SAT 2016




Images anachronism (n) ana- backward or mixed up + chronos time

something out of place in time, especially something that is outdated : The modern-sounding dialogue was conspicuously anachronistic for a movie set in the 1920s.

Root family: [ana-] anagram (a rearrangement of the letters in a word or phrase to make another word or phrase)

Root family: [chron] synchronize (to make to happen simultaneously or at the same pace), chronological (in proper time order)

Don”t confuse with: anarchic (lacking government)

Mnemonic: Since Anna Karenina is set in the 19th century, Anna”s chronograph (wristwatch) would be very anachronistic.

Images belie (v)

[1] to fail to give a true impression of something : David”s bluster belies his lack of self-confidence.

[2] to betray; to show to be untrue : The evidence belies the defendant”s claim.

Mnemonic: To belie something is to be a lie about something (meaning [1]) or to show it to be a lie (meaning [2]).

Images chicanery (n)

devious trickery or evasion : Unlike most politicians, she discusses tax policies openly, rather than using chicanery to hide her true motives and affiliations.

Synonyms: ruse, machination

Don”t confuse with: chimera (something unrealistic or hopelessly wishful)

Mnemonic: Imagine a chick doing magic in a cannery.

Images circuitous (adj) circum around + ire to go

indirect; roundabout : We took a circuitous route to the cabin because the main highway was closed.

Synonyms: meandering, tortuous, serpentine

Root family: [circum] circumscribe (to define the limits of something), circumspect (wary), circumlocution (evasive speech)

Images confound (v) con- together + fundere to pour

[1] to cause someone to become confused : She was confounded by the puzzle for many weeks.

Synonyms: befuddle, baffle

[2] to confuse two elements as being one : We should not confound patriotism and loyalty to the government.

Root family: [con-, co-, com-, col-] consensus (general agreement), conspire (to plot together), coalesce (to come together), coherent (forming a united whole), confluence (a place at which two things merge)

Root family: [fus, fund, found] confuse (to cause to become perplexed), effusive (freely expressive), 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),diffuse (spread out over a large area)

Don”t confuse with: compound (to make something worse : Don”t compound the problem.)

Images convoluted (adj) con- together + volutus rolled

(1) (of an argument or story) complicated and difficult to follow : The account the witness provided was so convoluted that the jury could not follow it.

(2) intricately folded : The human cortex is a convoluted shell of interconnected neurons.

Form: convolution = a deep fold, esp. one of many; something complex and difficult to understand

Synonyms: tortuous, byzantine

Root family: [con-, co-, com-, col-] conformist (one who conscientiously complies with the standards of a group, coherent (forming a united whole), compliant (willing to obey), confluence (a place at which two things merge)

Root family: [vol] revolution (one complete rotation; a complete political overthrow), involved (“rolled up in”), voluble (fluently talkative)

Images digress (v) di- away + gradi to walk

stray from the topic in speaking or writing : Powell digressed for several pages to describe the history of the village he was visiting.

Forms: digression = an act of digressing, digressive = prone to digression; having the characteristics of a digression

Root family: [grad, gress] progress (forward movement), regressive (moving backward), egress (exit)

Don”t confuse with: regress (to return to a less developed state)

Images disingenuous (adj) dis- away + in- in + gignere to be born

not candid or sincere; deceitful : The senator”s disingenuous comments were just another example of political posturing.

Form: ingénue = a naive and innocent person, ingenuous = innocent and naive

Synonyms: duplicitous, mendacious

Root family: [dis-] disconcerting (unsettling), disdain (feeling that something is unworthy), discredit (harm the reputation of something or someone), dispel (to drive away; to eliminate)

Root family: [in-] inundate (to flood), infer (to conclude from evidence), incisive (showing keen judgment), ingratiate (to curry favor), innate (inborn)

Root family: [gen] indigenous (native), 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 ingenuous (innocent and naive) with ingenious (brilliant) or not genuine.

Mnemonic: An ingénue is someone who is as innocent and naive as a baby (in + genuus born), so to be ingenuous means to be innocent and naive. Therefore, to be disingenuous is to be the opposite: deceitful and full of guile.

Images dubious (adj) dubium doubt

[1] questionable : That is a dubious claim, bordering on the absurd.

Synonyms: controvertible, suspect

[2] doubting : I”m dubious that our team will be able to come back and win.

Forms: dubiousness = doubtfulness

Synonyms: vacillating

Root family: [dub] indubitable (without a doubt), doubt

Images duplicity (n) duplicitas twofold

deceitfulness; double-dealing : He considered a career as a spy but wondered whether he had the skill or moral flexibility to engage in such duplicity.

