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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: People in High School You Don’t Want to Be!

High school can be tough—depending on who you are. If you’re the class president or the prom queen, that’s probably not the case. If you wear the same chafed corduroy trousers every day and pack your lunch in a small brown bag that always oozes strange liquids, high school is likely to be an inner circle of Dante’s Inferno.

Below are words that describe people nobody would want to be in high school.



Huck Finn was a pariah: he was social outcast who nobody (besides Tom Sawyer) wanted to hang around. The word comes from Tamil—that’s a language spoken in southern India—and means exactly that: the person who nobody wants to touch. In high school, somebody might touch the pariah, but only in the context of picking him up and dropping him in a garbage can.


A party pooper, a killjoy, a grouch—a curmudgeon is the person who always needs to find the cloudy lining to every piece of silver. Grouchy and unfriendly, the curmudgeon always mopes about. But watch out! If you get to close, he’ll likely insult you—or attack you with his body odor.


“Did you know that the War of 1812 is a misnomer, or a misleading label? The war actually went on to Dec. 24th, 1814, which is nearly 1815…did you know…”At this point, you’ve probably already wrinkled your brow in disgust and parted ways with this know-it-all. A person who shows off about academic learning is a pedant.

That’s where word pedantic comes from. To be pedantic is to focus on some trivial academic point usually because you want to impress somebody with your knowledge.


A charlatan is kind of like a pedant, only much more dangerous. A charlatan will try to dupe you into thinking that he or she possesses knowledge or skills he or she doesn’t actually have.

Imagine you fall and injure your leg very badly. A charlatan will come to the rescue and claim that they were trained as a doctor in some esoteric branch of the Boy Scouts. They’ll tell you to “walk it off”; meanwhile, your bone will be fractured in two.

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About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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