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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: Really Hard SAT Words

Even if you are, say, 50-years old, you probably remember that there were these terribly difficult words on SAT that you’d never seen before. That kind of dread doesn’t dissipate with the decades.

So, yes, the SAT has long been making life difficult with these tough words.


“Et tu Brute” can be loosely translated as either “watch out for that knife” or “you are the worst friend ever—back stabber”. To commit such an act of betrayal is to involve perfidy, or deceitful, underhanded disloyalty.

In less Shakespearean terms, your friend is being perfidious if they smile in front of your face but are talking you down in front of others.


2:36 p.m. I am so happy! School is out.
2:45: I can’t get out of this terrible parking lot. The world sucks.
3:08: Why didn’t I just go home? It’s completely boring here.
3:10: I can’t believe that jerk just texted me that. I’m going to defriend them.

This might sound like a typical day in the life of a high schooler, but the focus here is on the roller coaster, unpredictable emotions. In other words, this person is being totally mercurial.


If somebody asked you what you’d do with billions of dollars, you’d probably think of owning a jet plane and buying a Tahitian island. Bill Gates, however, is munificent. That is, he is completely generous and gives millions upon millions to causes that help humanity.


Combine harmful and destructive with subtle and you get the wonderful word pernicious (doesn’t it just sound destructive?). Usually, we use this word in terms of the negative influence that ideas or people have on society. For instance, a pernicious way of thinking common to 17th New England is that some people (especially those you don’t like) are witches.


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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