborn
innocuous
harmless; inoffensive
insipid
dull; flat; without sparkle or flavor
innovation
a new idea, product, or method
insolent
rude; haughty
inscrutable
mysterious
insolvent
unable to pay bills; bankrupt
intrinsic
located within the very nature of an object or person; inherent
intermittent
occurring at intervals; periodic; not constant or continual
invert
turn upside down or inside out; reverse position
intractable
stubborn; immovable
irascible
easily angered
irony
an unexpected outcome, or the use of a word that is opposite of its literal meaning
irresolute
indecisive; unsure
irreverent
disrespectful
jargon
specialized language used by a particular group
jaundice
yellow color; or, envy or resentment
jaunty
lively; perky
jeopardy
the threat or possibility of danger
jettison
to throw overboard; discard
jocular
joking; playful; jesting; witty
jubilant
filled with joy
judicious
wise; making good decisions
juncture
point in time, especially a crucial one; joint or connection
juxtapose
to place side-by-side
kindle
start a fire; ignite; arouse
kinetic
in motion; active
laconic
quiet; of few words; terse
lament
express sorrow; complain
languish
lose energy or motivation; become weak or depressed
latent
existing but inactive, such as a certain quality; dormant; invisible
legacy
something inherited, either from an ancestor or from the past itself
laud
praise; worship; extol
lethargic
tired; sluggish; drowsy
levity
lightness; playfulness; jocularity
lionize
to put someone on the pedestal; to treat with great respect
listless
tired; sluggish; lacking drive
loath
reluctant; unwilling
loathe
to hate
lofty
at a great height; elevated; noble
loquacious
talkative
lucid
easy to understand; transparent; open-thinking
ludicrous
absurd; ridiculous
lugubrious
mournful
magnanimous
big-hearted; generous; forgiving; noble
magnate
a person of great power
malediction
evil speech; curse
malefactor
person who tries to hurt others; criminal
malice
a desire to cause harm or suffering
malign
to say evil or harmful things about someone; defame; vilify
malleable
able to be reshaped by force; pliable; impressionable
marred
spoiled; scratched; blemished
meager
small in size or amount; thin; weak
meander
wander in a carefree manner; follow a winding course; ramble
mellifluous
smooth; sweetly flowing
mendacity
a lie; a false statement
meticulous
very careful about details
minute
very small in size
misconstrue
misunderstand; interpret incorrectly
mitigate
make less severe; mollify
mollify
lessen anger; soothe; placate
monologue
a long, uninterrupted speech
morose
depressed
mundane
ordinary; earthly (not spiritual); practical; temporary
myriad
large number; many
negligent
careless and possibly causing harm; neglectful
nefarious
extremely evil
neophyte
beginner
nocturnal
active at night
nostalgic
wishing for a return to the way things used to be; longing for the past; homesick
novelty
something new or unusual
nuance
slight degree; shade of difference
nullify
to remove or cancel all value or force; negate
nurture
provide care and support; nourish; train or educate
obdurate
stubborn; unyielding
objurgate
scold; castigate
obliterate
remove or destroy completely; erase
obscure
hazy; unfamiliar; difficult to understand
obsequious
behaving like a meek, spineless servant; subservient; sycophantic
obsolete
no longer usable; outdated
obstinate
stubborn; refusing to be persuaded
obtuse
dull; blunt; unintelligent; lacking sharpness
obviate
eliminate the need for something; make unnecessary
ominous
a sign of something unpleasant that's about to happen; inauspicious
onerous
burdensome; oppressive
opaque
too dark or thick for light to pass through
opportunist
someone who takes advantage of the situation
optimist
someone who always believes things will turn out okay
opulence
luxury; wealth; riches
pacifist
person who refuses to fight
paltry
worthless; insignificant; petty
paragon
model of excellence; the best
parity
equality or equivalence; balance among a group of rivals
parsimony
stinginess; excessive frugality
partisan
blindly devoted to a cause or organization
paucity
too few; scarcity
penchant
a strong liking; attraction
pecuniary
having to do with money; financial
penury
extreme poverty; destitution
perfunctory
without enthusiasm or thoroughness; routine
pernicious
destructive
perspicacity
mental sharpness; keen insight; shrewdness
peruse
read carefully; study in detail
pervade
to spread to every part
petulance
grouchiness
phlegmatic
calm; unemotional
pious
exhibiting religious devotion
pithy
to the point; concise
placate
to appease; pacify; mollify
platitude
dull, trite statement
plausible
believable, but not completely
pompous
filled with self-importance; arrogant; obnoxiously proud
ponderous
slow; weighty; labored
portent
warning sign; omen; indication
preclude
prevent; make impossible
potent
powerful
precarious
risky; uncertain
precocious
mature at a young age
predecessor
an earlier occupant of a job, office, or position
predilection
a preference for something
pretentious
showy; making ridiculous claims; excessively ambitious
prevalent
widely-accepted; common; prevailing
primordial
formed long ago; primitive
prodigal
wasteful, especially of money; extravagant
prodigious
very large
profound
filled with wisdom and insight; beyond the superficial; deep
profuse
in large amounts or quantities
protract
expand in time or space
provoke
to anger; to stir up or arouse
