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GRE Vocab Goes XXX

Yes, the title is tongue-in-cheek. But there will definitely be ‘x’ words on the GRE – and by that I mean ‘ex’ words. These vocab beasts have long been the bane of many a student, as many blur into one word. The key is not just learning the definition but coming up with an effective way not to mix them up.

Below are a few common ‘ex’ words. In this post, I will provide definitions and example sentences, as I usually do. For nifty mnemonics (memory tips to make sure you don’t mix the words together), check out this week’s Vocab Wednesday video on Magoosh’s youtube channel.

 

Excoriate

To yell at someone is one thing; to excoriate them is a whole other. A martinet of a boss whom you’ve once again upset; a drill sergeant berating a feckless, smirking recruit; now we are closer.

So to criticize really, really harshly is to excoriate. Interestingly, the second definition of the word is to tear one’s skin from his/her body. To verbally excoriate is to figuratively rip off a person’s skin (with such an arresting visual, I don’t think I need an example sentence!).

 

Extenuating

Extenuating means making less guilty or more forgivable. The phrase ‘extenuating circumstances’ is common courtroom lingo. Say somebody broke into a drugstore to steal some expensive medication. Later we learn that medication was for that person’s wife, who was dying of some disease that only the medication could cure. Most of us, presumably, would be more likely to forgive the man. Why? Because of the extenuating factor of his wife’s disease.

 

Execrate

This word just sounds awful. The good news is the word has a very negative connotation. To execrate somebody is to curse and hiss at them. For instance a certain American basketball player left his team of many years so he could make more money with another team. Fans of the original team execrated the player for his perfidy and his mercenary motives.

Interestingly, the adjective form of ‘execrate’ is the relatively common GRE word ‘execrable.’ If something is execrable, we condemn it as awful (and worthy of hissing).

Though the new sitcom did decently in the ratings, Nelson railed against the show, saying that it was nothing more than execrable pastiche of tired cliché’s and canned laughter.

 

Exegesis

This word refers to a critical interpretation of a scholarly work. If you think that definition is intimidating, the adjective form is exegetical.

The Bible is fertile ground for exegesis—over the past five centuries there have been as many interpretations as there are pages in a Gideons.

 

Exhort

To exhort means to strongly urge on, encourage.

Nelson’s parents exhorted him to study medicine, urging him to choose a respectable profession that would do more than pay the bills; intransigent, Nelson left home to become a graffiti artist.

 

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14 Responses to GRE Vocab Goes XXX

  1. Abhishek G June 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    High Frequency Words and Mnemonics for your help.

    1. Execrable – Exercise + cable – He is exercising using TV cable.
    It is very bad. People are cursing him. He is being detested by all.

    2. Exult – EXam + resULT – He has topped his exams. So he is in a very much happy and elated.

    3. Exhilarating – EXcellent + LARA + ponTING Invigorating and refreshing

    The performance of Lara and Ponting was excellent and refreshing.

    4. Exacerbate – EXAm + SAR + aBATE; If in an exam, you keep your hand on your (SAR – Hindi), you will worsen your paper.

    5. Exorbitant – Ex (out) + Orbit – that is out of orbit or limitation binding it; excessive

    6. Expedite – Speed + IT – hasten, speed up

    7. Expropriate – EXwife + Property – Exwife took all the property. Therefore, take possession of.

    8. Extol – ex + TOLL – At TOLL booth, you are praising, glorifying the people for making such beautiful roads and highways.

    9. Extricate – Mr. (Ex) played a TRICk to FREE himself from the prison. Therefore, free, disentangle

    10. Exonerate – EX + Honour – To bring back your ex honour by taking the blame off you.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks for the list of mnemonics. These are definitely unique :).

      The zanier the better. However, the best mnemonics are the ones you come up with yourself (as you’ve done a splendid job of doing here).

  2. abhay May 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    Good work. Using all these words together.
    When my gf caught me cheating on her, she excoriated me to such extent that my soul was hurt. Even my best friends execrated my actions. But when I brought to light that my gf was also cheating all along and my actions were a plain retribution. Then my best friends exhorted my efforts under these extenuating circumstances. They offered their help with anything even for providing exegesis for my love letters to the new girl.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 7, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      Good work abhay!

      Using words like this – in little stories – really helps people retain words. Keep it up :).

  3. Khan April 20, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    Nice ‘ex’ words !

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      You’re welcome :).

  4. Aman April 6, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Thanks a ton Chris that was really helpful…

  5. vaisnavi April 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Exhume. Exigency, Exiguous,Existential,Exonerate, Exorbitant,Exorcise,Expatiate, Expatriate,Expedient, Expedite, Expeditious,Expository, Expostulation, Expropriate, Expound, Extempore, Extirpate,Extol,Extradition,extrapolation,Extricate,Exult, Exuberance,Extrude and many more………..

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 6, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Yes, the list can go on for a very long time :).

      I have to pick just a few at a time :).

      Will definitely have another Ex- post in the future!

    • bharath July 17, 2012 at 1:35 am #

      Where did you learn all these words ? ?.. I feel it very difficult if I have to say all the words starting with Ex … Are you following any book ?

  6. sai April 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Thank you Chris, it’s really helpful

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 6, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      You are welcome!

  7. Sunny Sun April 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you Chris, it’s really helpful!!!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 6, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Glad you like it!


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