Can You Pass This SAT Vocabulary Drill Without Any Mistakes In 4 Minutes?

Torrance Grey

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About This Quiz

The Scholastic Aptitude Test, that hurdle which every college-bound senior must face, is composed of two sections, math and language skills. While many students tend to prefer math, and perform better on that section, it's often vocabulary that will remain more essential in our day-to-day lives, determining whether we ace job interviews or just impress the people we meet.

For this reason, if your vocabulary has never been your strong suit, it's in your best interest to strengthen those skills.  Maybe it's time to learn the difference between "extant" and "extent" (the first means "still in existence" and the second, "a range or limit.") You should also note that "noisome" does not mean "loud," but rather  "dirty" or "objectionable." It's time to learn the true meaning of "lucid," "genial" and "defunct." And "liberal" and "conservative" have meanings that precede politics. Do you know what they are?

If you're ready to fill the lacunae (gaps) in your vocabulary, or show off your puissance (power) in this area, then we've got a quiz for you!

What does "verbose" mean?

A verbose person is someone who uses a lot of words in either speaking or writing. Perfect for this quiz, eh?

To be "chaste" is to be what?

The words "chaste" and "chastity" refer to sexual purity. Don't confuse them with "chasten," though, which means "to reprimand or scold."

Pick the best meaning of "genial."

"Genial" means friendly, kindly or open. An example would be: The talk show host was genial with all her guests, as well as the audience members.

Pick the best definition of "conservative."

We add this one to make a point: While the words "liberal" and "conservative" are strongly associated with politics, they have earlier meanings that go beyond that. To be "conservative" means you are careful and not putting all your eggs in one basket.

"Explicable" means:

You might know this term better as its antonym, "inexplicable." However, it's fair to use "explicable" for occasions when there's the proverbial "perfectly logical explanation." For instance: His behavior was totally explicable, given the circumstances.

To be "inconceivable" is to be:

You might know this word from "The Princess Bride," in which Vizzini keeps proclaiming "Inconceivable!" until another character tells him, "You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means." Well, now you know!

To feel "loathing" is to feel what?

If you loathe something, you deeply dislike it. The young child loathed the idea of his food touching on the same plate.

As an adjective, what does "diffuse" mean?

Something "diffuse" is spread out, indirect or abstract. As a verb, it means to spread something out. That's why a scent diffuser, which turns scented oils into vapor, is called what it's called.

What is a "deficit?"

This word turns up in common phrases. For example, when a budget falls short, there's said to be a "budget deficit." Likewise, most people have heard of "attention deficit disorder." It simply means there's less than there should be.

Something "opportune" is:

"Opportune" is often used to describe good timing. For example, "The car breakdown came at an opportune point, as just then, my crush drove by and stopped to give me a ride."

What does "solicitous" mean?

A "solicitous" person shows interest in you or appears to be concerned with your well-being. Watch out: He or she might have ulterior motives, hence, the term for certain salespeople: solicitor.

What is the best definition of "cataclysm?"

"Cataclysm" means very large disaster. For example, the meteor that struck in the Gulf of Mexico created a cataclysm for the remaining dinosaurs on earth.

Pick the best meaning of "liberal."

Like "conservative," "liberal" is an adjective that isn't just about politics. It means "generous with money or other things." For example, "He gave the pie crust a liberal dusting of sugar."

What does "thwart" mean?

Something "thwarted" has been blocked, often permanently. For example, you might refer to someone's "thwarted" plans to run for mayor (or rob a bank.)

Someone "portly" is _____.

"Portly" is a polite, old-fashioned way of saying "fat." It works especially if your audience is too old to know the meaning of "thick."

Someone "lucid" is:

Lucidity means clarity. A lucid argument is a clear argument. A person who is lucid is thinking clearly, while someone who is having hallucinations is definitely not lucid.

If something is "defunct," what is it?

You might have recognized this one from the syllable "funct," related to "functioning." An example would be: The old factory was made defunct by the advent of new technology.

What is an "impasse?"

It's not uncommon for you to hear that "negotiations were at an impasse," but it could also mean a physical barrier. For instance, hikers might reach an impasse when trying to cross over a mountain range.

Which of these is the best meaning of "sagacity?"

"Sagacity" is a fancy way of saying "wisdom" or "canniness." It's related to the word "sage," meaning "wise man or woman."

To "bequeath" something is to do what?

"Bequest" is the noun form, meaning something left in a will. We say it's "usually" after death, because sometimes it's used metaphorically: "She bequeathed me her Rolodex when she quit her job."

If something, especially a disease, is "endemic," what is it?

Here's the skinny on "endemic," "pandemic" and "epidemic." "Endemic" is means common to a region or people. "Pandemic" means it's widespread throughout the region, having saturated it. The best-known, "epidemic," means it's fast-moving and out of control (at least in the case of a disease.)

Which of these is the best definition of "incorrigible?"

The root is the Latin word "corrigere," for "to correct." Though it's extremely rare in conversation, there is also the word "corrigible," for someone who actually can be corrected or reformed.

How would you describe something "granular?"

At its simplest, "granular" means "composed of grains." It's often used descriptively: A countertop can be "granular" to the touch.

Which of these is a synonym for "egregious?"

Both "egregious" and "flagrant" mean something obviously bad, that draws attention to itself. For example, "Eating with your mouth open is an egregious violation of good etiquette."

Which of these is the closest synonym of "comportment?"

"Comportment" is how you act and carry yourself. You might find this on an old-fashioned school report card, i.e., "Little Susie's comportment left much to be desired."

What is the best definition of "bigamy?"

The suffix "-gamy" refers to marriage. "Polygamy" is the term for plural marriage, whether it's two spouses, three or more. "Bigamy" is entering into a second marriage while already married to a first spouse.

What is a "fracas?"

Put less colorfully, a "fracas" is a disagreement accompanied by loud argumentation or even thrown punches. We just enjoy all the creative ways English has to express this idea!

The term "rococo" would be applied to which of these?

"Rococo" is a style marked by a lot of ornamentation or unnecessary flourishes. It can be applied to buildings, decor or to works of music.

What period of time does "gestational" refer to?

You might hear this in reference to "gestational diabetes." That's a form of reversible diabetes which occurs during pregnancy because of changes in hormones.

Which of these is the best definition of "cathartic?"

The ancient Greeks are credited with the idea of "catharsis." They found that violent plays and tragedies helped people deal with pent-up emotions.

A "heretic" is someone who:

Heresy (in which a heretic takes part) used to be the worst of all sins in the Christian religion. Fortunately, we've reached the days when it is mostly used figuratively: "Suggesting that Tom Brady is overrated is heresy in Boston."

Which of these is the meaning of "epicurean?"

Fun fact: The modern meaning of "epicurean" is actually a misreading of the actual teaching of the Greek philosopher Epicurus. He believed that pleasure is humankind's highest goal, but that happiness came from self-control. To that end, he ate a very simple diet.

"Chauvinism" is a belief in the superiority of _____.

Nowadays, we associate this word mostly with male chauvinism, or sexism. However, it originally meant blind, excessive patriotism: It came from a character in a French play, named Chauvin, who was devoted to Napoleon and French exceptionalism.

Which of these is a synonym for "hirsute?"

According to Merriam-Webster's websites, searches of "hirsute" spiked after actor Burt Reynolds died (he was known for his mustache and his chest/body hair.)

What does "apex" mean?

For example, if you get 35/35 on this quiz, it might be the apex of your intellectual career! (We hope not, though.)

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