THE LANGUAGE OF IDEAS: VOCABULARY FOR SAT EVIDENCE-BASED READING
14 THE LANGUAGE OF CREATIVITY AND PRODUCTIVITY
showing great care and perseverance : He was assiduous in his research, checking every reference and tracing its history.
Synonyms: diligent, industrious, sedulous
Don’t confuse with: deciduous ((of tree) shedding its leaves annually), arduous ((of a task) requiring strenuous effort)
Mnemonic: Imagine a hardworking scientist mixing acid in two (duo) beakers.
efficacy (n) facere to do, to make
the ability to produce the intended result : The efficacy of the new medicine could hardly be denied.
Forms: efficacious = effective, inefficacious = ineffective
Root family: [fic, fac, fec, -ify] facile (simplistic), munificent (generous), diversify (to make more varied), ossify (to turn into bone), proficient (competent or skilled)
Don’t confuse with: efficiency (quality of achieving substantial results with a minimum of energy)
Usage: A process or instrument that works efficaciously performs its task particularly well. One that works efficiently, on the other hand, performs its task at least adequately, but with minimal expense or input.
expedite (v) ex- out + ped foot
(of a process) to make happen more quickly or efficiently : We could expedite deliveries by streamlining our method of dispatching the trucks.
Form: expeditious = done with speed and efficiency
Synonyms: precipitate, facilitate
Root family: [e-, ex-] extol (to praise highly), extemporaneous (without planning), exuberant (filled with liveliness and energy), elusive (difficult to catch or achieve), exorbitant (excessive), evocative (drawing out strong emotions, ideas, or feelings)
Root family: [ped] pedestrian (ordinary), impede (to hinder or obstruct)
Mnemonic: It is interesting to note that impede and expedite both derive from ped, the Latin root for “foot.” Impede, literally “bind the feet,” means to hinder or delay, whereas expedite, literally “free the feet,” means to make happen more quickly.
Usage: Although expedite, precipitate, and facilitate are similar, they differ in certain important aspects. To expedite a process is to make it happen faster and more efficiently, whereas to facilitate a process is to make it easier on the person or people involved. The verb precipitate applies more to an event than a process; it is to make the event happen more quickly, although it would likely have happened on its own.
Don’t confuse with: expedition. The words expedite and expedition derive from the same roots but have very different meanings. To expedite is to “free the feet,” but to go on an expedition is to “go out on foot.”
Don’t confuse expeditious (done with speed and efficiency) with expedient (convenient and practical, but perhaps improper or immoral).
facilitate (v) facilis easy (< facere to do or make)
to make easier : A team of clinicians was assembled to facilitate the development of the new vaccine.
Forms: facile = simplistic, facilitator = one who makes a process easier, facility = a natural ability; ease
Root family: [fac, fec, fic] benefactor (one who provides a benefit), munificent (generous)
Don’t confuse facility with felicity (intense happiness).
Don’t confuse facile with vassal (a feudal landowner) or docile (submissive).
Usage: See usage note at expedite in this section.
flourish (v) florere to flower
to grow vigorously; prosper : The arts and letters flourished during the Harlem Renaissance.
Don’t confuse with: florid (characterized by flowery language), flourish (n) (an extravagant action, usually done to attract attention : The dance number concluded with a flourish of backflips)
Mnemonic: The noun flourish and the verb flourish both derive from florere (to flower) but have distinct meanings. A flourish is a “flowery or extravagant display to attract attention,” whereas to flourish means to “blossom like a flower.” Florid also derives from florere but means “characterized by flowery language.”
lineage (n) lineare to create with lines
descent from an ancestor : In most medieval European societies, one’s social status was decided by family lineage.
Synonyms: pedigree, ancestry, genealogy
Root family: [line] collinear (on the same line), alignment (the process of arranging in a line), delineate (to describe precisely)
Don’t confuse with: delineate (to describe precisely)
prodigious (adj) prodigus lavish
great in size or degree : The team consumed prodigious amounts of pizza after the game.
Forms: prodigiously = abundantly
Root family: [prodigi] prodigy (a young person with exceptional talent), prodigal (tending to spend money recklessly)
profuse (adj) pro- forward + fusus poured
very abundantly offered or available : Even the profuse offerings of cards and flowers did not assuage his grief.
Form: profusion = an abundance
Synonyms: prolific, prevalent, copious
Root family: [pro-] protracted (lasting longer than expected), prophecy (prediction), promote (further the progress of something; raise in rank), progeny (offspring), reciprocate (to respond in kind)
Root family: [fus, fund, found] confuse (to cause to become perplexed), confound (to fail to distinguish different elements), diffuse (spread over a wide area), fusion (the process of joining two things into a single entity), effusive (freely expressive), transfusion (a transfer, usually of blood, from one person or animal to another), refuse (to reject)
Don’t confuse with: refuse (to indicate unwillingness to accept something)
progeny (n) pro- forward + gignere to create
the collective descendants of one ancestor : The family trust was established to ensure the well-being of the billionaire’s progeny.
Form: progenitor = the primary ancestor of a collection of descendants
Synonyms: offspring, brood, scions
Root family: [pro-] protracted (lasting longer than expected), prophecy (prediction), promote (further the progress of something; raise in rank), reciprocate (to respond in kind)
Root family: [gen] indigenous (native), homogeneous (uniform), heterogeneous (diverse in character)
Don’t confuse progenitor with prognosticator (one who foretells or attempts to foretell future events).
Mnemonic: Think of someone named Jenny you know, and then imagine a profuse number of them in the lower branches of a family tree (progeny = profuse Jennys).
to increase rapidly in numbers or extent : Bootlegging proliferated during the era of Prohibition to satisfy the demand for alcohol.
Form: proliferation = a rapid increase in numbers or extent
Synonyms: burgeon, mushroom
 highly productive : Johann Strauss was a prolific composer of waltzes.
Synonyms: fertile fecund
 plentiful : The mountain laurel is prolific along the side of the highway.
Forms: proliferate = to multiply or reproduce rapidly
Synonyms: copious, profuse, prevalent
Don’t confuse with: prophetic (accurately predictive of the future)
good health and physical strength : The therapy helped him regain the vigor of his youth.
Forms: invigorating = giving energy or strength, vigorous = full of energy and strength
Synonyms: robustness, hardiness, virility
Don’t confuse with: rigor (thoroughness or strictness)
Don’t confuse with: erudite (scholarly)