SAT 2016




Images adverse (adj) ad- to + vertere to turn

harmful to success or progress : The short holiday season has had an adverse effect on sales.

Form: adversity = misfortune or difficulties, usually over an extended period

Synonyms: inauspicious, detrimental, deleterious

Root family: [ad-] adhere (stick fast (to)), advocate (to provide vocal support for), annul (to declare invalid)

Root family: [vers, vert] adversary (enemy), diverse (various), diversion (entertainment), subvert (undermine), averse (opposed), versatile (adaptable to different functions)

Don”t confuse with: averse (opposed)

Images archaic (adj) archaios old

old and outdated : My cell phone, which didn”t even have Internet access, seemed archaic compared to Kris”s tiny smartphone.

Synonyms: outmoded, outdated, anachronistic, obsolete

Root family: [arch] archaeology (the study of ancient civilizations and their artifacts), archetype (a very typical example)

Don”t confuse with: anarchic (having no hierarchical government)

Images bane (n)

a cause of great and persistent distress : The bane of the traveling salesman is the time spent away from family and friends.

Form: baneful = causing great distress

Synonyms: scourge, blight, affliction

Mnemonic: For farmers, banning the rain would be a great bane for their livelihood.

Images dearth (n)

an utter lack of something : I am disappointed by the dearth of good jazz clubs in this city.

Synonym: paucity

Don”t confuse with: death, dirge (a funereal song), mirth (good-natured amusement)

Mnemonic: The words dearth and dear (expensive) derive from the same root. If there is a dearth of something desired, then it is likely to be very dear.

Images debilitating (adj)

causing someone or something to become weak : What seemed like a slight ankle sprain soon turned into a debilitating injury.

Forms: debilitate = to make weak or infirm, debility = a weakness or infirmity

Synonyms: incapacitating, enervating

Don”t confuse with: rehabilitate (to restore to health)

Images deleterious (adj) delere to destroy, to eliminate

very harmful : Prolonged and hopeless poverty has a very deleterious effect on children.

Synonyms: detrimental, injurious, adverse

Root family: [delet] delete (to remove completely), indelible (forming an enduring impression)

Mnemonic: Imagine how deleterious it would be to your grade if you accidentally deleted the research paper that you had spent over a month researching and writing.

Images enervate (v) e- out of + nervus sinew, strength

to drain of energy or strength : The arduous hike enervated the boys, who decided to rest for the night.

Forms: enervation = the process of draining something of strength; weakness, enervated = weakened

Synonyms: debilitate, enfeeble

Don”t confuse with: energize (to fill with energy), enumerate (to list numerically), innervate (to supply an organ or body part with nerves)

Mnemonic: To avoid confusing enervate with energize, focus on the roots e- (out) and nervus (sinew, strength or muscle): to enervate is to weaken, as if by removing the muscle fibers from one”s body. Gross? Yes, but vivid enough to remember.

Images exacerbate (v) ex- (making) + acerbus bitter

to make a situation worse : The lawsuit only exacerbated the animosity between the neighbors.

Synonyms: aggravate, compound, inflame

Root family: [acer, acu] acrid (pungent), acerbic (having a bitter taste), acrimonious (defined by bitter feelings), acute (keen, as pain or ability)

Don”t confuse with: exaggerate (to overstate)

Images insidious (v) in- on + sedere to sit

having a harmful effect, but in a subtle way : Many viral diseases are insidious, remaining dormant for months or even years before symptoms are expressed.

Synonyms: stealthy, surreptitious, treacherous

Root family: [in-] inundate (to flood), infer (to conclude from evidence), incisive (showing keen judgment), ingratiate (to curry favor), inherent (existing as an inseparable element), invoke (to bring to bear), indoctrinate (to teach doctrine), induce (to bring about), infiltrate (to gain access secretly)

Root family: [sed, sid] sedentary (inactive), dissident (one who opposes official policy), assiduous (hard working), sedate (calm), preside (to sit in a position of authority), reside (to live in a particular location), sediment (material that settles to the bottom of a liquid or body of water, particularly a river)

Don”t confuse with: invidious (causing resentment)

Mnemonic: An insidious disease lurks inside us until it decides to pounce.

Images malevolence (n) male evil + volent wishing

evil intent : The villain eyed his victim with malevolence.

Form: malevolent = with evil intent

Synonyms: maliciousness, rancor

Root family: [mal] malignant (disposed to causing harm or suffering), malicious (full of spite), malign (to speak about someone in a spiteful manner)

Root family: [vole] benevolent (kindly), volition (free will), voluntary (performed by choice)

Images obsolete (adj)

outdated; no longer in production : Mr. King still types all of his manuscripts on an obsolete Corona typewriter.

Forms: obsolesce = to become obsolete, obsolescence = the state of being obsolete

Synonyms: outmoded, outdated, anachronistic, archaic

Images regress (v) re- back + gressus walking

to return to a less developed state : As he got angrier, Gary seemed to regress into childhood, and began kicking his feet and pouting like a toddler.

Form: regression = the process of moving toward a less developed state, regressive = moving backward or toward a less developed state

Root family: [re-] reprehensible (deserving of condemnation), refute (to prove something false), revoke (to take back), renounce (to give up or put aside publicly), relegate (to place in a lower rank)

Root family: [grad, gress] progress (forward movement), egress (exit), digress (to stray from the topic)

Images vestige (n)

[VEST idge] a trace of something that no longer exists : The archaeologists wondered whether this small clay shard was a vestige of a once-great civilization.

Form: vestigial = remaining as a trace of something long since gone

Synonyms: remnant, relic, residue

Don”t confuse with: vestment (clothing), prestige [press TEEGE] (widespread respect)

Images virulent (adj) virus poison

bitterly hostile; extremely harmful : The speech was an incoherent and virulent diatribe against the dangers of socialism.

Form: virulence = ability to cause extreme harm; poisonousness

Synonyms: toxic, pernicious

Root family: [viru] virus (a nucleic acid molecule that acts as an infective agent)

Don”t confuse with: violent (involving physical force to hurt or damage)