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Chris Lele

SAT Vocab Monday: Want to Sound Smart?


Using SAT words can make you sound a whole lot smarter as long as you don’t either overuse them or incorrectly use them (you don’t want to come across as either pompous or clueless).

Here are four SAT words that, when properly used, will not only make you sound smarter but also relate to sounding smart.


Mr. Erudite: Hello, I’ve read the complete works of Shakespeare and can quote the Encyclopedia Britannica from memory. My best friend is the library and my vocabulary is bigger than Webster’s.

Besides being full of himself, Mr. Erudite is also highly learned and scholarly. And that’s exactly what erudite means. Some people who are erudite: Alex Trebek, Barack Obama, and most Harvard professors.

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Erudite can also be a noun referring to the scholarly person.


Are you familiar with many different cultures and countries? Do you consider yourself well-traveled? Do you know the capital of Mongolia?

If you answered yes to all—or even any—of these questions, you are likely cosmopolitan: comfortable in and familiar with many different cultures.


It’s one thing to know a lot; it’s another to make a big display of it. Basically, an erudite who shows off is being pedantic.

Miss Erudite: I’ve read some of Plato’s works.

Mr. Pedantic: Did you know that Plato modeled some of the interlocutors in The Republic after those he knew in real life, one of whom was his older brother? By the way did you know that Plato’s original name was Aristocles?

Pedantic folks usually don’t end up having many friends.

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With all these smart words, it’s time for their inverse: obtuse. A person who is obtuse is really slow to pick up on things. You have to spell out every little bit for that person. So next time somebody is being slow to pick-up on something, you can call them obtuse—though if they decide to look that up, they might not be very happy.


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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