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Top 250 most difficult SAT/ACT words

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created 7 years ago by SAT_ACT_guy
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This set includes the 250 most difficult SAT/ACT vocab words. Includes definition and example sentence. The example sentence may use another form of the word (plural, past tense etc)

updated 7 years ago by SAT_ACT_guy

Grade levels:
8th grade, 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, 12th grade

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1

abjure

(v.) to reject, renounce
(To prove his honesty, the president _____ the evil policies of his wicked predecessor.)

2

abrogate

(v.) to abolish, usually by authority
(The Bill of Rights assures that the government cannot _____ our rights to a free press.)

3

acerbic

(adj.) biting, bitter in tone or taste
(Jill became extremely _____ and began to cruelly make fun of all her friends.)

4

acrimony

(n.) bitterness, discord
(Though they vowed that no girl would ever come between them, Biff and Trevor could not keep _____ from overwhelming their friendship after they both fell in love with the lovely Teresa.)

5

acumen

(n.) keen insight
(Because of his mathematical _____, Larry was able to figure out in minutes problems that took other students hours.)

6

adumbrate

(v.) to sketch out in a vague way
(The coach _____ a game plan, but none of the players knew precisely what to do.)

7

alacrity

(n.) eagerness, speed
(For some reason, Chuck loved to help his mother whenever he could, so when his mother asked him to set the table, he did so with _____.)

8

anathema

(n.) a cursed, detested person
(I never want to see that murderer. He is an _____ to me.)

9

antipathy

(n.) a strong dislike, repugnance
(I know you love me, but because you are a liar and a thief, I feel nothing but _____ for you.)

10

approbation

(n.) praise
(The crowd welcomed the heroes with _____.)

11

arrogate

(v.) to take without justification
(The king _____ the right to order executions to himself exclusively.)

12

ascetic

(adj.) practicing restraint as a means of self-discipline, usually religious
(The priest lives an _____ life devoid of television, savory foods, and other pleasures.)

13

aspersion

(n.) a curse, expression of ill-will
(The rival politicians repeatedly cast _____ on each others’ integrity.)

14

assiduous

(adj.) hard-working, diligent
(The construction workers erected the skyscraper during two years of _____ labor.)

15

blandish

(v.) to coax by using flattery
(Rachel’s assistant tried to _____ her into accepting the deal.)

16

boon

(n.) a gift or blessing
(The good weather has been a _____ for many businesses located near the beach.)

17

brusque

(adj.) short, abrupt, dismissive
(The captain’s _____ manner offended the passengers.)

18

buffet

1. (v.) to strike with force
(The strong winds _____ the ships, threatening to capsize them.)

2. (n.) an arrangement of food set out on a table
(Rather than sitting around a table, the guests took food from our _____ and ate standing up.)

19

burnish

(v.) to polish, shine
(His mother asked him to _____ the silverware before setting the table.)

20

buttress

1. (v.) to support, hold up
(The column _____ the roof above the statue.)

2. (n.) something that offers support
(The _____ supports the roof above the statues.)

21

cacophony

(n.) tremendous noise, disharmonious sound
(The elementary school orchestra created a _____ at the recital.)

22

cajole

(v.) to urge, coax
(Fred’s buddies _____ him into attending the bachelor party.)

23

calumny

(n.) an attempt to spoil someone else’s reputation by spreading lies
(The local official’s _____ ended up ruining his opponent’s prospect of winning the election.)

24

capricious

(adj.) subject to whim, fickle
(The young girl’s _____ tendencies made it difficult for her to focus on achieving her goals.)

25

clemency

(n.) mercy
(After he forgot their anniversary, Martin could only beg Maria _____.)

26

cogent

(adj.) intellectually convincing
(Irene’s arguments in favor of abstinence were _____ that I could not resist them.)

27

concomitant

(adj.) accompanying in a subordinate fashion
(His dislike of hard work carried with it a _____ lack of funds.)

28

conflagration

(n.) great fire
(The _____ consumed the entire building.)

29

contrite

(adj.) penitent, eager to be forgiven
(Blake’s _____ behavior made it impossible to stay angry at him.)

30

conundrum

(n.) puzzle, problem
(Interpreting Jane’s behavior was a constant _____.)

31

credulity

(n.) readiness to believe
(His _____ made him an easy target for con men.)

