vocab.txt

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  1. Abate
    • Reduce or diminish.
    • Her stress over spending so much money on a house abated when the real estate broker told her about the property’s 15-year tax abatement.
  2. Aberration, Anomaly
    • Something that stands out or is abnormal. Outlier is similar.
    • The election of a liberal candidate in the conservative county was an aberration (or anomaly),made possible only by the sudden death of the conservative candidate two days before the election.
  3. Acclaim
    Great praise or approval.
  4. Accord, Discord
    • Accord is agreement, and discord is disagreement.
    • Our management is in accord with regulatory agencies about tightening standards.
  5. Acquisitiveness
    • Desire to acquire more, especially an excessive desire.
    • The firm did well in buying up its competitors as a means of growth, but its acquisitiveness
    • ultimately resulted in problems related to growing too quickly.
  6. Acreage
    • Land measured in acres.
    • Our property is large, but much of the acreage is swampland not suitable for building.
  7. Adhere to and Adherent
    • To adhere to is to stick to (literally, such as with glue, or metaphorically, such as to a plan or belief). An adherent is a person who sticks to a belief or cause.
    • The adherents of the plan wont admit that, in the long term, such a policy would bankrupt our state.
    • Employees who do not adhere to the policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
  8. Ad-lib
    • 1) Make something up on the spot, give an unprepared speech; 2) Freely, as needed, according to desire.
    • We have ended our policy of rationing office supplies—pens may now be given to employees ad-lib.
  9. Adopt
    • Take and make one’s own; vote to accept. You can adopt a child, of course, or a new policy.
    • To adopt a plan implies that you didn’t come up with it yourself.
  10. Advent
    • Arrival.
    • Before the advent of the Internet, people often called reference librarians to look up information for them in the library’s reference section.
  11. Adverse
    • Unfavorable, opposed.
    • A noisy environment is adverse to studying, and lack of sleep can have further adverse effects.
  12. Agency
    • The ability to use power or influence.
    • Some global warming deniers acknowledge that the planet is heating up, but argue that human agency does not affect the climate.
  13. Aggravate
    • Make worse.
    • Allowing your band to practice in our garage has greatly aggravated my headache.
  14. Altogether
    • Completely, overall. Altogether is an adverb, and is one word. It is not the same as all together, as in Let's sing all together.
    • It was an altogether stunning new design.
  15. Ambivalent
    • 1) Uncertain, unable to decide; 2) Wanting to do two contradictory things at once.
    • The health care plan has been met with ambivalence from lawmakers who would like to pass the bill but find supporting it to be politically impossible.
  16. Amortize
    • Gradually pay off a debt, or gradually write off an asset.
    • A mortgage is a common form of amortized debt—spreading the payments out over as long as 30 years is not uncommon.
  17. Analogous
    • Corresponding in a particular way, making a good analogy.
    • Our situation is analogous to one in a case study I read in business school. Maybe what worked for that company will work for us.
  18. Annex
    • To add on, or something that has been added on. An annex to a building is a part built later
    • and added on, or a new building that allows an organization to expand.
  19. Annihilate
    Completely destroy.
  20. Annul
    • Make void or null, cancel, abolish (usually of laws or other established rules). Most people associate this word with marriage—a marriage is annulled when a judge rules that it was invalid in the first place (because of fraud, mental incompetence, etc.), so it is as if it never happened.
    • Can we appreciate the art of a murderer? For many, the value of these paintings is annulled by the artist s crimes.
  21. Anoint
    • The literal meaning is “rub or sprinkle oil on, especially as part of a ceremony that makes something sacred.” The word is used metaphorically to refer to power or praise being given to someone who is thought very highly of. For instance:
    • After Principal Smitters raised test scores over 60% at her school, it was only a matter of time before she was anointed superintendant by a fawning school board.
  22. Antithetical to
    • Totally opposed to; opposite.
    • The crimes of our chairman are totally antithetical to what the Society for Ethical Leadership stands for.
  23. Application
    Act or result of applying. of course, you can have an application to business school, but you can also say The attempted application ofAmerican-style democracy in Iraq may ultimately prove unsuccessful.
  24. Apprentice —
    A person who works for someone else in order to learn a trade (such as shoemaking,weaving, etc.) from that person. Mostly historical, but still exists in the U.S., in a few industries, suchas contracting and electrical wiring.
  25. Arbiter
    • Judge, umpire, person empowered to decide matters at hand. Arbitration is typically a formal process in which a professional arbitrator decides a matter outside of a court of law. Professional mediators arbitrate disputes.
    • The principal said, “As the final arbiter of what is and is not appropriate in the classroom, I demand that you take down that poster of the rapper Ice-T and his scantily clad wife Coco.”
  26. Archaic
    • Characteristic of an earlier period, ancient, primitive. The schools archaic computer system predated even floppy disks—it stored records on tape drives!
    • Sometimes, when you look a word up the dictionary, certain definitions are marked “archaic”—unless you are a Shakespeare scholar, you can safely ignore those archaisms.
  27. Aristocracy —
    A hereditary ruling class, nobility (or a form of government ruled by these people).
  28. Artifact
    • Any object made by humans, especially those from an earlier time, such as those excavated by archaeologists.
    • The archaeologists dug up countless artifacts, from simple pottery shards and coins to complex written tablets.
    • The girls room was full of the artifacts of modern teenage life: Justin Bieber posters, Twilight books, and a laptop open tofacebook.
  29. Ascribe to/ascription
    • To ascribe is to give credit; ascription is the noun form. He ascribed his good grades to diligent studying.
    • The boys mother was amused by the ascription to his imaginary friend of all the powers he wished he had himself—being able tofly, having dozens of friends, and never having to eat his broccoli.
  30. Assert
    Affirm, claim, state, or express (that something is true).
  31. Assimilation
    The process by which a minority group adopts the customs and way of life of a larger group, or the process by which any new thing being introduced begins to “blend in.” Words like Westernization or Americanization refer to the process of assimilation into Western culture, American culture, etc.
  32. Attain
    Achieve.
  33. Attribute to
    Give credit to.
  34. Atypical
    Not typical.
  35. Backfire
    • To produce an unexpected and unwanted result. The literal meaning refers to an engine,gun, etc., exploding backwards or discharging gases, flame, debris, etc., backwards, thus possibly causing injury.
    • The company’s new efficiency measures backfired when workers protested and staged a walkout, thus stopping production completely.
  36. Balance
    • The remaining part or leftover amount. This is related to the idea of a bank balance—a balance is what you have left after deductions.
    • The publishing division accounted for 25% of the profits, and the film division for the balance. This means that the film division provided 75% of the profits.
  37. Baldly
    • Plainly, explicitly. (This is the same word as in “losing one’s hair.”) To say something baldly is to be blunt. People are sometimes shocked or offended when things are said too bluntly or baldly.
    • An article in Mother Jones explained that Maine is not very diverse: “It is, to put it baldly, one of the whitest states in the union.”
  38. Balloon
    • 1) Swell or puff out; 2) Increase rapidly. Also, in finance, a balloon payment is a single payment kat the end of a loan or mortgage term that is much larger than the other payments.
    • During the dot-com bubble, the university’s investments ballooned to three times’ their former
    • value.
    • When he won the award, his chest ballooned with pride.
  39. Befall
    • Happen to (used with something bad). The past tense is befell.
    • Disaster befell the company once again when the CEO was thrown from a horse.
  40. Belie
    • Contradict or misrepresent.
    • The actress’s public persona as a perky “girl next door” belied her private penchant for abusing her assistants and demanding that her trailer be filled with ridiculous luxury goods.
    • The data belie the accepted theory—either we’ve made a mistake, or we have an amazing new discovery on our hands!
  41. Benevolent
    Expressing goodwill, helping others or charity.
  42. Benign
    • 1) Harmless; 2) Kind or beneficial; 3) Not cancerous.
    • He was relieved when the biopsy results came back, informing him that the growth was benign.
    • He’s a benign fellow. I’m sure having him assigned to your team at work will be perfectly pleasant, without changing the way you do things.
  43. Blight
    • Disease that kills plants rapidly, or any cause of decay or destruction (noun); ruin or cause to wither (verb).
    • Many potatofarmers have fallen into poverty as a result of blight killing their crops.
    • Gang violence is a blight on our school system, causing innocent students tofear even attending classes. In fact, violence has blighted our town.
  44. Blunt
    • To dull, weaken, or make less effective.
    • The new therapy has severe side effects, but they can be blunted somewhat with anti-nausea medication and painkillers.
  45. Blur
    • To make blurry, unclear, indistinct.
    • In Japan, company titles are taken very seriously and roles are sharply defined, whereas in the U.S.—especially in smaller firms—roles are often blurred as everyone is expected to pitch in on a variety of projects.
  46. Bogus
    • Fake, fraudulent.
    • The back of this bodybuilding magazine is just full of ads for bogus products—this one promises 22-inch biceps just from wearing magnetic armbands!
  47. Bolster
    • Strengthen or support.
    • The general requested reinforcements to bolster the defensive line set up at the border.
    • Many people use alcohol to bolster their confidence before approaching an attractive person in a bar.
  48. Broad
    • Wide, large; in the open (“in broad daylight”); obvious, clear; liberal, tolerant; covering a wide scope of things. (“Broad” is also a mildly derogatory term for women, in case you’re confused—of course, no one would ever be called a broad on the GMAT.)
    • The panel was given broad discretionary powers. (That pretty much means that the panel can do whatever they want.)
  49. Brook
    Suffer or tolerate. Often used with the word no. You could say The dictator will not brook dissent, but a more common usage would be The dictator will brook no dissent.
  50. Buffer
    Something that separates two groups, people, etc., who potentially do not get along. When the U.S. was controlled by England, the state of Georgia was colonized as a buffer between the English colonies and Spanish Florida. A breakwater of rocks would act as a buffer, protecting the beach against crashing waves.
  51. Bureaucracy
    • 1) Government characterized by many bureaus and petty administrators; 2) Excessive, seemingly meaningless requirements.
    • Some nations have a worse reputation for bureaucracy than others— in order to get a Visa, he had tofile papers with four different agencies, wait for hours in three different waiting rooms, and, weeks later, follow up with some petty bureaucrat who complained that the original application should ve been filed in triplicate.
  52. Bygone
    • Past, former; that which is in the past (usually plural, as in the expression “Let bygones be bygones,” which means to let the past go, especially by forgiving someone).
    • At the nursing home, the time to reminisce about bygone days was pretty much all the time.
  53. Bypass
    Avoid, go around; ignore. The word can be a noun or a verb. Literally, a bypass is a stretch of highway that goes around an obstacle (such as a construction site). A synonym for bypass (verb) is circumvent, as in to circumvent (or bypass) the normal approval process by going straight to the company president.
  54. Canon
    • Body of accepted rules, standards or artistic works; canonical means authorized, recognized,or pertaining to a canon. Note that the spelling of canon is not the same as cannon (a large weapon).
