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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Writers in the Storm Part 2

For this week’s words, I’ve chosen a variety of difficulties, arranging them from easiest to most difficult. Do you know all of them?



Malaria, while on the decline in many parts of the world, is far from being eradicated—and short of a vaccine, might never be.

Has your home ever been invaded by bugs? Well, if so, you are probably not content with knocking off a few underneath a thumb. You should not even be content if you whip out an insecticide and spray them. In fact, you should not be satisfied with anything short of a complete annihilation. And that’s the essence of eradication: to get rid of every single thing.



By the time he was onto his third cognac, our usually taciturn Uncle Dave became a font of anecdotes, recounting his army days—inappropriate parts and all—much to the chagrin of any gathered.

A short account or story of something that happened is an anecdote. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a person story (that would be a personal anecdote) but it’s usually amusing or engaging. Many public speakers are fond of using anecdotes to pull their audience in. That way, the audience is more receptive to the speaker’s message.



Congress was quick to apportion some of the blame for the financial crisis to the Presidency—though the voters knew better.

The first definition of the word means to divide, e.g., in his absence the CEO apportioned responsibility to his top executives. That definition makes sense; he is giving a portion of responsibility to each. A second—and subtler definition—is to assign, usually something negative. (See above).



For somebody so temperate, my great grandfather Charles vehemently opposed Prohibition.

Don’t be mislead by ‘temper’; this word is very different from anger. A temperate climate is one that is mild (think the south of France in October). Another definition of temperate is practicing moderation. If I always eat till I am 80% full never have more than one glass of wine at a time, I’m temperate. An intemperate person, on the other hand, will eat till he or she is 120% full, and then try to drink an entire bottle of wine.



With her small nimble fingers, she is eminently suited for Mozart; Rachmaninoff is a bit of a stretch, as it were.

Eminent can mean very well known or regarded. A less common, but by no means rare usage, is to emphasize a positive quality, e.g., with eminent good sense, he devised a solution that had eluded the rest of his colleagues.


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2 Responses to GRE Vocab Wednesday: Writers in the Storm Part 2

  1. Shelly July 12, 2016 at 2:58 am #

    Hi Chris,

    I am a fan of your Vocab Wednesday’s videos. I just love watching them and its already been a month since I started learning vocab

    However, I don’t understand the meaning of eluded in the example sentence of the word eminent that you have used.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 12, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

      “Eluded” literally means “escaped.” And the word has a special connotation– “eluded” refers to something that escapes or can’t be seen because it’s clever. So when the sentence says “he devised a solution that had eluded the rest of his colleagues,” it means that the man came up with a solution to a problem that was so smart and clever that it “escaped” his colleague’s understanding. His solution couldn’t be understood due to how intelligent the solution was, in other words.

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