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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Election Words

About nine months ago, I remember remarking that the 2016 election cycle would likely be a dull one. At the time, it seemed that everyone was expecting Hillary to win, since the Republicans didn’t have a clear frontrunner. I figured come January 2017 Bill Clinton would be back in the White House—though in a very different role than he previously had. Boy was I wrong. Not about Bill Clinton, who might indeed end up sleeping on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but about the election cycle being dull. I can say it has been far more entertaining, unpredictable, and flat out exciting than anything I’ve seen all year at the box office (not that I see too many movies).

In honor of this election year, I’ve come up with several GRE words. Now I’m not out to press any hot buttons here (there is plenty of that online already) so I’ll do my best to remain as unbiased as possible, doing my best not to oppugn any of the candidates. Hmm…did I just use a GRE word? (See “oppugn” definition below).


There is nothing slight about Donald Trump. He commands the stage with a brio and swagger befitting someone who has long been the leader of the free world. But I’m not using the word slight in its common sense. Rather, the word can function as a noun that means to insult someone in such a way that it is clear that you are disrespecting him or her. Regardless of whether you are voting for Trump, it is difficult to argue that he hasn’t slighted some of his opponents during the Republican race. The most memorable (for me, at least) was when he called Marco Rubio “Little Marco”. Trump followed up this unfortunate sobriquet—at least for those in the Marco Rubio camp—by making a crybaby face.


Each politician isn’t just concerned with burnishing their own public image but with tarnishing that of their opponents. Of course such tarnishing doesn’t always have to take the form of a slight. Other times, a candidate will call into question the integrity of another person. They will make us voters pause and think, “Hmm, maybe that person isn’t fit to be president”. This is an example of oppugning: to question the truth or validity of something. Throughout the campaign, Bernie Sanders has oppugned Hillary’s character, implying that she only has corporate interests in mind. When voters hear this, they question Hillary’s integrity.


Not nearly as common as slander, defame, and mudsling, traduce belongs in the same family. As the general election nears, both the Republican nominee and the Democratic nominee will release a slew of commercials. All will engage in old-fashioned oppugning. But some will likely, especially as election day nears, traduce the other candidate. These ads will essentially convey that the other candidate is a bad person who will somehow ruin the country. Sordid details from that person’s will be dredged up and used as key evidence. And once the debates between the two candidates begins, each will be traducing the other.


Yes, finally a non-contentious word. The reason I bring this up is I was following the primaries quite closely a few months back. Before the voting took place, many polls would try to, based on sampling of a state’s population, try to figure out who will win that state’s primary. To generalize or infer from a known situation (people voting in the poll) to an unknown and different situation (the number of people actually voting in the state election) is an example of extrapolating.

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One Response to GRE Vocab Wednesday: Election Words

  1. Sabrina June 21, 2016 at 5:33 pm #

    Nice! I was expecting “great, fantastic, amazing” haha

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