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Sign up or log in to Magoosh GRE Prep. – The new Place to go for Words

I’m not sure why it took me so long, but I’ve finally spent some time on The site had been recommended by students a few times before, but I only gave the site a cursory glance, thinking it not much different—or superior—to, which I’ve recommended to students thus far, not only gives you the definition of the words; it also gives you example sentences. Learning vocabulary for the revised GRE requires great example sentences, and Wordnik—more or less—provided these.

But, to tell the truth, I found myself gravitating more to to look up example sentences, because I knew the consistency of writing would be stellar., by contrast, was a little too ecumenical, picking example sentences from just about any online source. And of course there were those impenetrable definitions taken from stodgy old dictionaries, written, most likely, by troglodytic lexicographers.

After a mere one hour on, I can say my apostasy is complete: I am now a fan of and only see myself consulting for the range of definitions it provides for each word.

So why is so much better? First off, each word, from the lowly “dog” to the redoubtable “doggerel” comes with a fun and snappy description, and not just some formal definition. For instance, here is doggerel:

We’re not sure why poor dogs always seem to get used to describe something really dreadful, but it’s the case with doggerel — meaning irregularly rhyming, really bad poetry, usually comic in tone and fit only for dogs., by contrast provides the following:

Doggerel (n.) Crudely or irregularly fashioned verse, often of a humorous or burlesque nature.

Not only does do a far better job of making sure that you remember the meaning of the word, but it also provides example sentences taken only from reputable sources (the “Washington Posts” and “Wall Street Journals” of the world).  Better yet, the example sentences are broken down via business, arts/culture, fiction etc. so you can see how the word is used over a variety of different contexts.

There is also a “Challenge Quiz” to help you build your vocabulary—though, to be frank, many of the words go beyond the GRE level. The test does adapt to your knowledge so I may have not gotten all the GRE words right—just because I live and breathe these words—and you might actually be exposed to more GRE-level words. (Also the “correct” answers are sometimes questionable—“ashen” and “livid”, for example, are mostly opposite).

All in all, is a great place for word nerds (that’s me!) and GRE students to “hang out”. In fact, if I were you I’d have a browser open to whenever you are studying GRE verbal or reading articles.


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.

33 Responses to – The new Place to go for Words

  1. Vencislav Popov October 7, 2014 at 7:55 am #

    I just scored 167V/170Q! in combination with Magoosh list of words did a fantastic job for me. I increased my verbal score from 160 on the official practice test a month ago with only 2 weeks of intense study of vocabulary. Plus reading difficult articles as suggested by another post on this blog. I definitely recommend this combination.

    • Mireille October 7, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Congratulations, Vencislav! So happy for you! Glad those lists did the trick for you. 🙂

      • Vencislav October 8, 2014 at 10:50 am #

        Yes! Thank you for sharing them with me, it saved me a lot of effort! In the end I copied them to my own list and retained only the words I did not know so as to be most efficient.

        • Mireille October 10, 2014 at 10:55 am #

          …nice idea. This is also my goal towards the end of my studies — build up a list exclusively with words that don’t seem to stick easily! 🙂

          Anyways, hopefully you drop a few lines over at Magoosh Community section and give us a few hints on what helped you achieve that 170Q! 🙂 With all these new standards being raised, that’s pretty impressive! Once again, congratulations for both scores! 🙂

          • Vencislav Popov October 13, 2014 at 10:44 am #

            I am sorry to say that I have no hints of offer about the quant section, I didn’t prepare for it at all, aside from the practice tests, on all of which I got 168-170. It is just that I’ve graduated from a math high school in which we had over 10 hours of math each week for 5 years, and although that was 6 years ago, the low level algebra that the GRE tests has been deeply automated for me – I finished both quant sections in less than15 minutes and I checked each question in the next ten. This was important since I caught 2 mistakes I’ve made on both sections and corrected them. So probably the only hint I can give is – do as much exercise you need as to automate the necessary procedures, and manage your time so that you can go over your responses to check for mistakes.

            • Mireille October 14, 2014 at 10:31 am #

              …good enough, Vencislav. Glad to know there’s someone out there who could not be intimidated by the GRE raising their bar! 😉

  2. Mireille June 24, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    …and apparently, we are not the only ones lovin’ it! 🙂

    Following is a link for all Magooshers, aspirant professionals in Education field and not only. I already sent the link in an email to my daughter’s teacher next year, so she can reflect on this over the summer. Chances are — she’ll get addicted! 🙂

  3. Mireille June 14, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

    I also LOVE & ADORE!! I’m actually addicted to this website already! 🙂

    I started using it while I was going through Magoosh vocab flashcards, and although I tried to keep my motivation up throughout that long journey, things went down and dry before even I was ready to hit the Advanced section. As much as I loved to start a new set of words not too long ago, go through all words first day without any pressure whatsoever, then working harder next day to master each one…after a while my “technique” started failing on me. 🙁 It was towards the end of the Common words, if I remember right when I simply could not pick myself up and do yet one more!

