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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: The Only Thing We Have to “Fer”


Oh roots! I can’t bear you. Speaking of which, ‘fer’ means to ‘bear’ as in to “bring or carry”. Like many roots that is only going to get you so far—implying not very far at all. So it’s better to just learn the words, thereby taking the fear out of ‘fer’.


Let’s say you hear screeching tires from inside your home. By the time you look outside all you can see are tire marks leading up to your mailbox that looks like it tried to stand in the way of Category 5 hurricane. From this you can infer, or conclude, based on the evidence, that somebody just crashed into your mailbox and then drove off.


This word can easily be confused with another SAT word: deference. Whereas deference has to do with showing respect, defer means putting off or postponing.

Charles had deferred applying to college until after Christmas, by which time it was too late.


This word can have two definitions:

  1. to discuss an important matter with
  2. to grant or bestow (confer honor, degree, title, etc.).

So now that I’ve conferred with you about the meaning of confer, I’ve conferred this knowledge on you. Yeah, I know—that was a mouthful.

Lame Joke: What happens when you put yourself in this word? You get a tree: con’I’fer.


This word isn’t actually derived from the root ‘fer’. It’s from old French word that means to steal. Pilfer is a great word because it doesn’t just mean steal but to steal things that are petty and of little value.

Sally pilfered those tacky two-dollar earrings Marshals and now she is serving time down at the state pen.


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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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