GRE Premier 2017 with 6 Practice Tests


Appendix C. Top GRE-Level Words in Context

The GRE tests the same kinds of words over and over again. Here you will find some common GRE-Level words with their definitions in context to help you to remember them. If you see a word that’s unfamiliar to you, take a moment to study the definition and, most importantly, reread the sentence with the word’s definition in mind.

Remember: learning vocabulary words in context is one of the best ways for your brain to retain the words’ meanings. A broader vocabulary will serve you well on all four GRE Verbal question types and will also be extremely helpful in the Analytical Writing section. section.


·        ABATE: to reduce in amount, degree, or severity

o   As the hurricane’s force ABATED, the winds dropped and the sea became calm.

·        ABSCOND: to leave secretly

o   The patron ABSCONDED from the restaurant without paying his bill by sneaking out the back door.

·        ABSTAIN: to choose not to do something

o   She ABSTAINED from choosing a mouthwatering dessert from the tray.

·        ABYSS: an extremely deep hole

o   The submarine dove into the ABYSS to chart the previously unseen depths.

·        ADULTERATE: to make impure

o   The chef made his ketchup last longer by ADULTERATING it with water.

·        ADVOCATE: to speak in favor of

o   The vegetarian ADVOCATED a diet containing no meat.

·        AESTHETIC: concerning the appreciation of beauty

o   Followers of the AESTHETIC Movement regarded the pursuit of beauty as the only true purpose of art.

·        AGGRANDIZE: to increase in power, influence, and reputation

o   The supervisor sought to AGGRANDIZE herself by claiming that the achievements of her staff were actually her own.

·        ALLEVIATE: to make more bearable

o   Taking aspirin helps to ALLEVIATE a headache.

·        AMALGAMATE: to combine; to mix together

o   Giant Industries AMALGAMATED with Mega Products to form Giant-Mega Products Incorporated.

·        AMBIGUOUS: doubtful or uncertain; able to be interpreted several ways

o   The directions she gave were so AMBIGUOUS that we disagreed on which way to turn.

·        AMELIORATE: to make better; to improve

o   The doctor was able to AMELIORATE the patient’s suffering using painkillers.

·        ANACHRONISM: something out of place in time

o   The aged hippie used ANACHRONISTIC phrases, like “groovy” and “far out,” that had not been popular for years.

·        ANALOGOUS: similar or alike in some way; equivalent to

o   In the Newtonian construct for explaining the existence of God, the universe is ANALOGOUS to a mechanical timepiece, the creation of a divinely intelligent “clockmaker.”

·        ANOMALY: deviation from what is normal

o   Albino animals may display too great an ANOMALY in their coloring to attract normally colored mates.

·        ANTAGONIZE: to annoy or provoke to anger

o   The child discovered that he could ANTAGONIZE the cat by pulling its tail.

·        ANTIPATHY: extreme dislike

o   The ANTIPATHY between the French and the English regularly erupted into open warfare.

·        APATHY: lack of interest or emotion

o   The APATHY of voters is so great that less than half the people who are eligible to vote actually bother to do so.

·        ARBITRATE: to judge a dispute between two opposing parties

o   Since the couple could not come to an agreement, a judge was forced to ARBITRATE their divorce proceedings.

·        ARCHAIC: ancient, old-fashioned

o   Her ARCHAIC Commodore computer could not run the latest software.

·        ARDOR: intense and passionate feeling

o   Bishop’s ARDOR for the landscape was evident when he passionately described the beauty of the scenic Hudson Valley.

·        ARTICULATE: able to speak clearly and expressively

o   She is such an ARTICULATE defender of labor that unions are among her strongest supporters.

·        ASSUAGE: to make something unpleasant less severe

o   Serena used aspirin to ASSUAGE her pounding headache.

·        ATTENUATE: to reduce in force or degree; to weaken

o   The Bill of Rights ATTENUATED the traditional power of governments to change laws at will.

·        AUDACIOUS: fearless and daring

o   Her AUDACIOUS nature allowed her to fulfill her dream of skydiving.

·        AUSTERE: severe or stern in appearance; undecorated

o   The lack of decoration makes military barracks seem AUSTERE to the civilian eye.