32

cupidity

(n.) greed, strong desire
(His _____ made him enter the abandoned gold mine despite the obvious dangers.)

33

cursory

(adj.) brief to the point of being superficial
(Late for the meeting, she cast a _____ glance at the agenda.)

34

decry

(v.) to criticize openly
(The kind video rental clerk _____ the policy of charging customers late fees.)

35

defile

(v.) to make unclean, impure
(She _____ the calm of the religious building by playing her banjo.)

36

deleterious

(adj.) harmful
(She experienced the _____ effects of running a marathon without stretching her muscles enough beforehand.)

37

demure

(adj.) quiet, modest, reserved
(Though everyone else at the party was dancing and going crazy, she remained _____.)

38

deprecate

(v.) to belittle, depreciate
(Always over-modest, he _____ his contribution to the local charity.)

39

deride

(v.) to laugh at mockingly, scorn
(The bullies _____ the foreign student’s accent.)

40

desecrate

(v.) to violate the sacredness of a thing or place
(They feared that the construction of a golf course would _____ the preserved wilderness.)

41

desiccated

(adj.) dried up, dehydrated
(The skin of the _____ mummy looked like old paper.)

42

diaphanous

(adj.) light, airy, transparent
(Sunlight poured in through the _____ curtains, brightening the room.)

43

diffident

(adj.) shy, quiet, modest
(While eating dinner with the adults, the _____ youth did not speak for fear of seeming presumptuous.)

44

discursive

(adj.) rambling, lacking order
(The professor’s _____ lectures seemed to be about every subject except the one initially described.)

45

dissemble

(v.) to conceal, fake
(Not wanting to appear heartlessly greedy, she _____ and hid her intention to sell her ailing father’s stamp collection.)

46

dither

(v.) to be indecisive
(Not wanting to offend either friend, he _____ about which of the two birthday parties he should attend.)

47

ebullient

(adj.) extremely lively, enthusiastic
(She became _____ upon receiving an acceptance letter from her first-choice college.)

48

effrontery

(n.) impudence, nerve, insolence
(When I told my aunt that she was boring, my mother scolded me for my _____.)

49

effulgent

(adj.) radiant, splendorous
(The golden palace was _____.)

50

egregious

(adj.) extremely bad
(The student who threw sloppy joes across the cafeteria was punished for his _____ behavior.)

51

enervate

(v.) to weaken, exhaust
(Writing these sentences _____ me so much that I will have to take a nap after I finish.)

52

ephemeral

(adj.) short-lived, fleeting
(She promised she’d love me forever, but her “forever” was only _____: she left me after one week.)

53

eschew

(v.) to shun, avoid
(George hates the color green so much that he _____ all green food.)

54

evanescent

(adj.) fleeting, momentary
(My joy at getting promoted was _____ because I discovered that I would have to work much longer hours in a less friendly office.)

55

evince

(v.) to show, reveal
(Christopher’s hand-wringing and nail-biting _____ how nervous he is about the upcoming English test.)

56

exculpate

(v.) to free from guilt or blame, exonerate
(My discovery of the ring behind the dresser _____ me from the charge of having stolen it.)

57

execrable

(adj.) loathsome, detestable
(Her pudding is so _____ that it makes me sick.)

58

exigent

(adj.) urgent, critical
(The patient has an _____ need for medication, or else he will lose his sight.)

59

expiate

(v.) to make amends for, atone
(To _____ my selfishness, I gave all my profits to charity.)

60

expunge

(v.) to obliterate, eradicate
(Fearful of an IRS investigation, Paul tried to _____ all incriminating evidence from his tax files.)

61

extant

(adj.) existing, not destroyed or lost
(My mother’s _____ love letters to my father are in the attic trunk.)

62

extol

(v.) to praise, revere
(Violet _____ the virtues of a vegetarian diet to her meat-loving brother.)

63

fallacious

(adj.) incorrect, misleading
(Emily offered me cigarettes on the _____ assumption that I smoked.)

64

fastidious

(adj.) meticulous, demanding, having high and often unattainable standards
(Mark is so _____ that he is never able to finish a project because it always seems imperfect to him.)

65

fatuous

(adj.) silly, foolish
(He considers himself a serious poet, but in truth, he only writes _____ limericks.)

