GRE Vocab Wednesday: “In” Trouble

Sometimes “in” is a root that negates a word. Notice how equity, or fairness, becomes it’s opposite with the added ‘in-‘. However, oftentimes the ‘in-‘ is connected to a group of letters that doesn’t mean anything alone (what exactly is a “veigle”?  See if you can figure out which word falls into which category.



Something that is unstoppable, no matter what you do, is inexorable. The passage of time, of course, is inexorable, as is the advance of technology into every facet of our lives. This word can also relate to a person, one who cannot be stopped in his or her objective.

J. Edgar Hoover was inexorable in hunting out and vilifying any who had double crossed him.



Not to be confuse with ‘iniquity’, which means utter wickedness, inequity is about the lack of fairness.

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The inequities in the justice system against African Americans — as so poignantly captured in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird — were some of the major catalysts of the Civil Rights Movement.



One of my favorite words, ineffable means incapable of being described in words (which is kind of an oxymoron). A sunset that leaves your jaw on the carpet; the experience of having your first child; the feeling from getting a perfect score on the GRE — all are ineffable.



Something that cannot be imitated because it is so great is inimitable. The word has a positive connotation. So if you do something ridiculously bad in a way no one else can — like the funky chicken dance while holding your breath — that isn’t inimitable so much as it is embarrassing.

When Vladimir Horowitz performed the piano for audiences worldwide, his playing was inimitable.

Make sure not to confuse inimitable with inimical. The latter means “hostile to”, as in “a land so scorched and arid as to be inimical to any life”.



My two-year-old is not too subtle when she wants something. If I’m eating a cookie, she will come over and say, “My cookie” (and I, of course, surrender said cookie). As we grow older, though, we become far better at inveigling, or obtaining through flattery and deception. So if someone is eating a limited supply of cookies, you might subtly remind them that cookies contain lots of sugar and stuff that’s not very healthy. After that person has second thoughts about demolishing the cookies, you’ll slide in and grab a few.


In cahoots

Okay, I know — it’s two words. But it is a phrase, in the sense that you rarely just hear cahoots alone. But what the devil are cahoots, and what exactly does it mean to be ‘in’ them? Well, cahoots are conspiracies and to be in cahoots means to be conspiring with one group or another.

JFK conspiracy theories are quite a tangled web; it appears just about everybody was in cahoots in offing the president: the mafia, LBJ, Hollywood, the Commies — you name them, they were, according to some account, colluding with one another.


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10 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: “In” Trouble

  1. Mireille June 17, 2014 at 7:23 am #

    …with you on her side, no doubt in my mind she’ll be using those Sesquipedalian words just like a regular human is breathing air. 🙂 And yes…age 4 seems to me a reasonable enough age to start! 😀

  2. Mohammed June 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Thanks Chris for your advice. I am trying now to finish the 500 vocab of Manhattan essential flash cards but its too difficult for me.However I will try to do my best.

    Thanks again

  3. Mohammed June 11, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    Hello Chris,
    I really have limited time for preparation for GRE and I already studying with magoosh videos. But in verbal the things are impossible for me as international student. Really I want your advice , for less than a month, which flash cards can help me ? With less words and more frequent in the test? Or there are other ways to prepare? Please advice.


    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele June 12, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Mohammed,

      Less than a month does make things challenging–for anyone, really. But many international students have gone on to do very well (we’ve got a bunch on our testimonial page).

      In terms of flashcards, Magoosh has a great set: memorable example sentences and easy to remember definitions. Manhattan GRE also has some helpful cards, broken down into a beginner and an advanced set. Both decks contain 1,000 words, and overlap somewhat. With either you should be fine.

      Hope that helps 🙂

      • Mireille June 14, 2014 at 8:25 am #

        Hi Chris!

        I also have a vocabulary-related question.

        In the meantime I’m done going through all 20 sets of flashcard sets available through Magoosh. I also started watching a few Vocab Wednesday videos lately and…is it just me, not remembering all the words I went through already (which I’m sure it can very well be the case!) or is it that in the Vocab Wednesdays you actually introduce *additional* words, that is besides the ones in the flashcards?!

        Many of them I do remember seeing in my sets, so I can definitely see they do overlap up to a certain degree. I am not going to ask now exactly what percentage of the words from the videos can be also found in the flashcards (I doubt anyone on Earth would be so weirdly-punctilious to keep a track of that!), but you know what I mean here…is it me or IS IT THEM?! 😀


        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 16, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

          Hi Mireille,

          Most of the flashcard words come from old Vocab. Wed., and by “old” I mean pre-flashcards. So any content that has come up in the last 8-9 month should mostly be new words (though I do repeat every now and then if a word fits snugly into a theme).

          So keep tuning in each week for potentially new words 🙂

          • Mireille June 16, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

            …that’s what I was afraid of…when you think you’re done…that’s exactly when you just started! 😀 Phew…as I said, I really thought I was done! 😀

      • Mireille June 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

        …I meant to come up with a concrete example and it seems I forgot. For instance, I don’t remember seeing “in cahoots” in the flashcards. 🙂

      • Mireille June 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

        …no, I am not going to tell you that you are inimitable, Chris. 🙂 Au contraire, I will say you are actually… totally imitable. But whoever on Earth does indeed ever try imitating you, can only succeed doing a mediocre job in the end. 😉

        PS — Happy Father’s Day, by the way! Beyond any doubt, you are one of the most amazing fathers one can have and that little girl of yours will surely understand one day how truly lucky she is to be your daughter.

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele June 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

          Thanks for the kudos — that is, calling me ‘inimitable’ in an oblique fashion 🙂

          And thanks for the happy father’s day wishes. I’m just so happy to have such a wonderful little girl :). And as long as she likes learning GRE words at age 4, I’d say she is very lucky girl 🙂

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