·        BANAL: predictable, clichéd; boring

o   He used BANAL phrases like “have a nice day” and “another day, another dollar.”

·        BOLSTER: to support; to prop up

o   The presence of giant footprints BOLSTERED the argument that Sasquatch was in the area.

·        BOMBASTIC: pompous in speech and manner

o   The ranting of the radio talk-show host was mostly BOMBASTIC; his boasting and outrageous claims had no basis in fact.


·        CACOPHONY: harsh, jarring noise

o   The junior high orchestra created an almost unbearable CACOPHONY as they tried to tune their instruments.

·        CANDID: impartial and honest in speech

o   The observations of a child can be charming since they are CANDID and unpretentious.

·        CAPRICIOUS: changing one’s mind quickly and often

o   Queen Elizabeth I was quite CAPRICIOUS; her courtiers could never be sure which of their number would catch her fancy.

·        CASTIGATE: to punish or criticize harshly

o   Many Americans are amazed at how harshly the authorities in Singapore CASTIGATE perpetrators of what would be considered minor crimes in the United States.

·        CATALYST: something that brings about a change in something else

o   The imposition of harsh taxes was the CATALYST that finally brought on the revolution.

·        CAUSTIC: biting in wit

o   Dorothy Parker gained her reputation for CAUSTIC wit from her cutting, yet clever, insults.

·        CHAOS: great disorder or confusion

o   In many religious traditions, God created an ordered universe from CHAOS.

·        CHAUVINIST: someone prejudiced in favor of a group to which he or she belongs

o   The attitude that men are inherently superior to women and therefore must be obeyed is common among male CHAUVINISTS.

·        CHICANERY: deception by means of craft or guile

o   Dishonest used car salespeople often use CHICANERY to sell their beat-up old cars.

·        COGENT: convincing and well reasoned

o   Swayed by the COGENT argument of the defense, the jury had no choice but to acquit the defendant.

·        CONDONE: to overlook, pardon, or disregard

o   Some theorists believe that failing to prosecute minor crimes is the same as CONDONING an air of lawlessness.

·        CONVOLUTED: intricate and complicated

o   Although many people bought A Brief History of Time few could follow its CONVOLUTED ideas and theories.

·        CORROBORATE: to provide supporting evidence

o   Fingerprints CORROBORATED the witness’s testimony that he saw the defendant in the victim’s apartment.

·        CREDULOUS: too trusting; gullible

o   Although some four-year-olds believe in the Easter Bunny, only the most CREDULOUS nine-year-olds still believe in him.

·        CRESCENDO: steadily increasing volume or force

o   The CRESCENDO of tension became unbearable as Evel Knievel prepared to jump his motorcycle over the school buses.


·        DECORUM: appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety

o   The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the DECORUM appropriate for a visit to the palace.

·        DEFERENCE: respect, courtesy

o   The respectful young law clerk treated the Supreme Court justice with the utmost DEFERENCE.

·        DERIDE: to speak of or treat with contempt; to mock

o   The awkward child was often DERIDED by his “cooler” peers.

·        DESICCATE: to dry out thoroughly

o   After a few weeks of lying on the desert’s baking sands, the cow’s carcass became completely DESICCATED.

·        DESULTORY: jumping from one thing to another; disconnected

o   Diane had a DESULTORY academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in three years.

·        DIATRIBE: an abusive, condemnatory speech

o   The trucker bellowed a DIATRIBE at the driver who had cut him off.

·        DIFFIDENT: lacking self-confidence

o   Steve’s DIFFIDENT manner during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field.

·        DILATE: to make larger; to expand

o   When you enter a darkened room, the pupils of your eyes DILATE to let in more light.

·        DILATORY: intended to delay

o   The congressman used DILATORY measures to delay the passage of the bill.

·        DILETTANTE: someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic

o   Jerry’s friends were such DILETTANTES that they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week.

·        DIRGE: a funeral hymn or mournful speech

o   Melville wrote the poem “A DIRGE for James McPherson” for the funeral of a Union general who was killed in 1864.

·        DISABUSE: to set right; to free from error

o   Galileo’s observations DISABUSED scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the Earth.