66

fecund

(adj.) fruitful, fertile
(The _____ tree bore enough apples to last us through the entire season.)

67

feral

(adj.) wild, savage
(That beast looks so _____ that I would fear being alone with it.)

68

fetid

(adj.) having a foul odor
(I can tell from the _____ smell in your refrigerator that your milk has spoiled.)

69

florid

(adj.) flowery, ornate
(The writer’s _____ prose belongs on a sentimental Hallmark card.)

70

fractious

(adj.) troublesome or irritable
(Although the child insisted he wasn’t tired, his _____ behavior—especially his decision to crush his cheese and crackers all over the floor—convinced everyone present that it was time to put him to bed.)

71

garrulous

(adj.) talkative, wordy
(Some talk-show hosts are so _____ that their guests can’t get a word in edgewise.)

72

grandiloquence

(n.) lofty, pompous language
(The student thought her _____ would make her sound smart, but neither the class nor the teacher bought it.)

73

gregarious

(adj.) drawn to the company of others, sociable
(Well, if you’re not _____, I don’t know why you would want to go to a singles party!)

74

hackneyed

(adj.) unoriginal, trite
(A girl can only hear “I love you” so many times before it begins to sound _____ and meaningless.)

75

hapless

(adj.) unlucky
(My poor, _____ family never seems to pick a sunny week to go on vacation.)

76

harangue

1. (n.) a ranting speech
(Everyone had heard the teacher’s _____ about gum chewing in class before.)

2. (v.) to give such a speech
(But this time the teacher _____ the class about the importance of brushing your teeth after chewing gum.)

77

hegemony

(n.) domination over others
(Britain’s _____ over its colonies was threatened once nationalist sentiment began to spread around the world.)

78

iconoclast

(n.) one who attacks common beliefs or institutions
(Jane goes to one protest after another, but she seems to be an _____ rather than an activist with a progressive agenda.)

79

ignominious

(adj.) humiliating, disgracing
(It was really _____ to be kicked out of the dorm for having an illegal gas stove in my room.)

80

impassive

(adj.) stoic, not susceptible to suffering
(Stop being so _____; it’s healthy to cry every now and then.)

81

imperious

(adj.) commanding, domineering
(The _____ nature of your manner led me to dislike you at once.)

82

impertinent

(adj.) rude, insolent
(Most of your comments are so _____ that I don’t wish to dignify them with an answer.)

83

impervious

(adj.) impenetrable, incapable of being affected
(Because of their thick layer of fur, many seals are almost _____ to the cold.)

84

impetuous

(adj.) rash; hastily done
(Hilda’s hasty slaying of the king was an _____, thoughtless action.)

85

impinge

1. (v.) to impact, affect, make an impression
(The hail _____ the roof, leaving large dents.)

2. (v.) to encroach, infringe
(I apologize for _____ upon you like this, but I really need to use your bathroom. Now.)

86

implacable

(adj.) incapable of being appeased or mitigated
(Watch out: Once you shun Grandma’s cooking, she is totally _____.)

87

impudent

(adj.) casually rude, insolent, impertinent
(The _____ young man looked the princess up and down and told her she was hot even though she hadn’t asked him.)

88

inchoate

(adj.) unformed or formless, in a beginning stage
(The country’s government is still _____ and, because it has no great tradition, quite unstable.)

89

incontrovertible

(adj.) indisputable
(Only stubborn Tina would attempt to disprove the _____ laws of physics.)

90

indefatigable

(adj.) incapable of defeat, failure, decay
(Even after traveling 62 miles, the _____ runner kept on moving.)

91

ineffable

(adj.) unspeakable, incapable of being expressed through words
(It is said that the experience of playing with a dolphin is _____ and can only be understood through direct encounter.)

92

inexorable

(adj.) incapable of being persuaded or placated
(Although I begged for hours, Mom was _____ and refused to let me stay out all night after the prom.)

93

ingenuous

(adj.) not devious; innocent and candid
(He must have writers, but his speeches seem so _____ it’s hard to believe he’s not speaking from his own heart.)

94

inimical

(adj.) hostile
(I don’t see how I could ever work for a company that was so cold and _____ to me during my interviews.)

95

iniquity

(n.) wickedness or sin
(“Your _____,” said the priest to the practical jokester, “will be forgiven.”)