    • The “Western canon” is an expression referring to books traditionally considered necessary for a person to be educated in the culture of Europe and the Americas.
    • School boards often start controversies when replacing canonical books in the curriculum with modern literature; while many people think students should read works more relevant to their lives, others point out that Moby Dick is part of the canon for a reason.
  55. Chancy
    Risky, not having a certain outcome. This word comes from the idea of “taking a lot of chances” or depending on chance.
  56. Channel
    To direct or guide along a particular course. of course, channel can also be a noun (television channel, the channel of a river, channels of communication). As a verb, you might channel your energy towards productive purposes.
  57. Checked
    • Restrained, held back. A check or checks can also be used to mean safeguards, limitations.
    • This is the same checks as in checks and balances, which refers to an aspect of the American system of government in which the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches all have power over each other, so no one branch can gain too much power. The expression held in check means restrained, held back.
    • Once the economy took a turn for the worse, the investors began to hold spending in check. The situation isn’t so simple—while the warlords are surely criminals of the worst degree, they are the only force checking the power of the dictator.
  58. Chronological
    • Arranged in or relating to time order.
    • Joey, I’m afraid you’ve done the assignment wrong—the point of making a timeline is to put the information in chronological order. You’ve made an alphabetical-order-line instead!
  59. Clamor —
    Noisy uproar or protest, as from a crowd; a loud, continuous noise. (NOT the same word as clamber, “to scramble or climb awkwardly.”) As soon as a scent of scandal emerged, the press was clamoring for details. The mayor couldn’t even make herself heard over the clamor of the protestors.
  60. Clan —
    Traditional social unit or division of a tribe consisting of a number of families derived from a common ancestor. Metaphorically, a clan could be any group of people united by common aims, interests, etc.
  61. Cloak
    • To cover or conceal. Often used as cloaked in. (Literally, a cloak is a large, loose cape, much like a winter coat without arms.)
    • Apple’s new products are often cloaked in mystery before they are released; before the launch of the iPad, even tech reviewers had little idea what the new device would be.
  62. Coalesce
    • Come together, unite; fuse together.
    • While at first, everyone on the team was jockeying for power and recognition, eventually, the group coalesced and everyone was happy to share credit for a job well-done. East and West Germany coalesced into a single country in 1990.
  63. Coercion
    • Force; use of pressure, threats, etc. toforce someone to do something.
    • Coexistence
    • Existing at the same time or in the same place. Coexistence is often used to mean peaceful coexistence, as in The goal of the Camp David Accords was the coexistence of Israel and Egypt.
  64. Cogent
    • Very convincing, logical.
    • Most GMAT Critical Reasoning arguments are not terribly cogent— they depend on unspoken and unjustified assumptions.
  65. Cognitive
    Related to thinking. Cognition is the mental process of knowing (awareness, judgment,reasoning, etc.).
  66. Collude
    • Conspire; cooperate for illegal or fraudulent purposes.
    • After two competing software companies doubled their prices on the same day, leaving consumers no lower-priced alternative, the federal government investigated the companies for collusion.
  67. Compliant
    Obeying, submissive; following the requirements.Those who are not compliant with the regulations will be put on probation and possibly expelled.
  68. Compound
    • — Add interest to the principal and accrued interest; increase. When talking about substances,compound can also mean mix, combine, as in to compound two chemicals.
    • The town was greatly damaged by the hurricane—damage that was only compounded by the subsequent looting and even arson that took place in the chaos that followed. Your success in studying for the GMAT can only be compounded by healthy sleep habits; in fact, the brain requires sleep in order toform new memories and thus solidify your knowledge.
  69. Compromise —
    Reduce the quality or value of something. of course, to compromise can be good in personal relationships, but often compromise means to give up something in a bad way, as in to compromise one’s morals. So, if you say that the hull of your boat has been compromised, you mean that you are going to sink! It is unacceptable that safety is being compromised in the name of profits.
  70. Concede
    Give in, admit, yield; acknowledge reluctantly; grant or give up (such as giving up land after losing a war). The negotiations were pointless, with each side’s representatives instructed by their home countries to make no concessions whatsoever. Quebec was a French concession to Britain in the Treaty of Paris in 1763. I suppose I will have to concede the argument now that you’ve looked up evidence on Wikipedia.
  71. Condone
    • Overlook, tolerate, regard as harmless.
    • While underage drinking is illegal, at many universities, it is tacitly condoned by administrations that neglect to enforce anti-drinking policies.
  72. Confer —
    Consult, compare views; bestow or give. A Ph.D. confers upon a person the right to be addressed as “Doctor” as well as eligibility to pursue tenure-track professorship. Excuse me for a moment to make a call— I can’t buy this car until I confer with my spouse.
  73. Consequently —
    As a result, therefore. (Don’t confuse with subsequently, which means afterwards.) The new medicine is not only a failure, but a dangerous one; consequently, drug trials were halted immediately.
  74. Considerable —
    Large, significant.
  75. Considerations —
    Factors to be considered in making a decision. Used in the singular, consideration can mean care for other people’s feelings; high esteem or admiration; or a treatment or account, as in The book began with a thorough consideration of the history of the debate.
  76. Consolidate —
    Unite, combine, solidify, make coherent. She consolidated her student loans so she would only have to make one payment per month. As group leader, Muriel will consolidate all of our research into a single report.
  77. Contemplative
    Contemplating, thoughtful, meditative.
  78. Contend
    Assert, make an argument in favor of; strive, compete, struggle. A contention is simply a claim, often a thesis or statement that will then be backed up with reasons. Contentious means controversial or argumentative, as in The death penalty is a contentious issue.
  79. Contextualize
    Place in context, such as by giving the background or circumstances. Virginia Woolf’s feminism is hard to truly understand unless contextualized within the mores of the highly restrained, upper-class English society of her time.
  80. Contract —
    Shrink, pull together, and thus become smaller (used in this way, contract is the opposite of expand). You can also contract a disease or a debt, in which case contract just means get or acquire. To contract can also simply mean to make a contract (to contract an agreement).
  81. Conventional
    T raditional, customary. This could be related to morals and culture (Her family was surprised that she had eschewed the conventional wedding ceremony in favor of a bohemian ceremony on the beach) or to technology, business methods, etc. — a conventional oven is simply a regular oven (without certain modern enhancements).
  82. Converge —
    Move towards one another or towards a point; unite. I know we’re driving in to the wedding from different states, but our routes ought to converge when each of us hits 1-95— maybe we could converge at a Cracker Barrel for lunch!
  83. Conversely —
    In an opposite way; on the other hand. I am not here to argue that lack of education causes poverty. Conversely, I am here to argue that poverty causes lack of education.
  84. Convoluted
    • Twisted; very complicated.Your argument is so convoluted that Im not even able to understand it enough to start critiquing it.
    • To get from the hotel room to the pool requires following a convoluted path up two staircases and down two others—to get to someplace on the same floor we started on!
  85. Copious -Plentiful, bountiful.
    Although she took copious notes in class, she found that she was missing a big picture that would have tied all the information together.
  86. Corresponding
    Accompanying; having the same or almost the same relationship. Our profit-sharing plan means that increases in profit will be matched by corresponding increases in employee compensation.
  87. Corroborate
    • Support, add evidence to.
    • You’re telling me you were thirty miles away riding a roller coaster when the school was vandalized?
    • I have a hard time believing that—is there anyone who can corroborate your story?
  88. Countenance —
    Approve or tolerate. Countenance can also literally mean “face” {Her countenance was familiar—did we know each other?). The metaphorical meaning makes sense when you think about a similar expression: “I cannot look you in the face after what you did.” (You would usually say “I cannot face you” when the speaker is the guilty party.) I saw you cheating off my paper, and I cant countenance cheating—either you turn yourself in or HI report you.
  89. Counterintuitive
    • Against what a person would intuitively expect.
    • Although it seems counterintuitive, for some extreme dieters, eating more can actually help them to lose weight, since the body is reassured that it is not facing a period of prolonged starvation.
  90. Counterpoint
    • Contrasting item, opposite; a complement; the use of contrast or interplay in a work of art.
    • The plays lighthearted, witty narrator provides a welcome counterpoint to the seriousness and grief expressed by the other characters. The hot peppers work in counterpoint to an otherwise sweet dish.
  91. Counterproductive
    • Defeating the purpose; preventing the intended goal.
    • The candidate’s attempt to win swing votes in Ohio was actually counterproductive—following his speech in Toledo, his poll numbers actually went down 5%.
  92. Credibility
    • Believability, trustworthiness.
    • Many famous “experts” with “Dr.” before their names are not medical doctors at all. Any television “doctor” who turns out to have a Ph.D. in botany, for instance, ought to suffer a serious drop in credibility.
  93. Culminate
    • Reach the highest point or final stage.
    • A Ph.D. program generally culminates in a written dissertation and its defense to a committee.
  94. Currency
    • Money; the act of being passed from person-to-person (These old coins are no longer in currency); general acceptance or a period of time during which something is accepted. Cultural currency refers to cultural knowledge that allows a person tofeel “in the know.”
    • The call center in Mumbai trained its workers in American slang and pop culture, giving them a cultural currency that, it was hoped, would help the workers relate to customers thousands of miles away.
  95. Curtail
    Cut short or reduce.
  96. Cynical
    Thinking the worst of others’ motivations; bitterly pessimistic.
  97. Debase
    • Degrade; lower in quality, value, rank, etc.; lower in moral quality.
    • Members of the mainstream church argued that the fringe sect was practicing a debased version of the religion, twisting around its precepts and missing the point. I can tell from the weight that this isn’t pure gold, but rather some debased mixed metal.
    • You have debased yourself by accepting bribes.
  98. Debilitating
    Weakening, disabling.
  99. Debunk
    • Expose, ridicule, or disprove false or exaggerated claims.
    • Galileo spent his last years under house arrest for debunking the widely held idea that the Sun revolved around the Earth. The show MythBusters debunks pseudoscientific claims.
  100. Decry
    Condemn openly. The “cry” in decry has the sense of “cry out against,” as in The activist decried the destruction of the animals' habitat.
  101. Deem
    • Judge; consider.
    • “You can take the black belt exam when I deem you ready, and not a moment before,” said the karate instructor.
  102. Deflect
    • Cause to curve; turn aside, especially from a straight course; avoid.
    • The purpose of a shield is to deflect arrows or bullets from an enemy.
    • Every time he was asked a difficult question, Senator Warrington deflected by changing the topic, saying he’d answer later, or even— insincerely, it seemed—calling for a moment of prayer.
  103. Delimit
    • Fix, mark, or define the boundaries of.
    • The role of an executive coach is delimited by our code of conduct—we may not counsel people for psychological conditions, for instance.
  104. Denote
    • Be a name or symbol for. A denotation is the literal meaning of a word; a connotation is the feeling that accompanies that word.
    • There’s nothing in the denotation of “crotchety” (grumpy, having strong and irrational preferences) that indicates any particular group of people, but because of the expression “crotchety old man,” the word connotes, for many people, an image of an especially unpleasant male senior citizen.