·        DISCERN: to perceive; to recognize

o   It is easy to DISCERN the difference between butter and butter-flavored topping.

·        DISPARATE: fundamentally different; entirely unlike

o   Although the twins appear to be identical physically, their personalities are DISPARATE.

·        DISSEMBLE: to present a false appearance; to disguise one’s real intentions or character

o   The villain could DISSEMBLE to the police no longer—he admitted the deed and tore up the floor to reveal the body of the old man.

·        DISSONANCE: a harsh and disagreeable combination, often of sounds

o   Cognitive DISSONANCE is the inner conflict produced when long-standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence.

·        DOGMA: a firmly held opinion, often a religious belief

o   Linus’s central DOGMA was that children who believed in the Great Pumpkin would be rewarded.

·        DOGMATIC: dictatorial in one’s opinions

o   The dictator was DOGMATIC—he, and only he, was right.

·        DUPE: to deceive; a person who is easily deceived

o   Bugs Bunny was able to DUPE Elmer Fudd by dressing up as a lady rabbit.


·        ECLECTIC: selecting from or made up from a variety of sources

o   Budapest’s architecture is an ECLECTIC mix of Eastern and Western styles.

·        EFFICACY: effectiveness

o   The EFFICACY of penicillin was unsurpassed when it was first introduced; the drug completely eliminated almost all bacterial infections for which it was administered.

·        ELEGY: a sorrowful poem or speech

o   Although Thomas Gray’s “ELEGY Written in a Country Churchyard” is about death and loss, it urges its readers to endure this life and to trust in spirituality.

·        ELOQUENT: persuasive and moving, especially in speech

o   The Gettysburg Address is moving not only because of its lofty sentiments but also because of its ELOQUENT words.

·        EMULATE: to copy; to try to equal or excel

o   The graduate student sought to EMULATE his professor in every way, copying not only how she taught but also how she conducted herself outside of class.

·        ENERVATE: to reduce in strength

o   The guerrillas hoped that a series of surprise attacks would ENERVATE the regular army.

·        ENGENDER: to produce, cause, or bring about

o   His fear and hatred of clowns was ENGENDERED when he witnessed the death of his father at the hands of a clown.

·        ENIGMA: a puzzle; a mystery

o   Speaking in riddles and dressed in old robes, the artist gained a reputation as something of an ENIGMA.

·        ENUMERATE: to count, list, or itemize

o   Moses returned from the mountain with tablets on which the commandments were ENUMERATED.

·        EPHEMERAL: lasting a short time

o   The lives of mayflies seem EPHEMERAL to us, since the flies’ average life span is a matter of hours.

·        EQUIVOCAL: open to more than one interpretation; misleading

o   Asked a pointed question, the politician nevertheless gave an EQUIVOCAL answer.

·        EQUIVOCATE: to use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead

o   When faced with criticism of her policies, the politician EQUIVOCATED and left all parties thinking she agreed with them.

·        ERRATIC: wandering and unpredictable

o   The plot seemed predictable until it suddenly took a series of ERRATIC turns that surprised the audience.

·        ERUDITE: learned, scholarly, bookish

o   The annual meeting of philosophy professors was a gathering of the most ERUDITE, well-published individuals in the field.

·        ESOTERIC: known or understood by only a few

o   Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the ESOTERIC world of particle physics.

·        ESTIMABLE: admirable

o   Most people consider it ESTIMABLE that Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India.

·        EULOGY: speech in praise of someone

o   His best friend gave the EULOGY, outlining his many achievements and talents.

·        EUPHEMISM: use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a more distasteful one

o   The funeral director preferred to use the EUPHEMISM “sleeping” instead of the word “dead.”

·        EXACERBATE: to make worse

o   It is unwise to take aspirin to try to relieve heartburn; instead of providing relief, the drug will only EXACERBATE the problem.

·        EXCULPATE: to clear from blame; prove innocent

o   The adversarial legal system is intended to convict those who are guilty and to EXCULPATE those who are innocent.

·        EXIGENT: urgent; requiring immediate action

o   The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was EXIGENT to stop the source of the bleeding.

