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Lucas Fink

Megalomnemonical Vocab: Five of the Most Difficult SAT Words

There are lots and lots of SAT vocab words, of course. Luckily, a lot of them are words you already know. And some are words you might recognize from unexpected places, like band names. But there are some words on the SAT that are just crazy (hopefully, that’ll change before long). It’s a very unique high school student who knows all of the words they see on their SAT. Below are five of the most difficult words that have shown up on past SATs. Do you know them?

As always, use the mnemonics to remember them.



The meaning: A perquisite is a perk—in fact, it’s just the long form of the word. It’s specifically used for jobs, as in any benefit somebody gets from their position.

An example: A company car is a perquisite.

A mnemonic: My job perks are so exquisite I prefer to call them perquisites.



The meaning: Harmful, usually in a subtle, physical way. It’s often paired with some form of health.

An example: The hormones used to encourage milk production in cows may have deleterious effects on our health.

A mnemonic: If you got an app that turned out to be seriously deleterious, you’d delete it.



The meaning: Chicanery is how politicians win elections; it’s lying, misleading, and being all around sneaky like that. It’s always about official situations though, not about everyday people.

An example: The lawyer relied on chicanery to win his case.

A mnemonic: The tuna company covered up the fact that they were getting their meat from chick canneries with chicanery.



The meaning: Lassitude is somewhere between exhaustion and laziness. It’s a physical feeling, but it doesn’t necessarily have to come from having done a lot of work. You might just be a sloth.

An example: Side-effects of the drug include drowsiness and lassitude.

A mnemonic: I like to call my lazy attitude lassitude…. It sounds better that way.



The meaning: Back-stabbing.

An example: Months into their supposedly exclusive relationship, she found out he was a perfidious creep. He’d been seeing a number of other women the whole time.

A mnemonic: Beware of new friends who seem too perfect: they may have insidious, perfidious plans.


About Lucas Fink

Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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