    That is when I turned to my new and dear friend, to help me get through those tough times! 🙂 It was only that website that picked me up and got me going once again!

    So, what I ended up doing, I mirrored the lists — “transferred” each and every word of each and every Magoosh set (Basic / Common / Advanced), all 1000 words, in and not just the words themselves, but (although automatically assigns their own definition to each word you add to a certain list), I also copied and pasted under their notes and comments fields the definitions given by Magoosh to each word AND the sentence examples from Magoosh flashcards assigned to those words. The work of a Sisyphus!

    But when I saw that working my own lists in helps me accumulate points and jump levels in there, that work paid off! I suddenly grew wings! 🙂 I am well aware it is a childish thing, but it did the trick for me! So now, my new technique was to go through all Magoosh set first day, once I felt I pretty remembered each word, I ran that very list in I would not give up or move onto my next list until I ended the list with a 95% or better score in Done with, I would go back to that list, left unfinished in Magoosh, and I would master each word in there, too…then next set of words!

    So yes, my friend not only helped me get through the Advanced words, but even paid me for using the help — I am Mireille555 and I am a Sesquipedalianist already just by working my Magoosh lists in there! 🙂 If anyone interested in trying my technique out, please let me know and I will make my lists available to you in! 🙂

    Another way helped me with the words was to make me really and truly feel I understand what exactly the word means. Magoosh comes with pretty great examples of sentences, but — I guess since I speak English as a second language –, there were always 5-6 words in each set that I simply felt I just couldn’t really grasp them and I would run them quickly in and read everything they had to say about each one, then things would fully click for me.

    And yes, you can bet, one of the open tabs on my laptop will always belong to my beloved until the end of time! 🙂 Also, it would be so very wonderful and ineffable if I could meet one day their unique, very own, one and only “John x” — he totally, completely mesmerizes me. I hope he’s for real. And he’s a human. And he is a happy one. 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 16, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      Thanks for sharing! I hope many students can gain from your strategy. You are right is amazing. It’s also my chosen place to go for vocabulary, since it does such a job of teasing about the nuance of a definition in such few words.

      I imagine they have a team of people walking around the clock. Though perhaps it is the inimitable John X, churning out hundreds of entries a day 🙂

      • Mireille June 17, 2014 at 4:40 am #

        Plus, their humor!!! The sweet touch they add to pretty much each word entry, then The Challenge… things they say to you when you just wouldn’t get it, such as “third time’s a charm, huh? :)”.

        But let me tell you about my favorite one — since I am sure they never told YOU that — “You’re a genius!” Yeah…that’s when you finally got the right answer…the 4th time. 🙂 Which is…yeah…also the last possible one. 😀 I bet that never occurred to you, but those “john X’ people CAN EVEN MAKE YOU BLUSH! 😀

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

          I like that kind of humor :). And I realize I haven’t really been using to it’s full extent. I need to start playing some of these games they have.

          • Mireille June 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

            You might not know yet, but I *think* I already know what “game” you would enjoy the most in there! 😀 Going back to your “ashen / livid” example, in the left lower corner of each “question flashcard”, the john X’s have an “improve this question” spot. It does not appear in that corner from the very beginning; it only gets “activated” once you pick an answer — right or wrong. I guess they created this hot spot for you and people like you and I really hope you will give that a click or two some time and say “hmmm, Mireille, not bad, not bad at all!” 😀 Yap — I can already picture you as john X’s next best buddy and the reverse. 🙂

            • Chris Lele
              Chris Lele June 23, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

              Thanks for letting me know about this function :). Maybe I’ll find out who this John X. is after all!

              • Mireille June 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

                …I have all faith in you. When you shake his hand, tell him if it wasn’t for Mireille, he wouldn’t have had that pleasure! 😉

      • Mireille June 17, 2014 at 6:50 am #

        …my least intention is to EVER correct you, Chris… but don’t you think we should leave the “inimitable” to you and assign our mesmerizing, and perhaps even phantasmagorical, john X his well-deserved “inégalable”? 🙂

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

          I’d say John X is inimitable too, unless there is a team of them. Then they’d be imitating each other, more or less 🙂

    • Vencislav Popov September 1, 2014 at 4:05 am #

      Hi Mireille,

      Would you mind sharing your lists on

      Thank you in advance! 🙂

      • Mireille September 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

        …all shared! 🙂 I hope they end up being helpful. Good luck with the test!