  105. Deride —
    • Mock, scoff at, laugh at contemptuously.
    • The manager really thought that deriding his employees as “stupid” or “lazy” would motivate them to work harder; instead, it motivated them to hide his office supplies as an act of revenge.
  106. Deterrent
    • Something that restrains or discourages.
    • Some argue that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime—that is, the point is not just to punish the guilty, but tofrighten other prospective criminals.
  107. Dichotomy
    • Division into two parts or into two contradictory groups.
    • There is a dichotomy in the sciences between theoretical or “pure” sciences such as physics and chemistry, and the life sciences, which often deal more with classifying than with theorizing.
  108. Disclosure —
    Revealing, exposing the truth; something that has been revealed. Full disclosure is an expression meaning telling everything. In journalism, the expression is often used when a writer reveals a personal connection to the story. For instance, a news article might read, “MSNBC may have forced the departure of popular anchor Keith Olbermann (full disclosure: I was employed as a fact-checker for MSNBC in 2004).”
  109. Discount
    • Ignore, especially to ignore information because it is considered untrustworthy; to underestimate, minimize, regard with doubt. To discount an idea is to not count it as important.
    • After staying up all night tofinish the presentation, he was understandably unhappy that his boss discounted his contribution, implying that she had done most of the work herself.
  110. Discredit
    Injure the reputation of, destroy credibility of or confidence in. Congresswoman Huffman’s opponent tried to use her friendship with a certain radical extremist to discredit her, even though the Congresswoman hadn’t seen this so-called “extremist” since sixth-grade summer camp.
  111. Discrepancy
    • Difference or inconsistency.
    • When there is a discrepancy between a store’s receipts and the amount of money in the register, the cashier’s behavior is generally called into question.
  112. Discrete
    • Separate, distinct, detached, existing as individual parts. This is NOT the same word as discreet, which means subtle, secretive.
    • Be sure to use quotation marks and citations as appropriate in your paper in order to keep your ideas discrete from those of the experts you are quoting. The advertising agency pitched us not on one campaign, but on three discrete ideas.
  113. Discretionary
    Subject to someone’s discretion, or judgment (generally good judgment). Discretionary funds can be spent on anything (for instance, a budget might contain a small amount for “extras”). Begin at your discretion means Begin whenever you think is best.
  114. Discriminating
    • Judicious, discerning, having good judgment or insight. Many people automatically think of discriminating as bad, because they are thinking of racial discrimination. However, discriminating is simply telling things apart and can be an important skill— it is important to discriminate legitimate colleges from fraudulent diploma mills, for instance.
    • He is a man of discriminating tastes—all his suits are handmade in Italy, and I once saw him send back an entree when he complained that black truffle oil had been substituted for white. The chef was astounded that he could tell.
    • You can tell a real Prada bag by the discriminating mark on the inside.
  115. Disinterested
    • Unbiased, impartial; not interested. Don’t confuse with uninterested, which means not interested, bored, apathetic.
    • Let’s settle this argument once and for all! We’ll get a disinterested observer to judge who can sing the highest note!
  116. Disparate
    • Distinct, different.
    • He chose the college for two disparate reasons: the strength of the computer science program,and the excellence of the hip-hop dance squad.
  117. Dispatch
    • Speed, promptness (noun); send off or deal with in a speedy way (verb). So, you want to be a bike messenger? I need messengers who approach every delivery with alacrity,care, and dispatch—if the customers wanted their packages to arrive slowly, they’d use the post office.
    • Acting with all possible dispatch, emergency services dispatched a rescue squad to the scene.
  118. Disperse
    Scatter, spread widely, cause to vanish. Dispersal is the noun form. Because the demonstrators didn’t have a permit, the police showed up with megaphones, demanding loudly that the crowd disperse. The eventual dispersal of the crowd resulted in smaller protests at various points throughout the city.
  119. Dismiss
    Put aside or reject, especially after only a brief consideration; allow to disperse or leave; fire from a job. To dismiss biases (biases is the plural of bias) in science is to rule out possible prejudices that could have influenced results. “Before I dismiss class,” said the teacher, “I want to remind you of the importance of dismissing biases in your research by ruling out or adjusting for factors other than the variable you are testing that may have led to your results.”
  120. Disseminate
    • Scatter, spread about, broadcast.
    • In the 1760s, revolutionary ideas were disseminated via pamphlets such as Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.”
  121. Divest
    • Deprive or strip of a rank, title, etc., or of clothing or gear; to sell off holdings (opposite of invest).
    • When she found out that the most profitable stock in her portfolio was that of a company that tested products on animals, she immediately divested by telling her broker to sell the stock.Once his deception was exposed, he was divested of his position on the Board.
  122. Dovetail
    • Join or fit together.
    • When the neuroscientist married an exercise physiologist, neither thought they’d end up working together, but when Dr. Marion Ansel received a grant to study how exercise improves brain function and Dr. Jim Ansel was assigned to her team, the twofound that their careers dovetailed nicely.
  123. Dubious — Doubtful, questionable, suspect.
    This applicant’s resume is filled with dubious qualifications—this is a marketing position, and this resume is mostly about whitewater rafting.
  124. Echelon
    • A level, rank, or grade; the people at that level. A stratum is the same idea (strata is the plural,as in rising through the upper strata/echelons of the firm).Obtaining a job on Wall Street doesn’t guarantee access to the upper echelon of executives, where multi-million dollar bonuses are the norm.
    • I’m not sure I’m cut out to analyze poetry; I find it hard to dig beyond the most accessible echelon of meaning.
  125. Eclectic
    Selecting the best of everything or from many diverse sources. Eclectic taste is helpful in being a DJ—crowds love to hear the latest hip-hop mixed with ‘80s classics and other unexpected genres of music.
  126. Eclipse
    1) One thing covering up another, such as the sun hiding the moon or a person losing attention to a more famous or talented person; 2) To cover up, darken, or make less important. Billy Ray Cyrus, who had a hit song, “Achy Breaky Heart,” in the ‘90s, has long since found his fame eclipsed by that of his daughter, Miley.
  127. Effectively
    • of course, effectively can just mean in a successful manner, as in He did the job effectively.
    • But it can also mean in effect, but not officially. For instance, when Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, he was incapacitated by a stroke, and some people believe that Wilson’s wife, Edith, effectively served as president. That doesn’t mean she was any good at it (she wasn’t). Rather, it means that she was doing the job of the president without officially being the president.
    • He went on a two-week vacation without asking for time off or even telling anyone he was leaving, thus effectively resigning from his position.
  128. Efficacy
    • The quality of being able to produce the intended effect. Don’t confuse efficacy with efficiency.
    • Something efficacious gets the job done; something efficient gets the job done without wasting time or effort. Efficacy is frequently used in reference to medicines. Extensive trials will be necessary to determine whether the drug’s efficacy outweighs the side effects.
  129. Egalitarian
    • Related to belief in the equality of all people.
    • It is very rare that someone turns down an offer to be knighted by the Queen of England; however, he was egalitarian enough tofeel uncomfortable with the entire idea of titles and royalty.
  130. Egregious
    • Extraordinarily or conspicuously bad; glaring.
    • Your conduct is an egregious violation of our Honor Code—not only did you steal your roommate s paper off his computer and turn it in as your own, you also sold his work to a plagiarism website so other cheaters could purchase it!
  131. Emancipate
    Free from slavery or oppression. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation legally ended slavery in the U.S. In law, to emancipate a minor is to declare the child (generally a teenager) no longer under the control of his or her parents.
  132. Eminent
    Prominent, distinguished, of high rank.
  133. Emphasize
    • Give special force or attention to. This word often occurs in GMAT Reading
    • Comprehension answer choices. Hint: While the purpose of a particular sentence could be to emphasize a point that came before, the main idea of an entire passage is never just to emphasize something.
  134. Empirical
    • Coming from, based on, or able to be verified by experience or experimentation; not purely based on theory.
    • The Ancient Greeks philosophized about the nature of matter (concluding, for instance, that everything was made of earth, water, air, and fire) without any empirical evidence— that is, the very idea of conducting experiments hadn’t been invented yet.
    • People always knew empirically that when you drop something, it falls to the ground; the theory of gravity later explained why.
  135. Emulate
    • Copy in an attempt to equal or be better than.
    • The ardent Star Trek fan emulated Captain Kirk in every way possible—his brash and confident leadership might have gotten him somewhere, but the women he tried to impress weren’t so impressed.
  136. Enigma —
    Puzzle, mystery, riddle; mysterious or contradictory person.

    The enormous rock sculptures in Stonehenge, Scotland, are truly an enigma—were they created as part of a religious observance, in deference to a great ruler, or for some other reason?
  137. Enjoy
    • of course, enjoy means “receive pleasure from,” but it also means “benefit from.” Thus, it is not true that only people and animals can enjoy. For instance:
    • The college has long enjoyed the support of wealthy alumni.
  138. Ensure vs. Insure
    • If you buy insurance for something, you have insured it. If you guarantee something, you have ensured it.
    • If you go past this security checkpoint, I cannot ensure your safety.
  139. Enumerate
    • Count or list; specify one-by-one.
    • The Bill of Rights enumerates the basic rights held by every citizen of the United States.
  140. Equitable
    • Fair, equal, just.
    • As the university president was a heavily biased towards the sciences, faculty in the liberal arts felt they had tofight to get an equitable share of funding for their departments.
  141. Equivalence
    • The state of being equal or essentially equal.
    • Equivocal or Equivocate — Use unclear language to deceive or avoid committing to a position. Not wanting to lose supporters, the politician equivocated on the issue, tossing out buzzwords related to each side while also claiming more study was needed.
  142. Erratic
    • Inconsistent, wandering, having nofixed course.
    • When someone engages in erratic behavior, family members often suspect drugs or mental illness. However, sometimes the person is just building a top-secret invention in the garage!
  143. Erroneous
    • Mistaken, in error.
    • Hilda was completely unable to assemble her new desk chair after the instructions erroneously instructed her to screw the left armrest onto a small lever on the bottom of the seat.
  144. Erstwhile
    • Former, previous.
    • A novelist and erstwhile insurance salesman, he told us his story of the long road to literary success, before he was able to quit his day job.
  145. Escape velocity
    The minimum velocity that an object must attain in order to completely escape a gravitational field.
  146. Estimable
    • 1) Worthy of esteem, admirable; 2) Able to be estimated.
    • As the first Black president of the Harvard Law Review, Barack Obama presented an estimable resume when he ran for president in 2008. Riding a roller coaster is safer than driving on the highway, but there is still an estimable risk.
  147. Ethos
    • The character, personality, or moral values specific to a person, group, time period, etc.
    • At the prep school, the young man happily settled into an ethos of hard work and rigorous athletic competition.
  148. Exacerbate — Make worse (more violent, severe, etc.), inflame.
    Allowing your band to practice in our garage has greatly exacerbated my headache.
  149. Exacting
    • Very severe in making demands; requiring precise attention.
