English Advanced Adjectives

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lacking energy and vigor
After three straight shows; the lead actress gave an anemic performance the fourth night; barely speaking loudly enough for those in the back rows to hear.
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Wilbur enjoyed a spicy Mexican breakfast; but Jill prefered a far more anodyne meal in the mornings.
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ludicrously odd
The clown's antic act was too extreme for the youngest children; who left the room in tears. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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expressing praise or approval
Although it might not be her best work; Hunter's new novel has received generally approbatory reviews.
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supply added support
In hiking Mt. Everest; sherpas are appurtenant; helping climbers both carry gear and navigate treacherous paths.
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to be deliberately teasing
The baroness was arch; making playful asides to the townspeople; yet because they couldn't pick up on her dry humor; they thought her supercilious. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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complete and wholly (usually modifying a noun with negative connotation)
An arrant fool; Lawrence surprised nobody when he lost all his money in a pyramid scheme that was every bit as transparent as it was corrupt.
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without cunning or deceit
Despite the president's seemingly artless speeches; he was a skilled and ruthless negotiator.
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offensively self-assured or given to exercising usually unwarranted power
The manager was finally fired for his autocratic leadership; which often bordered on rude and offensive.
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threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
Movies often use storms or rain clouds as a baleful omen of evil events that will soon befall the main character.
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the lowest; class were without any moral principles
She was not so base as to begrudge the beggar the unwanted crumbs from her dinner plate. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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fallen into a state of ignorance
Far from being a period of utter benightedness; The Medieval Ages produced some great works of theological speculation.
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sorrowful through loss or deprivation
You are not bereft if you haven't played on your Xbox in the past week; his mother said.
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very drunk
Never before have I seen my mom so besotted; and honestly; I hope it's the last time she drinks so much.
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irritable; always angry
Rex was bilious all morning; and his face would only take on a look of contentedness when he'd had his morning cup of coffee.
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to have a limited outlook or understanding
In gambling; the addict is easily blinkered by past successes and/or past failures; forgetting that the outcome of any one game is independent of the games that preceded it.
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intricate and complex
Getting a driver's license is not simply a matter of taking a test; the regulations and procedures are so byzantine that many have found themselves at the mercy of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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young and inexperienced
Both Los Angeles and New York are known for callow out-of-towners hoping to make it big.
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of broad scope; universal
Jonah's friends said that Jonah's taste in music was eclectic; Jonah was quick to point out that not only was his taste eclectic but it was also catholic: he enjoyed music from countries as far-flung as Mali and Mongolia.
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Jack was wary of GRE words that looked similar; because they usually had different definitions; not so with chary; a word that he began to use interchangeably with wary.
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prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered
While a brilliant lecturer; Mr. Dawson came across as choleric and unapproachable--very rarely did students come to his office hours.
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lacking manners or refinement
The manager was unnecessarily churlish to his subordinates; rarely deigning to say hello; but always quick with a sartorial jab if someone happened to be wearing anything even slightly mismatching.
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showing a cheerful willingness to do favors for others
On her first day at the job; Annie was complaisant; fulfilling every request of her new employee and anticipating future requests.
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Associated with or participating in an activity; especially one of a questionable nature.
While the grand jury cleared the senator of all criminal charges; in the public mind he was still complicit in the corruption.
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describing an event or situation that happens at the same time as or in connection with another
Concomitant with his desire for nature was a desire for the culture and energy of a big city.
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likely to argue
Since old grandpa Harry became very contentious during the summer when only reruns were on T.V.; the grandkids learned to hide from him at every opportunity.
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being of equal extent or scope or duration
The border of the state is coterminous with geographic limits on travel; the east and north are surrounded by a nearly uncrossable river and the south by a desert.
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brought low in spirit
I asked Maria on a date and she refused without a moment's thought; I was crestfallen.
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having a sophisticated charm
James Bond is known for his good looks; high tech gadgets; and debonair manner.
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given to or marked by the open expression of emotion
When Sally told James that she wanted to break up with him; she expected he would react demonstratively; but he quietly nodded his head and left without saying a word.
