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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Words from Magooshers

About a month ago, I polled people (mostly GRE aspirants) on my FB page as to what their favorite GRE words were. I got some very interesting responses. Here are a few of those words. Perhaps your favorite is among them!


Back in Victorian England, there were these exhibitions featuring shadows flashing on the wall. The effect was disorienting, causing a stream of unconnected images. The fact that these images happened to be ghoulish and frightening added to the effect. Perhaps, a more relevant example is when you are really sick. You know how you when you close your eyes you get a sense of flashing images that are almost hallucinatory in nature? Well, that is phantasmagorical. If you are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, some of his stories describe a phantasmagorical world of constantly shifting scenes, each more macabre than the last.


If you’ve ever read Dicken’s A Christmas Carol you will remember Ebenezer Scrooge, who was known for pinching every penny, despite being a wealthy man. If a street urchin clambered up to him asking for a dime—even on Christmas eve—Mr. Scrooge would say no. Scrooge is the embodiment of parsimonious. This word should not be confused with frugal, which means spending money wisely.


How obscene that this would be someone’s favorite word! Well, not exactly. Though this word does describe things that are obscene in nature. There was, for instance, a certain congressman with a highly unfortunate surname. He would send women he worked with salacious texts (I won’t get into details here beyond saying that his surname completes another name: Oscar Meyer).


A grouchy person, a crank, an irritable type who goes out of his way to yell at tiny children frolicking in the street—this is a curmudgeon. Speaking of Ebenezer Scrooge, he was also a curmudgeon. Though, you don’t have to be parsimonious to be a curmudgeon. You can throw $100 bills in the air—as long as you are cursing those around you.

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2 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: Words from Magooshers

  1. Sunaina Grewal August 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    hey Chris I am in california on L2 visa. i completed my bachelor’s in computer science last year in India. I don’t have much of experience but want to persue my MS here in usa. Does work experience really matters to get in top universities? I did not get any job in IT field here because either you should have MS or work experience. i want to start college as soon as possible. can you brief me about everything?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm #

      I certainly can brief you about everything. And the answer to your question is actually simple… yet complicated in a way. To make a long story short, top grad schools look at a combination of past grades, GRE scores, and work experience. If you have a respectable undergrad GPA and did well on your exam, you have a chance of getting into a top school. And applicants with so-so grades and test scores but amazing work experience also have a chance.

      As you move forward, you should also contact prospective schools and see if you need to change from an L2 visa to a student visa. Many immigrants on “dependent” visas need to do this, although I’m not sure about the rules for L2 specifically.

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