Quiz: Vocab Experts Should Ace This SAT-Level Test. Can You?: HowStuffWorks
Vocab Experts Should Ace This SAT-Level Test. Can You?
By: Brian Whitney
6 Min Quiz
About This Quiz
If you're in college, thinking about going to college, or you have been in college in the past, you almost certainly have taken the SAT. For years, colleges and universities have been using the SAT to make decisions on admissions, along with a lot of other things such as your grades, extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation. It is a multiple choice test that measures your skills in math, reading and writing, and quite often essays. I probably don't have to tell you that you have to have a pretty good vocabulary to do well on the SATs. Some would even say that you might need to have a pretty high IQ to do well on the vocabulary portion on the test.
If you got this far into the introduction, you already must be pretty smart, so are you ready to test out your knowledge of some of the words you will find on the vocabulary portion of the SAT? Don't be intimidated, that is the cool thing about this sort of test, you could be better at it than a college professor or a CEO, you never know until you try. We are not trying to advocate for you, but we think you'll be quite adept at it.
What is the meaning of "vow?"
While the word "vow" is used in lots of different ways, it is most commonly thought of as something the bride and groom say to each other at their wedding. Some people even write their own.
What does "unprecedented" mean?
The word "unprecedented" doesn't just mean that something has just happened rarely, it means it has never happened before. For example, when a movie makes more money than any other movie has before, the box office for that movie was unprecedented.
What does "unjust" mean?
The word "unjust" means that something is totally unfair. This could happen to you, or to someone else. If your significant other accuses you of cheating and you didn't, that is totally unjust.
What does "tremendous" mean?
The word "tremendous" means something that is very big or very good, but it also could be something very bad. A tremendous home run is hit very far, but if you strike out four times in a game, that is tremendously bad.
"Treacherous" means what?
There are things that people do that are wrong, but when they do something "treacherous" then that is really wrong! It can also mean someplace dangerous. If your upcoming hike is on treacherous footing, then don't go!
What does "transparent" mean?
"Transparent" not only means see-through, but it also means easy to figure out. You know that friend of yours who is a bad liar? That person is transparent.
How would you define "tentative"?
You might not be totally clear on what "tentative" means, but you've sure acted that way before. Pretty much every time you start to do something that freaks you out, whether it is jumping off a cliff into a lake or asking someone out on a date, you probably were tentative, just for a moment.
Do you know what "surly" means?
You don't want to be "surly," trust me on this one. It doesn't just mean that you're mad or in a bad mood. It means you're just the kind or person who people don't even want to be around. Don't be surly.
What does "undermine" mean?
When you get "undermined," you aren't just being back-stabbed, you're being messed with on a whole different level. It's like someone is taking everything you do and breaking you down. So don't undermine people, unless they deserve it of course.
What does "subtle" mean?
If you're being "subtle," people have a harder time figuring you out. If you get angry and you yell at someone, that isn't subtle. If you just glare and give a bit of side eye? Now that is subtle.
Do you know the meaning of "sparingly"?
The word "sparingly" means that you do something, but you don't do it a whole lot. If you drink sparingly, then you're having an occasional glass of wine and not pounding down a case of beer.
What does "sinister" mean to you?
"Sinister" is one of the more fun words for bad things out there. It can be used to describe a person who is obviously a bad guy, or a feeling that something bad will happen. Hope you don't feel, or act, sinister any time soon.
What does "simple" mean to you?
"Simple" usually means when something is easy, like if you aced a test and it was not hard. However, it can also be used as a bit of an insult. If you say someone you know is simple, it usually isn't taken as a compliment.
Do you know the meaning of the word "scandalous"?
A "scandal" is something that can totally take someone down, whether they are famous or not. One famous person who has been involved in a scandal is Bill Cosby.
Do you know what "reluctant" means?
"Reluctant" doesn't mean you're not going to do something, but it does mean that you don't want to. Some of the things that end up being really good for us we were reluctant to do at first.
What does "readily" mean?
We all know what the word ready means, and this word isn't that far from that. If you're running a race and water is "readily" available, that means you can get it pretty much any time you want it.
Do you know the meaning of "raw"?
"Raw" can mean a few things, such as unrefined or not processed, but it is most well-known for having to do with uncooked food. It isn't all bad, though. Raw carrots aren't all that scary, are they?
The word "quirk" means what?
To a lot of people being a bit "quirky" might be thought of as an insult, but in reality, it just means you're a bit different. Being different is a good thing a lot of times. So don't be afraid to show off your quirks.
What does "adequate" mean?
Being "adequate" means you have sufficient qualifications for something, but it doesn't mean you are all that good at it. In the NFL, an adequate quarterback will always have a job, but he probably won't keep it for long.
Do you know what "afford" means?
A lot of people try to buy things they can't "afford" and they go into debt. If you can afford something, it won't set you back in any way.
What about "altercation"?
An "altercation" is not a good thing to get into. If you and some stranger at a bar end up getting in an argument about something stupid, congrats, you just got in an altercation.
What about the word "ambitious"?
"Ambitious" is one of those funny words. It all depends on your perspective. Some people think it is great to be ambitious and try to go as far as you can, and others think it is best to just relax and take life as it comes.
"Articulate" is a word that means what?
"Articulate" doesn't mean smart, although a lot of smart people are articulate. It really means being able to get across what you're trying to say well. Most lawyers, politicians, and salesmen are articulate.
"Authentic" is a word that means what?
There are a lot of things that aren't "authentic". A criminal will tell you a story that isn't authentic, and people will try to sell you something fake that isn't authentic. If you have something authentic, you know you didn't get ripped off.
What does "brawl" mean?
A "brawl" is way more than a normal fight. It usually takes more than a couple people to be a true brawl. If it is just two people in the fight, to be called a brawl it has to be totally epic.
Can you define "capture"?
If you get "captured," it usually isn't a good thing. It usually means taken or seized, but it also can be used to describe someone who is captivated by someone they are attracted to.
Do you know what "competent" means?
When you're competent at something, that isn't always a compliment. Sometimes it means you're just good enough at something, and not great at it.
Do you know what the word "confide" means?
To be able to "confide" in someone is a good thing. Usually, you have a few good friends you can confide in. If you don't, you'd better start looking for a few new ones.
What about the word "dilemma"?
If you have a dilemma you aren't sure what to do. Should you go to college right away, or take a year off is a dilemma for a lot of people. If you take a year off, you can avoid the SAT!
Do you know what "disdain" means?
"Disdain" doesn't mean that you dislike something just a little, it means you don't like it a lot. Think of something you can't stand and you'll have a pretty good idea what this word means.
Can you tell us what "eccentric" means?
"Eccentric" is a nice way for people to call someone else peculiar, odd, or weird. If there is someone in your neighborhood that doesn't fit in with the rest of the crowd, there is a good chance they get called eccentric. Who knows, maybe it is you.
"Envy" is a word that means what?
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins, so you can probably figure out that it isn't a good thing. If you sit around wishing you had what others have, whether if be their job, money, car, or significant other, then you're envious. Stop it!
What does "hostile" mean?
"Hostile" takes things pretty far. You can be totally angry at someone and still not be hostile. When you're hostile, you mean business and are out to cause some harm.
What about the definition of "lucrative"?
You can make a lot of money doing something "lucrative." We all want to do things that are lucrative. Even if you aren't really into making a lot of money, do something that is lucrative every once in a while.
Can you define "malicious"?
To be "malicious" isn't a good thing. You aren't just being harmful to those around you, you're kind of being spiteful, too. Don't be malicious if you can help it.
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