Picture an old man. He has a long, white beard, and he uses a cane. When he reads, he uses reading glasses that he keeps in his shirt pocket. Now, what adjectives come to mind? Think positively.
How about wise? Or respectable? We’re going to look at three SAT vocabulary words that mean similar, positive things that could be said about old people.
Now imagine an old lady in front of you at the checkout of a supermarket. Her cart is half full of cat food, half full of prunes, and her Christmas-themed sweater is out of place in the middle of July. She’s got an expired coupon in hand, and you know she’s going to give the clerk a hard time.
Now what comes to mind? Those negative associations are going to be our mnemonics (how you remember the positive words).
The (positive) meaning: If you make a decision carefully, sure to weigh the pros and cons, then you’re being prudent. Old people tend not to act too rashly; they know from experience to consider their options carefully. It also means thrifty, which old people tend to be. They know the value of coupon-cutting.
The elderly association: Prunes! Old people love ‘em. And look like ‘em.
Mnemonic sentence: Grandma is a prudent shopper; she only buys her prunes in bulk.
The (positive) meaning: Respectable because of age and wisdom. If somebody is venerable, then they are looked up to or even revered. If you’re being a bit poetic, you might call the giant, ancient redwoods in California venerable.
The elderly association: Vulnerable. You know why people get emails from “Nigerian princes” who want bank account info? Old people fall for it. Who buys things from T.V. shopping networks? Old people. Beyond that, grandpa is vulnerable physically. It’s hard to stay strong and healthy in your 70s.
Mnemonic sentence: The most venerable of our elderly are also the most vulnerable and should be protected.
The (positive) meaning: The root of sagacious is the same as that of sage, and that might be enough alone to remember that it means wise. Being sagacious means using good judgment, so it’s not far from the meaning of prudent (only it doesn’t share the “thrifty” meaning). And, of course, old people are wise.
The elderly association: Saggy. Saggy skin, saggy ears, saggy noses.
Mnemonic sentence: With age sagginess comes wisdom sagacity.
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About Lucas Fink
Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.
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