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Top 10 New GRE Vocabulary Words for 2012

These are some of the most common revised GRE vocabulary words that I’m predicting will continue to be very popular through 2012 and beyond! You can find them all in our free GRE flashcards.


The GRE has a predilection for words that don’t really sound like what they mean. Alacrity is no exception. Many think the word has a negative connotation. Alacrity, however, means an eager willingness to do something.

So imagine the first day at a job that you’ve worked really hard to get. How are you going to complete the tasks assigned to you? With alacrity of course.

An interesting correlation: the more alacritous (adjective form) you are to learn GRE vocabulary, the better you will do.



Prosaic conjures up a beautiful mosaic for some. For others, the pro- is clearly positive. So if somebody or something is prosaic, it must surely be good.

Once again the GRE confounds expectations. Prosaic means dull and lacking imagination. It can be used to describe plans, life, language, or just about anything inanimate that has become dull (it is not used to describe people).

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A good mnemonic: prose is the opposite of poetry. And where poetry, ideally, bursts force with imagination, prose (think of text-book writing), lacks imagination. Hence, prose-aic.



Veracity sounds a lot like voracity. Whereas many know voracity means full of hunger (the adjective form voracious is more common), few know veracity. Unfortunately, many confuse the two on the test.

Veracity means truthful. The adjective form, veracious, sounds a lot like veracious. So be careful.



Paucity is a lack of something. In honor of paucity, this entry will have a paucity of words.



The second definition of this word – and one the new GRE favors – is to assert. One can maintain their innocence. A scientist can maintain that a recent finding support her theory. The latter context is the one you’ll encounter on the GRE.



Word roots are often misleading. This word does not mean with triteness (con- meaning with). To be contrite is to feel remorse.



Another word that sounds different from what it means. A person is described as laconic when he/she says very few words.

I’m usually reminded of John Wayne, the quintessential cowboy, who, with a gravelly intonation, muttered few words. As this allusion betrays my age more than anything else, think instead of Christian Bale in Batman.



Much like the pug dog, which aggressively yaps at things near it, a person who is pugnacious likes to aggressively argue about everything. Verbally combative is another good way to describe pugnacious.



If two things are fundamentally different, they are disparate. For instance, verbal skills and math skills are disparate, and as such are usually tested separately, the GRE being no exception.



‘Greg’ is the Latin root for flock. At one point egregious meant standing out of the flock a positive way. This definition went out of vogue sometime in the 16th century, after which time egregious was used ironically.

Thus for the last five hundred years, ‘egregious’ meant standing out in a bad way. In sports, an egregious foul would be called on a player who slugged another player (not including hockey, of course).


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46 Responses to Top 10 New GRE Vocabulary Words for 2012

  1. Siddharth June 15, 2016 at 1:06 am #

    Hey there Chris!
    Again thanks a bunch for this list of words 😀 I’ve been thinking of doing words from the app as well as listing down the words you mention in the article of the month along with their meanings…would that be enough?

    Also I was having some trouble selecting relevant gre level articles from the atlantic and new york times,could you guide me on how to go about it…eg which tags to look under or something?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 16, 2016 at 10:39 am #

      Hey Siddharth,

      Since you’re a premium member, I’m sending these questions over to our team of text prep experts to give you an answer. 🙂

  2. Sindhuja July 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Thanks for these words 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      You are welcome!

  3. leo July 28, 2012 at 12:32 am #


    hi chris i am amazed that you have studied psychology and i have too and can you tell me your experience of university of california i want to study there is it good options . expecting the answer with both angle +ve as well as *-ve.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      Hi Leo,

      Yes, the University California is excellent. My one complaint with UCLA is I felt that it put more effort into its graduate program than its undergraduate programs. Which of course is actually a positive if you are looking to go to grad school. All around excellent staff and location. UC Berkeley is also one of the best schools in the nation. UCSD also is strong. (And you can’t beat the weather :)).

  4. Jules July 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I’m slightly confused by your sentence, “The adjective form, veracious, sounds a lot like veracious. So be careful.” I mean the two words would sound a lot alike seeing as they are spelled exactly the same? Did you mean to say, “veracious” sounds a lot like “voracious” so be careful?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

      Oops, that is a typo. I’m not quite sure how I managed to type the same word twice. So yes, it should be ‘veracious’ and ‘voracious.’ Thanks!

  5. pravin kumaar July 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    thanks a lottttttttttttttt!!!!!!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

      No prob!

  6. Ivy L July 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    You are awesome. This is the best website for GRE words that I have found. I like that you explain the words in addition to giving the definition. More words please. Can you please upload more words? Thank you! <3

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      You are very welcome :).

      Each week we have a Vocab Wed. series. There is also an accompanying youtube video so you can watch me explain the words as well :).

