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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Fallen Through the Cracks

None of the words below are actually related to falling and fissures in the ground. Indeed, the words aren’t really related at all, as is typical with the words from other Vocabulary Wednesdays. The words below are simply common GRE words that just never made it on to the Vocab Wednesday list.


To be intensely infatuated with something is to be besotted with it. Perhaps, you find yourself studying words into the wee hours of morning, Vocab Wednesdays playing continuously through your head as you sleep. If so, you are besotted with words. Typically, our affections or infatuations take human form, as all of us at some point, have been besotted with another person.


Have you ever woken up after a really long sleep, or perhaps been jolted awake when you are in deep sleep? In either case, you are likely to feel stupefied, a state in which you are unable to think or even function—basically, you’re kind of like a zombie.


Birds chirping, balmy air, a flower bud poking out through thawing snow—all are harbingers of spring. That is they announce or foretell the coming of spring. Harbingers don’t just relate to the seasons but can take on a variety of different forms: high unemployment has been a harbinger to a change in government; strange visual auras are, for many, a harbinger for a migraine headache.


To chasten can mean to scold, and in this sense, the word is very similar to chastise. Think of a principal chastening a pupil for too many absences. To chasten can also mean to have a moderating or restraining effect on. Let’s say that same pupil was “playing hooky”, staying at home and watching hours of television with a smug smile plastered on his face. Well, if the phone rings and the caller ID says it’s the principal’s office, the boy will feel like he’s been caught—even if he doesn’t pick up the phone. In other words, an event that has a moderating effect can be chastening.


Anything that is obscene—that is, it totally disregards moral standards relating to sexual matters—is salacious. Usually, I try to be as descriptive as possible, but in this case I’ll keep it at that: salacious means obscene.


To speak out against something is to decry it. Each day, bloggers take to the blogosphere and speak out against government corruption, government ineptitude, government policy, and just about anything relating to the government. Of course, you can decry just about anything, such as those who unfairly criticize the government (though that tack doesn’t usually make for great blog fodder).

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2 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: Fallen Through the Cracks

  1. Samy January 30, 2014 at 12:52 am #

    Dear Chris,

    As an avid reader of your blog, I also found this post useful. I hope my sedulous efforts in practising for the GRE pay-off. In line with my efforts, I have a few questions as I prep for the vocabulary section of the GRE.

    1. I’d like to know if there’s a way I can access all your posts that fall under the “GRE Vocab Wednesday” category, instead of inefficiently going through all Magoosh blog posts chronologically in search of your posts on vocab.

    2. I am currently studying the 1,000 words from the Manhattan GRE, and on completion will study the 1,000 or so words part of Magoosh’s GRE word list. While I acknowledge having a voracious appetite for memorizing and reviewing vocabulary word lists is not sufficient in isolation, and practising sentence equivalence and text completion questions, as well as, reading varied literature is also critical, could you suggest additional resources for vocabulary (preferably GRE guides or vocabulary lists)? For instance, there’s the Barron’s Essential GRE words, as well as, the 3,500 words from Barron’s slightly older GRE guide.

    Separately, I’ve also downloaded the Magoosh GRE flashcards app on my iPhone (btw, how many words are actually part of this list? Do you have an exact figure? Considering there are 20 word lists, with many words lists consisting of more than 50 words, I’m curious), in addition to the pdf version. Similarly, I also downloaded the Magoosh Vocab guide, and look forward to purchasing the premium version of the Magoosh GRE to get more acquainted to GRE-style questions through rigorous practice in the coming months.

    Hope to hear from you.

    Thanks a lot!



    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele January 30, 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Hey Samy!

      It sounds like you are ready to attack the GRE lexicon!

      As for your first question, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get all the Vocabulary Wed. is one easy spot (that is something we’ll have to take a look at it, because I imagine it must be frustrating going through each one chronologically). Our Vocabulary ebook does contain most of the initial vocabulary Wed. (up until about 8 months ago). Here is a link:

      For your second question, I totally agree: memorizing lists just isn’t that effective of a way to learn. Much better than the essential word list or the dreaded 3500 word list from Barron’s is the 1100 Words You Need to Know (also from Barron’s). It teaches words in context.

      You’ll also find the Magoosh vocabulary resources helpful–as they don’t teach in a list fashion.

      Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions along the way :).

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