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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Advanced GRE Words

Much of the GRE requires you to know how to use relatively straightforward words in dense, convoluted sentences. Then there is the other part of the GRE in which the sentences are even more convoluted, and the words much more difficult. That is not to say that the words below wouldn’t show up in the first verbal section—which is medium—though you are more likely to see them in the difficult section.



Nope, probity does not mean probably. It actually means honesty. If someone is known for his or her probity, that person has high moral standards and can be trusted.



Just from the sound of this word you know it can’t be good. Vitiate—which is pronounced “VISH-i-ate”—doesn’t mean vicious. It means to corrupt or lessen the effectiveness of something. Some would argue that partisan politics has vitiated the healthy functioning of the U.S. government. Many would argue that bad writing ultimately vitiates a lot of television series that come to rely on increasingly implausible plot turns as their seasons lumber on.



This word sounds like “a plum” –though you can’t pick it from a tree. If you are cool under pressure, not letting even a trying situation ruffle your feathers, you handle life’s lemons with aplomb. A racecar driver taking a turn at 120 km/hr (70 mph) better have a aplomb or he’ll grab the wheel in fright and go spinning off the road. And test day, when you get a long reading passage that seems inscrutable at first glance, you will handle it with aplomb, breathing deeply and remembering your reading comprehension strategies.



At some point, we have all tried to evade detection or pulled some elaborate ruse to get what we want. Such behavior can accurately be described as subterfuge. Maybe you are having a surprise birthday for your significant other. In other to not let the cat out of the birthday bag, you have to engage in subterfuge: you must stall and make up excuses for why you are not driving home sooner, and you must make up fake plans with people, all just to make sure that the moment of surprise is completely unexpected. This example is one of benign subterfuge; often times a person engages in subterfuge for some nefarious end.



Clandestine is similar to subterfuge. It does not describe dissembling for a purpose as much as it describes the secretiveness involved in some illicit activity. During the reign of communism many citizens had to have clandestine meetings lest the authorities would inevitably conclude that any meeting of more than two people was a sign of sedition. At that time, on the other side of the iron curtain, the United States C.I.A had a clandestine services branch, which was involved in spying. The clandestine branch of the C.I.A. is stil intact, so if you want to be a spy, you know where to apply.



Receiving constructive criticism is great—it can help you become better at whatever it is you are trying to learn. Somebody who is captious, on the other hand, is only out to find fault. A captious instructor will criticize every little thing you do.


By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

9 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: Advanced GRE Words

  1. Magoosh Test Prep Expert
    Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 21, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Basic GRE vocab is always more common. The more basic words are also useful in figuring out more advanced GRE vocabulary on the test, because sometimes the more basic words are related in some ways to more advanced vocabulary. So if you have to choose to study just one set of words for the GRE, definitely focus on the basic ones.

  2. Saikat Dutta June 26, 2016 at 7:12 am #


    Is the advanced word list in the magoosh flashcards absolutely necessary for GRE?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 29, 2016 at 7:01 am #

      Hi Saikat 🙂

      The advanced words in our flashcard decks are considered “high frequency words,” or words that you’re more likely to see on the actual exam. For that reason, they’re definitely good to review/know. That said, the GRE can include many, many other words than what is on our list (or any list) of GRE vocabulary, and that is why reading extensively is VERY important no matter what level your vocabulary is at. 🙂

      While studying vocabulary is certainly an essential element, try not to think of the GRE as a simple vocabulary test. There’s no specific number of words you have to learn in order to reach a specific score. In part, this is because the GRE tests English vocab in general, not just “GRE words,” and even then, there’s more involved! That being said, the flashcards, paired with practice questions and reading, can definitely be a fantastic tool in making a score improvement–there’s no doubt about that!

      Hope this helps 🙂 Happy studying!

  3. pavan January 23, 2014 at 7:30 pm #


    I have been an avid follower of Magoosh and I find the words in Vocab Web very helpful. However ,it gives only five words a week so I decided to supplement my vocab preparation by reading Nytimes,Atlantic etc., but this wasn’t entirely sufficient( its is very slow ) and I started looking out for practical word-lists as well ( I already use Magoosh Flashcard ) would you recommend using or for GRE word lists or will Magoosh cards alone suffice ?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 24, 2014 at 11:53 am #

      Hi Pavan,

      I’m happy the words have been helpful from the Magoosh sources. I encourage you to still read from those sources as one means, albeit a slow one, for learning. For a more concentrated bank of words, I wouldn’t recommend either site you mentioned above.

      First off, both are based on the old GRE, which is now almost three years old. The content on there is also questionable. seems to have taken actual GRE sentence completions and then inserted questionable and redundant answers in there. Then there is the fact that both are lists arranged alphabetically, which is a terrible way to go about studying vocab, in my opinion :).

      I’d recommend the Magoosh flashcards, hundreds and hundreds of high-frequency GRE vocab in flashcard form, and it’s free. Sure, there will be some overlap with Vocab Wed. For more words, you should pick up Manhattan GRE flashcards. That should be more than adequate for test day.

      Here is the link to the Magoosh flashcards:

      Good luck!

      • pavan January 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

        Thanks Chris!

        I already use the magoosh flashcards and I have the MGRE complete set so that gives me access to their 1000 words ,with the help of wordnik and quizlet it is so much easier.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele January 27, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

          Hi Pavan,

          Sounds good! That should be enough words for the GRE. Good luck :).

  4. AArendy October 29, 2013 at 6:02 am #


    I didn get the meaning of subterfuge completely. i google it, but found ambiguous definitions.
    Can u elaborate it again 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele October 29, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      So let’s say you love chocolate but have sworn it off since it is causing you to gain weight. You promise your spouse you will never eat chocolate again. Yet, you love chocolate so much that you go back on your promise–without telling your spouse.

      While you are watching T.V. together, you tell him/her, during commercial breaks, that you are going to use the restroom. Meanwhile you tiptoe to your little chocolate hiding place, carefully washing your hands and flushing the toilet to avoid arousing your spouse’s suspicious. All of this behavior–this trying to avoid getting caught eating chocolate–is an example of subterfuge, or acting innocently while trying to get away with something.

      Hope that helps 🙂

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