    • The boxing coach was exacting, analyzing Joeys footwork down to the millimeter and forcing him to repeat movements hundreds of times until they were correct.
  150. Execute — Put into effect, do, perform (to execute a process). Execute can also mean enforce, make legal,
    carry out the terms of a legal agreement. To execute a will is to sign it in the presence of witnesses. To execute the terms of a contract is tofulfill an obligation written in the contract.
  151. Exhaustive
    • Comprehensive, thorough, exhausting a topic or subject, accounting for all possibilities; draining, tending to exhaust.
    • The consultant s report was an exhaustive treatment of all possible options and their likely consequences. In fact, it was so exhaustive that the manager joked that he would need to hire another consultant to read the first consultant s report.
  152. Exotic
    Foreign, intriguingly unusual or strange.
  153. Expansionist
    Wanting to expand, such as by conquering other countries.
  154. Expedient
    • Suitable, proper; effective (sometimes while sacrificing ethics).
    • “I need this report by 2pm, and I don’t care what you have to do to make that happen,” said the boss. “I expect you to deal with it expediently.” When invited to a wedding you cannot attend, it is expedient to send a gift.
  155. Explicit
    • Direct, clear, fully revealed. Explicit in the context of movies, music, etc., means depicting or describing sex or nudity, but explicit can be used for anything {explicit instructions is a common phrase).
    • The antonym of explicit is implicit or tacit, meaning “hinted at, implied.” The goal of my motivational talk is to make explicit the connection between staying in school and avoiding a life of crime.
  156. Extraneous
    • Irrelevant; foreign, coming from without, not belonging.
    • This essay would be stronger if you removed extraneous information; this paragraph about the authors life doesn’t happen to be relevant to your thesis. Maize, which originated in the New World, is extraneous to Europe.
  157. Extrapolate
    • Conjecture about an unknown by projecting information about something known;
    • predict by projecting past experience. In math and science, to extrapolate is to infer values in an unobserved interval from values in an observed interval. For instance, from the points (1,4) and (3, 8), you could extrapolate the point (5, 12), since it would be on the same line. No, I’ve never been to Bryn Mawr, but I’ve visited several small, private womens colleges in the Northeast, so I think I can extrapolate.
  158. Facilitate
    • Make easier, help the progress of.
    • A good meeting facilitator lets everyone be heard while still keeping the meeting focused. As a midwife, my goal is simply tofacilitate a natural process.
  159. Faction
    A group (especially an exclusive group with strong beliefs, self-interest, bias, etc.) within a larger organization. This word is usually meant in a negative way (once people have joined factions, they are no longer willing to hear the issues and debate or compromise). The opposition movement was once large enough to have a chance at succeeding, but it has since broken into numerous, squabbling factions, each too small to have much impact.
  160. Faculty
    An ability, often a mental ability. Most often used in the plural, as in A stroke can often deprive a person of important mental faculties. (Of course, faculty can also mean the teachers or professors of an institution of learning.)
  161. Fading
    • Declining.
    • In the face of fading public support for national health care, the Senator withdrew his support for the bill.
  162. Fashion
    • Manner or way.
    • The watchmaker works in a meticulous fashion, paying incredible attention to detail.
  163. Fathom
    • Understand deeply.
    • I cannot even remotely fathom how you interpreted an invitation to sleep on my couch as permission to take my car on a six-hour joyride!
  164. Finding
    • ' ‘The finding” (or “the findings”) refers to a discovery, report, result of an experiment, etc.
    • When the attorneys received the results of the DNA report, they were shocked by the finding that John Doe could not have committed the crime.
  165. Fishy —
    Suspicious, unlikely, questionable, as in a fishy story. This expression probably arose because fish smell very bad when they start to spoil.
  166. Fledgling
    • New or inexperienced. A fledgling is also a young bird that cannot fly yet.
    • The Society of Engineers is available for career day presentations in elementary schools, where we hope to encourage fledgling talents in the applied sciences.
  167. Fleeting
    • Passing quickly, transitory.
    • I had assumed our summer romance would be fleeting, so I was very surprised when you proposed marriage!
  168. Foreshadow
    • Indicate or suggest beforehand.
    • You didn’t know this was a horror movie? I thought it was pretty clear that the childrens ghost story around the campfire was meant toforeshadow the horrible things that would happen to them years later as teenagers at a motel in the middle of the woods.
  169. Forestall
    • Delay, hinder, prevent by taking action beforehand.
    • Our research has been forestalled by a lack of funding; were all just biding our time while we wait for the university to approve our grant proposal.
  170. Glacial
    • Slow, cold, icy, unsympathetic. Glacial can also just mean “related to glaciers.”
    • Progress happened, but at a glacial pace everyone found frustrating.
    • He had wanted to appear on the reality singing competition his whole young life, but he was not encouraged by the judges’ glacial response to his audition.
  171. Grade, Gradation
    • A gradation is a progression or process taking place gradually, in stages; to grade is to slant (the road grades steeply) or to blend (the dress’s fabric grades from blue to green).
    • The hills gradation was so gradual that even those on crutches were able to enjoy the nature trail. The marshland grades into the water so gradually that it is difficult to tell the land from the bay.
  172. Graft
    • Join together plant parts or skin so that two living things grow together (for instance, a skin graft for a burn victim); or the act of acquiring money or other benefits through illegal means, especially by abusing one’s power.
    • The part of the book describing the financial crisis is good, but the “What You Can Do” section seems grafted on, almost as though written by a different author. It’s not cool for your boss to pressure you into buying Girl Scout cookies from his daughter. If she were selling something larger, we’d call that graft.
  173. Grandstand
    • Perform showily in an attempt to impress onlookers.
    • I was really passionate about the candidate when he spoke at our school, but now that I think about it, he was just grandstanding. I mean, who could disagree that young people are the future? And doing a cheer for the environment doesn’t actually signify a commitment to changing any public policies about it.
  174. Guesswork
    A set of guesses or estimates; work based on guesses or estimates.
  175. Guile
    • Clever deceit, cunning, craftiness.
    • The game of poker is all about guile, manipulating your own body language and patter to lead other players to erroneous conclusions about the cards you’re holding.
  176. Hallmark
    • A mark of indication of quality, purity, genuineness, etc.; any distinguishing characteristic.
    • Fast-paced rhymes, an angry tenor, and personal attacks on celebrities are hallmarks of Eminem’s music.
  177. Hallucination
    A delusion, a false or mistaken idea; seeing, sensing, or hearing things that aren’t there, such as from a mental disorder.
  178. Handpick —
    To pick by hand, to personally select.The retiring CEO handpicked his successor.
  179. Hardly —
    Hardly can mean almost or probably not, or not at all. of course, I can hardly see you means can see you only a little bit. But in the following sentence, hardly means not:

    The news could hardly have come at a worse time. (The meaning is The news came at the worst possible time.)
  180. Hardy
    • Bold, brave, capable of withstanding hardship, fatigue, cold, etc.
    • While the entire family enjoyed the trip to South America, only the hardier members even attempted to hike to the top of Ecuador’s tallest volcano.
  181. Hearken or Hark
    • Listen, pay attention to. The expression hearken back or hark back means to turn back to something earlier or return to a source.
    • The simple lifestyle and anachronistic dress of the Amish hearken back to an earlier era. The nation’s first change of leadership in decades is causing the people to hearken closely to what is happening in government.
  182. Hedge
    • Avoid commitment by leaving provisions for withdrawal or changing one’s mind; protect a bet by also betting on the other side.
    • When the professor called on him to take a stand on the issue, he hedged for fear of offending her: “Well, there are valid points on both sides,” he said.
    • Hegemony -Domination, authority; influence by a one country over others socially, culturally, economically, etc.
    • The discovery of oil by a previously poor nation disrupted the larger, richer nation’s hegemony in the region—suddenly, the hegemon had a competitor.
  183. Heterogeneous
    Different in type, incongruous; composed of different types of elements.
  184. Homogeneous
    • (of the same kind) is the opposite of heterogeneous.
    • Rather than build the wall with plain brick, we used a heterogeneous mixture of stones—they are not only different colors, but a variety of sizes as well.
  185. Hierarchy
    • A ranked series; a classification of people according to rank, ability, etc.; a ruling body.
    • The Eco-Action Coalition was led by a strict hierarchy — members followed orders from district leaders, district leaders from regional leaders, and regional leaders from the national head.
  186. Holdings
    Property, such as land, capital, and stock. The company liquidated its holdings means that the company sold off everything. of course, the word hold has many meanings. In a holding pattern is an expression that means staying still, not changing.
  187. Host
    A large amount. A host of problems means a lot of problems.
  188. Hyperbole
    • Deliberate exaggeration for effect.
    • Oh, come on. Saying “That movie was so bad it made me puke” was surely hyperbole. I strongly doubt that you actually vomited during or following The Back-up Plan.
  189. Iconoclast —
    • Attacker of cherished beliefs or institutions.
    • A lifelong iconoclast, Ayn Rand wrote a controversial book entitled The Virtue of Selfishness.
  190. Imminent
    • Ready to occur, impending.
    • In the face of imminent war, the nation looked tofranklin D. Roosevelt for reassurance.
  191. Immunity
    • The state of not being susceptible to disease; exemption from a duty or liability; exemption
    • from legal punishment. Diplomatic immunity is an example of immunity meaning exemption from legal punishment. For instance, every year, New York City loses millions of dollars from United Nations diplomats parking illegally and then not paying their parking tickets, since the diplomats are not subject to U.S. laws.
  192. Impair
    • Make worse, weaken.
    • Playing in a rock band without earplugs will almost certainly impair your hearing over time.
  193. Impartial
    Unbiased, fair. Disinterested dispassionate, and nonpartisan are all related to being fair and not having a bias or personal stake. Judge Gonzales removed himself from the case because, having a personal connection to the school where the shooting took place, he did not think he could be appropriately impartial.
  194. Impasse
    Position or road from which there is no escape; deadlock, gridlock. If the union wont budge on its demands and the transit authority wont raise salaries, then we are at an impasse.
  195. Impede
    • Hold back, obstruct the progress of.
    • I didn’t realize business school would be entirely group work—sadly, there’s always at least one person in every group who impedes the group’s progress more than helps it.
  196. Impinge on
    • Trespass on, violate.
    • Civil liberties experts argued that a school systems regulating what its students do on Facebook outside of school is an impingement of their right tofree speech.
  197. Implode
    • Burst inward. Metaphorically, to collapse or break down.
    • The startup struggled for years before it simply imploded—the management team broke into factions, all the clients were scared off, and employees who hadn’t been paid in weeks began taking the office computers home with them in retribution.
  198. Imply —
    Hint at, suggest, “say without saying.”
  199. Impute
    • Credit, attribute; lay blame or responsibility for.
    • The ineffectual CEO was nevertheless a master of public relations—he made sure that all successes were imputed to him, and all of the failures were imputed to others.
  200. Inadvertently
    • Accidentally, carelessly, as a side effect.
