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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.

Alacrity

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

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).

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

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

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

 

Maintain

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.

 

Contrite

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

 

Laconic

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.

 

Pugnacious

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.

 

Disparate

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.

 

Egregious

‘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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