English Basic Nouns

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the highest point of achievement
The new Cessna airplanes will be the acme of comfort; offering reclining seats and ample legroom.
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a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea
Martin Luther King Jr. was a tireless advocate for the rights of African-Americans in the United States. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others
Albert Schweitzer spent most of his life doing missionary work as a doctor in Africa; seeking no reward; apparently motivated only by altruism.
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intense hostility
The governor's animosity toward his rival was only inflamed when the latter spread false lies regarding the governor's first term.
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the highest point
The Ivy League is considered the apex of the secondary education system.
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a short instructive saying about a general truth
Nietzsche was known for using aphorisms; sometimes encapsulating a complex philosophical thought in a mere sentence.
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anxiety or fear that something bad will happen
Test day can be one of pure apprehension; as many students worry about their test scores.
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the state that exists when one person or group has power over another
The ascendancy of the Carlsbad water polo team is clear--they have a decade of championships behind them.
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greed (one of the seven deadly sins)
The Spanish conquistadors were known for their avarice; plundering Incan land and stealing Incan gold.
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a thing that is helpful or beneficial
Modern technology has been a boon to the travel industry.
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the quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech
Although I was unhappy that the relationship ended; I appreciated her candidness about why she was ready to move on from the relationship.
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something that speeds up an event
Rosa Park's refusal to give up her bus seat acted as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement; setting into motion historic changes for African-Americans.
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a person who believes in the superiority of their group
The chauvinist lives on both sides of the political spectrum; outright shunning anybody whose ideas are not consistent with his own.
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the condition of being held back or limited
When government abuses are not kept in check; that government is likely to become autocratic. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice
In the final moments of the trial; during his closing speech; Phillips was nearly begging the judge for clemency.
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agreement on a secret plot
Many have argued that Lee Harvey Oswald; JFK's assassin; was in collusion with other criminals; others maintain that Oswald was a lone gunman.
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something that limits or restricts
He found pop music a constraint on his ability to learn and preferred to listen to classical musical while studying.
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a difficult problem
Computers have helped solve some of the mathematical conundrums which have puzzled man for many centuries.
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an abundant supply of something good
The International Food Expo was a cornucopia of culinary delights: gourmet foods from every continent were under one roof.
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belief in something
He placed no credence in psychics; claiming that they offered no special powers beyond the ability to make people part with their money.
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tendency to believe readily
Virginia's wide-eyed credulity as a five-year old was replaced by suspicion after she learned that Santa Claus didn't really exist.
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a lack or shortage
I am surprised by the dearth of fast food chains; this is America and I assumed they were on every street.
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destroying or killing a large part of the population
The decimation after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is incomprehensible.
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lack of agreement or harmony
Despite all their talented players; the team was filled with discord--some players refused to talk to others--and lost most of their games.
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the property of being prompt and efficient
She finished her thesis with dispatch; amazing her advisors who couldn't believe she hadn't written 60 scholarly pages so quickly. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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a person who is easily tricked or swindled
The charlatan mistook the crowd for a bunch of dupes; but the crowd was quickly on to him and decried his bald-faced attempt to bilk them.
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a conceited and self-centered person
An egotist; Natasha had few friends because of her inability to talk about anything except her dream of becoming the next American Idol.
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a state of deep-seated ill-will
Charles rude remark toward Sarah yesterday was due to his illness; not due to any real enmity toward Sarah.
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a feeling of great (usually exaggerated) elation
The euphoria of winning her first gold medal in the 100 meter dash overwhelmed Shelly-Ann Fraser and she wept tears of immense joy.
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a behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual
When their new roommate sat staring at an oak tree for an hour; Marcia thought it indicated a mental problem; but Jeff assured her it was a harmless foible.
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the pinnacle or top of a time period or career
During the heyday of Prohibition; bootlegging had become such a lucrative business that many who had been opposed to the 18th Amendment began to fear it would be repealed.
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a confusing mixture or jumble
Those in attendance represented a hodgepodge of the city's denizens: chimney sweepers could be seen sitting elbow to elbow with stockbrokers.
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the power of creative imagination
Daedalus was famous for his ingenuity; he was able to fashion his son Icarus with a pair of wings; using wax to hold them together.
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a slight suggestion or vague understanding
Lynne speaks four Romance languages; but she doesn't have an inkling about how East Asian languages are structured.
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a characteristic language of a particular group
To those with little training in medicine; the jargon of doctors can be very difficult to understand.
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an aggressive takeover by a group (usually military)
As dangerous of a threat as North Korea is; some analysts believe that were a junta suddenly to gain power; it could be even more unpredictable and bellicose than the current leadership
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a disease or sickness
The town was struck by a malady throughout the winter that left most people sick in bed for two weeks.
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a short saying expressing a general truth
Johnson initially suggests that the secret to business can be summarized in a single maxim but then requires a 300-page book to explain exactly what he means.
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a deep; long-lasting sadness
Hamlet is a figure of tremendous melancholy: he doesn't have a truly cheerful scene throughout the entire play.
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a wild; confusing fight or struggle
After enduring daily taunts about my name; I became enraged and pummeled the schoolyard bully and his sycophantic friends in a brutal melee.
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a hater of mankind
Hamilton had been deceived so many times in his life that he hid behind the gruff exterior of a misanthrope; lambasting perfect strangers for no apparent reason.
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a person who breaks the law
Come back you miscreant! yelled the woman who just had her purse stollen.
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a person who doesn't like to spend money (because they are greedy)
Monte was no miser; but was simply frugal; wisely spending the little that he earned.
