GRE Verbal - Top Words
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to reduce in amount, degree, or severity
"As the hurricane's force abated, the winds dropped and the sea became calm."
to leave secretly
"The patron absconded from the restaurant without paying his bill by sneaking out the back door."
to choose not to do something
"She abstained from choosing a mouth-watering desert from the tray."
an extremely dee hole
"The submarine dove into the abyss to chart the previously unseen deths."
to make impure
"The chef made his ketchup last longer by adulterating it with water."
to speak in favor of
"The vegetarian advocated a diet containing no meat."
concerning the appreciation of beauty
"Followers of the aesthetic movement regarded the pursuit of beauty as the only true purpose of art."
to increase in power, influence, and reputation
"The supervisor sought to aggrandize herself by claiming the achievemnts of her staff as her own."
to make more bearable
"Taking aspirin helps to alleviate a headache."
to combine, to mix together
"Giant Industries amalgamated with Mega Products to form Giant-Mega Products Incorporated."
doubtful or uncertain; able to be interpreted several ways
"The directions she gave were so ambiguous that we disagreed which way to turn."
to make better; to improve
"The doctor was able to ameliorate the patient's suffering using painkillers."
something out of place in time
"The aged hippie used anachronistic phrases like 'groovy' and 'far out' that had not been popular in years."
similar or alike in some way; equivalent to
"In the Newtonian construct for explaining the existence of God, the universe is analogous to a mechanical timepiece, the creation of a divinely intelligent 'clockmaker.' "
deviation from what is normal
"Albino animals may display too great an anomaly in their coloring to attract normally colored mates."
to annoy or provoke to anger
"The child discovered that he could antagonize the cat by pulling its tail."
"The antipathy between the French and the English regularly erupted into open warfare."
lack of interest or emotion
"The apathy of the voters is so great that less than half the people who are elligable to vote actually bother to do so."
to judge a dispute between two opposing parties
"Since the couple could not come to agreement, the judge was forced to arbitrate their divorce proceedings."
ancient, old fashioned
"Her archaic Commodore computer could not run the latest software."
intense and passionate feeling
"Bishop's ardor for the landscape was evident when he passionately described the beauty of the scenic Hudson Valley."
able to speak clearly and expressively
"She is such an articulate defender of labor that unions are among her strongest supporters."
to make something unpleasant less severe
"Serena used aspirin to assuage her pounding headache."
to reduce in force or degree; to weaken
"The Bill of Rights atttenuated the traditional power of governments to change laws at will."
fearless and daring
"Her audacious nature allowed her to fulfill her dream of skydiving."
severe or stern in appearance; undecorated
"The lack of decoration makes milatary barracks seem austere to the civilian eye."
predictable; cliched; boring
"He used banal phrases like 'Have a nice day' or 'Another day, another dollar.' "
to support; to prop up
"The presence of giant footprints bolstered the argument that Sasqutch was in the area."
pompous in speech and manner
"The rantings of the radio talk show host was mostly bombastic; his boasting and outragous claims had no basis in fact."
harsh; jarring noise
"The junior high orchestra created an almost unbearable cacophany as they tried to tune their instruments."
impartial and honest in speech
"The observations of a child can be charming since they are candid and unpretentious."
changing one's mind quickly and often
"Queen Eliabeth I was capricious; her countless courtiers could never be sure which of their numbers would catch her fancy."
to punish or criticize harshly
"Many Americans are amazed at how harshly the authorities in Singapore castigate perpetrators of what would be considered minor crimes in the United States."
something that brings about a change in something else
"The imposition of harsh taxes was the catalyst that finally brought on the revolution."
biting in wit
"Dorothy Parker gained her reputation for caustic wit from her cutting, yet clever insults."
great disorder or confusion
"In many religious traditions, God created an ordered universe from chaos."
someone prejudist in favor of a group to which he or she belongs
"The attitude that men are inherently superior to women and therefore must be obeyed is common among male chauvinists."
