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250 terms

SparkNotes' 250 Most Difficult SAT Words

In this set you will find two-hundred and fifty of the grimiest, gnarliest, most challenging words to grace the famed SAT test. Good luck. (For sentences with vocabulary included, visit SparkNotes and download the PDF)
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abjure
(v.) to reject, renounce
abrogate
(v.) to abolish, usually by authority
acerbic
(adj.) biting, bitter in tone or taste
acrimony
(n.) bitterness, discord
acumen
(n.) keen insight
adumbrate
(v.) to sketch out in a vague way
alacrity
(n.) eagerness, speed
anathema
(n.) a cursed, detested person
antipathy
(n.) a strong dislike, repugnance
approbation
(n.) praise
arrogate
(v.) to take without justification
ascetic
(adj.) practicing restraint as a means of self-discipline, usually religious
aspersion
(n.) a curse, expression of ill-will
assiduous
(adj.) hard-working, diligent
blandish
(v.) to coax by using flattery
boon
(n.) a gift or blessing
brusque
(adj.) short, abrupt, dismissive
buffet
1. (v.) to strike with force; 2. (n.) an arrangement of food set out on a table
burnish
(v.) to polish, shine
buttress
1. (v.) to support, hold up; 2. (n.) something that offers support
cacophony
(n.) tremendous noise, disharmonious sound
cajole
(v.) to urge, coax
calumny
(n.) an attempt to spoil someone else's reputation by spreading lies
capricious
(adj.) subject to whim, fickle
clemency
(n.) mercy
cogent
(adj.) intellectually convincing
concomitant
(adj.) accompanying in a subordinate fashion
conflagration
(n.) great fire
contrite
(adj.) penitent, eager to be forgiven
conundrum
(n.) puzzle, problem
credulity
(n.) readiness to believe
cupidity
(n.) greed, strong desire
cursory
(adj.) brief to the point of being superficial
decry
(v.) to criticize openly
defile
(v.) to make unclean, impure
deleterious
(adj.) harmful
demure
(adj.) quiet, modest, reserved
deprecate
(v.) to belittle, depreciate
deride
(v.) to laugh at mockingly, scorn
desecrate
(v.) to violate the sacredness of a thing or place
desiccated
(adj.) dried up, dehydrated
diaphanous
(adj.) light, airy, transparent
diffident
(adj.) shy, quiet, modest
discursive
(adj.) rambling, lacking order
dissemble
(v.) to conceal, fake
dither
(v.) to be indecisive
ebullient
(adj.) extremely lively, enthusiastic
effrontery
(n.) impudence, nerve, insolence
effulgent
(adj.) radiant, splendorous
egregious
(adj.) extremely bad
enervate
(v.) to weaken, exhaust
ephemeral
(adj.) short-lived, fleeting
eschew
(v.) to shun, avoid
evanescent
(adj.) fleeting, momentary
evince
(v.) to show, reveal
exculpate
(v.) to free from guilt or blame, exonerate
execrable
(adj.) loathsome, detestable
exigent
(adj.) urgent, critical
expiate
(v.) to make amends for, atone
expunge
(v.) to obliterate, eradicate
extant
(adj.) existing, not destroyed or lost
extol
(v.) to praise, revere
fallacious
(adj.) incorrect, misleading
fastidious
(adj.) meticulous, demanding, having high and often unattainable standards
fatuous
(adj.) silly, foolish
fecund
(adj.) fruitful, fertile
feral
(adj.) wild, savage
fetid
(adj.) having a foul odor
florid
(adj.) flowery, ornate
fractious
(adj.) troublesome or irritable
garrulous
(adj.) talkative, wordy
grandiloquence
(n.) lofty, pompous language
gregarious
(adj.) drawn to the company of others, sociable
hackneyed
(adj.) unoriginal, trite
hapless
(adj.) unlucky
harangue
1. (n.) a ranting speech; 2. (v.) to give such a speech
hegemony
(n.) domination over others
iconoclast
(n.) one who attacks common beliefs or institutions
ignominious
(adj.) humiliating, disgracing
impassive
(adj.) stoic, not susceptible to suffering
imperious
(adj.) commanding, domineering
impertinent
(adj.) rude, insolent
impervious
(adj.) impenetrable, incapable of being affected
