SAT Vocabulary

Clarity 

clearness in thought or expression 

capricious

unpredictable, changeable

captious
ill-natured, quarrelsome
carp
to complain
cartography
study or creation of maps
castigate
to scold, criticize severely
catalyst
something that makes something happen without direct involvement
catharsis
the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
cavil

to quibble, raise trivial objections

censure
to condemn severely for doing something bad
chagrin
humiliation
chicanery

trickery, deceitfulness

chimerical
imaginary, given to fantasy
choleric
hot-tempered, quick to anger
circumvent      
to go around
closefisted      
stingy, (opposite is openhanded: generous)
coalesce

to come together as one

cogitate

to ponder, think carefully about

colloquial
ordinary, informal speech
conscript
enlisted, drafted, enrolled
corroborate
to confirm, back up with evidence
coterie

a group of close associates or friends

coy
shy, reluctant to make a commitment
craven 
cowardly
curmudgeon      
a greedy irascible, old person
dearth
lack of, or shortage of
debacle

a big disaster

deft

skillful, adroit

dehydrate
remove water
deleterious
harmful
demagogue
a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
demography

statistical study of the characteristics of populations

desalinate

to remove salt from something

desiccate
to dry out
diplomatic
tactful; good at negotiating
discomfit
to frustrate, to confuse
dither
to vacillate between choices; to tremble with excitement
diurnal

occurring every day; occurring during the daytime

divisive
creating conflict and disagreement
draconian

severe, harsh, cruel

ebullient
bubbling with excitement, exuberant
eclectic

drawn from many sources

effigy
a likeness of a person, usually one used to express hatred for that person
egregious

extremely bad, flagrant

elliptical

oval; missing a word or words; obscure

endemic
native, restricted to a particular region or area, indigenous
ephemeral
lasting a very short time
equine

relating to horses, horse-like

equivocal

ambiguous, intentionally confusing, capable of being interpreted many ways

ersatz
serving as a substitute; synthetic, artificial
ethereal
heavenly, light, insubstantial
etymology
the study of words and their meanings
euphonious      
pleasant-sounding, opposite of cacophonous; melodious
evanescent
fleeting, vanishing, happening only for the briefest period
evince
o demonstrate convincingly; to prove
execrate
to curse, denounce
exhume
to unbury; to dig out of the ground
exonerate
to free completely from blame
expeditious
prompt, speedy; to expedite
expiate
to make amends, to atone
expunge

to erase, obliterate, to blot out

facile
fluent, skillful in a superficial way
fecund

fertile, productive

fervent
having intense feeling, enthusiastic; fervid
feign
to pretend; to make a false representation of something
flaccid
soft and limp
florid
very fancy, usually refers to intangible objects, i.e., florid speech
flout
to disregard something or someone out of disrespect
ford
the shallow part of a river; to cross a river at the shallow part
forensics
the art or study of argumentation and formal debate
fortuitous      
accidental, occurring by chance
fracas
a big fight
furrow
a narrow groove made in the ground; to make wrinkles in the face
gaffe
a social blunder, an embarrassing mistake, a faux pas
galvanize
to startle into sudden activity; to revitalize
gastronomy
the art of eating well
germane
relevant, applicable, pertinent
glower
to look or stare with sullen dislike or anger
goldbrick
to swindle, to sell something worthless as if it were valuable; a swindle
grandiloquent
using a lot of big, fancy words to sound impressive
gratuitous      
given freely; uncalled for unjustified; unprovoked
glut
surplus, overabundance
hackneyed
overused, trite, stale
harbinger

a forerunner, a signal of

hedonism
the pursuit of pleasure as a way of life
hegemony
leadership, especially of one nation over another
hermetic
airtight, impervious to external influence
homily
a sermon
hubris
excessive pride
humanist
one who has great concern for human welfare, values, and dignity; a student of the classics
hybrid
formed, bred, or composed from different elements
hypodermic
beneath the skin
idiosyncratic
quirky, peculiar, eccentric
ignominy
shame, disrepute, disgrace
importune
to beg, urge, or insist persistently
inane
silly, senseless
incantation
a chant
incarnate
in the flesh
incensed
very angry
inchoate
incomplete; only partially formed
indignant
angry or insulted, especially as a result of something unjust or unworthy
indolent
habitually lazy
ineffable      
incapable of being expressed or described
inexorable
relentless, inevitable, unavoidable
inoculate
to protect against disease
insouciant
nonchalant, light-hearted, carefree
irascible

easily angered or provoked; irritable

jaunt
a short pleasure trip
jejune
lacking maturity or significance; irrelevant
jettison
to throw or cast off
jingoist
an excessively vigilant patriot; a bellicose chauvinist; a war-mongering nationalist
jurisprudence      
the study of law
karma
consequences of one’s actions; fate, destiny
kudos

honor, glory, acclaim, compliment

lambaste
to assault violently with words

lament

 

 to mourn

 