deception by means of craft or guile
"Dishonest used car sales people aften use chicanery to sell their beat-up old cars."
convincing and well-reasoned
"Swayed by the cogent argument of the defense, the jury had no choice but to acquit the defendent."
to overlook; to pardon; to disgregard
"Some theorists believe that failing to prosecute minor crimes is the same as condoning an air of lawlessness."
intricate and complicated
"Although many eople bought A Brief History of Time, few could follow its convoluted ideas and theories."
to provide supporting evidence
"Fingerprints corroborated the witness's testimony that he saw the defendant in the victim's apartment."
too trusting, gullible
"Although some four-year-olds believe in the Easter Bunny, only the most credulous nine-year-olds also believe in him."
steadily increasing in volume or force
"The crescendo of tension became unbearable as Evil Knievel prepared to jump his motorcycle over the school buses."
appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety
"The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the decorum appropriate for a visit to the palace."
"The respectable young law clerktreated the Supreme Court Justice with the utmost deference."
to speak of or treat with contempt; to mock
"The awkward child was often derided by his 'coolder' peers."
to dry out thoroughly
"After a few weeks of lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely dessicated."
juming from one thing to another; disconnected
"Diane had a desultory academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in 3 years."
an absolute, condemnatory speech
"Th trucker bellowed a diatribe at the driver who had cut him off."
lacking self confidence
"Steve's diffident mnner during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field."
to make larger, to expand
"When you enter a darkened room, your pupils dilateu to let in more light."
intended to delay
"The congressman used dilatory measures to delay the passage of the bill."
someone with amateurish and superficial interest in a topic
"Jerry's friends were such dilettantes that they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week."
a funeral hymn or mournful speech
"Melville wrote the poem 'A dirge for James McPherson' for the funeral of a Union general who was killed in 1864."
to set right; to free from error
"Galileo's observations disabused scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the earth."
to perceive; to recognize
"It is easy to discern the difference between butter and butter-flavored topping."
fundamentally different; entirely unlike
"Although the twins appear to be identical physically, their personalities are disparate."
to present a false appearance; to disguise one's real intentions or character
"The villain could dissemble to the police no longer -- he admitted the deed and tore up the floor to reveal the body of the old man."
a harsh and disagreeable combination, often in sounds
"Cognitiv dissonance is the inner conflict produced when long-standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence."
a firmly held opinion, often a religious belief
"Linus's central dogma was that children who believed in the Great Pumpkin would be rewarded."
dictatorial in one's opinions
"The dictator was dogmatc -- he, and only he, was right."
to deceive; a person who is easily deceived
"Bugs Bunny was able to dupe Elmer Fudd by dressing up as a lady rabbit."
selecting from or made up from a variety of sources
"Budaest's architecture is an eclectic mix of Eastern and Western styles."
"The efficacy of penicillin was unsurpassed when it was first introduced; the drug comletely eliminated almost all bacterial infections for which it was administered."
a sorrowful powem or seech
"Although Thomas Gray's 'Ellegy Written in a Country Churchyard' s about death and loss, it urges readers to endure this life and to trust in spirituality."
persuasive and moving, especially in speech
"The Gettysburg Address is moving not only because of its lofty sentiments, but also because of its eloquent words."
to copy; to try to equal or excel
"The grduate student sought to emulte his rofessor in every way, coying not only how she taught hbut also how she conducted herself outside of class."
to reduce in strength
"The guerillas hoped that series of surprise attacks would enervate the regular army."
to produce, cause, or bring about
"His fear and hatred of clowns was engendered when he witnessed the death of his fther at the hands of a clown."
a puzzle, a mystery
"Speaking in riddles and dressed in old robes, the artist gained a reputation of something of an enigma."
to count, list, or itemize
"Moses returned from the mountain with tablets on which the commndments were enumerated."
lasting a short time
"The lives of mayflies seem ephemeral to use, since the flies' average life span is a matter of hours."
to use exressions of double meaning in order to mislead
"When faced with criticsm of her policies, the politician equivocated and left all parties thinking she agreed with them."
wandering and unpredictable
"The plot seemed predictable until it suddenly took series of erratic turns that surprised the audience."
learned, scholarly, bookish
"The annual meeting of philosophy rofessors was a gathering of the most erudite, well-published individuals in the field."
known or understood by only few
"Only a handful of experts are knowledgable about the esoteric world of particle physics."
