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Lucas Fink

Megalomnemonical Vocab: Bands with SAT Vocabulary in Their Names

So maybe you’re not into animals, and you’d rather remember your SAT vocab using associations with VEVO. There are, occasionally, bands which use SAT level vocabulary in their names. They may not realize it, but they’re helping you prep for your test.



The meaning: Being tenacious means that you don’t give up easily. It’s pretty close to “determined” or “persistent,” but it also has a more physical meaning. A “tenacious grip,” could literally be describing a hand which—you guessed it—won’t let go. In that sense, it’s closer to “firm” or “tight.” The noun form of the word is “tenacity,” which is just as likely to show up on your SAT.

The band: Tenacious D, Jack Black’s mock rock creation, came out with their third album, “Rize of the Fenix,” last year, and the title track of that album is all about tenacity. Beyond that, you could use the “D” in their name to mean “determined,” “dogged,” or “driven,” all of which are pretty good synonyms for tenacious.

Mnemonic sentence: Tenacious D are tenacious and determined.

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The meaning: “Evanescent” is pretty close in meaning to ephemeral, meaning very temporary. A bolt of lightning streaking the sky is evanescent, as is a sun shower. It’s temporary, or better yet, fleeting—it disappears soon after coming to be.

The band: Since their first single, “Bring Me to Life”, came out, Evanescence has become a lot less popular. While maybe they’re not quite the one-hit wonder that a lot of critics predicted them to be, their super-stardom was relatively fleeting. Whether or not you want to call it evanescent is up to you, but one thing’s pretty clear—they aren’t going to be popular in ten years. They came and went pretty much as their name implies.

Mnemonic sentence: Evanescence enjoyed an almost evanescent mainstream success.



The meaning: These words (and others) share a root, “cred,” which means belief. They have different definitions, but they all revolve around that root. “Credence” is something like “trust in” (e.g., The class gave little credence to their teacher’s stories) or probability (e.g. The evidence gives credence to the defendant’s claims); “credulous” is a slightly lighter version of “gullible” that doesn’t imply as much brainlessness; and a “creed” is either a religion or a set of deeply-rooted beliefs.

The band: If you can make a mnemonic link to Creedence Clearwater Revival, then great, but I haven’t had any luck. So let’s stick with the band Creed for all three of these words. There’s a reason they have that name: they are devoutly Christian, and they sell to the religious market. Their belief, then, is a pretty easy thing to link to, and “belief” is the root of all “cred” words.

Mnemonic sentence: Anybody who believed Creed didn’t follow a creed would have to be pretty credulous.

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Other SAT band mnemonics?

There are probably more bands out there with ten-dollar words in their names. If you have any in mind, leave them in the comments!


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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