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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: Little Words

Oftentimes we think of SAT words as these big scary words (pusillanimous, unprepossessing, and vicissitudes leap to mind!). However, sometimes SAT words can be itty-bitty. But if you don’t know them, you can still miss a question, so watch out!


Sure, you might see a mouse and say, “eek!”. But if you are talking about “eke”, then you mean to barely scrape by. “Eke” is usually accompanied with the preposition “out”. To eke out an existence is to barely get by.

The man eked out an existence on the side of the tracks, eating the scraps of food tossed from a moving train.

The mouse eked out an existence, nibbling on crumbs and dodging broomsticks as people screamed, “eek!”


Daffy Duck always is saying or doing something that is awkward. Many blush at his social blunders. A gaffe (n.) is just that: words or actions that cause somebody embarrassment. Of course, Daffy doesn’t blush much and just keeps committing more gaffes. Perhaps we should introduce Gaffe Duck, Daffy Duck’s cousin.


I’m not talking about rank in terms of hierarchy. I’m talking about a second definition. “Rank” means to smells terribly. Fish left out of the fridge for a week? Very rank (and you might just have to move out).


Nope, I’m not a terrible speller. This “mete” is actually a verb meaning to hand out or give bad punishment. For instance, if you break the law, punishment will be meted out. If you get an abysmal GPA, I’m your parents will have a way of meting out punishment.


To rue is to regret bitterly something that you let happen. I know the Seattle Seahawks are ruing that they passed the ball instead of rushing for a touchdown. You might also have heard the word “rue” in the phrase, “you will rue the day you are born”. I don’t recommend you saying that to anybody, but it is a poetic way of saying “watch out!”.


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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