·        EXONERATE: to clear of blame

o   The fugitive was EXONERATED when another criminal confessed to committing the crime.

·        EXPLICIT: clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression

o   The owners of the house left a list of EXPLICIT instructions detailing their house sitter’s duties, including a schedule for watering the house plants.


·        FANATICAL: acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion

o   The stormtroopers were FANATICAL in their devotion to the emperor, readily sacrificing their lives for him.

·        FAWN: to grovel

o   The understudy FAWNED over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis.

·        FERVID: intensely emotional; feverish

o   The fans of Maria Callas were unusually FERVID, doing anything to catch a glimpse of the great opera singer.

·        FLORID: excessively decorated or embellished

o   The palace had been decorated in a FLORID style; every surface had been carved and gilded.

·        FOMENT: to arouse or incite

o   The protesters tried to FOMENT feeling against the war through their speeches and demonstrations.

·        FRUGALITY: a tendency to be thrifty or cheap

o   Scrooge McDuck’s FRUGALITY was so great that he accumulated enough wealth to fill a giant storehouse with money.


·        GARRULOUS: tending to talk a lot

o   The GARRULOUS parakeet distracted its owner with its continuous talking.

·        GREGARIOUS: outgoing, sociable

o   She was so GREGARIOUS that when she found herself alone, she felt quite sad.

·        GUILE: deceit or trickery

o   Since he was not fast enough to catch the roadrunner on foot, the coyote resorted to GUILE in an effort to trap his enemy.

·        GULLIBLE: easily deceived

o   The con man pretended to be a bank officer so as to fool GULLIBLE bank customers into giving him their account information.


·        HOMOGENEOUS (or HOMOGENOUS): of a similar kind

o   The class was fairly HOMOGENEOUS, since almost all of the students were senior journalism majors.


·        ICONOCLAST: one who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions

o   His lack of regard for traditional beliefs soon established him as an ICONOCLAST.

·        IMPERTURBABLE: not capable of being disturbed

o   The counselor had so much experience dealing with distraught children that she seemed IMPERTURBABLE, even when faced with the wildest tantrums.

·        IMPERVIOUS: impossible to penetrate; incapable of being affected

o   A good raincoat will be IMPERVIOUS to moisture.

·        IMPETUOUS: quick to act without thinking

o   It is not good for an investment broker to be IMPETUOUS, since much thought should be given to all the possible options.

·        IMPLACABLE: unable to be calmed down or made peaceful

o   His rage at the betrayal was so great that he remained IMPLACABLE for weeks.

·        INCHOATE: not fully formed; disorganized

o   The ideas expressed in Nietzsche’s mature work also appear in an INCHOATE form in his earliest writing.

·        INGENUOUS: showing innocence or childlike simplicity

o   She was so INGENUOUS that her friends feared that her innocence and trustfulness would be exploited when she visited the big city.

·        INIMICAL: hostile, unfriendly

o   Even though the children had grown up together, they were INIMICAL to each other at school.

·        INNOCUOUS: harmless

o   Some snakes are poisonous, but most species are INNOCUOUS and pose no danger to humans.

·        INSIPID: lacking interest or flavor

o   The critic claimed that the painting was INSIPID, containing no interesting qualities at all.

·        INTRANSIGENT: uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled

o   The professor was INTRANSIGENT on the deadline, insisting that everyone turn the assignment in at the same time.

·        INUNDATE: to overwhelm; to cover with water

o   The tidal wave INUNDATED Atlantis, which was lost beneath the water.

·        IRASCIBLE: easily made angry

o   Attila the Hun’s IRASCIBLE and violent nature made all who dealt with him fear for their lives.


·        LACONIC: using few words

o   She was a LACONIC poet who built her reputation on using words as sparingly as possible.

·        LAMENT: to express sorrow; to grieve

o   The children continued to LAMENT the death of the goldfish weeks after its demise.

·        LAUD: to give praise; to glorify

o   Parades and fireworks were staged to LAUD the success of the rebels.

·        LAVISH: to give unsparingly (v.); extremely generous or extravagant (adj.)

o   She LAVISHED the puppy with so many treats that it soon became overweight and spoiled.