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a person who dislikes women in particular
Many have accused Hemingway of being a quiet misogynist; but recently unearthed letters argue against this belief.
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significant and important value
Despite the initial hullabaloo; the play was of no great moment in Hampton's writing career; and within a few years the public quickly forgot his foray into theater arts. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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a lack of something
There is a paucity of jobs hiring today that require menial skills; since most jobs have either been automated or outsourced.
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a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right)
Even as the dishwasher at the French restaurant; Josh quickly learned that he had the perquisite of being able to eat terrific food for half the price diners would pay.
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the highest point
At its pinnacle; the Roman Empire extended across most of the landmass of Eurasia; a feat not paralleled to the rise of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th century.
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a small amount (of money)
Vinny's uncle beamed smugly about how he'd offered his nephew fifty dollars for his Harvard tuition; even twice the amount would have been a mere pittance.
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a clever plan to turn a situation to one's advantage
Dennis arranged an elaborate ploy; involving 14 different people lying for him in different situations; so that it could appear that he was meeting Mary completely by chance at the wedding reception.
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an informal meeting or discussion
Before the team takes the field; the coach always calls for a powwow so that he can make sure all the players are mentally in the right place.
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an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time
The principal explained that even though one student had done modelling work outside of school; the outfits that student wore in those photographs in no way established a precedent for what could be worn at school dances.
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audacious (even arrogant) behavior that you have no right to
The new neighbor quickly gained a reptuation for her presumption; she had invited herself to several of the neighbors homes; often stopping over at inopportune times and asking for a drink.
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the property of being extremely abundant
When Maria reported that she had been visited by Jesus Christ and had proof; a profusion of reporters and journalists descended on the town.
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a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea
Ironically; the leading proponent of Flat-Earth Theory flies all over the world in an effort to win more adherents.
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uneasiness about the fitness of an action
While he could articulate no clear reason why Harkner's plan would fail; he neverless felt qualms about committing any resources to it.
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state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options
Steve certainly is in a quandary: if he doesn't call Elaine; she will blame him for everything; but if he does call her; the evidence of where he currently is could cost him his job.
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a witty saying or remark
"In one of the most famous quips about classical music; Mark Twain said: ""Wagner's music is better than it sounds."""
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a large number of something
Despite a raft of city ordinances passed by an overzealous council; noise pollution continued unabated in the megalopolis. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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an act of making something right
Barry forgot his wife's birthday two years in a row; and was only able to redress his oversight by surprising his wife with a trip to Tahiti. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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a person who is disapproved of
Those old reprobates drinking all day down by the river--they are not going to amount to much.
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an unstated doubt that prevents you from accepting something wholeheartedly
I was initially excited by the idea of a trip to Washington; D.C. but now that I have read about the high crime statistics there; I have some reservations. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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the acceptance of something unpleasant that can't be avoided
Since Jack could not think of a convincing reason why he had to miss the seminar; he attended it with a sense of resignation. This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE
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a pause from doing something (as work)
Every afternoon; the small company has a respite in which workers play foosball or board games.
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a perceptive understanding
Although a great CEO; he did not have the political savvy to win the election.
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an abusive rant (often tedious)
Joey had difficulty hanging out with his former best friend Perry; who; during his entire cup of coffee; enumerated all of the government's deficiencies--only to break ranks and launch into some screed against big business.
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the instance in which an accidental; fortunate discovery is made
The invention of the 3M Post It Note was serendipitous; because the scientist who had come up with the idea was looking for a strong adhesive; the weak adhesive he came up with was perfect for holding a piece of paper in place but made it very easy for so
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a slight or superficial understanding of a subject; a small amount of something
I know only a smattering of German; but Helen is able to read German newspapers and converse with natives.
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one who spends money extravagantly
Taking weekly trips to Vegas; Megan was a spendthrift whose excesses eventually caught up to her.
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a regular allowance (of money)
He was hoping for a monthly allowance loan from the government; but after no such stipend was forthcoming he realized he would have to seek other means of paying for his college tuition.
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a meeting of high-level leaders
Since climate change policy has been mired in congressional fighting; this summit should help set the goals for president's next term.
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skill and sensitivity in dealing with others or with difficult issues; the ability to deal with people without offending or upsetting them
In a tremendous display of tact; Shelly was able to maintain a strong friendship with Marcia; even though Marcia's husband; Frank; confessed to finding Shelley more attractive than Marcia.
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an angry speech
In terms of political change; a tirade oftentimes does little more than make the person speaking red in the face.
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use of physical or mental energy; hard work; agony or anguish
While they experienced nothing but travails in refinishing the kitchen; they completed the master bedroom in less than a weekend.
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something; especially an event; that causes difficulty and suffering
As of 2013; nearly 1.5 million Syrians have fled their country hoping to escape the tribulations of a civil war tearing their country to pieces.
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a state of chaos; noise and confusion
Riots broke out just in front of our apartment building; and the tumult continued late into the night.
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the quality of varying
"The cynic quipped; ""There is not much variance in politicians; they all seem to prevaricate""."
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covering consisting of a thin superficial layer that hides the underlying substance
Mark Twain referred to the Victorian Period in America as the "Gilded Age"; implying the ample moral corruption that lay beneath a mere veneer of respectability.
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an ill-tempered or violent woman
Poor Billy was the victim of the virago's invective--she railed at him for a good 30-minutes about how he is the scum of the earth for speaking loudly on his cellphone in public.
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the highest point; culmination
At the zenith of his artistic career; Elvis was outselling any other artist on the charts.

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