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Chris Lele

SAT Vocabulary Monday – ‘X’ words


I have a cold. Ideally, because I want the cold to go away, I would rest. Of course, there are so many things to do that I can’t possibly lie in bed. So, inevitably I end up exacerbating my cold—I make it worse.

Things that exacerbate a cold:

1. Doing all night Karaoke
2. Not taking NyQuil
3. Running partially clad in subzero temperatures


Bob: You know what really annoys me, what really exasperates me, is the two words exacerbate and exasperate—they look exactly the same. And to exacerbate things, or make matters worse, I always end up using them incorrectly.

Phil: I find your constant whining exasperating.


“Ex”- words aren’t all that bad. For instance, if somebody extols you, you are likely to beam with pride. Imagine getting a 4.0 in every class. You will be extolled, or enthusiastically praised, by your teachers and friends.

But don’t forget words like extol. Otherwise, you won’t do too well on the SAT.

Desperate mnemonic: The mayor got rid of the $20 bridge toll. He ex-ed the toll, so now everyone in the city extols him for his awesome act.


Most people call that thing you use to clean off a chalkboard an eraser (in fact 99.999% of humanity). But, I, call it an ex-sponge. It helps me ex out everything and it soaks up all the brain cell-killing ink. To expunge (pronounced like ex-sponge) means to completely remove any trace of.


Everybody has seen a judge handing down a verdict on T.V. (The “guilty or “not guilty” part is the verdict). If the person on a trial is found not guilty (the courtroom term is “aquitted”), he or she has been exonerated. That is, the blame has been removed and he/she is declared innocent.

A good synonym, and also an ‘ex-’ word, is exculpate. Think of the ‘culp’ part as the culprit, the alleged bad guy. Throw the ‘ex-’ in there and he is an ex-culprit, no longer the bad guy (or girl!).

And that’s it for this week’s word list! If you have any vocab questions for me, leave them in the comment box below. 🙂

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!

One Response to “SAT Vocabulary Monday – ‘X’ words”

  1. MANSOOR says:

    Plz send your strategies in building up vocabulary.

    Mansoor Ahmad Chauhan

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