·        LETHARGIC: acting in an indifferent or slow, sluggish manner

o   The clerk was so LETHARGIC that, even when the store was slow, he always had a long line in front of him.

·        LOQUACIOUS: talkative

o   She was naturally LOQUACIOUS, which was a problem in situations in which listening was more important than talking.

·        LUCID: clear and easily understood

o   The explanations were written in a simple and LUCID manner so that students were immediately able to apply what they learned.

·        LUMINOUS: bright, brilliant, glowing

o   The park was bathed in LUMINOUS sunshine, which warmed the bodies and the souls of the visitors.


·        MALINGER: to evade responsibility by pretending to be ill

o   A common way to avoid the draft was by MALINGERING—pretending to be mentally or physically ill so as to avoid being taken by the Army.

·        MALLEABLE: capable of being shaped

o   Gold is the most MALLEABLE of precious metals; it can easily be formed into almost any shape.

·        METAPHOR: a figure of speech comparing two different things; a symbol

o   The METAPHOR “a sea of troubles” suggests a lot of troubles by comparing their number to the vastness of the sea.

·        METICULOUS: extremely careful about details

o   To find all the clues at the crime scene, the investigators METICULOUSLY examined every inch of the area.

·        MISANTHROPE: a person who dislikes others

o   The character Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is such a MISANTHROPE that even the sight of children singing makes him angry.

·        MITIGATE: to soften; to lessen

o   A judge may MITIGATE a sentence if she decides that a person committed a crime out of need.

·        MOLLIFY: to calm or make less severe

o   Their argument was so intense that it was difficult to believe any compromise would MOLLIFY them.

·        MONOTONY: lack of variation

o   The MONOTONY of the sound of the dripping faucet almost drove the research assistant crazy.


·        NAIVE: lacking sophistication or experience

o   Having never traveled before, the elementary school students were more NAIVE than their high school counterparts on the field trip.


·        OBDURATE: hardened in feeling; resistant to persuasion

o   The president was completely OBDURATE on the issue, and no amount of persuasion would change his mind.

·        OBSEQUIOUS: overly submissive and eager to please

o   The OBSEQUIOUS new associate made sure to compliment her supervisor’s tie and agree with him on every issue.

·        OBSTINATE: stubborn, unyielding

o   The OBSTINATE child could not be made to eat any food that he disliked.

·        OBVIATE: to prevent; to make unnecessary

o   The river was shallow enough to wade across at many points, which OBVIATED the need for a bridge.

·        OCCLUDE: to stop up; to prevent the passage of

o   A shadow is thrown across the earth’s surface during a solar eclipse, when the light from the sun is OCCLUDED by the moon.

·        ONEROUS: troublesome and oppressive; burdensome

o   The assignment was so extensive and difficult to manage that it proved ONEROUS to the team in charge of it.

·        OPAQUE: impossible to see through; preventing the passage of light

o   The heavy buildup of dirt and grime on the windows almost made them OPAQUE.

·        OPPROBRIUM: public disgrace

o   After the scheme to embezzle the elderly was made public, the treasurer resigned in utter OPPROBRIUM.

·        OSTENTATION: excessive showiness

o   The OSTENTATION of the Sun King’s court is evident in the lavish decoration and luxuriousness of his palace at Versailles.


·        PARADOX: a contradiction or dilemma

o   It is a PARADOX that those most in need of medical attention are often those least able to obtain it.

·        PARAGON: model of excellence or perfection

o   She is the PARAGON of what a judge should be: honest, intelligent, hardworking, and just.

·        PEDANT: someone who shows off learning

o   The graduate instructor’s tedious and excessive commentary on the subject soon gained her a reputation as a PEDANT.

·        PERFIDIOUS: willing to betray one’s trust

o   The actress’s PERFIDIOUS companion revealed all of her intimate secrets to the gossip columnist.

·        PERFUNCTORY: done in a routine way; indifferent

o   The machinelike bank teller processed the transaction and gave the waiting customer a PERFUNCTORY smile.

·        PERMEATE: to penetrate

o   This miraculous new cleaning fluid is able to PERMEATE stains and dissolve them in minutes!

