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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Difficult Words from the Magoosh GRE Product

Recently I took words from the new ETS GRE Verbal Reasoning question guide (and then I took more words from it … and then even more). Now, I’m digging into the Magoosh trove of vocabulary and pulling out the morsels below. These words have yet to be featured on Vocab Wednesday and are also words that are on the tough side.

Since quite a few students say our vocabulary is in line with that found on the actual test, you wouldn’t want to be staring at the screen come test day wondering what in the world “blandishment” could mean.



Above, I used a shameless blandishment—or enticement—to get you to read the rest of the post. I said that the words might appear on the test. A blandishment is usually more focused on flattery to induce somebody to do something. Perhaps, a better blandishment would have been something like this: oh, you consummate word maven you. You probably already know all the words below.



Not to impugn your formidable pronunciation ability (another blandishment to read on), but the second syllable is pronounced “pyuun”. Impugn means to call into question, or challenge the validity of. Politics, for one, is full of impugning. On the Congress floor each side is always impugning what the other side has to say. Many political shows feature two speakers, one opining and the other impugning what was just said.



There is constructive criticism, which ultimately aims to edify. There is the less pleasant variant of criticism in its more general form. And then there is vitriol, the type of criticism that, if it is directed at you, you are likely to cry—or at least run for the nearest exit. From the Latin word for glass, vitriol means cutting like glass. I’m sure if you knocked over an artist’s famed glass sculpture—at an opening night exhibit, no less—you’d be subjected to the most intense vitriol from said artist.



Something that is apparently the case, but not necessarily so can be described by the word ostensible. Changes to the earth’s climate are ostensibly tied to global warming (though just how ostensible is the subject of some fierce debate).  Sometimes, ostensible can take on a slightly different connotation, one that is more sinister. Bill Clinton ostensibly did not have any untoward relations with an intern. At least that’s what he initially told the press.



Embroiled in something illicit? Not necessarily the main guilty party but you still let something bad happen? Well, then you are complicit. Some believe that those who do not vote Election Day are complicit, in the instance that we end up with an unpopular president. By not speaking out against atrocities, we are complicit.


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.

2 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: Difficult Words from the Magoosh GRE Product

  1. razi December 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    thanks Chris
    I hope to see the word’s pronunciation too here.

  2. Savita Bhabhi October 1, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    Thank You Chris. Learned 2 new words today.

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