impetuous
(adj.) rash; hastily done
impinge
1. (v.) to impact, affect, make an impression; 2. (v.) to encroach, infringe
implacable
(adj.) incapable of being appeased or mitigated
impudent
(adj.) casually rude, insolent, impertinent
inchoate
(adj.) unformed or formless, in a beginning stage
incontrovertible
(adj.) indisputable
indefatigable
(adj.) incapable of defeat, failure, decay
ineffable
(adj.) unspeakable, incapable of being expressed through words
inexorable
(adj.) incapable of being persuaded or placated
ingenuous
(adj.) not devious; innocent and candid
inimical
(adj.) hostile
iniquity
(n.) wickedness or sin
insidious
(adj.) appealing but imperceptibly harmful, seductive
intransigent
(adj.) refusing to compromise, often on an extreme opinion
inure
(v.) to cause someone or something to become accustomed to a situation
invective
(n.) an angry verbal attack
inveterate
(adj.) stubbornly established by habit
jubilant
(adj.) extremely joyful, happy
juxtaposition
(n.) the act of placing two things next to each other for implicit comparison
laconic
(adj.) terse in speech or writing
languid
(adj.) sluggish from fatigue or weakness
largess
(n.) the generous giving of lavish gifts
latent
(adj.) hidden, but capable of being exposed
legerdemain
(n.) deception, slight-of-hand
licentious
(adj.) displaying a lack of moral or legal restraints
limpid
(adj.) clear, transparent
maelstrom
(n.) a destructive whirlpool which rapidly sucks in objects
magnanimous
(adj.) noble, generous
malediction
(n.) a curse
malevolent
(adj.) wanting harm to befall others
manifold
(adj.) diverse, varied
maudlin
(adj.) weakly sentimental
mawkish
(adj.) characterized by sick sentimentality
mendacious
(adj.) having a lying, false character
mercurial
(adj.) characterized by rapid change or temperamentality
modicum
(n.) a small amount of something
morass
(n.) a wet swampy bog; figuratively, something that traps and confuses
multifarious
(adj.) having great diversity or variety
munificence
(n.) generosity in giving
myriad
(adj.) consisting of a very great number
nadir
(n.) the lowest point of something
nascent
(adj.) in the process of being born or coming into existence
nefarious
(adj.) heinously villainous
neophyte
(n.) someone who is young or inexperienced
obdurate
(adj.) unyielding to persuasion or moral influences
obfuscate
(v.) to render incomprehensible
oblique
(adj.) diverging from a straight line or course, not straightforward
obsequious
(adj.) excessively compliant or submissive
obstreperous
(adj.) noisy, unruly
obtuse
(adj.) lacking quickness of sensibility or intellect
odious
(adj.) instilling hatred or intense displeasure
officious
(adj.) offering one's services when they are neither wanted nor needed
opulent
(adj.) characterized by rich abundance verging on ostentation
ostensible
(adj.) appearing as such, seemingly
palliate
(v.) to reduce the severity of
pallid
(adj.) lacking color
panacea
(n.) a remedy for all ills or difficulties
paragon
(n.) a model of excellence or perfection
pariah
(n.) an outcast
parsimony
(n.) frugality, stinginess
pathos
(n.) an emotion of sympathy
paucity
(adj.) small in quantity
pejorative
(adj.) derogatory, uncomplimentary
pellucid
(adj.) easily intelligible, clear
penurious
(adj.) miserly, stingy
perfidious
(adj.) disloyal, unfaithful
perfunctory
(adj.) showing little interest or enthusiasm
pernicious
(adj.) extremely destructive or harmful
perspicacity
(adj.) shrewdness, perceptiveness
pertinacious
(adj.) holding firmly to an opinion or a course of action
petulance
(n.) rudeness, irritability
pithy
(adj.) concisely meaningful
platitude
(n.) an uninspired remark, cliché
plethora
(n.) an abundance, excess
polemic
(n.) an aggressive argument against a specific opinion
portent
(n.) an omen
precocious
(adj.) advanced, developing ahead of time
prescient
