GRE word study for the visual learner - picture dictionary of GRE words. Click on the alphabetical list to see the complete list of words.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ESTHETIC: "having a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty

Thunakkadavu Lake Lit Up, originally uploaded by ezee as hell.

Monday, September 3, 2007

CHESTNUT: an old chestnut - an old joke or overly familiar saying © 2010 Miranda Haeg | more info (via: Wylio)

Boring old joke or saying
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Although its origins are in an English melodrama, it was an American
actor who coined its usage. The actor, William Warren, found occasion
to quote from 'The Broken Sword', a rather mediocre play by William Dillon.
One of the characters has the irritating habit of telling and retelling
the same stories and jokes. He is embarking upon one such tale about a
cork tree when his companion, Pablo, interrupts crying.'A Chestnut, I
should know as well as you, having heard you tell the tale these
twenty-seven times, and I'm sure it was a chestnut'.
Warren, who played the part of Pablo in the melodrama, was at a dinner
one evening when a fellow guest started to recount a well-worn and
rather elderly anecdote, whereupon Warren murmured, 'A chestnut. I
have heard you tell the tale these twenty-seven times'.The rest of the
company was delighted with Warrens very appropriate quoting from the
play and it was not long before news of the incident had spread amongst
their aquaintances and beyond.
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Sunday, September 2, 2007

CORUSCATE: "Be lively or brilliant or exhibit virtuosity"

Mamma Mia!, originally uploaded by canadianlookin.

NONAGE: "Any age prior to the legal age"

my nonage, originally uploaded by aliasgar2007.

MATUTINAL: "Pertaining to or occurring in the morning"

"matutinal coffee"
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JEREMIAD: "A long and mournful complaint; word originates from prophet Jeremiah"

From Wikipedia:

"The Prophet Jeremiah that the book describes was a priest from Anatot in the land of Benjamin, who lived in the last years of the Kingdom of Judah just prior to, during, and immediately after the siege of Jerusalem, culminating in the destruction of Solomon's Temple and the razing of the city by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. According to the book, for a quarter century prior to the destruction, Jeremiah issued prophecies repeatedly predicting its occurrence if the Jews did not repent and viewed the failure of his efforts, the destruction of everything he knew, the exile of the Jewish elite to Babylonia, and the fleeing of the remainder to Egypt."
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JEREMIAD: "long literary work lamenting the state of society"

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A Jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in poetry, that bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of its coming downfall.

The word is an eponym, named after the Biblical prophet Jeremiah, and is inspired by the tone of his surviving literary works, the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations. The Book of Jeremiah prophesies the coming downfall of the Kingdom of Judah, and asserts that this is because its rulers have broken the covenant with the Lord

As such, the name jeremiad is given to moralistic texts that denounce a society for its wickedness, and prophesy its downfall. Authors from Gildas to Robert Bork have had this label hung on their works. In contemporary usage, it is frequently pejorative, meant to suggest that the tone of the text is excessively pessimistic.
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JEREMIAD: "A long and mournful complaint"

"a jeremiad against any form of government"
jeremiad \jair-uh-MY-uhd\, noun:
A tale of sorrow, disappointment, or complaint; a doleful story; also, a dolorous or angry tirade.
This age in which leisure and letters were gilded with commerce did not see the decline and fall of art, despite the jeremiads of such artists as William Blake ('Where any view of money exists,' he prophesied, 'art cannot be carried on').
-- Roy Porter, English Society in the Eighteenth Century
Johnson's jeremiad against what he sees as American imperialism and militarism exhaustively catalogs decades of U.S. military misdeeds
-- Stan Crock, review of The Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson, Business Week, February 2, 2004
Economics ministers in general were taken aback when a recent World Bank report -- after a year of jeremiads -- suggested the crisis was being exaggerated
-- Lance Castle, "The economic crisis revisited", Jakarta Post, April 1, 1999
Jeremiad comes from French jérémiade, after Jérémie, Jeremiah, the prophet.
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Saturday, September 1, 2007

