GRE Vocab Wednesday: Halloween Words

It is that time of year again—when we transmogrify ourselves into our ghoulish dopplegangers and cavort about in the dark, hoping total strangers will bequeath to us a stash of yummy treats. Yep, it’s Halloween. I know, many of us are beyond the trick-or-treating age (unless we have our own little goblins in tow!). But we are never too old to get dressed up, or for that matter to buy our own bags of candy.

For GRE aspirants, whatever you choose to don on the 31st, there are important Halloween-equse vocabulary you want to keep in mind. And what better way to enjoy a sugarcoated treat than to learn the following words!



Everybody knows twilight—no, not that pasty-faced vampire saga (though everybody knows that too!). I am talking about that time when the sun sets and you can still see the light. Yes, the very time when trick-or-treaters emerge. Another word for twilight—and one that sounds far more beautiful, an incantation in of itself—is crepuscular. Not the most likely word to show up on the GRE, but a word you should still know.

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Nope, I’m not talking about the bear. Grisly relates to anything that causes you to flinch and say, ick! Grisly describes crime scenes, slasher flicks, and very likely the costume of somebody who will ring your doorbell this evening.



To transform something in a grotesque way is to transmogrify it. You know how those fun house mirrors warp your face? Well, that’s a pretty good example of transmogrification. Of course transmogrification can be even more fantastical. For instance, when the fairy tale prince is transformed into a frog.



If something is eerie or inexplicable, it is uncanny. Perhaps a friend has this uncanny ability to accurately guess the time. Maybe you keep bumping into the same person. Well, anything that gives you goosebumps because it is eerily coincidental is uncanny.



Though I have never seen someone dressed up as chimera, it would make for quite a sight. Comprised of a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail, the chimera comes to us from Greek mythology.

The use of the word today refers to an illusion, something that is impossible to achieve. The adjective form is chimerical. So if you’ve run out of ideas for Halloween costumes, then how about you transmogrify yourself into a chimera. Wait…that would be far too difficult. Perhaps that idea amounts to nothing more than a chimera.


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