    • In attempting to perfect his science project, he inadvertently blew a fuse and plunged his family’s home into darkness.
  201. Inasmuch
    Since, because. Usually inasmuch as.
  202. Inasmuch
    as a whale is not a fish, it will not be covered in this biology course specifically about fish.
  203. Incentive
    • Something that encourages greater action or effort, such as a reward.
    • A controversial program in a failing school system uses cash payments as an incentive for students to stay in school.
  204. Incidentally
    • Not intentionally, accidentally. Incidentally can also mean by the way and is used to
    • introduce information that is only slightly related. Incidentals can refer to expenses that are “on the side” (The company gives us $100 a day for meals and incidentals).
    • The environmental protection law was incidentally injurious to the rubber industry. I think we should move forward with the new office. Incidentally, there’s a great Mexican restaurant opening up right across the street from it!
  205. Incinerate
    Burn, reduce to ashes, cremate.
  206. Inconsequential
    • Insignificant, unimportant. The sense here is that the thing is so small that it doesn’t even have consequences.
    • You wrote a bestselling book and got a stellar review in the New York Times—whatever your cousin has to say about it is simply inconsequential.
  207. Incorporate
    • Combine, unite; form a legal corporation; embody, give physical form to.When a business incorporates, it becomes a separate legal entity—for instance, the business can declare bankruptcy without the owners doing so.
    • Local legend has it that ghosts can incorporate on one night of the year and walk among the living.
  208. Indeterminate
    • Not fixed or determined, indefinite; vague.
    • The results of the drug trial were indeterminate; further trials will be needed to ascertain whether the drug can be released.
    • The lottery can have an indeterminate number of winners— the prize is simply divided among them.
  209. Indicative
    • Indicating, suggestive of. Usually used as indicative of
    • Your symptoms are indicative of the common cold.
  210. Induce
    • Persuade or influence (a person to do something); bring about, cause to happen (to induce
    • labor when a birth is not proceeding quickly enough).
  211. Inert
    • Inactive; having little or no power to move.
    • All of the missiles at the military museum are inert—they’re not going blow up. When she saw her fathers inert body on the floor, she thought the worst, but fortunately, he was just practicing very slow yoga.
  212. Inevitable
    • Not able to be avoided or escaped; certain.
    • Benjamin Franklin famously said that only two things in life are inevitable: “death and taxes.”
  213. Inexplicable
    Not able to be explained.
  214. Inextricably
    In a way such that one cannot untangle or escape something. If you are inextricably tied to something (such as your family), then you have so many different obligations and deep relationships that you could never leave, disobey, etc.
  215. Infer
    • Conclude from evidence or premises. Remember, on the GMAT, infer means draw a
    • DEFINITELY TRUE conclusion. It does NOT mean “assume”!
  216. Inform
    • Inspire, animate; give substance, essence, or context to; be the characteristic quality of. of course, inform most commonly means “impart knowledge to”; thus, many students are confused when
    • they see the word used in other ways on the GMAT. Her work as an art historian is informed by a background in drama; where others see a static tableau, she sees a protagonist, a conflict, a denouement.
  217. Ingenuity
    Inventive skill, imagination, cleverness, especially in design.
  218. Ingrained
    • Deep-rooted, forming part of the very essence; worked into the fiber.
    • Religious observance had been ingrained in him since birth; he could not remember a time when he didn’t pray five times a day.
  219. Inherent
    • Existing as a permanent, essential quality; intrinsic. (See the similar intrinsic in this list.)
    • New research seems to support the idea that humans have an inherent sense of justice—even babies become upset at puppet shows depicting unfairness.
  220. Initial
    First, at the beginning. An initial deposit might be the money you put down to open a new bank account.
  221. Inordinate
    • Excessive, not within proper limits, unrestrained.
    • Students taking practice computer-adaptive tests at home often take an inordinate number of breaks— remember, on the real thing, you cant stop just because you’re tired or hungry.
  222. Instrumental —
    Serving as a means of doing something. Just as you might call a weapon an instrument of war, saying He was instrumental in the restructuring has the sense that the person was used as an instrument of getting something done.
  223. Insular
    Pertaining to an island; detached, standing alone; narrow-minded (like the stereotype of people from small towns or places). The young actress couldn’t wait to escape the insularity of her small town, where life revolved around high school football and Taco Bell was considered exotic international cuisine.
  224. Interplay
    • Interaction, reciprocal relationship or influence.
    • Bilingual readers will enjoy the interplay of English and Spanish in many of the poems in this anthology of the work of Mexican-American poets.
  225. Intractable
    • Difficult to control, manage, or manipulate; hard to cure; stubborn.
    • That student is positively intractable! Last week, we talked about the importance of staying in your seat during the lesson—this week, she not only got up mid-class, but she actually scrambled on top of a bookcase and refused to come down!
    • Back injuries often result in intractable pain; despite treatment, patients never feel fully cured.
  226. Intrepid
    • Fearless, brave, enduring in the face of adversity.
    • Intrepid explorers Lewis and Clark led the first U.S. expedition to the West Coast, facing bitter winters and rough terrain.
  227. Intrinsic
    • Belonging to the essential nature of a thing. (See the similar inherent in this list.)
    • Despite all this high-tech safety equipment, skydiving is an intrinsically dangerous proposition. Communication is intrinsic to a healthy relationship.
  228. Inundate
    • Flood, cover with water, overwhelm.
    • As the city was inundated with water, the mayor feared that many evacuees would have nowhere to go. I can t go out—I am inundated with homework!
  229. Invaluable
    Priceless; so valuable that the value cannot be measured.
  230. Investiture
    • Investing; formally giving someone a right or title.
    • The former dean had her academic robes dry cleaned in preparation for her investiture as university president.
  231. Involved
    • Complicated, intricate; confused or tangled.
    • The story is quite involved—are you sure you have time for it?
  232. Invulnerable —
    • Immune to attack; not vulnerable; impossible to damage, injure, etc.
    • Isotope Forms of the same chemical element, but with different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus or different atomic weights. There are 275 isotopes of the 81 stable elements, plus 800 radioactive isotopes.Different isotopes of the same element have almost identical properties.
  233. Jettison
    • Discard, cast off; throw items overboard in order to lighten a ship in an emergency.
    • We got so tired while hiking the Appalachian Trail that we jettisoned some of our fancy camping supplies just so we could keep going.
    • Sadly, when school budgets are slashed, the first thing jettisoned is usually an art or music program.
  234. Jumbo
    Unusually large, supersized.
  235. Juncture
    • Critical point in time, such as a crisis or a time when a decision is necessary; a place where
    • two things are joined together. We are at a critical juncture in the history of this organization: either we can remain a nonprofit, or we can register as a political action committee and try to expand our influence.
    • The little canoe started to sink when it split at the juncture between the old wood and the new material used to repair it.
  236. Juxtapose
    • Place side-by-side (either physically or in a metaphorical way, such as to make a comparison).
    • If a Reading Comprehension answer choice says something like, “Juxtapose two theories,” ask yourself if the main purpose of the entire passage was to compare two theories. (Hint: Probably not. Usually if an author introduces two competing ideas, only one of them turns out to be the main point of the passage.)
    • Making a decision between two engagement rings from two different stores was difficult, he noted—it would be much easier if he could juxtapose them and compare them directly.
  237. Kinetic
    • Pertaining to motion.
    • Marisa told her mother what she had learned in science class: a ball sitting on a table has potential energy, but a ball falling towards the ground has kinetic energy.
  238. Lackluster
    • Not shiny; dull, mediocre; lacking brilliance or vitality.
    • Many young people today are so accustomed to being praised by parents and adults that they are shocked when a lackluster effort in the workplace receives the indifference or mild disapproval it deserves.
  239. Landmark
    • Object (such as a building) that stands out and can be used to navigate by; a very important place, event, etc.
    • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark in the battle for equality. In Lebanon, many roads are unmarked, and people navigate by landmarks—for instance,“third house down from the water tower.”
  240. Latent —
    • Potential; existing but not visible or active. A similar word is dormant.
    • Certain experts believe that some people have a genetic propensity for addiction; however, if such a person never comes into contact with drugs, the propensity for addiction can remain latent for life.
  241. Lateral
    Sideways, related to or located at the side. A lateral move in a career is taking a new job at the same level.
  242. Lax
    • Not strict; careless, loose, slack.
    • My parents were really lax about homework—they never checked to see if I did it or not. Sadly, this legacy of laxity is not serving me well while studying for the GMAT.
  243. Laypeople
    • Regular people, non-specialists.
    • The doctor s books were so successful because he was able to explain complicated medical concepts in colloquial language for the layperson.
  244. Levy
    • Collect tax from or wage war on; act of collecting tax or amount owed, or the drafting of troops into military service.
    • When England levied yet another tax on the colonists, the colonists were pushed one further step towards levying war. Soon, the worried British began to levy troops.
  245. Liberal
    • Favorable to progress or reform; believing in maximum possible individual freedom; tolerant,
    • open-minded; generous. (“Liberal” in modern American politics isn’t quite the same as the dictionary definition. For instance, liberal Democrats tend tofavor social programs that require a larger government to administer, while some conservatives say that liberalism means having the smallest government possible in order to maximize freedom.)
    • Split pea soup benefits from a liberal application of pepper.
    • Liberal reformers in Egypt pushed for freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.
  246. Lift
    • Remove (such as a restriction); improve or lighten (such as a person’s mood).
    • If the city government lifts the water rationing restrictions, we’ll be able to hold a car wash.
  247. Likewise
    • Also, in addition to; similarly, in the same way. In conversation, likewise can mean “Me, too.” (“Nice to meet you.” “Likewise.”)
    • Chip was baffled by all the silverware set before him, so when his host began eating salad with the smallest, leftmost fork, Chip did likewise.
  248. Log
    • Keep a record of, write down; travel for or at a certain distance or speed; a written record.
    • Lawyers who bill by the hour have to be sure to log all the time they spend on every clients case.
    • You cannot get your pilot s license until you have logged 40 hours of flight time.
  249. Machination or machinations
    • Crafty schemes or plots.
    • It s cute to think that teen idols became famous because their talent was simply so great that the music industry reached out to them, but usually, any teen idol is the product of intense coaching and parental machinations.
  250. Magma
    Molten material (such as very hot liquid rock) beneath or within the Earth’s crust.
  251. Magnate
    Very important or influential person, especially in business. Many students pursue MBAs in hopes of becoming wealthy and powerful magnates; some students never quite make it there, instead spending their careers staring at spreadsheets and taking orders from magnates.
  252. Makeshift
    • Improvised, relating to a temporary substitute. The expressions thrown together or slapped together express a similar idea of a making do with the resources on hand. Similarly, to jury rig something is to assemble it quickly with whatever materials you have available.
    • Lost in the woods for over 24 hours, the children were eventually found sleeping under a makeshift tent made from branches and old plastic bags.