TRENCHANT: "Having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought, expression, or intellect"

From the French: "to cut"

santoku knifephoto © 2008 Adventures of Pam & Frank | more info (via: Wylio)

"trenchant criticism"
"a trenchant argument"
"trenchant distinctions between right and wrong"

trenchant \TREN-chunt\, adjective:
1. Characterized by or full of force and vigor; as, "a trenchant analysis."
2. Caustic; biting; severe; as, "trenchant criticism."
3. Distinct; clear-cut; clearly or sharply defined.
Her insistence that women's rights should be upheld universally, notwithstanding concerns about cultural diversity, led some to criticise her for being too narrowly entrenched within western liberalism, while others celebrated her trenchant defence of egalitarianism.
-- Judith Squires, "Susan Moller Okin", The Guardian, March 26, 2004
His revolutionary music, abrasive personality and trenchant writings about art and life divided the city into warring factions.
-- Jonathan Carr, Mahler: A Biography
Trenchant comes from Old French, from the present participle of trenchier, "to cut." It is related to trench.
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CHARY: "Characterized by great caution and wariness"

"chary of the risks involved"; "a chary investor"
chary \CHAIR-ee\, adjective:
1. Wary; cautious.
2. Not giving or expending freely; sparing.
What do you suppose the Founding Fathers, so chary of overweening government power, would make of a prosecutor with virtually unlimited reach and a staff the size of a small town?
-- "U.S. trampling rights at home and abroad", Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 17, 1998
Investors should be chary, however, for the returns are far from sizzling.
-- "The Stampede Into Variable Annuities", Fortune, October 13, 1986
Bankers, consulted as to whether or not they believed that the full force of the decline had spent its fury, were chary of predictions.
-- "Leaders See Fear Waning", New York Times, October 30, 1929
When I visited Sissinghurst with my growing family she was always welcoming, eager for our news but chary of her own.
-- Nigel Nicolson, Long Life
Chary comes from Old English cearig, "careful, sorrowful," from cearu, "grief, sorrow, care."
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RIPOSTE: "(fencing) a counterattack made immediately after successfully parrying the opponents lunge"

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RIPOSTE: "A quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one); (fencing) a counterattack made immediately after successfu

"his opponent riposted"
riposte \rih-POST\, noun:
1. A quick thrust given after parrying an opponent's lunge in fencing.
2. A quick and effective reply by word or act.
intransitive verb:
1. To make a riposte.
She had an agile, teasing sense of humor that included a sure grasp of the absurd and an instinct for punchy ripostes.
-- Sally Bedell Smith, Diana in Search of Herself
It was an inelegant riposte, especially for one so quick-witted as Neumann.
-- Peter Gay, My German Question
When she told him how much she hated being called an old trout, he'd riposte: "The trout is the most beautiful of fish."
-- Angela Carter, Shaking a Leg
Riposte derives from Italian risposta, "an answer," from rispondere, "to answer," from Latin respondere, "to promise in return, to answer," from re- + spondere, "to promise."
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PROPITIATE: "Make peace with"

propitiate \pro-PISH-ee-ayt\, transitive verb:
To render favorably inclined; to appease; to conciliate (one offended).
Azorka, a black house-dog, probably conscious of his guilt in barking for nothing and anxious to propitiate us, approached us, diffidently wagging his tail.
-- Anton Chekhov, "Lights"
Yet the Fairy Bridge . . . didn't get its name for nothing. Here the locals lift a hand ever so slightly and mutter "Hello, little people," to propitiate the fairies underneath.
-- Helen Gibson, "Rewards and Fairies", Time Europe, April 30, 2001
Cultivated pagans long survived but retreated to form private societies, practicing secret rites to propitiate the gods to avert drought or earthquake from their home cities.
-- Henry Chadwick, "Greasing the 4th-Century Palm", New York Times, November 15, 1992
Propitiate derives from Latin propitius, "favorable."
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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SANCTIMONY: "The quality of being hypocritically devout"