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(of a person) not doing one's duties
The teacher was derelict in her duties because she hadn't graded a single student paper in three weeks.
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uninteresting; lacking vitality
Few novelists over 80 are able to produce anything more than desiccated works--boring shadows of former books. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
Hobbits are diminutive figures.
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very small
When he put on his father's suit and shoes; his appearance was that of a diminutive youth.
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(of e.g. speech and writing) tending to depart from the main point
Many readers find it tough to read Moby Dick since the author is discursive; often cutting the action short to spend 20 pages on the history of a whale.
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not straightforward; giving a false appearance of frankness
Many adults think that they can lie to children; but kids are smart and know when people are disingenuous.
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filled with or evoking sadness
No event is more doleful than the passing of my mother; she was a shining star in my life; and it brings me great sadness to think that she is now gone.
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showing sorrow
Chopin's ballades are filled with sharp changes in moods--a dolorous melody can give way to a lighthearted tempo.
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brave; bold; courageous
I enjoy films in which a doughty group comes together to battle a force of evil.
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joyously unrestrained
Can you blame him for his ebullient mood? He just graduated from medical school.
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marked by high spirits or excitement
After the sales result; the manager was in an effervescent mood; letting several employees leave work early that day. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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expressing sorrow
Few can listen to the elegiac opening bars of the Moonlight sonata without feeling the urge to cry.
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in an early stage of development
The Board of Directors is hoping to launch a new product soon; but planning for the Z7 is in an embryonic stages. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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fair to all parties as dictated by reason and conscience
The equitable distribution of ice cream to a group of 5 year olds will ensure little to no fighting--at least until the ice cream is gone.
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not real or genuine; phony
The car dealer's ersatz laughter was immediately followed by a price quote; one that Shelley found highly inflated.
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deserving of esteem and respect
After serving thirty years; in which he selflessly served the community; Judge Harper was one of the more estimable people in town.
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characterized by lightness and insubstantiality
Because she dances with an ethereal style; ballet critics have called her Madame Butterfly.
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tending to vanish like vapor
The storm flashed into existence above us and lasted only a short time--an evanescent turbulence of wind and cloud.
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greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
Shelley made one exorbitant purchase after another; buying new clothes and taking vacations even though she earned a limited salary.
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communicative; and prone to talking in a sociable manner
"After a few sips of cognac; the octogenarian shed his irascible demeanor and became expansive; speaking fondly of the ""good old days"". This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE"
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arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth
Many news shows provide facile explanations to complex politics; so I prefer to read the in-depth reporting of The New York Times.
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produced by; or characterized by internal dissension
The controversial bill proved factious; as dissension even within parties resulted
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artificial; not natural
The defendant's story was largely factitious and did not accord with eyewitness testimonies
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lazy and irresponsible
Two years after graduation; Charlie still lived with his parents and had no job; becoming more feckless with each passing day.
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intellectually productive
The artist had entered a fecund period; producing three masterpieces in the span of two months.
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terribly evil
For fans of the Harry Potter series; the fell Lord Voldemort; who terrorized poor Harry for seven lengthy installments; has finally been vanquished by the forces of good--unless; that is; JK Rowling decides to come out of retirement. This word has other d
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showing inappropriate levity
Although Sam was trying to honor Mark's sense of humor; many found it quite flippant that he wore a comic nose and glasses mask to Mark's funeral.
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irritable and is likely to cause disruption
We rarely invite my fractious Uncle over for dinner; he always complains about the food; and usually launches into a tirade on some touchy subject.
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puffed up with vanity
The dictator was known for his grandiloquent speeches; puffing his chest out and using big; important- sounding words.
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excessively flattering toward someone's life or work
Most accounts of Tiger Woods life were hagiographic; until; that is; his affairs made headlines.
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idyllically calm and peaceful; suggesting happy tranquillity; marked by peace and prosperity
The first decade after WWI was a halcyon period in America with new-found wealth and rapidly improving technology.
