GRE Vocab Wednesday: Holiday Words

The time of year has arrived, where we visit with friends, celebrate the holidays, and eat too much for our own good. Below are words relating to Christmas cheer, and, in some cases, a few that, while Christmas-y, aren’t necessarily that cheerful (it must be a lack of Vitamin D that’s bringing out my curmudgeonly side).



Yes, it’s the time of year for giving. And those known for their largess surely give. ‘Largess’ is the generosity displayed in the giving of gifts. So hopefully, many of your close ones exhibit largess. And remember, don’t be parsimonious (that means stingy) yourself.

‘Largess’ can also relate to the gifts themselves.

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I’m guessing this word does not apply to everyone come time for the holidays. At the same time, I hardly think I’m alone in saying—and pardon the colloquialism—that Christmas is a great time for pigging out. So if you find yourself aggressively consuming all the yummy treats in front of you, then you can rightly be described as ‘ravenous.’

Useful synonyms for the GRE include voracious and gluttonous.



If you are ravenous, devouring mashed potato, tryptophan infused turkey, and creamy stuffing (not to mention guzzling eggnog), then within an hour you are likely to plop on the couch in a stupor, put your had on your distended stomach, and ask someone for the remote control. This overwhelming sense of sluggishness is called torpor.

Torpor, a noun, is also commonly seen it’s adjective form, torpid.



‘Languid’ is closely related to ‘torpid.’ If you have that drooping feeling, and you don’t want to get out of bed (no doubt from all the binging), then you are feeling languid. A related word, and another adjective, is languorous. Both words are great to describe that lethargy you get while vacationing, in which each day is nearly the same. Of course come Christmas time, you probably won’t have to be on vacation to use these words.



Ah yes, Christmas time, when people come together to rejoice. A perfect word to describe the festiveness of the occasion and the good vibes people are emanating, whether or not they’ve quaffed the eggnog, is ‘jovial.’



‘Munificent’ means very generous. So if, say your uncle gives you a $1,000 gift, he is munificent. In that sense, the word is similar to ‘largess.’ But note how ‘largess’ is a noun, and describes the quality of the giver. That said, ‘munificent’ can also be ‘munificence.’


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