96

insidious

(adj.) appealing but imperceptibly harmful, seductive
(Lisa’s _____ chocolate cake tastes so good but makes you feel so sick later on!)

97

intransigent

(adj.) refusing to compromise, often on an extreme opinion
(The _____ child said he would have 12 scoops of ice cream or he would bang his head against the wall until his mother fainted from fear.)

98

inure

(v.) to cause someone or something to become accustomed to a situation
(Twenty years in the salt mines _____ the man to the discomforts of dirt and grime.)

99

invective

(n.) an angry verbal attack
(My mother’s irrational _____ against the way I dress only made me decide to dye my hair green.)

100

inveterate

(adj.) stubbornly established by habit
(I’m the first to admit that I’m an _____ coffee drinker—I drink four cups a day.)

101

jubilant

(adj.) extremely joyful, happy
(The crowd was _____ when the firefighter carried the woman from the flaming building.)

102

juxtaposition

(n.) the act of placing two things next to each other for implicit comparison
(The interior designer admired my _____ of the yellow couch and green table.)

103

laconic

(adj.) terse in speech or writing
(The author’s _____ style has won him many followers who dislike wordiness.)

104

languid

(adj.) sluggish from fatigue or weakness
(In the summer months, the great heat makes people _____ and lazy.)

105

largess

(n.) the generous giving of lavish gifts
(My boss demonstrated great _____ by giving me a new car.)

106

latent

(adj.) hidden, but capable of being exposed
(Sigmund’s dream represented his _____ paranoid obsession with other people’s shoes.)

107

legerdemain

(n.) deception, slight-of-hand
(Smuggling the French plants through customs by claiming that they were fake was a remarkable bit of _____.)

108

licentious

(adj.) displaying a lack of moral or legal restraints
(Marilee has always been fascinated by the _____ private lives of politicians.)

109

limpid

(adj.) clear, transparent
(Mr. Johnson’s _____ writing style greatly pleased readers who disliked complicated novels.)

110

maelstrom

(n.) a destructive whirlpool which rapidly sucks in objects
(Little did the explorers know that as they turned the next bend of the calm river a vicious _____ would catch their boat.)

111

magnanimous

(adj.) noble, generous
(Although I had already broken most of her dishes, Jacqueline was _____ enough to continue letting me use them.)

112

malediction

(n.) a curse
(When I was arrested for speeding, I screamed _____ against the policeman and the entire police department.)

113

malevolent

(adj.) wanting harm to befall others
(The _____ old man sat in the park all day, tripping unsuspecting passersby with his cane.)

114

manifold

(adj.) diverse, varied
(The popularity of Dante’s Inferno is partly due to the fact that the work allows for _____ interpretations.)

115

maudlin

(adj.) weakly sentimental
(Although many people enjoy romantic comedies, I usually find them _____ and shallow.)

116

mawkish

(adj.) characterized by sick sentimentality
(Although some nineteenth- century critics viewed Dickens’s writing as _____, contemporary readers have found great emotional depth in his works.)

117

mendacious

(adj.) having a lying, false character
(The _____ content of the tabloid magazines is at least entertaining.)

118

mercurial

(adj.) characterized by rapid change or temperamentality
(Though he was widely respected for his mathematical proofs, the _____ genius was impossible to live with.)

119

modicum

(n.) a small amount of something
(Refusing to display even a _____ of sensitivity, Henrietta announced her boss’s affair in front of the entire office.)

120

morass

(n.) a wet swampy bog; figuratively, something that traps and confuses
(When Theresa lost her job, she could not get out of her financial _____.)

121

multifarious

(adj.) having great diversity or variety
(This Swiss Army knife has _____ functions and capabilities. Among other things, it can act as a knife, a saw, a toothpick, and a slingshot.)

122

munificence

(n.) generosity in giving
(The royal family’s _____ made everyone else in their country rich.)

123

myriad

(adj.) consisting of a very great number
(It was difficult to decide what to do Friday night because the city presented us with _____ possibilities for fun.)

124

nadir

(n.) the lowest point of something
(My day was boring, but the _____ came when I accidentally spilled a bowl of spaghetti on my head.)

125

nascent

(adj.) in the process of being born or coming into existence
(Unfortunately, my brilliant paper was only in its _____ form on the morning that it was due.)

