THE LANGUAGE OF IDEAS: VOCABULARY FOR SAT EVIDENCE-BASED READING
3 THE LANGUAGE OF DISSENT, CRITICISM, AND REBELLION
adversary (n) ad- to + vertere to turn
a committed enemy or opponent : The lawsuit turned former friends into adversaries.
Forms: adversarial = inclined to picking fights, pugnacious, adverse = unfavorable, harmful
Synonyms: rival, contender, antagonist
Root family: [ad-] allude (to hint at indirectly), aspire (to strive for a lofty goal), adhere (stick fast (to)), advocate (to provide vocal support for), acquiesce (to comply reluctantly), annul (to declare invalid)
Root family: [vers, vert] diverse (various), diversion (entertainment), adverse (harmful), subvert (undermine), averse (opposed), versatile (adaptable to different functions)
antipathy (adj) anti- against + pathos feeling
deep-seated dislike : Despite the long-standing antipathy between their families, Romeo and Juliet believed their love would triumph.
Synonyms: aversion, animus, antagonism, enmity, loathing, abhorrence
Root family: [path] sympathy (feeling of sorrow for the misfortunes of another), pathology (the science of the causes and course of diseases), apathetic (lacking concern), empathy (the ability to share the feelings of others)
Don’t confuse with: apathy (lack of concern)
willing to take bold risks : Desperate to score points, the audacious quarterback called a trick play against the coach’s wishes.
Form: audacity = boldness
Synonyms: impudent, impertinent, insolent, intrepid
Don’t confuse with: mendacious (lying)
averse (adj) ab- away + vertere to turn
having a strong dislike : Although many considered Will a daredevil, he was actually scrupulous in his planning and highly averse to senseless risk.
Form: aversion = strong dislike
Root family: [ab-] abhor (to regard with hate and disgust), abstruse (very difficult to understand), absolve (to free from guilt or blame), abstemious (self-disciplined and restrictive with regard to consumption)
Root family: [vers, vert] adversary (enemy), diverse (various), diversion (entertainment), subvert (undermine), adverse (harmful), versatile (adaptable to different functions)
Don’t confuse with: adverse (harmful)
belligerent (adj) bellum war
hostile and aggressive : We might take your suggestions more seriously if you were not so belligerent when you presented them.
Form: belligerence = hostility and aggression
Synonyms: pugnacious, bellicose, contentious, truculent
Root family: [bell] rebellion (act of violent resistance), bellicose (war-mongering), antebellum (characteristic of the culture in the southern United States prior to the Civil War)
to scold angrily : The coach berated us for not keeping in shape during the off-season.
Synonyms: reproach, censure, rebuke, admonish, chastise, upbraid, reprove
Don’t confuse with: irate (very angry)
Usage: See usage note at rebuke in this section.
grouchy and argumentative : Mrs. Grieves was a cantankerous old woman who would scream at us from her porch for not wearing shoes.
Synonyms: irascible, curmudgeonly, churlish, peevish, fractious, ornery
circumspect (adj) circum around + specere to look
wary; cautious : Ken’s unpleasant experiences with telemarketers made him circumspect about answering the phone.
Form: circumspection = caution, wariness
Synonyms: wary, vigilant, leery, skeptical
Root family: [circum] circumscribe (to define the limits of something), circuitous (roundabout), circumlocution (evasive speech)
Root family: [spec] speculation (guess based on insufficient evidence), introspective (meditative), inspect (to examine closely)
Don’t confuse with: circumscribe (to define the limits of something)
Mnemonic: Those who are circumspect are always “looking around” (circum = around + specere = to look) to make sure they are not in danger.
clamor (n) clamare to cry out
an uproar, usually from a crowd showing disapproval : The guards were awakened by a clamor at the gate.
Form: clamor (v) = to raise an outcry, usually in a group
Root family: [clam, claim] acclaim (to praise publicly), proclaim (announce publicly and officially)
Don’t confuse with: clamber (to climb awkwardly)
condescend (v) con- together + de- down + scandere to climb
to act superior to someone else : Teachers should give clear instructions and not condescend to their students.
Forms: condescending = acting superior or arrogant, condescension = looking down on others
Synonyms: patronize, deign
Root family: [con-, co-, com-, col-] conventional (according to common practice), conjecture (guess), convoluted (complicated), coalesce (to come together), coherent (forming a united whole), confluence (a place at which two things merge)
Root family: [de-] deplore (to express strong disapproval), denounce (declare as bad), debase (reduce in value), denigrate (criticize unfairly), deference (submission to the authority of another)
Root family: [scend, scal] transcend (to rise above something), ascend (to climb), escalate (to increase in intensity or magnitude), echelon (level or rank)
to intrude on a territory or domain : The teachers were beginning to worry that the school board was encroaching on their right to teach as they see fit.
Form: encroachment = intrusion on a territory or domain
Synonyms: trespass, impinge
Don’t confuse with: reproach (to reprimand)
estranged (adj) extra outside of
no longer emotionally close to someone; alienated : After being estranged for many years, the couple finally reconciled.