  253. Malleable
    • Able to be bent, shaped, or adapted. Tractable, pliable, and plastic can also mean physically
    • bendable, or metaphorically bendable, as in “easily influenced or shaped by others.” Mutable means changeable. The more malleable the material, the easier it is to bend into jewelry—and the easier it is to damage that jewelry.
    • My mother is a little too malleable—she said she liked all the things her first husband liked, and now she says she likes all the things her second husband likes.
  254. Manifest
    • Obvious, apparent, perceptible to the eye (adj.) or to become obvious, apparent, perceptible to the eye (verb). Also to show, make clear, or prove (verb). As a noun, a manifest is a list of people or goods aboard a plane, ship, train, etc. A manifestation is often when something “under the surface” breaks out or becomes apparent.
    • Lupus is difficult to diagnose, but sometimes manifests as muscular weakness or joint pain. The protest was a manifestation of a long-brewing discontent.
  255. Mantle (of the Earth)
    Layer of the Earth between the crust and the core. The mantle is about 1,800 miles thick and makes up about 85% of the total volume of the Earth.
  256. Max out
    Take to the limit (in a good or a bad way). To max out your credit cards is to incur as much debt as is permitted; to max out your productivity is to achieve maximum productivity.
  257. Maxim
    A general truth or fundamental principle, especially expressed as a proverb or saying. My favorite maxim is “Seize the day!” How much would it cost to get that on a tattoo? How much more for “Curiosity killed the cat”?
  258. Mediated by
    Brought about by means of; assisted as an intermediary. of course, to mediate a dispute is to bring about a resolution, but mediated in science also has the idea of being “in the middle.” For instance, a study might show that poverty leads to inattentiveness in school. But how? Research might reveal that poverty leads to inattentiveness, mediated by poor nutrition. That is, poverty causes poor nutrition, which causes inattentiveness (because the kids are hungry). Mediation can help make sense of what seems like an indirect correlation.
  259. Mercurial
    Quickly and unpredictably changing moods; fickle, flighty. Its tough being married to someone so mercurial. I do pretty much the same thing every day—some days, she thinks Ym great, and other days, the exact same behaviors make her inexplicably angry.
  260. Militarism
    Glorification of the military; government in which the military has a lot of power or in which the military is the top priority.
  261. Mired
    • Stuck, entangled (in something, like a swamp or muddy area), soiled. Morass and quagmire are also words (often used metaphorically) for soft, swampy ground that a person can sink into. The Vietnam War was famously called a quagmire. The expression muck and mire means, literally, “animal waste and mud” and can be used metaphorically. To muck up is to mess up or get dirty, and to muck about or around is to waste time.
    • Mired in her predecessor s mess and mistakes, the new CEofound it difficult to take the company in a new direction.
    • The federal prosecutor spent weeks wading through the muck and mire of the scandal—every uncovered document showed that the corruption was deeper and worse than previously thought.
  262. Modest
    • Humble; simple rather than showy; decent (especially “covering up” in terms of dress); small, limited.
    • The reporter was surprised that the celebrity lived in such a modest house, one that looked just like every other plain, two-story house on the block.Her first job out of college was a rude awakening—her modest salary was barely enough for rent, much less going out and having fun.
  263. Moreover
    • In addition to what has been said, for instance; besides.
    • His actions cost us the job; moreover, he seriously offended our client.
  264. Mores
    • Customs, manners, or morals of a particular group. Pronounce this word as two syllables (rhymes with “more ways”).
    • An American in Saudi Arabia should study the culture beforehand so as to avoid violating conservative cultural mores.
  265. Municipal
    Relating to local self-government. A municipality is a city, town, etc.
  266. Narrative
    Story, report, narrated account.
  267. Nebula
    A cloud of gas and dust in space. Nebulas can form star-forming regions—all the materials clump together toform larger masses, thus attracting further matter and ultimately creating stars. A nebula can also be a cloudy spot on a person’s eye, and nebulous can mean cloudy, unclear.
  268. Net
    • Remaining after expenses or other factors have been deducted; ultimate; to bring in as profit; to catch, as in a net.
    • In one day of trading, my portfolio went up $10,000 and down $8,000, for a net gain of $2,000. All those weeks of working weekends and playing golf with the boss ought to net her a promotion.
  269. Nevertheless or nonetheless
    • However, even so, despite that. Note that both nevertheless and nonetheless
    • are single words—the GMAT has tested this on Sentence Correction (“none the less” is NOT an expression in English and cannot be substituted for “no less”).
    • While losing the P&G account was a serious blow, we nevertheless were able to achieve a new sales goal this month because of the tireless efforts of the sales team in bringing in three new clients.
    • I really cant stand working with you. Nonetheless, were stuck on this project together and were going to have to get along.
  270. Nontrivial
    • Important or big enough to matter.
    • The chief of staff told the assembled doctors, “We all make mistakes. But this mistake was nontrivial, and there is going to be an investigation.”
  271. Normative
    • Implying or attempting to establish a norm; expressing value judgments or telling people what to do (rather than merely describing that which is happening).
    • The reason we are not understanding each other in this argument about grammar is that you are arguing normatively, telling me how people should talk, and I am simply reporting how people actually talk.
  272. Nostalgia
    • Longing for the past.
    • The retail store Urban Outfitters uses nostalgia as a marketing strategy, branding many products with cartoon characters popular 10-20 years ago. Sure enough, many adult women do want to buy Jem or Spongebob t-shirts and lip balm.
  273. Nuances
    • Subtle differences in tone, meaning, expression, etc.
    • People with certain cognitive disabilities cannot understand the nuances of non-literal speech.
    • For instance, “You can come if you want to, but it’s really going to be mostly family” really means that you shouldn’t try to come.
  274. Nucleus
    • Structure within a cell containing the cell’s hereditary material; any central or essential part; core, kernel.
    • As a member of the president’s cabinet, he found himself in the nucleus of power.
  275. Offliand
    • Casual, informal; done without preparation or forethought; rude in a short way, brusque.
    • I was pretty happy with my salary until my coworker Deena mentioned offiiandedly that she was thinking about buying a house now that she made six figures.
  276. Offset
    • Counteract, compensate for. Offset is usually a verb, but as a noun: My company provided me
    • with an offset against moving expenses. Property taxes did go up this year, but we didn’t really suffer because the hit to our finances was ofifset by a reduction in fees paid to our homeowners association.
  277. Oligarchy
    Government by the few, especially by a class or a small group or clique.
  278. Omit
    Remove, delete, take out.
  279. Operative
    • Operating; having influence, force, or effect; effective, key, significant. The expression operative word refers to the one most meaningful word within a larger phrase. An operative can be a worker, or a detective or spy.
    • In the doctor’s prescription of daily cardio exercise, the operative word is “daily.”
  280. Optimal
    Best, most desirable or favorable. To optimize is to make perfect, such as by “maxing out” or striking just the right balance. Many believe that the U.S. Constitutions genius lies in its striking an optimal balance between freedom and order.
  281. Oral narratives
    Stories told verbally, especially by people who are not literate or whose cultures do not have writing (or didn’t at the time). An oral tradition is a practice of passing down a culture’s history verbally.
  282. Outstrip
    • Surpass, exceed; be larger or better than; leave behind.
    • Our sales figures this quarter have outstripped those of any other quarter in the company’s history.
  283. Revamp
    • Renovate, redo, revise (verb); a restructuring, upgrade, etc. (noun). The similar word overhaul means repair or investigate for repairs.
    • I have my whole room decorated in Twilight: Eclipse paraphernalia. When Breaking Dawn comes out, I will surely have to revamp my decor.
  284. Paradigm —
    • Model or pattern; worldview; set of shared assumptions, values, etc.
    • Far from being atypically bawdy, this limerick is a paradigm of the form—nearly all of them rely on off-color jokes.
  285. Paradox
    • Contradiction, or seeming contradiction that is actually true.
    • Kayla was always bothering the youth minister with her paradoxes, such as “If God is all-powerfiil, can He make a burrito so big He can’t eat it?”
  286. Paragon
    • Model of excellence, perfect example.
    • Unlike his sister, he was a paragon of responsibility, taking in her three children when she went to jail, and even switching jobs so he could be there to pick them up from school.
  287. Partial
    • Biased, prejudiced, favoring one over others; having a special liking for something or someone (usually partial to). Partial can also mean “in part,” of course.
    • Although I grew up in New York, I’ve always been partial to country music.
    • His lawyers are appealing on the grounds that the judge was partial to the plaintiff, even playing golf with the plaintiff during the trial.
  288. Patent
    • Obvious, apparent, plain to see (adj.); a letter from a government guaranteeing an inventor
    • the rights to his or her invention (noun). Her resume was full of patent lies: anyone could check to see that she had never been president of UNICEF.
  289. Peddle
    • Travel around while selling; sell illegally; give out or disseminate. After an unsuccessful year spent peddling cutlery door-to-door, he turned to peddling drugs,
    • thus landing himself in jail. “I don’t want these people peddling lies to our children,” said Mrs. Hoffman, protesting an event in which fringe political candidates were invited to speak to kids.
  290. Penumbra
    • Outer part of a shadow from an eclipse; any surrounding region, fringe, periphery; any area where something “sort of ’ exists. The Constitution doesn’t specifically mention a right to privacy, but some experts consider this
    • to exist in the penumbra of the Constitution, as a guarantee of privacy is needed in order to exercise the rights that are enumerated. The rent in Chicago was too high, so they moved to a suburb in the penumbra of the city.
  291. Per
    The most common use of per is “for each,” as in, We will need one sandwich per child. However, per may also mean “by means of ’ or “according to,” as in I have delivered the package per your instructions.
  292. Periodic —
    Happening at regular intervals.
  293. Perpetuate
    • Make perpetual, cause to continue.
    • Failing public schools in already distressed neighborhoods only perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
  294. Physiological
    • Relating to the normal functioning of a living thing. This word is easy to remember: it
    • looks a lot like physically logical. A rapid heart rate is a physiological response tofear.
  295. Piggyback
    • “Riding” on something bigger or more important. Piggyback literally refers to one person
    • riding on the back of another (the way one sometimes carries a larger child). This word can be an adverb, adjective, or noun. The jobs bill arrived piggyback on the urgent disaster relief bill—a pretty dirty trick, if you
    • ask me. Maybe we can piggyback this smaller design project onto the bigger one and end up saving some money with our web designers.
  296. Pilot program (or project)
    • Program planned as a test or trial.
    • Before rolling out the program nationwide, a pilot program was launched in just three cities.
  297. Plutocratic
    Related to government by the wealthy.
  298. Polarized
    • Divided into sharply opposed groups.
    • The school board was used to rationally discussing issues, but when it came to the teaching of evolution in schools, the board was polarized, immediately splitting into two camps, with the discussion devolving into a shouting match within minutes.
  299. Polemic
    • Controversial argument, especially one attacking a specific idea.
    • Laura Kipnis’s 2003 book Against Love: A Polemic has been called “shocking” and “scathing.” Perhaps Kipnis used the word polemic in the title to indicate that she’s making an extreme argument as a means of starting a debate. After all, whos really against love?