126

nefarious

(adj.) heinously villainous
(Although Dr. Meanman’s _____ plot to melt the polar icecaps was terrifying; it was so impractical that nobody really worried about it.)

127

neophyte

(n.) someone who is young or inexperienced
(As a _____ in the literary world, Malik had trouble finding a publisher for his first novel.)

128

obdurate

(adj.) unyielding to persuasion or moral influences
(The _____ old man refused to take pity on the kittens.)

129

obfuscate

(v.) to render incomprehensible
(The detective did not want to answer the newspaperman’s questions, so he _____ the truth.)

130

oblique

(adj.) diverging from a straight line or course, not straightforward
(Martin’s _____ language confused those who listened to him.)

131

obsequious

(adj.) excessively compliant or submissive
(Mark acted like Janet’s servant, obeying her every request in an _____ manner.)

132

obstreperous

(adj.) noisy, unruly
(Billy’s _____ behavior prompted the librarian to ask him to leave the reading room.)

133

obtuse

(adj.) lacking quickness of sensibility or intellect
(Political opponents warned that the prime minister’s _____ approach to foreign policy would embroil the nation in mindless war.)

134

odious

(adj.) instilling hatred or intense displeasure
(Mark was assigned the _____ task of cleaning the cat’s litter box.)

135

officious

(adj.) offering one’s services when they are neither wanted nor needed
(Brenda resented Allan’s _____ behavior when he selected colors that might best improve her artwork.)

136

opulent

(adj.) characterized by rich abundance verging on ostentation
(The _____ furnishings of the dictator’s private compound contrasted harshly with the meager accommodations of her subjects.)

137

ostensible

(adj.) appearing as such, seemingly
(Jack’s _____ reason for driving was that airfare was too expensive, but in reality, he was afraid of flying.)

138

palliate

(v.) to reduce the severity of
(The doctor trusted that the new medication would _____ her patient’s discomfort.)

139

pallid

(adj.) lacking color
(Dr. Van Helsing feared that Lucy’s _____ complexion was due to an unexplained loss of blood.)

140

panacea

(n.) a remedy for all ills or difficulties
(Doctors wish there was a single _____ for every disease, but sadly there is not.)

141

paragon

(n.) a model of excellence or perfection
(The mythical Helen of Troy was considered _____ of female beauty.)

142

pariah

(n.) an outcast
(Following the discovery of his plagiarism, Professor Hurley was made a _____ in all academic circles.)

143

parsimony

(n.) frugality, stinginess
(Many relatives believed that my aunt’s wealth resulted from her _____.)

144

pathos

(n.) an emotion of sympathy
(Martha filled with _____ upon discovering the scrawny, shivering kitten at her door.)

145

paucity

(adj.) small in quantity
(Gilbert lamented the _____ of twentieth-century literature courses available at the college.)

146

pejorative

(adj.) derogatory, uncomplimentary
(The evening’s headline news covered an international scandal caused by a _____ statement the famous senator had made in reference to a foreign leader.)

147

pellucid

(adj.) easily intelligible, clear
(Wishing his book to be _____ to the common man, Albert Camus avoided using complicated grammar when composing The Stranger.)

148

penurious

(adj.) miserly, stingy
(Stella complained that her husband’s _____ ways made it impossible to live the lifestyle she felt she deserved.)

149

perfidious

(adj.) disloyal, unfaithful
(After the official was caught selling government secrets to enemy agents, he was executed for his _____ ways.)

150

perfunctory

(adj.) showing little interest or enthusiasm
(The radio broadcaster announced the news of the massacre in a surprisingly _____ manner.)

151

pernicious

(adj.) extremely destructive or harmful
(The new government feared that the Communist sympathizers would have a _____ influence on the nation’s stability.)

152

perspicacity

(adj.) shrewdness, perceptiveness
(The detective was too humble to acknowledge that his _____ was the reason for his professional success.)

153

pertinacious

(adj.) stubbornly persistent
(Harry’s parents were frustrated with his _____ insistence that a monster lived in his closet. Then they opened the closet door and were eaten.)

154

petulance

(n.) rudeness, irritability
(The nanny resigned after she could no longer tolerate the child’s _____.)

155

pithy

(adj.) concisely meaningful
(My father’s long-winded explanation was a stark contrast to his usually _____ statements.)

156

platitude

(n.) an uninspired remark, cliché
(After reading over her paper, Helene concluded that what she thought were profound insights were actually just _____.)

