GRE Vocab Wednesday: “In” Words

Here is but only a tiny sliver of words beginning with “in” that you can expect to see on the test. How many of the words below do you confidently know?




Improve your GRE score with Magoosh.

Not to be confused with “insight” – a very similar sounding word – incite means to stir up or provoke. Usually the context isn’t just one person getting an upset, but a large group of people who usually take to the streets smashing things. That’s why we often hear this word coupled with riots or any large-scale violence.


Likely to drop the ball? And I mean literally. Those who are inept are clumsy and unskilled. They won’t be able to catch a ball, and they’ll tend to knock things over. More generally inept can mean unskilled. An actor or a musician delivering an inept performance will likely elicit boos from the audience. Interestingly, the opposite of inept is adept. More interestingly, perhaps, is the fact that the words come from different roots.


Meant to point out that something is silly or foolish, inane typically modifies words relating to speaking: comment, chatter, conversation, remark, etc. Inane chatter is something all around us, depending on how much of a curmudgeon you are. Yet even the most magnanimous of us will have trouble denying that inane chatter is only a television switch away.


Sure, this word can refer to fragrant, burning sticks redolent of spice and. But there is a second—very different meaning—that might show up on the GRE: to make someone really angry, so that’s you are setting them on fire (figuratively, of course). In that sense, the two definitions are related: they both deal with setting things on fire, one figuratively the other literally. But don’t let the GRE incense you—though at some point it probably will—by forgetting this distinction.


While this might sound like a small pen, or any cute, diminutive thing, an inkling is something far more abstract. You know that little tingly feeling you get in your stomach when you think you think you are on to something? That’s an inkling: a slight suspicion or sense that something is going to happen.

Barry had an inkling that the stock market was going to crash, so he sold off many of his stocks—good thing, as weeks later the market did indeed crash.


You would be forgiven if you thought that this word related to thinking, because the ‘cognit’ looks like it relates to cognition. But an incognito is not a dunce, incapable of sustained thought. The ‘cognit’ in the word is similar to the same root in the word recognize. As such, it means that you can’t be recognized. In other words, if you want to make sure that nobody recognizes you—you know, like any famous person—you travel incognito: dark, bug-eyed sunglasses, an overly large hat, and no makeup (or four days stubble if you are a man).


P.S. Ready to improve your GRE score? Get started today.

Most Popular Resources

5 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: “In” Words

  1. Guri Kejriwal July 23, 2014 at 4:47 am #

    Hello Chris,
    I am an avid reader of V.W. blog posts and the level of effort you put in is conspicuous and laudable. A lot of the words in this post are already covered in flashcards. I know, it might sound impertinent, but it is a candid feedback from me and it’s my humble request not to include Flashcards words. I hope you will look into it because otherwise there is no increment on the learning curve.
    Thank You

  2. Mireille July 18, 2014 at 2:51 am #

    …To me, Incense and Incite seem to have a lot in common. They both seem to do the same thing, except first one has its effect on one person, the second on many more. 🙂

    • Chris Lele
      Chris Lele July 18, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Good point!

      So incense means to get some really angry. If I drive 40 mph in the fast line on the highway, I will definitely incense those behind. Whether I incite them do anything is another matter–hopefully, I would get little more than the “bird” and a few glowers.

      Incite is more about getting people roused to some destructive/unlawful act. Most of us get incensed at some point during the week, though very few of us–thankfully–commit unlawful behavior.

      Hope that makes sense 🙂

      • Mireille July 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

        …it totally does. 🙂

        Good to know that incensing more people at one time is a real possibility out there, though! 😀 Well, I guess that is where the line between the two is drawn — whether or not people get ‘stimulated’ ( read ‘incensed’) 🙂 enough to really take action and become destructive, breaking things and…the law! I see those two words close enough to have dinner in the same dining room! 🙂

        • Chris Lele
          Chris Lele July 21, 2014 at 11:39 am #

          Sure, they could definitely be having dinner–though I’d watch out for the flying plates 🙂

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply