Can You Complete These Vocabulary Definitions?


By: Nicole Shein

6 Min Quiz

Image: Cecilie_Arcurs/E+/GettyImages

About This Quiz

Did you ace your SATs? Are your friends often baffled or bemused by the words you use? When you were a kid, did you ever sit and simply page through the dictionary? Maybe you have a natural affinity for languages and can suss out the meaning of a word by analyzing its Latin or Greek root. Or perhaps your knowledge comes from being well-read; bookworms tend to have hefty vocabularies, just because they are exposed to copious amounts of text.

We've scoured lists of the most common SAT vocabulary words to compile this quiz, which should be no problem for an English major, bibliophile, or classics scholar. Even if you don't fall into any of those categories, give this quiz a whirl anyway. You might just surprise yourself with the depth of your language knowledge!

Need a little help (assistance, advice, guidance, support)? Check out the hints, which use these vocabulary words in an example sentence. It's a good bet that you will be able to make educated guesses about many of the definitions - in order to excel, succeed, surmount, triumph, conquer, vanquish...! 

Callipygian means having beautifully shaped __________.

Callipygian means having well-shaped buttocks. Hayden told Mackenzie that her derriere looked particularly callipygian in her new yoga pants.


Abstruse means __________.

Abstruse means complicated, difficult to penetrate, or hard to understand. Zelda tried reading the philosophy of Foucault, but it was too abstruse for her.


To defenestrate something or someone is to __________.

Defenestrate means to throw something (or someone!) out of a window. Jazmyn got so irritated with her new iPhone that she defenestrated it, only to have it land softly in a bush beneath her window.


If you are officious, then you are __________.

Officious means meddlesome or overzealous in a self-important way. Micah ushered me into the conference room with an officious manner, even though he was only an intern, not the CEO.


Calling someone puerile is the same as calling them __________.

Puerile means juvenile or immature. LaDasha was tired of Calvin's puerile jokes about farting.


What does it mean to say that someone is sanguine?

Sanguine means cheerful and optimistic in the face of difficulties. Even after his wife divorced him, taking his dog and his truck, Leroy remained the same cheerful, sanguine guy he had always been.


Mendacious means __________.

Mendacious means untruthful or dishonest. Everything that came out of Donald's mouth was either an outright lie or a mendacious version of what really happened.


"Complement" has an entirely different meaning than "compliment." What is it?

Complement means to improve, complete, or enhance. Gretchen's silver lamé fanny pack really complemented her callipygian silhouette.


Doing something with alacrity means doing it with __________.

Alacrity means cheerful or eager speed or quickness. When I asked Sebastian if he wanted to go out for fish and chips, he answered in the affirmative with alacrity.


Extant refers to __________.

Extant means something that remains or is still in existence. Sometimes Elena thought that hers must be the only extant MySpace page, but she refused to join Facebook or Twitter.


To be sanctimonious means to be __________.

Sanctimonious means self-righteous, smug with regards to piety or morality, making a show of being superior to others. The politician put on a sanctimonious front by voting against same-sex marriage, despite being a regular in gay chat rooms.


A conflagration is a __________.

A conflagration is a fire. Mrs. O'Leary's cow is infamous for having kicked the lantern that started the great conflagration in Chicago.


Hegemony is a noun meaning __________.

Hegemony means a system, social class, or group that is dominant and holds sway over other classes or groups. Sidney railed against the hegemony of the heteropatriarchy by using gender-neutral pronouns and boycotting Chik-fil-A.


What does it mean to say that a person is fatuous?

Fatuous means silly, inconsequential, inane, foolish. If Sheline posts one more fatuous hashtag about her purse dog, her makeup, or her manicure, I'm unfollowing her on Instagram.


What about being fractious?

Fractious means irritable, grouchy, quick to pick a fight. I could tell that Nikki was deep in the throes of PMS, since she was fractious one minute, then stuffing chocolate into her face the next.


To obfuscate means to do what?

Obfuscate means to confuse, muddle, or overcomplicate. D.J. tried to obfuscate his constituents, rather than responding to their concerns with accessible, meaningful language.


To take umbrage is to __________.

To take umbrage is to take offense. Caitlynne took umbrage at the fact that Dante posted an article about eating disorders without adding a trigger warning.


The definition of impecunious is __________.

Impecunious means poor. Most of Zendaya's clothing had designer labels, thereby obfuscating her impecunious situation.


Nadir means __________.

Nadir means a low point. Spilling her pumpkin spice latte on her brand new Uggs was the nadir of Makayla's day; afterwards, she was unable to even speak until she'd drunk two appletinis.


If you are quixotic, then you __________.

Quixotic means idealistic, optimistic, dreamy, unrealistically positive. While some naysayers viewed Cody's plans to start an avocado-toast food truck as quixotic, his venture was surprisingly successful.


A pariah is someone who __________.

A pariah is an outcast. Logan's utter inability to grow a beard, as well as his flannel allergy, made him a pariah in the lumberjack community.


What does munificent mean?

Munificent means generous, charitable, philanthropic. When Hailey won the lottery, she indulged her munificent nature by buying tiny houses and teardrop trailers for all of her friends.


To ameliorate is to __________.

To ameliorate means to make something better or improve it. Knowing that he had a lavender bath bomb and the latest episode of "This Is Us" to look forward to that evening helped to ameliorate Devon's grumpy mood.


If someone calls you a neophyte, what are they saying about you?

A neophyte is a newbie. Connor was such a neophyte to the world of craft beer that he didn't know a lager from a lambic.


Do you know what vitriolic means?

Vitriolic means filled with malice, bitterness, spite, anger. When Karen was told she couldn't use her expired Kohl's cash, she launched into a vitriolic rant and then asked to speak with a manager.


Superfluous is another way of saying __________.

Superfluous means unnecessary or extra. Kelsie packed seven pairs of skinny jeans for a three-day trip, even though she knew Caleb would consider so many pants superfluous.


A panacea is a __________.

A pancea is a cure-all. No matter how depressed Jesse felt, Olivia's homemade cheesecake was like a panacea that always cheered him up.


When something is anachronistic, it is __________.

Anachronistic means out of place in terms of chronological time. The novel was set in 1879, but the main character kept using anachronistic expressions, like "talk to the hand" and "all that and a bag of chips."


The definition of ephemeral is __________.

Ephemeral means temporary or fleeting. The foam atop Lynzey's cappuccino was beautiful, but ultimately ephemeral.


To enervate means to __________.

To enervate means to weaken. Sierra felt so enervated by the heat at Coachella that she needed an açai bowl and a green matcha bubble tea before she could even post a Snapchat story.


Do you know the meaning of pulchritude?

Pulchritude means beauty. Danni exhibits such pulchritude that her selfies don't even need an Instagram filter.


What does the word iconoclast mean?

An iconoclast is someone who criticizes or rejects the norm. Kristin became an iconoclast at the yoga studio when she said "You know, I don't even think Lululemon is that great."


Bemused is another way of saying __________.

Bemused means confused. "Braden is becoming low-key savage. Did you see his clapback on Snapchat? Salty AF," said Keenan to his utterly bemused mother, Jennifer.


To dissemble is to __________.

To dissemble is to lie or pretend. Shonti worked so hard making a raw kale salad that Marcus, who hated greens, felt he had no choice but to dissemble.


As a descriptor, winsome means __________.

Winsome means charming, likeable, appealing. Even though she wasn't a very good stylist, Ximena's personality was so winsome that customers flocked to her.


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