proximity
nearness; closeness
prudent
wise; shrewd; cautious
puerile
childish
qualify
to limit the meaning of a previous statement; to modify
quandary
a state of confusion or doubt; dilemma
quarantine
forced isolation to prevent the spread of disease
quell
calm; pacify
querulous
constantly complaining
ratify
approve (by formal vote, for example); confirm
rampant
unrestrained; widespread
rebuff
to ignore or reject strongly; snub
rebuttal
denial or contradiction; argument; refutation
recant
to take back something you've said; withdraw a statement or belief
redolent
strongly scented; fragrant
recluse
person who prefers to be alone all the time; someone withdrawn from the rest of society
redundant
more than what is necessary; in speech or writing, a repetition of words or ideas
recondite
hidden; difficult to understand; profound
relegate
reduce or demote to an inferior position; banish
relevancy
having a clear relationship with the matter at hand
remorse
feeling of guilt; regret; self-reproach
reprimand
scold; criticize
reprove
scold; criticize; disapprove of
repudiate
disown; reject
reserve
the ability to control your emotions and actions; self-restraint
resign
give in; acquiesce; relinquish
resolve
determination; strong will
reticent
quiet; uncommunicative
revere
greatly respect
rotund
round
rudimentary
undeveloped; fundamental; elementary
salubrious
promoting health
salutary
promoting health; or having some beneficial effect
sanction
approve; give consent
sanguine
optimistic; cheerful
sardonic
humorous, but humor tinged with sarcasm and disdain; cynical
scanty
small in quantity; insufficient
scrupulous
very thorough; or, doing what is right and ethical
scrutinize
examine closely; inspect carefully
seclusion
separation from other people; isolation
sectarian
limited to the beliefs of a small group, such as a religious sect; narrow in scope
seditious
trying to stir up a revolt against an authority figure
sententious
short and to the point; terse
serpentine
coiled; twisted; winding
servile
like a slave; subservient; submissive
skeptic
one who doesn't believe unless he's shown absolute proof; doubter
slander
negative oral remarks about another person that are untrue
solemn
serious; somber; grave
slough
discard; cast off; shed
somber
dark; gloomy
sonorous
loud, full in sound; booming
spurious
false; fake; misleading
specious
having a false or misleading appearance; only seeming to be true
sporadic
occurring infrequently and without predictability; occasional
stagnant
motionless; unchanging; dull
static
unchanging; motionless
stealth
secretive behavior
stoic
a person who shows no response to pleasure or pain; someone who is impassive
stymie
block; get in the way of; hamper
subjugate
take over; enslave
sublime
of very special quality; noble
subtle
hard to see or understand; elusive
succinct
short and to the point; concise
succor
assistance; relief
sumptuous
rich; magnificent
superfluous
unnecessary; extra
surreptitious
secretive; furtive; clandestine
sustain
support; nurture; take on
sycophant
someone who flatters in order to gain favor; wimpy follower
symmetry
balance; having a similar appearance on all sides
taciturn
quiet
tangent
a line that touches a curve at just one point; or, a comment that is off the main topic
tantamount
equal; comparable
temper
bring into balance; moderate
tenacious
strong; persistent; determined to hold on
tentative
not fully developed or definitely planned; provisional
tenuous
thin; flimsy
terse
of few words; to the point; pithy
thrifty
careful about managing money
timorous
afraid
tirade
a long and bitter speech; diatribe
torpid
sluggish; dull; lacking enthusiasm
translucent
permitting light to pass through
trepidation
fear
trite
overused; common; stale
turbulence
violent disturbance
truculent
aggressive; savage; cruel
tyranny
rule based on absolute power or cruelty
undermine
to weaken by wearing away the foundation; to sabotage
ubiquitous
existing everywhere at the same time
undulate
move in a wavy manner
unanimous
in total agreement
unprecedented
the first of its kind
unerring
without making a mistake
uniform
similar; consistent
unkempt
messy; sloppy
upbraid
criticize severely; scold
usurp
to seize or take over by force
usury
the practice of charging a very high rate of interest on loans
vacillate
move back and forth between choices, unable to decide
vacuous
empty; stupid; purposeless
vagrant
homeless person; wanderer
valedictory
a farewell speech
validate
confirm; corroborate; support; sanction
vapid
dull; boring; lacking flavor or spark
veracity
truth
verbose
very talkative; loquacious
versatile
having many talents or uses
vestige
something left behind; evidence of something that has vanished
vilify
defame; attack someone's reputation
virulent
poisonous or destructive; filled with hate or anger; harsh
viscous
resistant to flow, like a very thick liquid; or sticky
volatile
capable of evaporating, exploding, or changing moods quickly
wane
grow smaller
wanton
excessive; uncontrolled; lustful
warranted
justified; authorized
wastrel
person who wastes his money or resources
wax
grow gradually larger
wither
dry or shrivel up; lose life or energy
wizened
old and wrinkled; withered
xenophobia
the fear or hatred of anything foreign
yield
give up; give in
yoke
to link, or join together; marry
zealot
person with an extreme enthusiasm for a belief or activity; fanatic
zenith
the highest point; apex