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to be overly theatrical
Though she received a B- on the test; she had such a histrionic outburst that one would have thought that she'd been handed a death sentence.
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Most workout gurus are young; fit people; whereas most yoga gurus are hoary men with long white beards.
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widely known and esteemed; having or conferring glory Einstein was possibly the most illustrious scientist in recent history.
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lacking money; poor
In extremely trying times; even the moderately wealthy; after a few turns of ill-fortune; can become impecunious.
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having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy
Children are imperious with each other before they learn that earning someone's respect is better than demanding.
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not admitting of passage or capable of being affected I am not impervious to your insults; they cause me great pain.
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characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation Herbert is rarely impetuous; but on the spur of the moment; he spent thousands of dollars on a motorcycle today.
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not given careful consideration
Marty was improvident; never putting money aside for the future but spending it on decorating the interior of his home.
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only partly in existence; imperfectly formed
Inchoate ideas about the relation of humans to other animals had been discussed since the Middle Ages but the modern theory really began with Darwin.
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necessarily or demonstrably true; impossible to deny or disprove
Unless you can provide incontrovertible evidence; I will remain skeptical.
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poor; having very little
In the so-called Third World; many are indigent and only a privileged few have the resources to enjoy material luxuries.
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too sacred to be uttered; defying expression or description
While art critics can occasionally pinpoint a work's greatness; much of why a piece captures our imaginations is completely ineffable.
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impossible to avoid or evade
For those who smoke cigarettes for years; a major health crisis brought on by smoking is ineluctable.
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During the executive meeting; the marketing director continued to make infelicitous comments about the CEO's gambling habit.
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defying imitation; matchless
Mozart's music follows a clear pattern that; anyone could imitate; but his music gives an overall sense of effortlessness that is inimitable.
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intolerable; difficult to endure
Chester always tried to find some area in which he excelled above others; unsurprisingly; his co-workers found him insufferable and chose to exclude him from daily luncheons out.
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(of conflict) within a group or organization
The guerilla group; which had become so powerful as to own the state police; was finally destroyed by an internecine conflict.
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likely to cause resentment
At a time when many others in the office were about to be laid off; many considered Cheryl's fine clothes that day an invidious display. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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never to be broken; infringed; or dishonored
Too many the grass at Wimbledon is inviolable and only greater tennis players are able to enjoy a game there.
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must be kept sacred
While the literary critic subjected most of the classics to the harshest reviews; he regarded Cervantes as inviolate; and had nothing but praise for him.
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impossible to deny or disprove
The existence of life on earth is irrefutable; the existence of intelligent life on earth is still hotly debated.
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to be biased against due to envy or prejudice
Shelly was jaundiced towards Olivia; though the two had once been best friends; Olivia had become class president; prom queen; and; to make matters worse; the girlfriend of the one boy Shelly liked.
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immature; childish
Her boss further cemented his reuptation for being jejune after throwing a fit when the water cooler wasn't refilled.
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showing sorrow
Lachrymose and depressed; Alexei Alexandrovich walked two miles home in the rain after learning that his wife was having an affair.
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lecherous; sexually perverted
Lolita is a challenging novel for many; not necessarily because of the elevated prose style but because of the depravity of the main character; Humbert Humbert; who; as an old; lascivious man; falls in love with a girl.
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clarity in terms of expression
Her limpid prose made even the most recondite subjects accessible to all.
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unwillingness to do something contrary to your custom (usually followed by 'to') I was loath to leave the concert before my favorite band finished playing.
- Is he always that lugubrious? I thought he was depressed!
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excessively mournful
At the funeral; lugubrious songs filled the small church.
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offensively self-assured or given to exercising unwarranted power
Though she was only a third grade teacher; Ms. Martinet was magisterial in dealing with her class; lording over them like a queen. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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misconduct or wrongdoing (especially by a public official)
Not even the mayor's trademark pearly-toothed grin could save him from charges of malfeasance: while in power; he'd been running an illegal gambling rink in the room behind his office.
