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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: Real or Fake?


Are you for real? That’s the question we are going to answer today. Below are four words, two of which connote a sense of the fake and two of which connote a sense of the genuine. Without reading the definitions (or watching the video!), can you figure it out?


Have you ever seen cowboy boots, the ones with those cheesy silver spurs? Well, in most cases those aren’t real silver spurs—they’re ‘spur’ious, or fake. So whenever you think of this word, think of fake cowboy boots. You can have spurious claims (“I’ve been abducted by space aliens”) and spurious reports (“There is a bigfoot in my backyard”).


A fake Picasso…now, what could be more artless. Well, artless actually is derived from the old meaning of art, which connotes a sense of deception. So if somebody is artless, he or she is without deceit. They are honest and genuine.

Bona fide

From the Latin for “with good faith”, anything that is bona fide is the real deal. Stephen Curry is a bona fide three-point shooter, able to swish the ball from the most improbable angles from behind the arc. Lebron James is a bona fide competitor. But the latter is not a bona fide champion—at least this year.


By far the scariest-looking of the four words, apocryphal describes anything that is fake or bogus. It is similar to spurious, but much more limited in its scope: only stories or accounts of the past can be described as apocryphal. During the Ebola outbreak last year, there were several apocryphal reports that the disease had spread throughout America from an infected airplane seat.

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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