SALIENT: "Having a quality that thrusts itself into attention"

SALUTARY: "Tending to promote physical well-being; beneficial to health"

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Vienna Dioscurides
A tiny garden yields various and often salutary herbs

Whose value science acknowledges
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SALUTARY: "beneficial to health"

salutary \SAL-yuh-ter-ee\, adjective:
1. Producing or contributing to a beneficial effect; beneficial; advantageous.
2. Wholesome; healthful; promoting health.
Alexis de Tocqueville famously observed during his sojourn in this country that America was teeming with such associations -- charities, choral groups, church study groups, book clubs -- and that they had a remarkably salutary effect on society, turning selfish individuals into public-spirited citizens.
-- Fareed Zakaria, "Bigger Than the Family, Smaller Than the State", New York Times, August 13, 1995
Surviving a near-death experience has the salutary effect of concentrating the mind.
-- Kenneth T. Walsh and Roger Simon, "Bush turns the tide", U.S. News, February 28, 2000

And they washed it all down with sharp red wines, moderate amounts of which are known to be salutary.
-- Rod Usher, "The Fat of the Land", Time Europe, January 8, 2000

Salutary derives from Latin salutaris, from salus, salut-, "health."

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SALUTARY: "Tending to promote physical well-being; beneficial to health"

vitamin C ........., originally uploaded by hb19.

"the salutary influence of pure air"

SAGACIOUS: "Acutely insightful and wise; Skillful in statecraft or

Bearded and sagacious, originally uploaded by Forest Runner.

"observant and thoughtful, he was given to asking sagacious questions"

"an astute and sagacious statesman"

TAUTOLOGY: "(logic) a statement that is necessarily true; Useless repetition"

"the statement 'he is brave or he is not brave' is a tautology"

"to say that something is 'adequate enough' is a tautology"
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Examples of tautology
The British supermarket Tesco sells a brand of lemon thyme which it describes as having an "aromatic aroma".
"free gift" is tautologous because a gift, by definition, is something given without charge.
The Yogi Berra-esque statement "If you don't get any better, you'll never improve" is another example. A very frequently used tautologous phrases are "PIN number"- the "N" stands for number
Tautology in popular culture
Comedian Alan King used to tell this story: His lawyer asked him if he had ever drawn up a will. Alan said "No". The lawyer, in shock and horror, said, "If you died without a will, you would die intestate!" Alan looked up the word and found that it means "without a will". "In other words, if I die without a will, then I'll die without a will. This legal pearl cost me $500!"
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PLATITUDE: "A trite or obvious remark"

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RECALCITRANT: "Marked by stubborn resistance to authority"

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RECALCITRANT: "Stubbornly resistant to authority or control"

"the University suspended the most recalcitrant demonstrators"
recalcitrant \rih-KAL-sih-truhnt\, adjective:
Stubbornly resistant to and defiant of authority or restraint.
This recalcitrant fellow was the only dissenter in an otherwise unanimous recommendation.
-- Sherwin B. Nuland, "Indoctrinology", New Republic, February 19, 2001
If they lingered too long, Clarice hurried them along in the same annoyed way she rushed recalcitrant goats through the gate.
-- Kaye Gibbons, On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon
As Mr. Lincoln and his Union generals insisted on unconditional surrender, the end of slavery, and the specter of an egalitarian nation where race and class were in theory to be subordinate ideas, so recalcitrant Southerners by the summer of 1864 dug in deeper for their Armageddon to come.
-- Victor Davis Hanson, The Soul Of Battle
Recalcitrant derives from Latin recalcitrare, "to kick back," from re-, "back" + calcitrare, "to strike with the heel, to kick," from calx, calc-, "the heel."
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REVERENT: "Feeling or showing profound respect or veneration; Showing

Calling all Saints..., originally uploaded by carf.

LUGUBRIOUS: "sorrowful; excessively mournful"

, originally uploaded by sungazing.

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