laudatory
praising
lax
not strict; careless or negligent
lexicon
a glossary or dictionary
limpid
transparent, clear, lucid
liniment
a medicinal liquid or salve for rubbing on the skin
liquidate
to get rid of; to settle a debt
lugubrious
exaggeratedly mournful
luminary
a person who has attained eminence in his/her field
maudlin
silly and overly sentimental
maverick
a nonconformist; a rebel
mellifluous
flowing sweetly, usually refers to sounds of voices
mendacious      
ying, dishonest
meritorious
deserving praise or reward
mirth
amusement or laughter
misanthrope      
one who hates people
mollify
to soften, soothe, pacify
moribund
dying

narcissism

excessive love of one’s body or oneself
nebulous
ague, hazy, indistinct
neologism
a new word or phrase; a new usage of a word
neophyte
a novice or beginner
noisome
offensive or disgusting; stinking, noxious
noxious
harmful, offensive

nuance   

a subtle difference or distinction
numerology
the study of numbers for the purposes of predicting the future
obdurate
stubborn, insensitive, unyielding, resistant to persuasion
obeisance
deep reverence; a bow or curtsy
obfuscate
to darken or confuse
obsequious
fawning, subservient, servile, excessively deferential
odometer
instrument that measures how many miles one has traveled
olfactory
pertaining to the sense of smell
oligarchy
government by only a very few people
ornate
very fancy, usually refers to tangible objects, e.g. ornate woodwork
palliative
something that provides temporary relief without getting rid of the problem
paltry
insignificant; worthless
panacea
something that cures everything
panache
flair, verve; dashing elegance
paragon
a model of excellence
peccadillo
a minor offense or error
pedantic
boringly scholarly or academic; overly concerned with details
penurious
extremely stingy, poor or miserly
perfidy
treachery
perfunctory
unenthusiastic, careless
pernicious
deadly, extremely evil
perquisite      
a privilege that goes along with a job; a perk
philistine
a smugly ignorant person with no appreciation for intellectual or artistic matters
piquant
pleasantly sharp in flavor; interestingly provocative or stimulating
pique
to excite; to arouse an emotion or provoke to action
plebeian
common, vulgar, low-class
poignant
painfully emotional, extremely moving, sharp, or astute
polemic
a powerful argument often made to attack or refute a controversial issue
portent
an omen, a sign of something coming
potentate
a person who possesses great power
predilection      
a natural preference for something

 preempt

   to seize something by prior right

prescient 

  having knowledge of things before they exist or happen

priggish 

  very fussy, self-righteous, high maintenance, usually refers to people

profligate 

 extravagantly wasteful; wildly immoral

prolific 

  abundantly productive, fruitful, or fertile

promulgate

   to publicly or formally declare something
prosaic
dull, unimaginative

pugnacious 

  quarrelsome, combative, always ready to fight

pulchritude

   physical beauty

queue 

  a line; to line up

quiescent

   motionless; at rest; still

quintessential 

  being the most perfect example of

quixotic 

  idealistic to a foolish or impractical degree, like Don Quixote

quotidian  

 daily; everyday; ordinary

raze 

  to completely destroy or level something

rebuke 

  to criticize sharply

recapitulate 

  to review or summarize

recidivism 

   the act of repeating an offense

redolent 

  fragrant

renege 

  to go back on a bet or promise

retrenchment

   cutting down or off, reduction

rhetoric   

the study or art of using language well; the use of undue exaggeration

sacrosanct      

sacred, held to be inviolable

sanguine  

 cheerful, optimistic, hopeful

sardonic  

 mocking, scornful

saturnine 

  gloomy or taciturn

scrupulous  

 strict, careful; hesitant for ethical reasons

semantic 

  pertaining to the meaning of words or symbols

semaphore   

 

a system of signaling, usually through the use of flags

serendipity 

  accidental good fortune, discovering good things without looking for them

skinflint  

 a mean, penny-pinching person

smidgen   

  a very small amount

somber 

  depressing, dismal, gloomy

specious 

  deceptively plausible or attractive; misleading

stand 

  a group of trees

sublime 

  of great intellectual, moral, or spiritual value

subsidy 

  a gift of money

subterfuge  

 deceptive strategy used to conceal, escape, or evade

supercilious 

  haughty, patronizing
supplicate 
     to ask or beg humbly

tenable 

  valid, capable of being argued successfully

threadbare  

 falling apart, meager, poor, old

truculent 

  fierce, cruel, savagely brutal

turbid 

  unclear or opaque; lacking clarity or purity

uncanny

 

extraordinary, mysterious, uncomfortably strange

unilateral

   involving one side only; done on behalf of one side only

usury  

 the practice of lending money at a high rate of interest

vacuous 

  empty of content; lacking in ideas or intelligence
vapid 
     dull, spiritless

verdant 

  covered with green plants; leafy; inexperienced

vernacular  

 everyday speech, slang, idiom
vestige    
  a remaining bit of something, a trace

vilify   

to say vile things about; to defame

wane  

 to decrease in strength or intensity; to fade away; to decline in power

wanton   

malicious, unjustifiable, unprovoked, egregious
wizened      
shriveled, withered, shrunken
zeitgeist     
 the mood or spirit of the times
zenith 
     the highest point; peak; pinnacle

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