"Most pople consider it estimable tht Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India."
speech in praise of someone
"His best friend gave the eulogy, outlining his many achievements and talents."
use of an innofensive word or hrase in the place of a more distasteful one.
"The funeral director preferred to use the euphemism sleeping instead of dead."
to make worse
"It is unwise to take aspirin to try to relieve heartburn; instead of providing relief, the drug will only exacerbate the problem."
to clear from blame; prove innocent
"The adversarial legal system is intendd to convict those who are guilty and to exculpate those who are innocent."
urgent, reuiring immediate action
"The patient ws losing blood so rapidly that it was exigent to stop the source of bleding."
to clear of blame
"The fugitive ws exoneated when another criminal confessed to committing the crime."
clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression
"The owners of the house left a list of explicit instructions detailing their house-sitter's duties, including a schedule for watering the house plants."
acting expressively enthusiastic; filled with etreme, unquestioned devotion
"The stormtroopers were fanatical in theif devotion to the emperor, readily sacrificing their lives for him."
"The understudy fawned over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis."
intensely emotional; feverish
"The fans of Maria Callas were unusually fervid, doing anything to catch a glimse of the great opera singer."
excessively decorated or embellished
"The palac had been decorated in a florid style; every surface had been carved and gilded."
to arouse or incite
"The protesters tried to foment feeling against the war through their speeches and demonstrations."
a tendency to be thrifty or cheap
"Scrooge McDuck's fugality was so great that he accumulated enough wealth to fill a giant storehouse with money."
tending to talk a lot
"The garrulous parakeet distracted its owner with its continuous talking."
"She was so gregarious that when she found herself alone, she felt quite sad."
deceit or trickery
"Since he was not fast enough to catch the roadrunner on foot, the coyote resorted to guile in an effort to trap his enemy."
"The con man pretended to be a bank officer so as to full the gullible bank customers into giving him their account information."
of a similar kind
"The class was fairly homogenous, since almost all of the students were senior journalism majors."
one who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions
"His lack of regard for traditional beliefs soon established him as an iconoclast."
not capable of being disturbed
"The counselor had so much experience dealing with distraught children that she seemed inperturbable, even when faced with the wildest tantrums."
impossible to penetrate; incapable of being affected
"A good raincoat will be impervious to moisture."
quick to act without thinking
"It is not good for an investment broker to be impetuous since much thought should be given to all possible outcomes."
unable to be calmed down or made peaceful
"His rage at the betrayal was so great that he remained implacable for weeks."
not fully formed; disorganized
"The ideas expressed in Nietzsche's mature work also appear in an inchoate from his earliest writing."
showing inncnce or childlike simplicity
"She was so ingenuous that her friends feared that her innocence nd trustfulness would be exploited when she visited the big city."
"Even though the children hd grown up together, they were inimical to each other at school."
"Some snakes are oisonous, but most species are innocuous and pose no danger to humans."
lacking interest or flavor
"The critic claimed that the painting was insipid, containing no interesting qualities at all."
uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled
"The professor was intransigent on the deadline, insisting that everyone turn the assignment in at the same time."
to overwhelm; to cover with water
"The tidal wave innundated Atlantis, which was lost beneath the water."
easily made angry
"Atilla the Hun's irascible and violent nature made all who dealt with him fear for their lives."
using few words
"She was a laconic poet who built her reputation on using words s saringly as possible."
to expres sorrow; to grieve
"The children continued to lament the death of the goldfish weks after its demise."
to give praise; to glorify
"Parades and fireworks were staged to laud the success of the rebels."
to give unsparingly (v.); extremely generous or extravegent (n.)
