THE LANGUAGE OF IDEAS: VOCABULARY FOR SAT EVIDENCE-BASED READING
11 THE LANGUAGE OF DULLNESS AND STASIS
lacking in originality; dull and boring : Ironically, even the most exciting car chases have become banal cinematic devices.
Form: banality = an overused saying or device
Synonyms: trite, hackneyed, vapid, platitudinous
Mnemonic: Today’s romantic comedies are so banal that we should ban all of them.
conventional (adj) con- together + venire to come
according to common practice : It’s not a conventional love story.
Forms: convene = come together in a group; convention = standard way of doing something; unconventional = demonstrating original thinking
Root family: [con-, co-, com-, col-] conformist (one who conscientiously complies with the standards of a group, conjecture (guess), convoluted (complicated), consensus (general agreement), conspire (to plot together), coalesce (to come together), coherent (forming a united whole),compliant (willing to obey), confluence (a place at which two things merge)
Root family: [ven, vene, vent] intervene (to come between to alter events), venture (daring undertaking), revenue (income), circumvent (to avoid by finding a way around)
homogeneous (adj) homo same + gen kind
consisting of parts or members all of the same kind : The club was a homogeneous band of like-minded thinkers.
Root family: [gen] indigenous (native), progenitor (the first in a family tree), heterogeneous (diverse in character or content), disingenuous (not sincere or candid)
Don’t confuse with: homogenous (having a common biological lineage or structure)
indigenous (adj) indi- into + gignere to be born
native; occurring naturally in a particular place : There are over twenty different tribes indigenous to this river valley.
Synonyms: native, aboriginal
Root family: [gen] progeny (offspring), disingenuous (not candid or sincere), progenitor (the first in a family tree), heterogeneous (diverse in character or content), homogeneous (consisting of parts or members all of the same kind)
Don’t confuse with: ingenious (brilliant), indignant (showing anger at unfair treatment)
Mnemonic: The phrase indigenous people refers to a tribe born into (indi- into + gignere to be born) a particular area.
insipid (adj) in- not + sapere to taste
lacking vigor or interest, flavorless : His latest album drones with insipid songs.
Root family: [in-, im-] 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: [sap, sav] sapid (flavorful), savor (taste and enjoy thoroughly), savory (having a flavorful spiciness or saltiness)
Mnemonic: It would be insane to sip such an insipid soup.
Don’t confuse with: insidious (subtly harmful or dangerous)
to lack energy; to grow weak : My favorite baseball team has been languishing in last place for two weeks now.
Forms: languor = a state of weakness or stillness, languid = lacking in energy; weak
Synonyms: atrophy, wither
Don’t confuse with: language (a symbolic means of communication), anguish (great distress)
Mnemonic: When your favorite team is languishing, it can cause you long anguish.
prosaic (adj) prosa straightforward discourse
 commonplace : The envoy’s duties in Paris were less romantic and more prosaic than she had hoped.
 lacking poetic beauty : The band’s arrangements are powerful, but their lyrics are prosaic.
Synonyms: workaday, tedious, pedestrian, mundane
Mnemonic: Your writing might become prosaic and less creative if you take too much Prozac (the antidepressant drug).
Don’t confuse with: mosaic (a picture produced by arranging colorful tiles or pieces of glass).
protracted (adj) pro- forward + tractus pulled
lasting longer than desired or expected : The interview turned into a protracted debate about bigotry.
Form: protract = to prolong
Root family: [pro-] prophecy (prediction), promote (further the progress of something; raise in rank) progeny (offspring), reciprocate (to respond in kind)
Root family: [tract] tractable (manageable), abstract (lacking a concrete existence), detract (to reduce the value of something)
stagnant (adj) stare to stand
 (of a pool of water or the air in a confined space) unmoving and hence having an unpleasant smell : The stagnant air of the gym made us feel sick.
 sluggish : The economy has been stagnant for years.
Forms: stagnate = to become stagnant, stagnation = the state of being or becoming stagnant
Root family: [stan, stat, stag, stas, stab] stasis (a period of inactivity), constant (unchanging), stable (resistant to movement or failure), apostasy (heresy)