graduateshotline logo

Vocabulary and SAT

SAT exam underwent a change in 2005 and then reverted back to its original state after 2016. The change that was made during this brief period was to increase the overall score from 1600 to 2400. This change in scale further changed the exam pattern through the inclusion of difficult vocabulary testing questions. It became a practice to learn for SAT with flashcards full of word meanings in order to crack the high sounding, uncommon words that were sought after in the test.

But after 2016, the questions regarding vocabulary have reduced along with their difficulty. Now, vocabulary is focused on by students to gain an upper hand by easily scoring in the ERW section by learning words and their meaning. The difficulty has been toned down to a medium and is now asked within a context in a passage which makes identifying the word easier.

Let us now go through a list of words and their meanings that will assist you in cracking those questions for extra points. Keep in mind that memorizing the words is not the agenda behind the list. It is to make you familiar with the words and their meanings that will help you place them in a context during the test.

SAT Vocabulary Aid

abeyancea state of temporary inactivity
aboundto be copiously supplied
abscondto get free from a dangerous or confining situation
abundantpossessing or covered with great numbers or amounts of something specified
admonishto give advice to
amiablehaving an easygoing and pleasing manner especially in social situations
animositya deep-seated ill will
annihilateto defeat by a large margin
anomalousdeparting from some accepted standard of what is normal
aromatichaving a pleasant smell
ascertainto come upon after searching, study, or effort
bantergood-natured teasing or exchanging of clever remarks
beaconsomething that provides illumination
berserkin a confused and reckless manner
braggartsomeone who boasts
bucolicof, relating to, associated with, or typical of open areas with few buildings or people
cachea supply stored up and often hidden away
cantankeroushaving or showing a habitually bad temper
capriciousprone to sudden illogical changes of mind, ideas, or actions
celestialof, relating to, or suggesting heaven
censurean often public or formal expression of disapproval
chastento reduce to a lower standing in one's own eyes or in others' eyes
churlishhaving or showing crudely insensitive or impolite manners
clamorloud, confused, and usually inharmonious sound
clarificationa statement that makes something clear
conceptsomething imagined or pictured in the mind
confiscateto take ownership or control of (something) by right of one's authority
conflagrationa state of armed violent struggle between states, nations, or groups
confoundto prove to be false
conniveto engage in a secret plan to accomplish evil or unlawful ends
contemptuousintended to make a person or thing seem of little importance or value
continuityuninterrupted or lasting existence
credibleworthy of being accepted as true or reasonable
culminateto bring to a triumphant conclusion
curbsomething that limits one's freedom of action or choice
dawdleto spend time doing nothing
debunkto reveal the true nature of
decreean order publicly issued by an authority
depravitythe state or quality of being utterly evil
despondentfeeling unhappiness
detractto draw the attention or mind to something else
devoidlacking contents that could or should be present
dilettantelacking or showing a lack of expert skill
disgruntledhaving a feeling that one has been wronged or thwarted in one's ambitions
disreputethe state of having lost the esteem of others
diversitythe quality or state of being different
dowagera dignified usually elderly woman of some rank or authority
dynamicmarked by or uttered with forcefulness
eeriefearfully and mysteriously strange or fantastic
egalitarianone who advocates or practices social equality
encountera brief clash between enemies or rivals
encroachto advance gradually beyond the usual or desirable limits
epiclarge and impressive in size, grandeur, extent, or conception
erroneousnot being in agreement with what is true
esotericnot known or meant to be known by the general populace
espouseto take for one's own use (something originated by another)
eulogya formal expression of praise
exhilaratingcausing great emotional or mental stimulation
exuberantjoyously unrestrained
fizzlesomething that has failed
flauntto present so as to invite notice or attention
flotsamthe portion or bits of something left over or behind after it has been destroyed
fluctuationthe frequent and usually sudden passing from one condition to another
fluxabnormally frequent intestinal evacuations with more or less fluid stools
follylanguage, behavior, or ideas that are absurd and contrary to good sense
forebodingbeing or showing a sign of evil or calamity to come
foregoto go or come before in time
frigidlacking in friendliness or warmth of feeling
frustratingcausing annoyance
fusiona distinct entity formed by the combining of two or more different things
galaa time or program of special events and entertainment in honor of something
heartrendingdeserving of one's pity
humilitythe absence of any feelings of being better than others
hyperbolethe representation of something in terms that go beyond the facts
ignitedbeing on fire
igniteto set (something) on fire
illuminatedfilled with much light
illusiona false idea or belief
imminentbeing soon to appear or take place
increduloustoo extraordinary or improbable to believe
indefatigableshowing no signs of weariness even after long hard effort
indictmenta formal claim of criminal wrongdoing against a person
indictto make a claim of wrongdoing against
indifferentmarked by justice, honesty, and freedom from bias
indigenousbeing a part of the innermost nature of a person or thing
indignationan intense emotional state of displeasure with someone or something
indisputablenot capable of being challenged or proved wrong
induceto cause (someone) to agree with a belief or course of action by using arguments or earnest requests
indulgeto treat with great or excessive care
ineffectualproducing no results