157

plethora

(n.) abundance, excess
(The wedding banquet included a _____ of oysters piled almost three feet high.)

158

polemic

(n.) an aggressive argument against a specific opinion
(My brother launched into a _____ against my arguments that capitalism was an unjust economic system.)

159

portent

(n.) an omen
(When a black cat crossed my sister’s path while she was walking to school, she took it as a _____ that she would do badly on her spelling test.)

160

precocious

(adj.) advanced, developing ahead of time
(Derek was so academically _____ that by the time he was 10 years old, he was already in the ninth grade.)

161

prescient

(adj.) to have foreknowledge of events
(Questioning the fortune cookie’s prediction, Ray went in search of the old hermit who was rumored to be _____.)

162

primeval

(adj.) original, ancient
(The first primates to walk on two legs, called Australopithecus, were the _____ descendants of modern man.)

163

probity

(n.) virtue, integrity
(Because he was never viewed as a man of great _____, no one was surprised by Mr. Samson’s immoral behavior.)

164

proclivity

(n.) a strong inclination toward something
(In a sick twist of fate, Harold’s childhood _____ for torturing small animals grew into a desire to become a surgeon.)

165

promulgate

(v.) to proclaim, make known
(The film professor _____ that both in terms of sex appeal and political intrigue, Sean Connery’s James Bond was superior to Roger Moore’s.)

166

propensity

(n.) an inclination, preference
(Dermit has a _____ for dangerous activities such as bungee jumping.)

167

propitious

(adj.) favorable
(The dark storm clouds visible on the horizon suggested that the weather would not be _____ for sailing.)

168

prosaic

(adj.) plain, lacking liveliness
(Heather’s _____ recital of the poem bored the audience.)

169

proscribe

(v.) to condemn, outlaw
(The town council voted to _____ the sale of alcohol on weekends.)

170

protean

(adj.) able to change shape; displaying great variety
(Among Nigel’s _____ talents was his ability to touch the tip of his nose with his tongue.)

171

prurient

(adj.) eliciting or possessing an extraordinary interest in sex
(David’s mother was shocked by the discovery of _____ reading material hidden beneath her son’s mattress.)

172

puerile

(adj.) juvenile, immature
(The judge demanded order after the lawyer’s _____ attempt to object by stomping his feet on the courtroom floor.)

173

pugnacious

(adj.) quarrelsome, combative
(Aaron’s _____ nature led him to start several barroom brawls each month.)

174

pulchritude

(n.) physical beauty
(Several of Shakespeare’s sonnets explore the _____ of a lovely young man.)

175

punctilious

(adj.) eager to follow rules or conventions
(_____ Bobby, hall monitor extraordinaire, insisted that his peers follow the rules.)

176

quagmire

(n.) a difficult situation
(We’d all like to avoid the kind of military _____ characterized by the Vietnam War.)

177

querulous

(adj.) whiny, complaining
(If deprived of his pacifier, young Brendan becomes _____.)

178

quixotic

(adj.) idealistic, impractical
(Edward entertained a _____ desire to fall in love at first sight in a Laundromat.)

179

rancor

(n.) deep, bitter resentment
(When Eileen challenged me to a fight, I could see the _____ in her eyes.)

180

rebuke

(v.) to scold, criticize
(When the cops showed up at Sarah’s party, they _____ her for disturbing the peace.)

181

recalcitrant

(adj.) defiant, unapologetic
(Even when scolded, the _____ young girl simply stomped her foot and refused to finish her lima beans.)

182

rectitude

(n.) uprightness, extreme morality
(The priest’s _____ gave him the moral authority to counsel his parishioners.)

183

replete

(adj.) full, abundant
(The unedited version was _____ with naughty words.)

184

reprobate

(adj.) evil, unprincipled
(The _____ criminal sat sneering in the cell.)

185

reprove

(v.) to scold, rebuke
(Lara _____ her son for sticking each and every one of his fingers into the strawberry pie.)

186

repudiate

(v.) to reject, refuse to accept
(Kwame made a strong case for an extension of his curfew, but his mother _____ it with a few biting words.)

187

rescind

(v.) to take back, repeal
(The company _____ its offer of employment after discovering that Jane’s resume was full of lies.)