  300. Postulate
    • Claim, assert; assume the truth or reality of in order toform an argument.
    • Before proceeding further, let us postulate that men and women have some fundamental differences. If we can accept that, we can talk about what type of policies should exist to ensure workplace equality.
  301. Pragmatic
    • Practical; dealing with actual facts and reality.
    • The congresswomen personally believed in animal rights, but she knew she had to be pragmatic—if she proposed animal rights legislation, she probably wouldn’t get reelected.
  302. Predatory
    • Living by preying on other animals; given to plundering, exploiting, or destroying others for one’s own benefit.
    • Many “check-cashing” outlets are actually predatory lenders who charge interest rates that would be illegal in many nations.
  303. Predisposed
    • having an inclination or tendency beforehand; susceptible. A predisposition is an inclination
    • or tendency. His defense attorney argued that his abusive childhood predisposed him to a life of crime.
  304. Predominant
    Having the greatest importance or influence; most common, main. A design might have a predominant color, a country might have a predominant religion. Sentence Correction problems have tested the fact that you need to use predominant> NOT predominating, in these situations.
  305. Preempt
    Prevent; take the place of, supplant; take before someone else can. The speaker attempted to preempt an excessively long Q&A session by handing out a “Frequently Asked Questions” packet at the beginning of the seminar.
  306. Premise —
    Proposition on which an argument is based. The functional parts of an argument other than the conclusion. Less commonly, premise is a verb, as in The report is premised on (based on) this study. For somewhat obscure reasons, “the premises” can also refer to a building and its surrounding land.
  307. Prey
    An animal that is hunted and eaten. Predators are animals that hunt and eat prey.
  308. Priceless
    Extremely valuable, so valuable that the worth cannot even be estimated.
  309. Pristine
    In an original, pure state; uncorrupted. A pristine forest has not been touched by humans. Sometimes pristine is just used to mean very clean.
  310. Progeny
    • Offspring, descendants.
    • The study showed that selective breeding could cause the progeny of wolves to become more like dogs in a small number of generations.
  311. Prominent
    Projecting outward, sticking out; very noticeable. A prominent nose might not be a desirable characteristic, according to some people, but a prominent citizen is generally a well-known and important person.
  312. Pronounced
    Distinct, strong, clearly indicated. Aunt Shirley claimed we would never know that her “secret recipe” for brownies involved lots of healthy vegetables, but the brownies had a pronounced asparagus flavor.
  313. Propagated
    Breed, cause to multiply. Some plants can be propagated from cuttings—my mother gave me a piece of her houseplant, and it grew roots after just a few days in water.
  314. Prospective
    • Potential, aspiring. Prospective students have not yet been admitted; prospective entrepreneurs are people considering becoming entrepreneurs. This word is related to prospect, which can be both a noun (a good possibility) or a verb (to look for something good, such as to prospect for gold).
    • A committee was formed to evaluate the new plans prospects. As part of their analysis, members of the committee looked at the past performance of the prospective leader of the new division. One member remarked that the prospect of opening up a completely new division was exciting, but might stretch the company too thin.
  315. Proximity
    Closeness, the state of being near.
  316. Psyche
    The spirit or soul; the mind (as discussed in psychology). Pronounce this word “SY-key.”
  317. Qualified
    • Modified, limited, conditional on something else. Unqualified can mean not limited or not restrained. If your boss gives unqualified approval for your plan, you can do whatever you want. Of
    • course, everyone knows qualified in the sense of qualified for the job. Use context to determine which meaning is intended. A qualified person is suitable or well-prepared for the job; a qualified statement or feeling is held back or limited.
    • The scientist gave her qualified endorsement to the book, pointing out that, while it posed a credible theory, more research was still needed before the theory could be applied.
  318. Radiometric, radioactive, carbon, or radiocarbon dating
    • Methods for determining the approximate
    • age of an ancient object by measuring the amount of radioactivity it contains.
  319. Recalcitrant
    • Not obedient, resisting authority, hard to manage.
    • The aspiring kindergarten teacher was not prepared for a roomful of twenty recalcitrant children who wouldn’t even sit down, much less learn the words to “Holding Hands Around the World.”
  320. Recapitulate
    • Summarize, repeat in a concise way.
    • I’m sorry I had to leave your presentation to take a call— I only have a minute, but can you recapitulate what you’re proposing?
  321. Receptive
    Capable of or ready and willing to receive, as in receptive to a new idea.
  322. Reconvene
    Gather, come together again (or call together again), such as for a meeting, as in Let’s break for lunch and reconvene at 1pm.
  323. Redress
    • Setting something right after a misdeed, compensation or relief for injury or wrongdoing (noun); correct, set right, remedy (verb).
    • My client was an innocent victim of medical malpractice. As would anyone who had the wrong leg amputated in surgery, he is seeking financial redress.
  324. Refute
    • Prove to be false.
    • She’s not a very valuable member of the debate team, actually—she loves making speeches, but she’s not very good at refuting opponents’ arguments.
  325. Rehash —
    • Discuss or bring up (an idea or topic) again without adding anything new.
    • We’re not going to agree, so why rehash the issue?
  326. Remedial
    • Providing a remedy, curative; correcting a deficient skill.
    • After harassment occurs in the workplace, it is important that the company takes remedial action right away, warning or firing the offender as appropriate, and making sure the complainant
    • s concerns are addressed. For those who need remedial reading help, we offer a summer school program that aims to help students read at grade level.
  327. Reminiscent
    — Looking back at the past, reminding of the past. A reminiscent person is remembering; an old-fashioned object could be reminiscent of an earlier time.
  328. Render
    • Give, submit, surrender; translate; declare formally; cause to become. To render harmless is simply to make harmless.
    • When you render your past due payments, we will turn your phone back on. Only in her second year of Japanese, she was unable to render the classic poem into English.
    • The judge rendered a verdict that rendered us speechless.
  329. Repercussions
    • Consequences.
    • One of the worries about the financial industry is that irresponsible executives rarely suffer lasting repercussions.
  330. Respectively
    • In the order given. This is a very useful word! The sentence “Smith and Jones wrote the books 7 Success Tips and Productivity Rocks' is ambiguous—did they work together on both or did they
    • each write one of the books? “Smith and Jones wrote the books 7 Success Tips and Productivity Rocks, respectively” answers the question—Smith wrote 7 Success Tips and Jones wrote Productivity Rocks. The
    • word is typically used to match up two things to two other things, in the same order. His poems “An Ode to the Blossoms of Sheffield” and “An Entreaty to Ladies All Too Prim” were written in 1756 and 1758, respectively.
  331. Reticent
    • Not talking much; private (of a person), restrained, reserved.
    • She figured that, to rise to the top, it was best to be reticent about her personal life; thus, even her closest colleagues were left speculating at the water cooler about whether her growing belly actually indicated a pregnancy she simply declined to mention to anyone.
  332. Returns
    Profits.
  333. Revamp
    • Renovate, redo, revise (verb); a restructuring, upgrade, etc. (noun). Similarly, overhaul
    • means to repair or investigate for repairs. I have my whole room decorated in Twilight: Eclipse paraphernalia. When Breaking Dawn comes out, I will surely have to revamp my decor.
  334. Rife
    • Happening frequently, abundant, currently being reported.
    • Reports of financial corruption are rife.
  335. Rudimentary
    • Elementary, relating to the basics; undeveloped, primitive.
    • My knowledge of Chinese is quite rudimentary—I get the idea of characters and I can order food, but I really cant read this document youve just given me.
  336. Sanction
    • Permission or approval, or to give permission or approval OR a legal action by one or more countries against another country to get it to comply (or the act of placing those sanctions on another country). Whoa! Yes, that’s right—sanction can mean two different things that are basically opposites.
    • Use context tofigure it out—if it’s plural (sanctions)y it’s definitely the bad meaning. Professional boxers may only fight in sanctioned matches—fighting outside the ring is prohibited. America’s sanctions on Cuba mean that it is illegal for Americans to do business with Cuban companies.
  337. Satire
    Literary device in which foolishness or badness is attacked through humor, irony, or making fun of.
  338. Save
    • But or except. As a verb, of course, save means keep safe, store up, set aside. But as a preposition or conjunction, save can be used as follows:
    • All of the divisions of the company are profitable save the movie-rental division. (This means that the movie-rental division was not profitable.)
    • He would have been elected president, save for the scandal that derailed his campaign at the last minute. (Here, save means except.)
  339. Scant
    • not enough or barely enough. Scanty is used in the same way (both are adjectives).
    • The new intern was scant help at the conference—he disappeared all day to smoke and didn’t seem to realize that he was there to assist his coworkers. The soldiers were always on the verge of hunger, complaining about their scanty rations.
  340. Scarcely —
    Hardly, barely, by a small margin. Sometimes the adjective scarce is used where it sounds like the adverb scarcely is needed. This is an idiomatic usage: She lived a lavish lifestyle she could scarce afford.
  341. Scrutiny
    Close, careful observation.
  342. Seemingly
    Apparently, outwardly appearing to be a certain way. If an author says that something is seemingly X, the author is probably about to say that it is actually Y. The word seemingly means that something seems a certain way (but maybe isn’t really). Hes a seemingly honest man—I’ll need to get to know him better to say for sure.
  343. Semantic
    Relating to the different meanings of words or other symbols. Bob said plastic surgery should be covered under the health care plan and Marion said it shouldn’t, but it turns out that their disagreement was purely semantic—what Bob meant was reconstructive surgery and what Marion meant was cosmetic surgery.
  344. Settled
    Fixed, established, concluded. Sediment can settle in water, people who marry can settle down, and a settled judgment is one that has been firmly decided.
  345. Siphon
    Tube for sucking liquid out of something (some people steal gasoline from other people’s cars by siphoning it). To siphon funds is to steal money, perhaps in a continuous stream.
  346. Skeptical
    Doubting, especially in a scientific way (needing sufficient evidence before believing). Don’t confuse skeptical and cynical (thinking the worst of others’ motivations; bitterly pessimistic). In a GMAT Reading Comprehension passage, an author might be skeptical (a very appropriate attitude for a scientist, for instance), but would never be cynical.
  347. Sketchy
    Like a sketch: incomplete, imperfect, superficial.
  348. Skirt
    • Border, lie along the edge of, go around; evade.
    • Melissa spent all of Thanksgiving skirting the issue of who she was dating and when she might get married. The creek skirts our property on the west, so it’s easy to tell where our farm ends.
  349. Slew
    • A large number or quantity. of course, slew is also the past tense of slay (kill), so you could actually say She slew him with a slew of bullets.
    • As soon as we switched software packages, we encountered a whole slew of problems.
  350. Slight
    • Small, not very important, slender or delicate; treat as though not very important; snub, ignore; a discourtesy.
    • She was very sensitive, always feeling slighted and holding a grudge against her coworkers for a variety of slights, both real and imagined. Natalie Portman has always been slight, but she became even thinner to portray a ballerina in Black Swan.