Form: estrangement = the state of being alienated
Root family: [extra] extraneous (irrelevant to the subject at hand), extravagant (excessive, particularly in spending), extraterrestrial (from beyond Earth)
evade (v) e- out of + vadere to go
to escape or avoid, usually through clever means : The fighter pilot was able to evade the missile with his deft maneuvers.
Forms: evasion = the act of escaping or avoiding, evasive = with the intention of cleverly avoiding something
Synonyms: elude, avoid, skirt
Root family: [vad, vas] invade (to intrude on a region and occupy it), pervasive (widespread)
Don’t confuse with: invade (to intrude on a region and occupy it)
openly disregard (a rule or convention) : It was shocking how openly Gino flouted school rules.
Synonyms: defy, contravene, breach
Don’t confuse with: flaunt (to show off)
Mnemonic: Imagine a flautist (flute-player) playing loudly in the middle of the library, obviously flouting the rule of silence.
a belief or act that contradicts religious orthodoxy : The Republican senator’s vote for the tax increase was regarded as an unforgiveable heresy.
Forms: heretic = a person guilty of heresy, heretical = having the qualities of heresy
Synonyms: blasphemy, apostasy, heterodoxy, dissension, iconoclasm
Don’t confuse with: harangue (a bombastic speech)
Mnemonic: The first person in beauty school to sport a Mohawk was guilty of hair-esy.
iconoclast (n) eikon likeness + klan to break
(literally a “breaker of icons”) one who attacks cherished beliefs : The Cubist movement consisted of bold iconoclasts shattering the definition of art and reassembling its pieces in disarray.
Synonyms: heretic, skeptic, infidel, renegade
Root family: [clas] pyroclastic relating to the breaking of rocks by volcanic eruptions)
Don’t confuse with: idiosyncrasy (a quirky mannerism)
Mnemonic: Imagine an iconoclast as someone making religious icons crash to the floor.
indignant (adj) in- not + dignus worthy
angered by unjust treatment : Perry became indignant at the suggestion that he was cheating.
Form: indignation = anger at unjust treatment
Synonyms: aggrieved, affronted, disgruntled
Root family: [in-, im-] insipid (flavorless), insuperable (impossible to overcome), inert (lacking vigor), interminable (unending), innocuous (harmless), indefatigable (untiring), ineffable (inexpressible in words), inscrutable (beyond understanding), impassive (unemotional),incongruous (not consistent with expectations)
Root family: [dign, dain] dignity (state of being worthy of respect), dignify (to make worthy), disdain (contempt), deign (to do something that one considers beneath one’s dignity)
Don’t confuse with: indigenous (native), indignity (a circumstance or treatment that makes one feel humiliated)
bring about or initiate (an action or event) : The regime instigated a brutal crackdown on intellectuals.
Form: instigator = one who brings about an action or event
Synonyms: goad (to provoke or annoy someone into action), incite
Don’t confuse with: investigate (to examine in order to determine the truth of a situation)
Usage: Although instigate is nearly synonymous with cause, it has a more negative and intentional connotation than does cause. A crime is instigated by its perpetrators, but a beautiful cirrus cloud is caused by ice crystals forming in the upper atmosphere.
insurgent (n) in- into + surgere to rise
a rebel : We were attacked by armed insurgents.
Form: insurgency = campaign of rebellion
Synonyms: rebel, insurrectionist, subversive, incendiary
Root family: [in-] inundate (to flood), infer (to conclude from evidence), incisive (showing keen judgment), ingratiate (to curry favor), inherent (existing as an inseparable element), invoke (to bring to bear), indoctrinate (to teach doctrine), induce (to bring about), infiltrate (to gain access secretly)
Root family: [surg] resurgence (a revival of activity or popularity), resurrection (the act of rising again)
malign (v) malignus tending to evil
to speak harmful untruths about : I am disgusted by political commercials that merely malign the candidate’s opponent, rather than offering constructive information.
Synonyms: disparage, denigrate, revile, vilify, slander
Root family: [mal] malignant (disposed to causing harm or suffering), malicious (full of spite), malevolence (evil intent)
Don’t confuse with: malignant (disposed to causing harm or suffering)
a person who thinks independently : Lowell Weicker was a maverick Republican senator who later ran as an independent and was elected governor of Connecticut.
Synonyms: nonconformist, individualist, eccentric, dissident
misanthrope (n) mis bad + anthropos mankind
one who dislikes and avoids humans : Ebenezer Scrooge was a miserly and miserable misanthrope until he learned the value of friends and family.
Form: misanthropic = characterized by a hatred of mankind
Synonym: cynic (one who believes that all people are fundamentally selfish and dishonorable)
Root family: [anthro] anthropology (the study of human cultures), philanthropy (generosity to charitable causes), anthropomorphic (having human form), anthropocentric (pertaining to the belief that humans are the center of the universe)
Don’t confuse with: malapropism (a mistaken use of a word for a similar-sounding one, as in, He is a vast suppository (rather than repository) of information.)
rancor (n) rancidus stinking
deep-seated resentment : The rancor endured from their acrimonious divorce.