  7. PRAVIN KUMAAR July 14, 2012 at 7:28 am #


  8. PRAVIN KUMAAR July 14, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    No i haven’t.But i have seen that guide to gre vocab.Is that enough?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      The guide is helpful – but you’ll want to do in-context vocab reading. (I elaborate on this in the ebook).

  9. PRAVIN KUMAAR July 12, 2012 at 9:36 am #


    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Great! The lists will keep coming. Have you checked out our weekly Vocab Wed. series?

  10. simer kaur June 22, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    thanx chris

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  11. jasmin June 11, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Useful and informative!! Thanks Chris!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris June 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      You are welcome :).

  12. rafique May 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Great list you put up.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 30, 2012 at 11:55 am #

      Thanks :).

  13. Ana May 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    How did you choose these to be the top words for 2012? Did they appear more frequently than others on the test? Though I don’t think so because of the confidentiality rules. Or does the Magoosh team really like them for some reason? Or there is another reason to make them “top”?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

      Hi Ana,

      You are very astute :). The words are definitely not those that have recently shown up on tests, as that would be a violation of confidentiality rules.

      The reason the words are the top of 2012 is they are words we like, or at least very important words that I haven’t necessarily put the spotlight on yet.

  14. RR May 14, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    actually I am looking for some new vocabulary today that i could use for tomorrow as I want to share it in my colleague.

    then i was accidentally lost on your page and I was amazed by the newest word i found like the Alacrity.although some are not so new but very familiar.

    on the other way i would to thanks Chris for this page. It helps me a lot.I will be happy to read and learn more in the coming months or year.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 14, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Hi RR.,

      Great! I’m happy you found the Magoosh blog :). I’ll be putting up hundreds of new words over the coming months. Stay tuned!

      • Abdullah May 16, 2012 at 12:10 am #

        Thank you Chris. I am a big fan of your work. I will be waiting for the next group of words.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

          You’re welcome :).

  15. A.A April 5, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Would you please put a high frequency word list survey for magoosh users whom had taken the exam each month. By this we can assume how important is knowing certain lists an future members can get a clear picture of the highly used words worldwide.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris April 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

      Hi A.A.,

      Those who take the test are not allowed to share anything they saw on the test. If ETS traces any leaks back to a someone that person can kiss any grad school dreams good by. Essentially, telling other people the words that show up on the GRE is cheating. (This is a big reason the GRE is paper-based in Asia–many were using cheating scams such as this to get near perfect verbal scores).

      So if you come across a website that shares such information, then you are cheating as well. I’m not sure how ETS would catch you but taking such a gamble is not worth it :).

      • Abdullah April 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

        Thank you for your answer

        It is not cheating because I am narrowing down the words that have been cumulatively showed more than others. If those people who work in ETS are lazy to make a bank of questions, it does not mean I am a cheater. I am a smart student who wants to make the best out his study plan. All of us know that those words can be used in different contexts. In my opinion, this is the real challenge. Thanks

        • Chris Lele
          Chris April 6, 2012 at 9:40 am #


          ETS is def. not lazy. Every student who takes the GRE must sign and a form saying that he/she will not share anything on the test with anyone. The form explicitly says that if a person is found discussing content, then that charges can be brought against that person.

          If Magoosh users were to do so, they would not only imperil their chances of getting into university but they would be in breach of the law. By extension, Magoosh, in serving as a forum with leaked information on it, would also be in breach of the law, and ETS would most likely take Magoosh to court.

          So nobody is lazy here. Any forum that features students sharing content–even if it’s just a vocabulary word that can be employed in different contexts–is breaking the law.

          • nmd May 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

            hey chris

            Thanx for the words, they were really helpful. Just like you published the ten words listed above, you could list another 100. If what you did above is legal and correct , another 100 or so wouldn’t do any harm. Infact they could prove to be really helpful for people who have limited time for preparation.

  16. fab January 31, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Thanks a lot for these, they are really helpful. Please continue!

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 31, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

      You are welcome!

  17. Seth January 26, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    You’re a smart dude, Chris.

    What’s your academic background/area of specialty if it’s no secret?

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Definitely not a secret 🙂

      I studied psychology at U.C.L.A, with an emphasis on the brain and learning. Though I chalk up my verbal ability to the copious reading I did outside of class!

  18. Chetna Aggarwal January 26, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    This is a nice list of words. I find these words in almost every GRE Vocab list. Thanks for making these words understood in a much easier way…

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

      Great! I am happy that people enjoy learning words this way. I’ve never been a fan of tedious, interminable vocab lists. I figure it is much better to talk about words in a way that is fun and engaging.

  19. edd January 25, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    Yesterday i took the Trainee engineer test, and “Egregious” was there. Thanks a lot Chris for your post.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Coincidences are great! Hopefully, on the GRE test you will have similar luck!

  20. Archana January 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Thank you for teaching these words in a much friendly and easy way. Though few words are already known, it was still good to read them. It was like a revision.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris January 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Thanks! I’m glad these posts are helpful – I enjoy writing them!

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