  351. Smelt
    Fuse or melt ore in order to separate out metal.
  352. Sparing
    Holding back or being wise in the use of resources; deficient. Be sparing with the ketchup in order to make it last longer, but don’t be sparing in praising your employees for a job well done.
  353. Spate
    Sudden outpouring or rush; flood. After a brief spate of post-exam partying, Lola is ready for classes to begin again.
  354. Spearhead
    • Be the leader of. A spearhead can, of course, be the sharp head of a spear. It can also be a person at the front of a military attack, or a leader of anything.
    • Lisa agreed to spearhead the “healthy office” initiative, and was instrumental in installing two treadmills and getting healthy food stocked in the vending machines.
  355. Staggered
    • Starting and ending at different times, especially also occurring in overlapping intervals.
    • (Of course, you can also stagger around drunk, weaving from side to side.) Employees who work on staggered schedules may only see each other for part of the day.
  356. Static
    • Fixed, not moving or changing, lacking vitality. Stasis is the quality of being static.
    • The anthropologist studied a society in the Amazon that had been deliberately static for hundreds of years— the fiercely proud people disdained change, and viewed all new ideas as inferior to the way of life they had always practiced.
  357. Stratum
    • One of many layers (such as in a rock formation or in the classes of a society). The plural is strata.
    • From overhearing his rich and powerful passengers’ conversations, the chauffeur grew to despise the upper stratum of society.
    • I love this dish—it’s like a lasagna, but with strata made of bread, eggs, and pancetta! Oh, look at the menu—it’s actually called a strata! That makes perfect sense.
  358. Subjective
    • Existing in the mind or relating to one’s own thoughts, opinions, emotions, etc.; personal, individual, based on feelings
    • We can give names to colors, but we can never quite convey the subjective experience of them—what if my “red” is different from your “red”?
  359. Subjugation
    Conquering, domination, enslavement.
  360. Subordinate
    Having a lower order or rank, inferior, secondary.
  361. Subset
    A set that is contained within a larger set.
  362. Subvert
    Overthrow, corrupt, cause the downfall of.
  363. Succeeding —
    • Coming after or following. The succeeding sentence is simply the sentence that comes after.
    • After the sale of the company, you will receive 5% of the profits from the current year, and 1% in all succeeding years. In 1797, George Washington was succeeded by John Adams.
  364. Suffrage
    The right to vote. Womens suffrage was ensured in the U.S. via the 19th Amendment.
  365. Suppress
    Prohibit, curtail, force the end of. A repressive government might suppress dissent against its policies.
  366. Surge
    Sudden, transient increase (power surge), heavy swelling motion like that of waves. A surge of troops is sending a lot of soldiers at once. A surge in interest is sudden.
  367. Surpass
    Transcend, exceed, go beyond, as in It’s only August, and we've already surpassed last years sales.
  368. Synchronized —
    Happening at the same time, simultaneous, in unison.
  369. Syntax
    • The rules governing grammar and how words join to make sentences (or how words and symbols join in writing computer code), the study of these rules, or any system or orderly arrangement.
    • Now that my linguistics class is studying syntax, it makes a little more sense when my computer flashes “SYNTAX ERROR” at me. Anyone learning a language is bound to make syntactical mistakes—even if he or she knows the appropriate vocabulary, it is still difficult to assemble the words perfectly.
  370. Synthesis
    Combining of complex things to create a unified whole.
  371. Table
    • In American English, to table something means to postpone discussion of it until later. (In British English, to table a bill is the opposite—to submit it for consideration.)
    • I see were not going to agree on whether to scrap our entire curriculum and develop a new one, so let s table that discussion and move on to voting on the budget.
  372. Tardy
    Late, not on time.
  373. Taxonomy —
    Science or technique of classification. The taxonomic system in biology classifies organisms by Phylum, Class, Order, Species, etc.
  374. Temperament —
    Natural personality, as in an angry temperament or a pleasant temperament.
  375. Temperance
    • Moderation, self-control, especially regarding alcohol or other desires or pleasures; total
    • abstinence from alcohol. Relatedly, temperate means moderate, as in a temperate climate. After the end of the Civil War, economic change led to an increase in alcohol problems and the birth of the Temperance Movement, which ultimately led to Prohibition. Grandma is a model of temperance—she drinks red wine every night, but only the one-third of a glass that she read was the minimum amount needed to help prevent heart attacks.
  376. Terrestrial
    • Relating to the Earth or to land; worldly.
    • Mr. and Mrs. Daruza were certain they had seen a UFO, plus aliens running around in the night. What they really saw was an especially dense flock of birds in the air, and some mundane, terrestrial animals on the ground.
  377. Thenceforth
    • From that time forward.
    • In 1956, Grace Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and was thenceforth known as Princess Grace.
  378. Theoretically
    • In theory (but not necessarily in reality). People sometimes just say theoretically when talking about theories, but they also often say it when they mean that something will not work in real life.
    • Theoretically, the new process will result in reduced particle emission. (This could mean, “So we will need to try it in order tofind out,” or it could mean “But I doubt that it will really work.” You need the next sentence to know which meaning is intended.)
  379. Thesis
    Proposition supported by an argument.
  380. Thorny
    Controversial, full of difficulties. Literally, having thorns, prickly (as a rose bush).
  381. Tides
    Periodic rise and fall of the ocean about every 12 hours, caused by the attraction of the Sun and moon. Metaphorically, you can say the tides of refugees, for instance—implying the refugees are arriving periodically, in large groups.
  382. Token
    • Sign, symbol, mark, badge; souvenir, memento; sample, or person, thing, idea taken to represent an entire group. of course, a token can also be a coin-like disk used as currency for subways, arcade games, etc. As an adjective, it means “not very important.”
    • I am starting to realize that this law firm hired me to be its token woman. There I am, smiling in all the ads—but I never actually get to work on important cases. Hollywood movies are often guilty of tokenism—many have exacdy one black character (the “token minority”), often present to give advice to the (usually white) main characters. I am giving you this “Best Friends Forever” necklace as a token of our friendship.
  383. Trajectory
    The curved path of an object in flight, as in the missile's trajectory.
  384. Transient
    Moving around, not settled; temporary, not lasting. In the last decade, podcasting was thought to be the “next big thing,” but it turned out to be a largely transient phenomenon.
  385. Transmute
    Transform, change from one form to another.
  386. Transplantation
    • Moving from one place to another. Certainly you have heard of a heart transplant,
    • for instance. It can also be used metaphorically: a person who has just moved to a new state might refer to herself as a transplant from Texas.
  387. Truce or Armistice
    • Suspension of fighting for a specified period because of mutual agreement; ceasefire.
    • After the earthquake, the two warring nations agreed to a truce and sent their soldiers to help the quakes victims.
  388. Undergird
    Strengthen, support. To undergird an argument is to make it stronger—the opposite of undermine!
  389. Undermine
    • Weaken, cause to collapse by digging away at the foundation (of a building or an argument); injure or attack in a secretive or underhanded way.
    • Rather than searching impartially for the truth, these pharmaceutical company “scientists” willfully ignored any evidence that undermined the conclusion they were being paid to produce.
    • You are nice to my face, but you are undermining me behind my back, suggesting to others in the office that I am making mistakes in my work and that you have been fixing them!
  390. Underpin
    • Strengthen, corroborate, support from below.
    • Her argument was underpinned with the results of several recent studies.
  391. Underscore
    • Emphasize (or, literally, to underline text).
    • “You re not going to mess with Joey anymore,” said Joey. His new bodyguards stepped forward threatening, as though to underscore Joeys point.
  392. Undifferentiated
    Not distinguished from one another, the same.
  393. Unfettered
    Free, liberated.
  394. Unforeseeable
    • Not able to be predicted.
    • Our company had disaster insurance and a succession plan in case something happened to the president, but we had no plans for the unforeseeable circumstance that our office would be completely overtaken by rats.
  395. Unprecedented
    • Never before known or seen, without having happened previously.
    • When Nixon resigned, American bravado was at an all-time low—the resignation of a sitting president was disgraceful and unprecedented.
  396. Untempered
    • Not toned down; not moderated, controlled, or counterbalanced. Often untempered by.
    • I wouldn’t call it “tough love”—his harshness is untempered by any kind of affection. The report was an untempered condemnation of the company’s practices—the investigators didn’t have a single good thing to say.
  397. Untenable
    • Not defendable (as an argument), not able to be lived in (as a house).
    • GMAT Critical Reasoning is full of untenable arguments that rest upon unproven assumptions.
  398. Unwarranted
    Not justified or authorized.
  399. Utopian
    • Related to ideals of perfection; unrealistically idealistic.
    • Reducing homelessness to zero is a utopian goal, but our agency views reducing the street population by 25% and getting children off the streets as more practical aims.
  400. Via
    • Through, by means of, by way of (by a route that goes through or touches). Per can also be used
    • in this way. We will be flying to Russia via Frankfurt. Many of the students at our college got here via special programs that assist low-income students in preparing for college.
  401. Wanting
    Lacking, insufficient, or not good enough (as in, I read the book andfound it wanting). This makes sense when you think about the fact that people generally want good things, of course—so if a person is left wanting, he did not get those good things. Conversely, a person who wants for nothing is someone who already has everything.
  402. Warranted
    • Justified, authorized (warrant can mean to justify or a justification, but it can also mean to vouch for or guarantee). The pundit’s comments don t even warrant a response from our organization—they were mere name-calling, not suitable for public discourse. Your criticism of Anne is unwarranted—as your assistant, she has done everything youve asked her to do.
    • He doesn’t have his documents with him, but I’ll warrant that he is indeed a certified forklift operator.
  403. Whereas
    • While on the contrary, considering that.
    • Mr. Katsoulas had always assumed his son would take over the family buiness, whereas his son had always assumed he would go away to college and never come back. Whereas squash and peppers are vegetables, a tomato is technically a fruit.
  404. Whet
    • Stimulate, make keen or eager (especially of an appetite).
    • Dinner will take another twenty minutes, but maybe this cheese plate can whet your appetite?
  405. Wholesale
    • Sale of goods in quantity to resellers (opposite of retail). The word can also mean extensive, in a large way. Neckties have an enormous markup—a tie that sells for $50 often has a wholesale cost of less than $5.
    • Pol Pot’s war crimes included the wholesale slaughter of his people.
  406. Winnow
    • Sift, analyze critically, separate the useful part from the worthless part.
    • We got 120 resumes for one job—it’s going to take me awhile just to winnow this down to a reasonable stack of people we want to interview.
  407. Yoke
    A frame for attaching animals (such as oxen) to each other and to a plow or other equipment to be pulled, or a bar across a person’s shoulders to help carry buckets of water, etc. Metaphorically, a yoke is a burden or something that oppresses. To yoke is to unite together or to burden. To throw off the yoke of oppression is tofree oneself from oppression. The speaker argued that humanity had traded the yoke of servitude to kings and tyrants for the yoke of consumerism, which enslaves us just as much in the end.

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