"She lavished the puppy with so many treats that it soon became overweight and spoiled."
acting in an indifferent or slow, sluggish manner
"The clerk was so lethargic that, even when the store was slow, he always had a long line in front of him."
"She was naturally loquacious, which was a problem in situations in which listening was more important than talking."
clear and easily understood
"The explanations were written in a simple and lucid manner so that students were immediately able to apply what they learned."
bright, brilliant, glowing
"The park was bathed in luminous sunshine, which warmed the bodies and the souls of the visitors."
to evade responsibility by pretending to be ill
"A common way to avoid the draft was by malingering -- pretending to be mentally or physically ill so as to avoid being taken by the army."
capable of being shaped
"Gold is the most malleable of precious metals; it can easily be formed into almost any shape."
a figure of speech comparing two different things; a symbol
"The metaphor 'a sea of troubls' suggests a lot of troubles by comparing their number to the vastness of the sea."
extremely careful about details
"To find all the clues at the crime scene, the investigators meticulously examined every inch of the area."
a person who dislikes others
"The character Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is such a misanthrope that even the sight of children singing makes him angry."
to soften; to lessen
"A judge may mitigate a sentence if she decides that a person committed a crime out of need."
to calm or make less severe
"Their argument was so intense that it was difficult to believe any compromise would mollify them."
lack of variation
"The monotony of the sound of the dripping faucent almost drove the research assistant crazy."
lacking sophistication or experience
"Having never traveled before, the elementary school students were more naive than their high school counterparts on the field trip."
hardened in feeling; resistant to persuasion
"The president was comletely obdurate on the issue, and no ammount of persuasion would change his mind."
overly submissive and eager to please
"The obsequious new associate made sure to comliment her supervisor's tie and agree with him on every issue."
"The obstinate child could not be made to eat any food that he disliked."
to prevent; to make unecessary
"The river was shallow enough to wade across at many points, which obviated the need for a bridge."
to stop up; to prevent the passage of
"A shadow is through across the earth's surface during a solar eclipse, when the light from the sun is occluded by the moon."
troublesome and oppressive; burdensome
"The assignment was so extensive and difficult to manage that it proved onerous to the team in charge of it."
impossible to see through; preventing the passage of light
"The heavy buildup of dirt and grime on the windows almost made them opaque."
"After the scheme to embezzle the elderly was made public, the treasure resigned in utter opobrium."
"The ostentation of the Sun King's court is evident in the lavish decoration and luxuriousness of his alace at Versailles."
a contradiction or dilemma
"It is a paradox that those mot in need of medical attention are often those least abl to obtain it."
model of excellence or perfection
"She is a paragon of what a judge should be honest, intelligent, hard working, and just."
someone who shows off learning
"The graduate instructor's tedious and excesive commentary on the subject soon gained her a reputation as a pedant."
willing to betray one's trust
"The actress's perfidious companion revealed all of her intimate secrets to the gossip columnist."
done in a routine way; indifferent
"The machinelike bank teller processed the transaction and gave the waiting customer a perfunctory smile."
"The miraculous new cleaning fluid is able to ermeate stains and disolve them in minutes!"
charity; a desire or effort to promote goodness
"New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art owes much of its collection to the philahtropy of rivate collectors who willed their estates to the museum."
to soothe or pacify
"The burglar tried to lacate the snarling dog by saying 'Nice doggy' and offering it a treat."
able to be molded, altered, or bent
"The new material was very plastic and could be formed into products of vastly different shapes."
