Many people think this word relates to ‘equal’. It, however, means “fair” and “balanced”. Let’s say you’re playing basketball and every time you get the ball the ref blows the whistle and concocts some foul out of thin air. He’s not being equitable (he was probably bribed by some overzealous “basketball mom”).
Speaking of bribery, whenever money exchanges hands so that one of parties does some illegal, or at least not equitable, then “venality” is taking place. A simple synonym for venality is the word “corruption”. If you’ve been following the recent FIFA scandal, the governing body supposedly accepted bribes from countries hoping to host The World Cup. The whole thing reeks of venality.
To reproach somebody is to find fault with him or her. If that person happens to be so perfect that you can’t find anything wrong with them, then that person is irreproachable. Politicians love to maintain the façade that their private lives are irreproachable. However, we often learn, through various scandals, that there is much worthy of reproach.
The Byzantine empire was part of the Eastern Roman Empire. I’m not here, of course, to give you a history lesson but to define words. So what on earth could this word have to do with SAT vocabulary? Well, the Byzantine empire was known for its highly fanciful architecture. The word today has taken on far broader connotations and describes anything that is needlessly complex and intricate. Like going to the DMV and trying to get your license, or, for that matter, do just about anything.