188

restive

(adj.) resistant, stubborn, impatient
(The _____ audience pelted the band with mud and yelled nasty comments.)

189

ribald

(adj.) coarsely, crudely humorous
(While some giggled at the _____ joke involving a parson’s daughter, most sighed and rolled their eyes.)

190

rife

(adj.) abundant
(Surprisingly, the famous novelist’s writing was _____ with spelling errors.)

191

ruse

(n.) a trick
(Oliver concocted an elaborate _____ for sneaking out of the house to meet his girlfriend while simultaneously giving his mother the impression that he was asleep in bed.)

192

sacrosanct

(adj.) holy, something that should not be criticized
(In the United States, the Constitution is often thought of as a _____ document.)

193

sagacity

(n.) shrewdness, soundness of perspective
(With remarkable _____, the wise old man predicted and thwarted his children’s plan to ship him off to a nursing home.)

194

salient

(adj.) significant, conspicuous
(One of the _____ differences between Alison and Nancy is that Alison is a foot taller.)

195

sanctimonious

(adj.) giving a hypocritical appearance of piety
(The _____ Bertrand delivered stern lectures on the Ten Commandments to anyone who would listen, but thought nothing of stealing cars to make some cash on the side.)

196

sanguine

(adj.) optimistic, cheery
(Polly reacted to any bad news with a _____ smile and the chirpy cry, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”)

197

scurrilous

(adj.) vulgar, coarse
(When Bruno heard the _____ accusation being made about him, he could not believe it because he always tried to be nice to everyone.)

198

serendipity

(n.) luck, finding good things without looking for them
(In an amazing bit of _____, penniless Paula found a $20 bill in the subway station.)

199

servile

(adj.) subservient
(The _____ porter crept around the hotel lobby, bowing and quaking before the guests.)

200

solicitous

(adj.) concerned, attentive
(Jim, laid up in bed with a nasty virus, enjoyed the _____ attentions of his mother, who brought him soup and extra blankets.)

201

solipsistic

(adj.) believing that oneself is all that exists
(Colette’s _____ attitude completely ignored the plight of the homeless people on the street.)

202

somnolent

(adj.) sleepy, drowsy
(The _____ student kept falling asleep and waking up with a jerk.)

203

spurious

(adj.) false but designed to seem plausible
(Using a _____ argument, John convinced the others that he had won the board game on a technicality.)

204

staid

(adj.) sedate, serious, self-restrained
(The _____ butler never changed his expression no matter what happened.)

205

stolid

(adj.) expressing little sensibility, unemotional
(Charles’s _____ reaction to his wife’s funeral differed from the passion he showed at the time of her death.)

206

stupefy

(v.) to astonish, make insensible
(Veronica’s audacity and ungratefulness _____ her best friend, Heather.)

207

surfeit

(n.) an overabundant supply or indulgence
(After partaking of the _____ of tacos and tamales at the All-You-Can-Eat Taco Tamale Lunch Special, Beth felt rather sick.)

208

surmise

(v.) to infer with little evidence
(After speaking to only one of the students, the teacher was able to _____ what had caused the fight.)

209

surreptitious

(adj.) stealthy
(The _____ CIA agents were able to get in and out of the house without anyone noticing.)

210

sycophant

(n.) one who flatters for self-gain
(Some see the people in the cabinet as the president’s closest advisors, but others see them as _____.)

211

tacit

(adj.) expressed without words
(I interpreted my parents’ refusal to talk as a _____ acceptance of my request.)

212

taciturn

(adj.) not inclined to talk
(Though Jane never seems to stop talking, her brother is quite _____.)

213

tantamount

(adj.) equivalent in value or significance
(When it comes to sports, fearing your opponent is _____ to losing.)

214

temerity

(n.) audacity, recklessness
(Tom and Huck entered the scary cave armed with nothing but their own _____.)

215

tenuous

(adj.) having little substance or strength
(Your argument is very _____, since it relies so much on speculation and hearsay.)

216

timorous

(adj.) timid, fearful
(When dealing with the unknown, _____ Tallulah almost always broke into tears.)

217

torpid

(adj.) lethargic, dormant, lacking motion
(The _____ whale floated, wallowing in the water for hours.)

218

tractable

(adj.) easily controlled
(The horse was so _____, Myra didn’t even need a bridle.)