infestto spread or swarm over in a troublesome manner
inflammatorytending to excite political disorder or insurrection
infringeto fail to keep
ingenuouslacking in worldly wisdom or informed judgment
intermingleto turn into a single mass or entity that is more or less the same throughout
intrepidfeeling or displaying no fear by temperament
intricatemade or done with great care or with much detail
invigoratinghaving a renewing effect on the state of the body or mind
irascibleeasily irritated or annoyed
iratefeeling or showing anger
jingoismexcessive favoritism towards one's own country
leisurelymoving or proceeding at less than the normal, desirable, or required speed
lethargicslow to move or act
lingerto move or act slowly
loftyvery dignified in form, tone, or style
loquaciousfond of talking or conversation
lugubriousexpressing or suggesting mourning
luscioussexually attractive
maladyan abnormal state that disrupts a plant's or animal's normal bodily functioning
malevolenthaving or showing a desire to cause someone pain or suffering for the sheer enjoyment of it
mellowhaving a relaxed, casual manner
mollifyto make more bearable or less severe
monotonya tedious lack of variety
motifa unit of decoration that is repeated all over something (as a fabric)
myriadtoo many to be counted
nomadictravelling from place to place
nullifyto put an end to by formal action
obscuredbeing without light or without much light
obtrusivethrusting oneself where one is not welcome or invited
orthodoxtending to favor established ideas, conditions, or institutions
palpablenot subject to misinterpretation or more than one interpretation
panoramiccovering everything or all important points
pantomimean actor in a story performed silently and entirely by body movements
paradoxsomeone or something with qualities or features that seem to conflict with one another
partisaninclined to favor one side over another
pastoralof, relating to, or characteristic of the clergy
penitentfeeling sorrow for a wrong that one has done
perfidiousnot true in one's allegiance to someone or something
permeateto spread throughout
perniciouscausing or capable of causing harm
perpetuallasting forever
perpetuateto give eternal or lasting existence to
persevereto continue despite difficulties, opposition, or discouragement
pertinenthaving to do with the matter at hand
peruseto go over and mentally take in the content of
pessimista person who distrusts other people and believes that everything is done for selfish reasons
phlegmaticnot feeling or showing emotion
piecemealproceeding or changing by steps or degrees
pioneercoming before all others in time or order
placidfree from disturbing noise or uproar
plausibleworthy of being accepted as true or reasonable
pliablecapable of being readily changed
prevalentaccepted, used, or practiced by most people
prodigiousunusually large
profligacyimmoral conduct or practices harmful or offensive to society
profusionthe quality or fact of being free or wasteful in the expenditure of money
propheticbeing a sign of a later course of events
prosecuteto carry through (as a process) to completion
proximitythe state or condition of being near
pulsateto expand and contract in a rhythmic manner
puncturea mark or small hole made by a pointed instrument
questan act or process of looking carefully or thoroughly for someone or something
raimentcovering for the human body
randomlacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern
rantboastful speech or writing
rapporta friendly relationship marked by ready communication and mutual understanding
raspingharsh and dry in sound
raucousbeing rough or noisy in a high-spirited way
razeto destroy (as a building) completely by knocking down or breaking to pieces
rectifyto remove errors, defects, deficiencies, or deviations from
reignthe right or means to command or control others
reinforceto provide evidence or information for (as a claim or idea)
reiterateto say or state again
relishthe feeling experienced when one's wishes are met
remedysomething that corrects or counteracts something undesirable
retaliateto punish in kind the wrongdoer responsible for
saturatecontaining, covered with, or thoroughly penetrated by water
sentimentalappealing to the emotions in an obvious and tiresome way
shamlacking in natural or spontaneous quality
squanderto cause (members of a group) to move widely apart
stimulatingserving or likely to arouse a strong reaction
stringentnot allowing for any exceptions or loosening of standards
subtlesatisfying or pleasing because of fineness or mildness
supplantto take the place of
tactthe ability to deal with others in touchy situations without offending them
temperone's characteristic attitude or mood
tenablecapable of being defended with good reasoning against verbal attack
tersemarked by the use of few words to convey much information or meaning
therapeutictending to cure disease or restore health
thwartto prevent from achieving a goal
tormenta source of persistent emotional distress
torporphysical or mental inertness
tractablereadily giving in to the command or authority of another
transcendto go beyond the limit of
transientlasting only for a short time
transmuteto change in form, appearance, or use
tremblean instance of shaking involuntarily with fear or cold
triflingso small or unimportant as to warrant little or no attention
truncateto make less in extent or duration
tundraa broad area of level or rolling treeless country
turmoila state of noisy, confused activity
uncouthlacking in refinement or good taste
underscoreto indicate the importance of by giving prominent display
ungainlyhaving or showing an inability to move in a graceful manner
unionthe state of having shared interests or efforts (as in social or business matters)
vindicationa setting free from a charge of wrongdoing
vociferousengaging in or marked by loud and insistent cries especially of protest
waveringa state or an instance of temporary inaction because of uncertainty about the right course of action

Tips to Improve Vocabulary

Last Updates: 4 Feb, 2021

2024 SAT Test Dates


SAT Prep - Tips

PSAT as a Stepping Stone to SAT

SAT Math