Useful GRE Synonym Group – To Talk or Not to Talk?

Today, it is time not just for a synonym tree, but for an antonym tree. Meaning we will have two synonym trees that are antipodal to each other, a desert palm and a pine, in arboreal lingo.

The Tight-Lipped Tree

If you are laconic, you are like the cowboy John Wayne: you speak very little, and when you do, you speak in very terse sentences.

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If somebody is reticent, they tend to remain quiet and say as little as possible.

If you are taciturn, you are reserved and prefer not to say anything.

Terse is very closely related to laconic. If you are terse, you are to the point.

Brusque is similar to terse, but carries the connotation of being rude.

The Tree that Talked too Much

If you are garrulous, you are chatty. An interesting etymology is that garr- comes from the Latin for throat (think what you do when gargling). So, if you are throaty, so to speak, you are talking a lot.

GRE loves this word because it is confusing. After all, how many adjectives end in an –x? I could go on and on about the linguistic idiosyncrasies, but then I’d end up being prolix. The curious back-story to this word is –lix. In Latin, it means tongue. Pro- means lots. Therefore, it is not surprising that Latin bequeathed us with two words that mean talkative, relating to the throat and the tongue, respectively. Oops, I ended up being prolix.

GRE also loves this word, because many people assume it relates to volume. To be voluble simply means to be talkative.

A good synonym for voluble is loquacious.

Not nearly as common as the other words, palaverous means chatting about nothing in particularly, idly babbling away.

Remember, when lumping words together as synonyms, you should always pay attention to the subtle differences between the words. This is especially true for the new GRE, in which you will be asked to discriminate the nuances between similar words. For now, take all those vocabulary words floating around in your head, and make your own synonym trees.

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  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

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