219

transient

(adj.) passing through briefly; passing into and out of existence
(Because virtually everyone in Palm Beach is a tourist, the population of the town is quite _____.)

220

transmute

(v.) to change or alter in form
(Ancient alchemists believed that it was possible to _____ lead into gold.)

221

trenchant

(adj.) effective, articulate, clear-cut
(The directions that accompanied my new cell phone were _____ and easy to follow.)

222

truculent

(adj.) ready to fight, cruel
(This club doesn’t really attract the dangerous types, so why was that bouncer being so _____?)

223

turgid

(adj.) swollen, excessively embellished in style or language
(The haughty writer did not realize how we all really felt about his _____ prose.)

224

turpitude

(n.) depravity, moral corruption
(Sir Marcus’s chivalry often contrasted with the _____ he exhibited with the ladies at the tavern.)

225

ubiquitous

(adj.) existing everywhere, widespread
(It seems that everyone in the United States has a television. The technology is _____ here.)

226

umbrage

(n.) resentment, offense
(He called me a lily-livered coward, and I took _____ at the insult.)

227

unctuous

(adj.) smooth or greasy in texture, appearance, and manner
(The _____ receptionist seemed untrustworthy, as if she was only being helpful because she thought we might give her a big tip.)

228

undulate

(v.) to move in waves
(As the storm began to brew, the placid ocean began to _____ to an increasing degree.)

229

upbraid

(v.) to criticize or scold severely
(The last thing Lindsay wanted was for Lisa to _____ her again about missing the rent payment.)

230

usurp

(v.) to seize by force, take possession of without right
(The rogue army general tried to _____ control of the government, but he failed because most of the army backed the legally elected president.)

231

vacillate

(v.) to fluctuate, hesitate
(I prefer a definite answer, but my boss kept _____ between the distinct options available to us.)

232

vacuous

(adj.) lack of content or ideas, stupid
(Beyoncé realized that the lyrics she had just penned were completely _____ and tried to add more substance.)

233

vapid

(adj.) lacking liveliness, dull
(The professor’s comments about the poem were surprisingly _____ and dull.)

234

variegated

(adj.) diversified; distinctly marked
(Each wire in the engineering exam was _____ by color so that the students could figure out which one was which.)

235

venerate

(v.) to regard with respect or to honor
(The tribute to John Lennon sought to _____ his music, his words, and his legend.)

236

veracity

(n.) truthfulness, accuracy
(With several agencies regulating the reports, it was difficult for Latifah to argue against its _____.)

237

verdant

(adj.) green in tint or color
(The _____ leaves on the trees made the world look emerald.)

238

vex

(v.) to confuse or annoy
(My little brother _____ me by poking me in the ribs for hours on end.)

239

vicarious

(adj.) experiencing through another
(All of my lame friends learned to be social through _____ involvement in my amazing experiences.)

240

vicissitude

(n.) event that occurs by chance
(The _____ of daily life prevent me from predicting what might happen from one day to the next.)

241

vilify

(v.) to lower in importance, defame
(After the Watergate scandal, almost any story written about President Nixon sought to _____ him and criticize his behavior.)

242

viscous

(adj.) not free flowing, syrupy
(The _____ syrup took three minutes to pour out of the bottle.)

243

vitriolic

(adj.) having a caustic quality
(When angry, the woman would spew _____ insults.)

244

vituperate

(v.) to berate
(Jack ran away as soon as his father found out, knowing he would be _____ for his unseemly behavior.)

245

wanton

(adj.) undisciplined, lewd, lustful
(Vicky’s _____ demeanor often made the frat guys next door very excited.)

246

winsome

(adj.) charming, pleasing
(After such a long, frustrating day, I was grateful for Chris’s _____ attitude and childish naiveté.)

247

wistful

(adj.) full of yearning; musingly sad
(Since her pet rabbit died, Edda missed it terribly and was _____ all day long.)

248

wizened

(adj.) dry, shrunken, wrinkled
(Agatha’s grandmother, Stephanie, had the most _____ countenance, full of leathery wrinkles.)

249

zenith

(n.) the highest point, culminating point
(I was too nice to tell Nelly that she had reached the absolute _____ of her career with that one hit of hers.)

250

zephyr

(n.) a gentle breeze
(If not for the _____ that were blowing and cooling us, our room would’ve been unbearably hot.)


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