Form: duplicitous = deceitful

Synonyms: chicanery, subterfuge, treachery, perfidy

Root family: [dupl, duo] duplicate (to make a copy), duplex (a two-floor apartment building), dual (twofold)

Don”t confuse with: duplication (the process of making a copy)

Images guile (n)

cunning or slyness in attaining a goal : David Rohde was able to use guile and patience to escape his Taliban captors.

Form: guileless = innocent; incapable of deceit

Synonyms: cunning, artfulness, wiles

Don”t confuse with: guise (outward appearance)

Images inept (adj) in- not + aptus well suited

unskilled; clumsy : Todd”s awkward joke was a sincere but inept attempt to lighten the mood.

Form: ineptitude = clumsiness; lack of skill

Synonyms: feckless, maladroit, bumbling, ineffectual

Root family: [in-, im-] insipid (flavorless), insuperable (impossible to overcome), inert (lacking vigor), interminable (unending), incongruous (not consistent with expectations)

Root family: [apt, ept] aptitude (natural skill), adapt (to make to fit a new situation or use), adept (skillful)

Don”t confuse with: inapt (inappropriate or unsuitable to the situation)

Images machination (n) machina contrivance

a plot or scheme : Dawn”s artful machinations succeeded in gaining her the title of class president.

Root family: [mech, mach] machine (apparatus), mechanical (pertaining to the workings of a machine)

Mnemonic: In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Dr. Evil”s machinations involve building a doomsday machine, “Project Vulcan,” in order to hold the world”s nations hostage.

Usage: A deus ex machina (“god in the machine”) is an unexpected and highly implausible plot twist in a novel or play that magically saves a seemingly hopeless situation.

Images perjure (v) per- (negative) + jurare to swear

to lie under oath : Martha Stewart”s conviction for conspiracy to commit perjury landed her six months in prison.

Form: perjury = the act of lying under oath

Root family: [jur] jurisprudence (the study of law), abjure (to swear off; renounce), adjure (to command solemnly), conjure (to create, as if by magic), jurisdiction (the power to make official decisions)

Root family: [dict] vindictive (vengeful), dictatorial (tyrannical), malediction (curse), benediction (blessing)

Don”t confuse with: modicum (a small amount)

Images spurious (adj)

false or fake; not what it seems to be (esp. as applied to claims or theories) : The stories about Jordan”s career as a spy were spurious, generated by his friends” wild imaginations.

Synonyms: specious, fallacious

Don”t confuse with: furious (very angry), spurned (jilted, rejected)

Mnemonic: Imagine a spurious cowboy in fake tinfoil spurs.

Images subterfuge (n) sub- beneath + fugere to flee

a trick or expedient used to escape a consequence or achieve a goal : Max”s subterfuge involved three alibis and a full-scale replica of himself.

Synonyms: ruse, chicanery

Root family: [sub-] submissive (meekly obedient), subvert (to undermine the authority of another), subjugate (to dominate)

Root family: [fug] fugitive (one who is fleeing arrest), refugee (one fleeing strife or persecution), refuge (safe haven), centrifugal (moving away from the center)

Mnemonic: Imagine the Joker using a sub to flee (fugere = to flee) from Batman.

Images surreptitious (adj) sub- under, secretly + rapere to seize

kept secret because it is objectionable : Charlotte was upset when she heard about her husband”s surreptitious affair.

Synonyms: clandestine, furtive, stealthy

Root family: [sub-] submissive (meekly obedient), subvert (to undermine the authority of another), subjugate (to dominate)

Root family: [rap, rav] rapacious (extremely greedy), ravenous (extremely hungry), ravage (to bring destruction to)

Don”t confuse with: superfluous (unnecessary)

Images treacherous (adj)

[1] characterized by or guilty of betrayal : Benedict Arnold”s treacherous actions are etched in our national history.

Form: treachery = abject betrayal

Synonyms: traitorous, duplicitous, perfidious

[2] hazardous : The ocean currents here are very treacherous.

Synonyms: perilous, precarious

Don”t confuse with: tortuous (full of twists and turns), lecherous (showing excessive sexual desire), trenchant (cutting and incisive)

Images unscrupulous (adj)

dishonest; showing no moral principles : The broker”s unscrupulous dealings only came to light after he had stolen several million dollars of his client”s money.

Form: scrupulous = very concerned with avoiding sin or rule-breaking

Synonyms: reprobate, unethical, corrupt, venal

Usage: Although scrupulous is primarily used to mean “attentive to rules and details,” whether or not those rules are moral ones, unscrupulous refers exclusively to a lack of moral principles.

Images vex (v)

to make to feel annoyed or frustrated : I am constantly vexed by my inability to remember the names of all of your friends.

Form: vexation = state of confusion or frustration

Synonyms: nettle, exasperate, pique, gall

Don”t confuse with: hex (a spell or curse)