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GRE Vocab Wednesday: H Words!

There are very few letters in the alphabet that have yet to be featured on Vocabulary Wednesday. In fact, ‘H’ might very well be the last one. But don’t worry: there are always prefixes and suffixes!


Do you waltz, gambol and gallivant across the stage of life? Do you overreact to everything, swooning when a brief sigh would suffice? Do your friends call you a drama queen (or king)? Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re likely histrionic. From the Latin for actor, the word has taken on a slightly negative connotation. The coach of a team down in the last minutes of the game, throwing his (or her) hands in the air and unleashing a torrent of profanity to shame a staff writer at Comedy Central can rightly be described as histrionic.



Despite the last syllable this has nothing to do with M.D.s. Doxa- is the the Latin for opinion. Orthodox (ortho- means correct) is the proper opinion, or more specifically the conventional way of thinking. When we have a cold orthodox cures include chicken soup, rest, and binging on NetFlix. Heterodox is the opposite, meaning a a belief or way of doing something that is not generally accepted. Taking a really cold shower and doing jumping jacks would be a heterodox approach to treating a cold. Though I wouldn’t recommend it.



From the French for high, this word is all about attitude. Anybody who tilts their head slightly back and looks down at the rest as mere peasants is likely known for their hauteur, or disdainful pride.



Dirty laundry is one direction to take this word, but we’ll not be making that stop today. To hamper, as a verb, means to hold back or block the progress of something. If I have a bad cold yet run a marathon, my performance will likely be hampered (at least that’s the orthodox view).



Perhaps the first word featured on Vocab Wednesday to come from Old Irish, hubbub possibly comes from the Irish battle cry abu-abu (think Braveheart but Irish—not to offend either Scot or Irish sensibilities). Today, hubbub has shed any martial connotations and simply means that loud, rumbling, chaotic sound caused by a crowd. Think popular restaurants during peak hours.



Though this word might sound like a percussive instrument that, when, struck makes a humming sound, the actual definition of this word is not at all that interesting. Indeed, it is downright boring. Humdrum describes activity that is dull and monotonous. If you wake up at the same hour every day, go to work, eat the same packed lunch, and go home and pass out in front of the T.V., you likely lead a very humdrum existence.

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2 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: H Words!

  1. Solomon July 15, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

    Hello Chris,

    How goes it? I have been on a bit of a hiatus since I took the GRE last summer. Feels like homecoming when I log on to Magoosh and see Vocab Wednesday still going strong. Hope the family is well!

  2. Divya July 15, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    Dear Chris,
    I love vocab wednesdays! Theyre such a fun way to learn new words 😀 Thank you!

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