WORD LISTS

Challenge, List 3

November 30, 2022
This list of challenge words features some of the hardest words that you will encounter in the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE. These are words that typically appear less frequently across different academic disciplines, so you are less likely to have encountered them before. Master these difficult words and watch your GRE score soar!
aspersion
The continuing aspersions cast on her character were such that both Winnie and I were eager for her to have her day in court and prove her innocence of the charges.
astringent
How refreshing to read a sharp, astringent critique of the kind of self-indulgent meanderings that too many people seem to feel they must share with the world, complete with knowledgeable fact-checking.
castigate
My teacher pulled me in front of the class, castigated me for the “trivial” book, basically embarrassing me in front of my peers, and ended by chucking my paperback in the trash.
credo
Baudelaire once wrote that "literature and the arts pursue an aim independent of morality" and, for better or worse, this has clearly become France's official artistic credo.
elysian
Most of us would be prepared to sacrifice the modest freedom of selecting our own hairstyles in return for a life of such elysian indulgence.
eugenics
That idea escalates to its macabre zenith in Nazi Germany in the 1940s, where human eugenics is used to justify grotesque experiments, culminating in confinement, sterilization, euthanasia, and mass murder.
fractious
It’s full of rage, a fractious child screaming, “I hate you” at a parent.
fulminate
“This development is disastrous because, intentionally or unintentionally, it serves to reinforce the notion that good English is whatever is popular,” the Times fulminated in an October, 1961, editorial.
histrionic
She wondered if she should have been less histrionic and given them both the chance to have a calm conversation about what happened.
inveigle
Who had inveigled the child with promises, and thought of the hiding place under the willow tree, and persuaded her — no dragged her against her will — to meet Hannah?
jibe
The papers had printed that the jibes and jeers were cruel and sometimes obscene, and so they were, but this was not the big show.
lethargic
I found the sick-room unwatched, as I had expected: no nurse was there; the patient lay still, and seemingly lethargic; her livid face sunk in the pillows: the fire was dying in the grate.
litany
Whatever you tagged it—a roll call of evil or a litany of character flaws—Laura’s list had pressed into all my dark places.
nostrum
And it wouldn’t be America had there not been the quacks, showmen with snake-oil nostrums at the ready: garlic derivatives, copper treatments, patent remedies like “Tuberculene” — active ingredient, creosote.
plethora
My frantic search uncovered a plethora of random objects—clothing, shoe brushes, buttonhooks, photographs of wives and sweethearts, tins of wax and pastes—things that seemed so ordinary, so human.
prohibitive
In the 1920s the cost of a radio had been prohibitive—$120 or more—and all that bought was a box of unassembled parts.
rarefied
It wasn't until the 20th century that the book and its author were rediscovered and lifted to the rarefied place in the English literature pantheon they hold today.
seismic
These sudden movements radiate outward from the fault as seismic waves, which cause the ground to shake.
stentorian
As the orchestra roils, with restless spiraling figures, bursts of percussion and slashing brass, the characters asking the emperor for action intone their lines in stentorian, almost monotone declamations, enforced by a large chorus.
striate
They looked like soft marbles, pink shooters striated with red, inside of which an orange/yellow liquid gleamed and threatened to ooze out if the outer membrane broke.

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