·        PHILANTHROPY: charity; a desire or effort to promote goodness

o   New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art owes much of its collection to the PHILANTHROPY of private collectors who willed their estates to the museum.

·        PLACATE: to soothe or pacify

o   The burglar tried to PLACATE the snarling dog by saying “Nice doggy,” and offering it a treat.

·        PLASTIC: able to be molded, altered, or bent

o   The new material was very PLASTIC and could be formed into products of vastly different shapes.

·        PLETHORA: excess

o   Assuming that more was better, the defendant offered the judge a PLETHORA of excuses.

·        PRAGMATIC: practical as opposed to idealistic

o   While daydreaming gamblers think they can get rich by frequenting casinos, PRAGMATIC gamblers realize that the odds are heavily stacked against them.

·        PRECIPITATE: to throw violently or bring about abruptly; lacking deliberation

o   Upon learning that the couple married after knowing each other only two months, friends and family members expected such a PRECIPITATE marriage to end in divorce.

·        PREVARICATE: to lie or deviate from the truth

o   Rather than admit that he had overslept again, the employee PREVARICATED and claimed that heavy traffic had prevented him from arriving at work on time.

·        PRISTINE: fresh and clean; uncorrupted

o   Since concerted measures had been taken to prevent looting, the archeological site was still PRISTINE when researchers arrived.

·        PRODIGAL: lavish, wasteful

o   The PRODIGAL son quickly wasted all of his inheritance on a lavish lifestyle devoted to pleasure.

·        PROLIFERATE: to increase in number quickly

o   Although she only kept two guinea pigs initially, they PROLIFERATED to such an extent that she soon had dozens.

·        PROPITIATE: to conciliate; to appease

o   The management PROPITIATED the irate union by agreeing to raise wages for its members.

·        PROPRIETY: correct behavior; obedience to rules and customs

o   The aristocracy maintained a high level of PROPRIETY, adhering to even the most minor social rules.

·        PRUDENCE: wisdom, caution, or restraint

o   The college student exhibited PRUDENCE by obtaining practical experience along with her studies, which greatly strengthened her résumé.

·        PUNGENT: sharp and irritating to the senses

o   The smoke from the burning tires was extremely PUNGENT.


·        QUIESCENT: motionless

o   Many animals are QUIESCENT over the winter months, minimizing activity in order to conserve energy.


·        RAREFY: to make thinner or sparser

o   Since the atmosphere RAREFIES as altitudes increase, the air at the top of very tall mountains is too thin to breathe.

·        REPUDIATE: to reject the validity of

o   The old woman’s claim that she was Russian royalty was REPUDIATED when DNA tests showed she was of no relation to them.

·        RETICENT: silent, reserved

o   Physically small and RETICENT in her speech, Joan Didion often went unnoticed by those upon whom she was reporting.

·        RHETORIC: effective writing or speaking

o   Lincoln’s talent for RHETORIC was evident in his beautifully expressed Gettysburg Address.


·        SATIATE: to satisfy fully or overindulge

o   His desire for power was so great that nothing less than complete control of the country could SATIATE it.

·        SOPORIFIC: causing sleep or lethargy

o   The movie proved to be so SOPORIFIC that soon loud snores were heard throughout the theater.

·        SPECIOUS: deceptively attractive; seemingly plausible but fallacious

o   The student’s SPECIOUS excuse for being late sounded legitimate but was proved otherwise when her teacher called her home.

·        STIGMA: a mark of shame or discredit

o   In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was required to wear the letter on her clothes as a public STIGMA for her adultery.

·        STOLID: unemotional; lacking sensitivity

o   The prisoner appeared STOLID and unaffected by the judge’s harsh sentence.

·        SUBLIME: lofty or grand

o   The music was so SUBLIME that it transformed the rude surroundings into a special place.


·        TACIT: done without using words

o   Although not a word had been said, everyone in the room knew that a TACIT agreement had been made about which course of action to take.

·        TACITURN: silent, not talkative

o   The clerk’s TACITURN nature earned him the nickname “Silent Bob.”

·        TIRADE: long, harsh speech or verbal attack

o   Observers were shocked at the manager’s TIRADE over such a minor mistake.

