THE LANGUAGE OF IDEAS: VOCABULARY FOR SAT EVIDENCE-BASED READING
19 THE LANGUAGE OF CAPITAL AND WEALTH
extreme greed : David was repulsed by the avarice that thrived on Wall Street in the 1990s.
Form: avaricious = extremely greedy
Synonyms: cupidity, rapacity, covetousness
Don’t confuse avaricious with vicious (deliberately cruel or violent), auspicious (favorable), or avatar (a worldly incarnation of a god; a moving icon representing a person in cyberspace)
Mnemonic: Someone who is avaricious wants to have all riches.
bourgeois (adj) burgus castle, fortified town
pertaining to or characteristic of the conventional and materialistic life of the middle class : He rebelled against the stultifying bourgeois lifestyle and yearned for the life of a bohemian.
Form: bourgeoisie = the middle class
Root family: [burg] burg (city or town), borough (an administrative district, as or within a town or city), burglar (one who breaks into homes to rob them (< burgier to pillage a town))
decadent (adj) de- down + cadere to fall
excessively self-indulgent : I decided that since I had adhered strictly to my diet for two months, I could be decadent at the wedding.
Form: decadence = excessive self-indulgence
Root family: [de-] denounce (declare as bad), detract (reduce the value of something), debase (reduce in value), denigrate (criticize unfairly), deference (submission to the authority of another), condescend (to act superior to someone else)
Root family: [cide, cade, cas, cay] accident (an unintentional, unexpected, and unfortunate incident), cadence (the rising and falling inflection of the voice), coincide (to occur at the same time), cascade (small waterfall), recidivism (falling back into a life of crime)
exorbitant (adj) ex- out + orbita track, course
excessive ; exceeding the bounds of propriety or reason : She charged an exorbitant fee for only a few hours’ work.
Root family: [e-, ex-] extol (to praise highly), extemporaneous (without planning), exuberant (filled with liveliness and energy), elusive (difficult to catch or achieve)
Root family: [orb] orbit (elliptical path of a satellite)
reluctant to spend money or expend resources : He was too frugal to even pay for a cab ride home.
Form: frugality = thriftiness; reluctance to expend resources
Synonyms: miserly, stingy
indigent (adj) or (n)
 (adj) poor; needy : We’ve donated the proceeds to a charity that provides food and shelter to the indigent of our city.
Synonyms: impecunious, destitute, insolvent, penurious
 (n) a poor and homeless person : Fewer indigents can be found on the streets since the city opened the new shelter and soup kitchen.
Form: indigence = poverty
Don’t confuse with: indigenous (native)
Mnemonic: During the Depression, homeless wanderers may have been disparaged as hobos or indigents, but many of them might have just considered themselves independent gentlemen.
lavish (adj) or (v)
 (adj) extravagant or elaborate : It was a lavish affair, elegant to the last detail.
 (v) to give in extravagant quantities : His aunts lavished little Stephen with attention.
Don’t confuse with: slavish (like or characteristic of a slave)
lucrative (adj) lucrum profit
highly profitable : He abandoned his lucrative banking job for a more fulfilling career in teaching.
Synonyms: remunerative, gainful
Root family: [lucr] lucre (profit, usually that which is ill-gotten)
mercenary (adj) or (n) merces payment
 (adj) primarily concerned with making money : When our CEO left for a higher-paying job after only six months, he was rightly castigated for being mercenary.
Synonyms: acquisitive, venal, avaricious, covetous
 (n) a soldier who fights for money rather than patriotism; a person concerned primarily with making money rather than with personal integrity : The general preferred to work with dedicated soldiers rather than mercenaries.
Synonym: soldier of fortune
Root family: [merc] merchant (s trader or store owner), mercantilism (belief in the benefits of profitable trading), commerce (the activity of buying and selling), merchandise (goods that are bought and sold)
ostentatiously rich or lavish : Jay Gatsby threw opulent parties at his elegant mansion.
Form: opulence = lavishness
Synonyms: grandiose, ritzy, splendid
Don’t confuse with: opalescent (exhibiting a milky iridescence, as an opal)
ostentatious (adj) ostens presented for display
intended to attract attention; characterized by vulgar and pretentious display : We decorated our house tastefully, avoiding the ostentatious Christmas displays that were so common in town.
Form: ostentation = pretentious and vulgar display
Synonyms: pretentious, flamboyant, gaudy, ornate, garish
Root family: [osten] ostensible (appearing to be true, but not necessarily so)
Don’t confuse with: austere
prodigal (adj) prodigus lavish
tending to spend resources wastefully : A prodigal manager can squander a year’s worth of careful savings in just a few weeks.
Form: prodigality = wastefulness
Synonyms: profligate, spendthrift, improvident
Root family: [prodigi] prodigy (a young person with exceptional talent), prodigious (great in size or degree)
Mnemonic: The Biblical story of the prodigal son is about a son who squanders all of his inheritance and later comes to regret it.
remuneration (n) munero to share, to give a gift
payment for services : We were unhappy with the remuneration we received for the hard work we put into the project.
Forms: remunerate = to pay someone for services, remunerative = pertaining to payment for services
Synonyms: recompense, reimbursement, compensation
Root family: [muni, muner] immunity (resistance to an infection or toxin), munificent (generous)
Don’t confuse with: enumeration (listing in numerical order)
Mnemonic: Remuneration is received money for your action.
to waste recklessly, particularly money or opportunity : We must not squander this opportunity to get our financial house in order.
Don’t confuse with: wander (roam)