        • Vencislav Popov September 4, 2014 at 5:11 am #

          Thank you! I did find other lists composed of the same words, but they were formed of bigger chunks of 300 words. Studying a smaller list of 50 words until you master it is much easier since you have the feeling that you are closer to your goal.

 is astounding, it says that I’ve mastered 560 words for 8 days (although I knew partially about 50-100 of them). Anyhow, at this rate I’ll be ready with the lists just in time for my exam 🙂

          • Mireille September 7, 2014 at 5:16 am #

            Yes, I totally agree. Just like I mentioned above, especially when you get to the Advanced level, you kind of…pretty much lose it. You need all the help you can get to keep on going and that’s exactly what gave me — the fuel for my very last miles. 🙂 I hope it will do the same for you.

            My lists are exactly 50 (51) words each because they perfectly mirror the Magoosh lists. I figured — you go through one Magoosh list in a couple of days, then you refine each and every detail of those same words (meaning, spelling even!) in Then, you can indeed guarantee you “mastered” the words.

            Another thing makes easy and super convenient is to create flashcards for the words you look up while reading. Once you have the word up on the screen, all you have to do to create a flashcard (for future reference) is to simply click on Add to List, then choose which one of your Lists you want that word saved into.

            So with that in mind, I even gave up using Quizlet to create flashcards for my To Learn words, since I look them all up in anyway and since I’m in there I quickly create a flashcard, too — it really doesn’t make sense to keep switching between websites and type the word once again, etc.

            So, if you haven’t already tried that, I advice you to do, it’ll save you time. 🙂 Not to mention — when you “work” your list in down the road, you get points and advance levels!!!! ;))))))))

            • Vencislav Popov October 7, 2014 at 7:52 am #

              Just scored 167 on the verbal, a 7 point increase from my practice test a month ago! is amazing, and the lists were just perfect.

            • Ayush June 19, 2015 at 2:32 am #

              Hi Mireille ,

              I really like your approach of mirroring the magoosh lists to
              However, the link you gave no longer has the magoosh list of words. Could you please reshare the list maybe?

            • Niks August 19, 2015 at 8:40 am #

              Hi Mireille

              Please share your list.

              Thanks in advance!!!

  4. Josh Lee November 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    Wow Chris thanks for the suggestion! is now my go to dictionary, supplanting I like their method for learning words: questions that get at the definition and use of a word as well as how the word is spelled. I’m not good at spelling so these sorts of questions are a welcomed challenge! The dictionary is fast, the definitions are memorable, and right there on the page are several different sentences using the word “in the wild”.

    An interesting feature is that you can click on a user created list you’re learning and see how many times you seen a word. Also you can see your % mastery of a word. You can learn a list and not master it, i.e. not 100% learn each word. I find this feature useful for building new lists, mixing in new words with some familiar old words. has been the best site, that I’ve found so far, at replicating that “discovery” or “stumble across” type experience that one gets with a paper dictionary. I like how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole and journey through the various synonyms and antonyms of a word.

    I find using the Magoosh flashcards, on my phone and recently on my computer, plus to be an excellent combination for learning new words. When I’m looking back over my answers to the verbal questions I have in tab right next to magoosh. Ok enough gushing.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele December 2, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      Hi Josh!

      I like the effusiveness :). Very few people get it when I gush on about vocabulary–and is definitely gush-worthy. I like the point you brought up about the “rabbit hole”. You’re right–it’s hard online to get lost in the magical forest of words the way it is with a dictionary. does capture that a bit :).

  5. Vinayak September 11, 2013 at 12:31 am # is a great resource. In fact, I was wondering what took Magoosh so long to recommend it. Definitely a better user interface as compared to wordnik. And a great range of words from veritable sources like you pointed out, Chris.

    Also the variety of question forms they’ve built is worth appreciating. I always have a tab open usually, to have a go at a round or two. Their feature of adapting questions to keep up with what words the user has learnt or mastered is great too.

    Thanks for these great tips like always, Chris. You guys at Magoosh rock, such unbiased recommendations.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

      Hi Vinayak,

      So others had recommended the site about a year ago. I guess it was a little more rudimentary then. The update is fantastic. I too have a window usually open to the site :).

      And thanks for the kudos :)!

  6. Selena Rossi September 5, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Plus you get to learn a good number of user made lists saved in to the site database. Including the Magoosh wordlist.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 5, 2013 at 10:15 am #

      Indeed, it does! And, can change those Magoosh lists into flashcards. It’s like super-Quizlet combined with the best of :)!

  7. Yuri Pavlov September 4, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Thanks for the article so much! I had to read the post with a dictionary though lol
    Will pray to God that I’ll remember all these words — stellar, stodgy, snappy, redoubtable, etc. ))

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 4, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Hi Yuri,

      Actually, I kind of did that on purpose :). Not that there was any way I could track it, but I hoped that after I used such crazy concoctions as “troglodytic lexicographers” that people would actually go to to look up these words.

      Glad you learned some other ones too!

  8. Aarushi Maken September 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Thanks, Chris! Will definitely check the site out. 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele September 4, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Glad it was helpful!

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