THE LANGUAGE OF IDEAS: VOCABULARY FOR SAT EVIDENCE-BASED READING
20 THE LANGUAGE OF PASSION, EMOTION, AND SENSATION
to cause to feel embarrassed or ashamed : I was abashed at the sight of her photograph.
Form: abashed = embarrassed, unabashed = confidently unashamed
Don’t confuse with: bash ((v) hit forcefully; (n) a lively party)
Mnemonic: Abash means to make bashful.
cheerful eagerness : Howard accepted our invitation to brunch with alacrity.
Synonyms: ardor, fervor, dispatch
Don’t confuse with: anachronism (something out of place in time), clarity (clearness)
apathy (n) a- without + pathos suffering, emotion
lack of interest or concern : Although Glen was happy and excited about the trip, Philip’s glum apathy tempered everyone’s mood.
Form: apathetic = lacking interest or concern
Synonyms: indifference, dispassion, languor
Root family: [a-, an-] amorphous (lacking definite shape), anarchy (lack of hierarchical government)
Root family: [path, pati, pass] sympathy (feeling of sorrow for the misfortunes of another), pathology (the science of the causes and course of diseases), empathy (the ability to share the feelings of others), antipathy (hostility)
Don’t confuse with: antipathy (hostility)
apprehensive (adj) prehendere to grasp, to seize
anxious that something bad might happen : Kyra was apprehensive about entering the abandoned house.
Form: apprehension = fear that something bad might happen; the taking of a criminal suspect into custody
Synonyms: fretful, disquieted
Root family: [prehens] comprehensive (thorough and complete), reprehensible (morally objectionable)
Don’t confuse with: comprehensive (thorough and complete)
Mnemonic: The word apprehend, deriving as it does from the Latin prehendere, meaning “to grasp or seize,” means “to arrest” (apprehend a criminal) or “to perceive or understand superficially” (apprehend danger). Apprehensive, however, does not derive from either of those meanings, but rather the idea of being “seized” with fear.
ardor (n) ardere to burn
enthusiasm; passion : He has maintained the same ardor for campaigning as he had when he first ran for office.
Form: ardent = passionate
Root family: [ard, ars] arsonist (one who illegally sets fires)
Don’t confuse with: arbor (a shady alcove covered by trees or climbing plants), barter (exchange of goods or services for payment instead of money)
Mnemonic: Ardor is a burning passion (ardere = to burn).
emotionally insensitive to the suffering of others : He showed callous disregard of the pain that we were going through.
Form: callousness = disregard for the suffering of others
Synonyms: ruthless, inhumane, sadistic
Don’t confuse with: callowness (immaturity)
the process of purging unwanted or unhealthy emotions : After a frustrating day at the office, kickboxing class offers a welcome catharsis.
Form: cathartic = providing an elimination of unwanted emotions
Synonyms: purgation, venting
Don’t confuse with: catheter (a tube inserted into the body to remove fluid), catechism (a summary of questions and answers summarizing the principles of the Christian religion)
complacent (adj) com- (intensive) + placent pleasing
smugly and uncritically satisfied with one’s situation : A nation should not be complacent about its security.
Form: complacency = smug self-satisfaction
Root family: [plac] placate (to appease), implacable (unable to be pleased), placid (peaceful)
Don’t confuse with: complaisant (willing to please)
Mnemonic: One who is complacent is satisfied with his or her place in the world, but one who is complaisant wants to please (plais).
ebullient (adj) e- out + bullire to boil
full of cheerful energy : Jennifer was ebullient about her acceptance to Brown.
Form: ebullience = cheerful energy
Don’t confuse with: emollient (a skin softening agent)
Mnemonic: Someone who is ebullient lets the joy bubble out (e- out + bullire to boil).
effusive (adj) e- out + fusus poured
freely expressive, particularly of emotions; pouring out : Julie was effusive in her greeting, hugging each of us like a mother bear.