(adj.) to have foreknowledge of events
primeval
(adj.) original, ancient
probity
(n.) virtue, integrity
proclivity
(n.) a strong inclination toward something
promulgate
(v.) to proclaim, make known
propensity
(n.) an inclination, preference
propitious
(adj.) favorable
prosaic
(adj.) plain, lacking liveliness
proscribe
(v.) to condemn, outlaw
protean
(adj.) able to change shape; displaying great variety
prurient
(adj.) eliciting or possessing an extraordinary interest in sex
puerile
(adj.) juvenile, immature
pugnacious
(adj.) quarrelsome, combative
pulchritude
(n.) physical beauty
punctilious
(adj.) eager to follow rules or conventions
quagmire
(n.) a difficult situation
querulous
(adj.) whiny, complaining
quixotic
(adj.) idealistic, impractical
rancor
(n.) deep, bitter resentment
rebuke
(v.) to scold, criticize
recalcitrant
(adj.) defiant, unapologetic
rectitude
(n.) uprightness, extreme morality
replete
(adj.) full, abundant
reprobate
(adj.) evil, unprincipled
reprove
(v.) to scold, rebuke
repudiate
(v.) to reject, refuse to accept
rescind
(v.) to take back, repeal
restive
(adj.) resistant, stubborn, impatient
ribald
(adj.) coarsely, crudely humorous
rife
(adj.) abundant
ruse
(n.) a trick
sacrosanct
(adj.) holy, something that should not be criticized
sagacity
(n.) shrewdness, soundness of perspective
salient
(adj.) significant, conspicuous
sanctimonious
(adj.) giving a hypocritical appearance of piety
sanguine
(adj.) optimistic, cheery
scurrilous
(adj.) vulgar, coarse
serendipity
(n.) luck, finding good things without looking for them
servile
(adj.) subservient
solicitous
(adj.) concerned, attentive
solipsistic
(adj.) believing that oneself is all that exists
somnolent
(adj.) sleepy, drowsy
spurious
(adj.) false but designed to seem plausible
staid
(adj.) sedate, serious, self-restrained
stolid
(adj.) expressing little sensibility, unemotional
stupefy
(v.) to astonish, make insensible
surfeit
(n.) an overabundant supply or indulgence
surmise
(v.) to infer with little evidence
surreptitious
(adj.) stealthy
sycophant
(n.) one who flatters for self-gain
tacit
(adj.) expressed without words
taciturn
(adj.) not inclined to talk
tantamount
(adj.) equivalent in value or significance
temerity
(n.) audacity, recklessness
tenuous
(adj.) having little substance or strength
timorous
(adj.) timid, fearful
torpid
(adj.) lethargic, dormant, lacking motion
tractable
(adj.) easily controlled
transient
(adj.) passing through briefly; passing into and out of existence
transmute
(v.) to change or alter in form
trenchant
(adj.) effective, articulate, clear-cut
truculent
(adj.) ready to fight, cruel
turgid
(adj.) swollen, excessively embellished in style or language
turpitude
(n.) depravity, moral corruption
ubiquitous
(adj.) existing everywhere, widespread
umbrage
(n.) resentment, offense
unctuous
(adj.) smooth or greasy in texture, appearance, manner
undulate
(v.) to move in waves
upbraid
(v.) to criticize or scold severely
usurp
(v.) to seize by force, take possession of without right
vacillate
(v.) to fluctuate, hesitate
vacuous
(adj.) lack of content or ideas, stupid
vapid
(adj.) lacking liveliness, dull
variegated
(adj.) diversified, distinctly marked
venerate
(v.) to regard with respect or to honor
veracity
(n.) truthfulness, accuracy
verdant
(adj.) green in tint or color
vex
(v.) to confuse or annoy
vicarious
(adj.) experiencing through another
vicissitude
(n.) event that occurs by chance
vilify
(v.) to lower in importance, defame
viscous
(adj.) not free flowing, syrupy
vitriolic
(adj.) having a caustic quality
vituperate
(v.) to berate
wanton
(adj.) undisciplined, lewd, lustful
winsome
(adj.) charming, pleasing
wistful
(adj.) full of yearning; musingly sad
wizened
(adj.) dry, shrunken, wrinkled
zenith
(n.) the highest point, culminating point
zephyr
(n.) a gentle breeze