·        TORPOR: extreme mental and physical sluggishness

o   After surgery, the patient experienced TORPOR until the anesthesia wore off.

·        TRANSITORY: temporary; lasting a brief time

o   The reporter lived a TRANSITORY life, staying in one place only long enough to cover the current story.


·        VACILLATE: to sway physically; to be indecisive

o   The customer held up the line as he VACILLATED between ordering chocolate chip or rocky road ice cream.

·        VENERATE: to respect deeply

o   In a traditional Confucian society, the young VENERATE their elders, deferring to the elders’ wisdom and experience.

·        VERACITY: truthfulness; accuracy

o   She had a reputation for VERACITY, so everyone trusted her description of events.

·        VERBOSE: wordy

o   The professor’s answer was so VERBOSE that his student forgot what the original question had been.

·        VEX: to annoy

o   The old man who loved his peace and quiet was VEXED by his neighbor’s loud music.

·        VOLATILE: easily aroused or changeable; lively or explosive

o   His VOLATILE personality made it difficult to predict his reaction to anything.


·        WAVER: to fluctuate between choices

o   If you WAVER too long before making a decision about which testing site to register for, you may not get your first choice.

·        WHIMSICAL: acting in a fanciful or capricious manner; unpredictable

o   The ballet was WHIMSICAL, delighting the children with its imaginative characters and unpredictable sets.


·        ZEAL: passion, excitement

o   She brought her typical ZEAL to the project, sparking enthusiasm in the other team members.


·        ALREADY: by this or that time, previously

o   He already completed his work.

·        ALL READY: completely prepared

o   The students were all ready to take their exam.

·        ALTOGETHER: entirely; completely

o   I am altogether certain that I turned in my homework.

·        ALL TOGETHER: in the same place

o   She kept the figurines all together on her mantle.

·        CAPITAL: a city containing the seat of government; the wealth or funds owned by a business or individual; resources

o   Atlanta is the capital of Georgia.

o   The company’s capital gains have diminished in recent years.

·        CAPITOL: the building in which a legislative body meets

o   Our trip included a visit to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

·        COARSE: rough, not smooth; lacking refinement

o   The truck’s large wheels enabled it to navigate the coarse, rough terrain.

o   His coarse language prevented him from getting hired for the job.

·        COURSE: path; series of classes or studies

o   James’s favorite course is biology.

o   The doctor suggested that Amy rest and let the disease run its course.

·        HERE: in this location

o   George Washington used to live here.

·        HEAR: to listen to or to perceive by the ear

o   Did you hear the question?

·        ITS: a personal pronoun that shows possession

o   Please put the book back in its place.

·        IT’S: the contraction of “it is” or “it has”

o   It’s snowing outside.

o   It’s been too long.

·        LEAD: to act as a leader, to go first, or to take a superior position

o   The guide will lead us through the forest.

·        LED: past tense of “lead”

o   The guide led us through the forest.

·        LEAD: a metal

o   It is dangerous to inhale fumes from paint containing lead.

·        LOOSE: free; to set free; not tight

o   She always wears loose clothing when she does yoga.

·        LOSE: to become without

o   Use a bookmark so you don’t lose your place in your book.

·        PASSED: the past tense of pass; a euphemism for someone dying

o   We passed by her house on Sunday.

·        PAST: that which has gone by or elapsed in time

o   In the past, Abby never used to study.

o   We drove past her house.

·        PRINCIPAL: the head of a school; main or important

o   The quarterback’s injury is the principal reason the team lost.

o   The principal of the school meets with parents regularly.

·        PRINCIPLE: a fundamental law or truth

o   The laws of motion are among the most important principles in physics.

·        STATIONARY: fixed, not moving

o   Thomas rode a stationary bicycle at the gym.

·        STATIONERY: paper used for letter writing

o   The principal’s stationery has the school’s logo on the top.

·        THEIR: possessive of “they”

o   Paul and Ben studied for their test together.

·        THERE: a place; in that matter or respect

o   There are several question types on the GRE.

o   Please hang up your jacket over there.

·        THEY’RE: contraction of “they are”

o   Be careful of the bushes, as they’re filled with thorns.