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overly emotional and sad
Just as those who were alive during the 70's are mortified that they once cavorted about in bellbottoms; many who lived during the 80's are now aghast at the maudlin pop songs they used to enjoy--really; just what exactly is a total eclipse of the heart?
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smooth and sweet-sounding
Chelsea's grandmother thought Franz Schubert's music to be the most mellifluous ever written; Chelsea demurred; and to her grandmother's chagrin; would blast Rihanna on the home stereo speakers.
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like a meteor in speed or brilliance or transience
The early spectacular successes propelled the pitcher to meteoric stardom; but a terribly injury tragically cut short his career.
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filled with courage or valor
For its raid on the Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad; Seal Team Six has become; for many Americans; the embodiment of mettle.
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biting and caustic in thought; manner; or style
While Phil frequently made mordant remarks about company policy overall; he always was considerably gentler in discussing any person in particular.
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being on the point of death; declining rapidly losing all momentum in progress Whether you like it or not; jazz as a genre is moribund at best; possibly already dead.
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causing irritation or annoyance
Maria found her coworkers cell phone nettlesome; because every few minutes it would buzz to life with another text message.
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having an extremely bad smell
Each August; when the winds moved in a south easterly direction; the garbage dump would spread noisome vapors through the small town.
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coming across as cooly uninterested
The twenty-somethings at the coffee shop always irked Sheldon; especially the way in which they acted nonchalantly towards everything; not even caring when Sheldon once spilled his mocha on them.
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not straightforward; indirect
Herbert never explicitly revealed anything negative about Tom's past; but at times he would obliquely suggest that Tom was not as innocent as he seemed. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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noisily and stubbornly defiant; willfully difficult to control
When the teacher asked the obstreperous student simply to bus his tray; the student threw the entire tray on the floor; shouted an epithet; and walked out.
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be valid; applicable; or true
The custom of waiting your turn in line does not obtain in some countries; in which many people try to rush to front of the line at the same time. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity; lacking in insight or discernment
Jackson was the most obtuse member of the team: the manager's subtle ironies were always lost on him.
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intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner
The professor had trouble concentrating on her new theorem; because her officious secretary would barge in frequently reminding her of some trivial detail involving departmental paperwork.
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arrogant; presumptuous
Mark was so convinced of his basketball skills that in his overweening pride he could not fathom that his name was not on the varsity list; he walked up to the basketball coach and told her she had forgotten to add his name.
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acceptable to the taste or mind
MIkey didn't partake much in his friends' conversations; but found their presence palatable. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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glaringly obvious
Since the book had been through no fewer than six proof runs; the staff was shocked to see such a patent spelling mistake remaining; right in the middle of the front cover!
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relating to or involving money
The defendent was found guilty and had to serve a period of community service as well as pay pecuniary damages to the client.
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transparently clear; easily understandable
The professor had a remarkable ability make even the most difficult concepts seem pellucid.
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Warren Buffett; famous multi-billionaire; still drives a cheap sedan; not because he is penurious; but because luxury cars are gaudy and impractical.
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highly perceptive
Even the most percipient editor will make an occasional error when proofreading.
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bossy and domineering
My sister used to peremptorily tell me to do the dishes; a chore I would either do perfunctorily or avoid doing altogether.
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done routinely and with little interest or care
The short film examines modern perfunctory cleaning rituals such as washing dishes; doing laundry and tooth-brushing.
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traveling by foot
Jim always preferred a peripatetic approach to discovering a city: he felt that he could see so many more details while walking.
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acutely insightful and wise
Many modern observers regard Eisenhower as perspicacious; particularly in his accurate prediction of the growth of the military.
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illusive; unreal
Those suffering from malaria fall into a feverish sleep; their world a whirligig of phantasmagoria; if they recover; they are unsure of what actually took place and what was simply a product of their febrile imaginations.
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smug and ignorant towards artistic and cultural values
Jane considered Al completely philistine; because he talked almost exclusive about video games; she was entirely unaware of how well read he really was. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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showing little emotion
Arnold is truly noble; remaining reserved until an issue of significance arises; but Walter is simply phlegmatic: he doesn't have the energy or inclination to care about anything.