"Assuming that more was better, the defendent offered the judge a plethora of excuses."
practical as opposed to idealistic
"While daydreaming gamblers think they can get rich by frequenting casinos, pragmatic gamblers realize that the odds are heavily stacked against them."
to throw violently or bring about abruptly; lacking deliberation
"Upon learning that the couple married after knowing each other for only two months, friends and family members expected such a precipitate marriage to end in divorce."
to lie or deviate from the truth
"Rather than admit that he had overslept agan, the employee prevaricated and claimed that heavy traffic had prevented him from arriving at work on time."
fresh and clean; uncorrupted
"Since concerted measures had been taken to prevent looting, the archeological site was still pristine when researchers arrived."
"The prodigal son quickly wasted all of his inheritance on a lavish lifestyle devoted to pleasure."
to increase in number quickly
"Although she only kept two guinea pigs initially, they proliferated to such an extent that she soon had dozens."
to conciliate; to appease
"The management propitiated the irate union by agreeing to raise wages for its members."
correct behavior; obedience to rules and customs
"The aristocracy maintained a high level of propriety, adhering to even the most minor social rules."
wisdom, caution, or restraint
"The college student exhibited prudence by obtaining practical experience along with her studies, which greatly strengthened her resume."
sharp and irritating to the senses
"The smoke from the burning tires was extremely pugent."
"Many animals are quiescent ovver the winter months, minimizing activity in order to conserve energy."
to make thinner or sparser
"Since the atmosphere rarefies as altitudes increase, the air at the top of very tall mountains is too thin to breathe."
to reject the validity of
"The old woman's claim that she was Russian royalty was repudiated when DNA tests showed she was of no relation to them."
"Physically small and reticent in her speech, Joan Didion often went unnoticed by those upon whom she was reporting."
effective writing or speaking
"Lincoln's talent for rhetoric was evident in his beautifully expressed Gettysburg Address."
to satisfy fully or overindulge
"His desire for power was so great that nothing less than comlete control of the country could satiate it."
causing sleep or lethargy
"The movie proved to b so soporific that soon loud snores were heard throughout the theater."
deceptively attractive; seemingly plausible but fallacious
"The student's specious excuse for being late sounded legitimate but was proved otherwise when her teacher called her home."
a mark of shame or discredit
"In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was required to wear the letter A on her clothes as a public stigma for her adultery."
unemotional; lacking sensitivity
"The prisoner appeared stolid and unaffected by the judge's harsh sentence."
lofty or grand
"The music ws so sublime that it transformed the rude surroundings into a special place."
done without using words
"Although not a word had been said, everyone in the room knew that a tacit agreement had been made about which course of action to take."
silent, not talkative
"The clerk's taciturn nature earned him the nickname 'Silent Bob.' "
long, harsh seech or verbal attack
"Observers were shocked at the manager's tirade over such a minor mistake."
extreme mental and physical sluggishness
"After surgery, the patient experienced torpor until the anesthesia wore off."
temporary, lasting a brief time
"The reporter lived in a transitory life, staying in one place only long enough to cover the current story."
to sway physically; to be indecisive
"The customer held up the line as he vacillated between ordering chocolate chip or rock road ice cream."
to respect deeply
"In a traditional Confucian society, the young venerate their elders, deferring to the elders' wisdom and experience."
filled with truth and accuracy
"She had a reputaton for veracity, so everyone trusted her descrition of events."
"The professor's answer was so verbose that his student forgot what the original question had been."
"The old man who loved his peace and quiet was vexed by his neighbor's loud music."
easily aroused or changeable; lively or explosive
"His volatile personality made it difficult to predict his reaction to anything."
to fluctuate between choices
"If you waver too long before making a decision about which testing site to register for, you may not get your first choice."
acting in a fanciful or capricious manner; unpredictable
"The ballet was whimsical, delighting the children with its imaginative characters and unpreditcable sets."
"She brought her typical zeal to the project, sparking enthusiasm in the other team members."
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