Forms: effusion = an outpouring, usually of emotion
Root family: [fus, fund, found] confuse (to cause to become perplexed), confound (to fail to distinguish different elements), diffuse (spread out over a large area), fusion (the process of joining two things into a single entity), profuse (abundant), transfusion (a transfer, usually of blood, from one person or animal to another), refuse (to reject)
Don’t confuse with: elusive (difficult to find, catch, or achieve)
fervent (adj) fervere to be hot
displaying a passionate intensity : The protest rally was punctuated by several fervent speeches.
Form: fervor = intense and passionate feeling
Synonyms: vehement, zealous, fervid
Root family: [ferv] effervescent (bubbly), fervid (passionate), fever (elevated body temperature due to infection; state of nervous excitement)
Don’t confuse with: fever (elevated body temperature due to infection; state of nervous excitement)
Mnemonic/Usage: Although fervent doesn’t mean exactly the same thing as feverish, both words derive from the same Latin root and both share the meaning of “intense feeling.” In the case of fervent, the feeling is primarily emotional, but in feverish, the feeling is primarily physical.
pitifully sad and lonely : The city was filled with forlorn souls with unfulfilled dreams.
Synonyms: despondent, disconsolate, abject, melancholy
Don’t confuse with: foregone (predetermined)
grudging (adj) grouchier to grumble
given reluctantly or resentfully : Although his opponents hate to compete against him, they give him grudging respect.
Root family: [grudg, grouch] grouchy (irritable and bad-tempered), begrudge (to envy someone’s enjoyment of something)
Don’t confuse with: dredging (cleaning a riverbed by scooping)
having no particular concern or interest : The king was indifferent to the suffering of his own people.
Form: indifference = lack of concern or interest
Synonyms: insouciant, nonchalant, dispassionate, apathetic
Don’t confuse with: not different
Mnemonic: People tend to be indifferent about those things that they think make no difference in the world.
Usage: See usage note at nonchalant in section 8.
reluctant to act or restrained from acting in a natural way, usually because of self-consciousness : Faith felt inhibited in front of her classmates, but was very much a free spirit with her friends.
Forms: inhibit = to restrain or hinder, inhibition = self-conscious reluctance to behave naturally, uninhibited = free-spirited
Synonyms: reticent, diffident
Don’t confuse with: inhabited (occupied as a living space by a person, animal, or group)
palpable (adj) palpare to touch gently
perceivable by touch; so intense as to seem touchable : The tension in the room was palpable.
Form: palpate = to touch gently, especially to diagnose a medical condition
Mnemonic: When you go the doctor with stomach pains, the doctor palpates your stomach with his or her palm to feel the pain.
pertaining to the quality of something rather than a measurable quantity : There has been a qualitative change in the mood of the workers ever since the new contract was signed.
resigned (adj) re- back + signare to sign officially
reluctantly accepting of an undesirable situation : We were resigned to the fact that Ms. Davis, our favorite teacher, would be absent for several weeks.
Form: resignation = reluctant acceptance of an undesirable situation
Synonyms: forbearing, stoical, acquiescent, compliant
Root family: [re-] recluse (a person who lives a solitary lifestyle), 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: [sign] consign (to deliver into another’s custody), designate (to appoint officially), signature (a person’s name written as an official identification mark), significant (noteworthy), assign (to allocate officially)
vehement (adj) vehere to carry
showing intense feeling : The lawyer’s accusation was met with a vehement denial.
Form: vehemence = intense feeling
Root family: [veh, vect] vehicle (a mechanical transportation device; a means of expression), vector (a quantity with magnitude and direction; a means of transmitting disease), convection (the circulation of air by heating and cooling)
Don’t confuse with: violent (physically forceful)
Mnemonic: Vehement sounds like vehicle because they both derive from the Latin verb vehere, “to carry”: someone who is vehement is getting “carried away.”