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GRE Word List: The Dreaded “Imp” Vocabulary Words

An imp is a vile little creature, a small devil known for his fiendish ways. It is very apt then, that some of the trickiest, most easily confuse-able words on the GRE begin with the letters I-M-P. “Imp” is the theme for this week’s Vocab Wednesday.

When learning words such as these, words that blur together easily, causing you to think in malapropisms, you need to rely on a powerful strategy. Unfortunately, mnemonics are not nearly as effective, since “imp” words already look very similar. You may end up applying a mnemonic to the wrong word!

Instead, I recommend writing sentences. While doing so may strike some as middle-school-ish (many of us had a teacher who was fond of making us write dozens of sentences to remember vocabulary), writing sentences can be very effective with words that look very similar. For one, you force yourself to think of the word and faithfully reproduce it, letter for letter. Also, crafting a sentence using words allow you to have a better idea of how words function in context.

Finally, when writing down sentences, do not simply look over at the word, check the definition, and cough up a sentence. Wait at least one hour after last seeing the words to write your sentence. This delay forces you to pull up the words from your head, and even if you do not get the word completely right, the process of trying to think of it will actually help you store that word into long-term memory and, just as importantly, make sure you do not confuse it with other words.



You may be tempted to think that ‘implacable’ relates to ‘place.’ However, the two words have nothing in common. If somebody is implacable, he/she is angry that he/she cannot be calmed down or soothed. Perhaps a more familiar word is ‘placate’, which means to make someone less angry. If somebody is implacable, he/she cannot be placated.



This word means to charge with wrongdoing, and usually refers to some criminal act. A second definition, and one used far less frequently, is to imply or stated something implicitly. This definition can make things doubly confusing – note the word implicit below.



If something is not directly stated/explicit, then it is implicit. Remember that the second definition of implicate is the verb-ed definition of implicit. Otherwise, implicit and implicate are very different words.



This word may sound a lot like ‘implicate’, however the two are totally unrelated. To imprecate is to curse somebody. I picture the witches in Macbeth casting their imprecations down on the foolish mortals. I picture the main character from Albert Camus’ The Stranger being implicated for the crime of murder. And hopefully, I do not picture any one casting imprecations at the imp words – but mastering them.


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8 Responses to GRE Word List: The Dreaded “Imp” Vocabulary Words

  1. H-MAN May 16, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    Hi Chris,

    Nice words.

    Let me make a paragraph by using these words.

    When Steve Jobs saw the Android OS for the first time, it was implicit to his eyes that Google has replicated iOS – feature by feature, like how Microsoft did in case of PC OS during 1980s. Immediately after he got confirmation from his engineers that he was right, Steve Jobs was impeccable and imprecated Google, saying that he would spend his entire life and all the money APPLE has ever made if he had to, to make this wrong, right( implicate the Google in this).

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele May 18, 2015 at 4:39 pm #


      I like how you used all those “imp” words. That creative use will definitely help you remember those words long term. The implication is that you should continue cooking up quick paragraphs in which you use vocabulary you are learning :).

  2. Ashish April 26, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    These are great!

    I would also add, “impregnable” which has nothing to do with the inability to become pregnant. It actually means “very strong” and “not likely to be weakened or changed.”

    I’ll try a sentence:

    Although she was known for her amicable nature, her arguments were impregnable, often inimical at times.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      Yes, impregnable does not relate to pregnancy :). Your sentence gives a good idea as to the meaning of the words. Good job :).

  3. vaisnavi April 26, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Imperdurable( it means not permanent), Impish, Impotent, Implore, Impostor, Importunate, Impregnable, Imperturbably,Imperishable and many more……

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Vaisnavi,

      Thanks for the words :).

      Imperdurable, though, is a little too obscure and most likely wouldn’t show up on the test.

      Keep the words coming!

  4. Aman April 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    That is too good ,a hour ago i was looking for a topic to post some “IM” words you just made one…..

    Anyways,these are some of the words:

    Imprudent:-Someone who is not wise ,as it is opposite of prudent

    Impudent:-Marked by casual disrespect .

    (Note these have only one ‘r’ missing .)

    Impertinent:-Not to the point/Irrelevant (BTW i searched and got a varied meaning for this word if you have any other that could be used in the GRE please let me know)

    Impeccable:- Without mistake

    Impeachment:-A formal document charging a public official with misconduct in office

    Impede:-Block passage through/Hindered

    The list is too long long as English language is full of confusing words….

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 26, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

      Wow, seemed like we both had ‘imps’ on our minds :).

      Thanks for the other ‘imp’ words!

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