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trifling or petty (a person)
English teachers are notorious for being picayune; however; the English language is so nuanced and sophisticated that often such teachers are not being contrary but are only adhering to the rules.
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marked by courage and determination
Some scouts initially doubted Pedroia because of his short stature; but he is a plucky player; surprising everyone with his boundless energy and fierce determination.
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extremely optimistic
Even in the midst of a lousy sales quarter; Debbie remained Pollyannaish; never losing her shrill voice and wide smile; even when prospective customers hung up on her.
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weighed-down; moving slowly
Laden with 20 kilograms of college text books; the freshman moved ponderously across the campus.
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ominously prophetic
When the captain and more than half the officers were sick on the very first night of the voyage; many of the passengers felt this was portentous; but the rest of the voyage continued without any problems.
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hasty or rash
Instead of conducting a thorough investigation after the city hall break-in; the governor acted precipitately; accusing his staff of aiding and abetting the criminals.
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dull and lacking imagination
Unlike the talented artists in his workshop; Paul had no such bent for the visual medium; so when it was time for him to make a stained glass painting; he ended up with a prosaic mosaic.
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readily taking on different roles; versatile
Peter Sellers was truly a protean actor--in Doctor Strangelove he played three very different roles: a jingoist general; a sedate President and a deranged scientist.
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careful in regard to your own interests; providing carefully for the future
In a move that hardly could be described as provident; Bert spend his entire savings on a luxurious cruise; knowing that other bills would come due a couple months later.
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of or characteristic of a child; displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity
Helen enjoyed blowing soap bubbles; but Jim regarded this as puerile; totally unworthy of a woman with a Ph.D.
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Over the years of service; and quite to his surprise; he became a puissant advisor to the community.
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marked by precise accordance with details
The colonel was so punctilious about enforcing regulations that men fell compelled to polish even the soles of their shoes.
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describing a victory that comes at such a great cost that the victory is not worthwhile George W. Bush's win in the 2000 election was in many ways a pyrrhic victory
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wildly idealistic; impractical
For every thousand startups with quixotic plans to be the next big name in e-commerce; only a handful ever become profitable.
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inspiring fear or awe
On television basketball players don't look that tall; but when you stand in front of a seven-foot tall NBA player; he is truly redoubtable.
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humorously vulgar
The speaker was famous for his ribald humor; but the high school principal asked him to keep the talk G- rated when he spoke to the student body.
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having good judgement and acute insight
Steve Jobs is surely one of the most sagacious CEOs; making Apple the most recognizable and valuable companies in the world.
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disdainfully or ironically humorous; scornful and mocking
A stand-up comedian walks a fine line when making jokes about members of the audience; such fun and joking can quickly become sardonic and cutting.
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related to fashion or clothes
Monte was astute at navigating the world of finance; sartorially; however; he was found wanting--he typically would attempt to complement his beige tie with a gray suit and white pants.
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morose or gloomy
Deprived of sunlight; humans become saturnine; that's why in very northerly territories people are encouraged to sit under an extremely powerful lamp; lest they become morose.
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done diligently and carefully
An avid numismatist; Harold sedulously amassed a collection of coins from over 100 countries--an endeavor that took over fifteen years; and to five continents.
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reluctant to draw attention to yourself
The most admirable teachers and respected leaders are those who are self-effacing; directing attention and praise to their students and workers.
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to be moralizing; usually in a pompous sense
"The old man; casting his nose up in the air at the group of adolescents; intoned sententiously; ""Youth is wasted on the young."""
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showing hovering attentiveness
Our neighbors are constantly knocking on our door to make sure we are ok; and I don't know how to ask them to stop being so solicitous about our health. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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unsparing and uncompromising in discipline or judgment; practicing great self- denial
After losing everything in a fire; Tim decided to live in spartan conditions; sleeping on the floor and owning as little furniture as a possible.