Form: rancorous = characterized by deep-seated resentment
Synonyms: malice, animosity, antipathy, enmity, acrimony, vitriol
Root family: [ranc] rancid (stinking due to staleness or rot)
Don’t confuse rancorous with raucous (annoyingly noisy)
to express sharp and stern disapproval for someone’s actions : His wife rebuked him for staying out too late.
Synonyms: reproach, censure, reprove, admonish, chastise, upbraid, berate
Don’t confuse with: rebut
Usage: There are many ways to express disapproval. To admonish is to go easy on the wrongdoer, emphasizing advice over scolding; to reprove or reproach is to criticize with a little more force, chiefly to encourage someone to stop whatever he or she is doing wrong. To censure is to scold formally and in public. To rebuke is to scold harshly and sternly, often with a tone of sharp revulsion or condescension; to berate is scold in particular harsh and unreasonable terms, with the intention of belittling.
renounce (v) re- back + nuntiare to announce
to give up or put aside publicly : He renounced his membership in the club when he heard that it would not allow women as members.
Form: renunciation = an act of renouncing
Root family: [re-] refute (to prove something false), revoke (to take back), reciprocate (to respond in kind), resigned (accepting of an undesirable situation), regress (to return to a less developed state), relegate (to place in a lower rank)
Root family: [nunc, nounc] announce (declare publicly), denounce (to rebuke publicly), enunciate (to pronounce clearly)
reprehensible (adj) re- back + prehendere to grasp
deserving of condemnation : David’s reprehensible behavior during practice earned him a benching for the next two games.
Synonyms: deplorable, despicable, repugnant
Root family: [re-] recluse (a person who lives a solitary lifestyle), refute (to prove something false), recalcitrant (stubbornly uncooperative), revoke (to take back), renounce (to give up or put aside publicly), regress (to return to a less developed state), relegate (to place in a lower rank)
Root family: [prehens] comprehensive (thorough and complete), apprehensive (fearful)
Don’t confuse with: apprehensive (fearful), comprehensible (understandable)
Mnemonic: A reprehensible act is one that any good person would want to take back (re- back + prehendere to grasp).
to reprimand : The teacher reproved Jonah for insulting Caroline in front of the class.
Form: reproof = a reprimand
Synonyms: reproach, censure, rebuke, admonish, chastise, upbraid, berate
Don’t confuse with: disprove (to prove false), prove again
Usage: See usage note at rebuke in this section.
revoke (v) re- back + vocare to call
to take back a formal decree, decision, or permission : Glen’s hunting license was revoked soon after the shotgun accident.
Forms: irrevocable = unable to be taken back
Root family: [re-] recluse (a person who lives a solitary lifestyle), refute (to prove something false), renounce (to give up or put aside publicly), reciprocate (to respond in kind), regress (to return to a less developed state), relegate (to place in a lower rank)
Root family: [voc, vok] evocative, advocate, provocative, equivocate
Synonyms: rescind, annul, countermand, repeal
subvert (v) sub- under + vertere to turn
to undermine the authority or power of another : The opposition planned to subvert the Democrats and thwart the lawmaking process.
Forms: subversion = an act that serves to undermine the authority or power of another, subversive = having the effect or intension of undermining the authority or power of another
Synonyms: destabilize, sabotage
Root family: [sub-] submissive (meekly obedient), surreptitious (secret), subjugate (to dominate), subterfuge (trickery)
Root family: [vers, vert] adversary (enemy), diverse (various), diversion (entertainment), adverse (harmful), averse (opposed), versatile (adaptable to different functions)
to replace in importance or relevance : The old economic system was supplanted by a more sustainable one.
Synonyms: supersede, override
vilify (v) vilis worthless
to denounce someone bitterly : After her callous remarks about the poor, Michelle was vilified in the press.
Form: vilification = the act or process of denouncing bitterly
Synonyms: disparage, denigrate, revile, malign, slander
Root family: [vil] vile (profoundly unpleasant), revile (to criticize angrily)
Don’t confuse with: verify (to demonstrate something to be true)
Mnemonic: To vilify is to treat someone like a villain. (Actually, vilify and villain have different roots, but it’s a pretty good way to remember the word.)
vindictive (adj) vin force + dictum declaration
showing a deep desire for revenge : The vindictive tone of the letter showed that Tom harbored deep resentments.
Form: vindictiveness = desire for revenge
Synonyms: vengeful, spiteful, rancorous
Root family: [dict] vindicate (to clear of blame), dictatorial (tyrannical), dictum (an authoritative pronouncement), benediction (blessing), malediction (curse)
Don’t confuse with: vindicate (to clear of blame), verdict (official ruling of a court)