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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: It’s Not What You Think

Vocabulary can sometimes be annoyingly not straightforward. A word looks like it means one thing, but actually means something totally unrelated. To make matters worse, the SAT folk know which words these are and typically throw them into the Sentence Completion section. So make sure you can beat them at their game by memorizing these words.



“Hey, I went to Vegas and won a lot of money” = NOT WINSOME

“Hi, my name is George Clooney. I have this great personality and everyone likes me” = WINSOME

Basically, think charming and likeable (though I’m not sure if you think Clooney is the best ambassador for winsome).



“Hey, brah, I’ve been drinking like massive whey smoothies lately and have gained hella muscle” = NOT PROTEAN

“My name is Meryl Streep and I can inhabit many different roles, from Margaret Thatcher to a woman way too in love with Africa. Who knows which character I can be next” = PROTEAN

Protean describes somebody who has the ability to take on many different forms. Like, did you see Lady Gaga belt out the Sound of Music?



“I’m the opposite of happy…hmm, I must be hapless. Wait, wait, I know, like ‘what’s the haps?”; if nothing is happening, it’s hapless?!” = NOT HAPLESS

“Why do bad things always happen to me. It’s like a rain is always over my head” = HAPLESS

Hapless means unfortunate.



No, it doesn’t mean fat.

Fatuous describes a person’s comment. If somebody says something silly and pointless, then they’ve just made a fatuous comment.

You know you should study if you want to do well in school = FATUOUS



Okay, who knows exactly what people are thinking; I don’t want to know. I can tell you that buttress is a source of support or defense, and it can also be used as a noun. In that sense, a chair is both a butt rest and a buttress.

As a buttress against invading mosquitos, Sid has placed a mosquito net over his bed.


About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 8 million views.

You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog!

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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