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very irritable
Ever since the car accident; Frank has been unable to walk without a cane; and so he has become splenetic and unpleasant to be around.
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dependable; inured to fatigue or hardships
Despite all the criticism directed at the President during this scandal; Lisa has remained his stalwart supporter.
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haughty and disdainful; looking down on others
Nelly felt the Quiz Bowl director acted superciliously towards the underclassmen; really; she fumed; must he act so preternaturally omniscient each time he intones some obscure fact--as though everybody knows that Mt. Aconcagua is the highest peak in Sout
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stealty; taking pains not to be caught or detected
Since his mom was a light sleeper; Timmy had to tiptoe surreptitiously through the entire house; careful to not make the floors creak; until he at last was able to enjoy his plunder: a box of chocolate chip cookies.
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as if driven by turbulent or conflicting emotions; highly energetic and wildly changing or fluctuating
Chuck and Kathy had always been stable and agreeable people on their own; but when they got involved; it was a tempestuous relationship.
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likely to lean towards a controversial view
Because political mudslinging has become a staple of the 24-hour media cycle; most of us; despite protestations to the contrary; are tendentious on many of today's pressing issues.
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characterized by or full of force and vigor; having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought; expression; or intellect
Jill presented a rather superficial treatment of sales in Asia; but her trenchant analysis of sales in Europe inspired a number of insights into how to proceed in that market.
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having a fierce; savage nature
Standing in line for six hours; she became progressively truculent; yelling at DMV employees and elbowing other people waiting in line.
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(of language) pompous and tedious
The amount of GRE vocabulary he used increased with his years--by the time he was 60; his novels were so turgid that even his diehard fans refused to read them.
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immune to attack; without flaws
Professor Williams is so self-assured as to seem arrogant; presenting each and every opinion as an unassailable fact.
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not easily perturbed or excited or upset; marked by extreme calm and composure
The house shook and the ground quaked; but my dad was unflappable and comforted the family.
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uncooperative; not willing to give up information
The teacher demanded to know who broke the window while he was out of the room; but the students understandably were unforthcoming.
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free of guilt; not subject to blame; beyond doubt or reproach
After his long and unimpeachable service to the company; Sharat felt that a gold watch was a slap in the face rather than an honor.
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creating an unfavorable or neutral first impression
World leaders coming to meet Gandhi would expect a towering sage; and often would be surprised by the unprepossessing little man dressed only in a loincloth and shawl.
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(of a circumstance) with little chance of success
With only a bottle of water and a sandwich; the hikers faced an unpropitious task: ascending a huge mountain that took most two days to climb.
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very generous
Helen is unstinting with her time; often spending hours at the house of a sick friend.
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(of theories etc) incapable of being defended or justified
With the combination of Kepler's brilliant theories and Galileo's telescopic observations; the old geocentric theory became untenable to most of the educated people in Europe.
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unfavorable; inconvenient
Some professors find teaching untoward as having to prepare for lectures and conduct office hours prevents them from focusing on their research.
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not confined or limited
The whole notion of living untrammeled inspired the American Revolution and was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
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not able to work; survive; or succeed (also spelled inviable).
The plan was obviously unviable considering that it lead to complete environmental destruction in the river valley.
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highly or widely praised or boasted about
For years; they had heard of New York City's vaunted skyline; and when they finally saw it; the spectacular cityscape did not disappoint them in the least.
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easily excused or forgiven; pardonable
His traffic violations ran the gamut from the venial to the egregious--on one occasion he simply did not come to a complete stop; another time he tried to escape across state lines at speeds in excess of 140 mph.
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truthfully; without a doubt
Frank is a veritable life-saver -- last year; on two different occasions; he revived people using CPR.
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harsh or corrosive in tone
While the teacher was more moderate in her criticism of the other student's papers; she was vitriolic toward Peter's paper; casting every flaw in the harshest light.
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to criticize harshly; to berate
Jason had dealt with disciplinarians before; but nothing prepared him for the first week of boot camp; as drill sergeants vituperated him for petty oversights such as forgetting to double knot the laces on his boots.

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