GRE word study for the visual learner - picture dictionary of GRE words. Click on the alphabetical list to see the complete list of words.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
salutary \SAL-yuh-ter-ee\, adjective:
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.
Surviving a near-death experience has the salutary effect of concentrating the mind.
"observant and thoughtful, he was given to asking sagacious questions"
"an astute and sagacious statesman"
"to say that something is 'adequate enough' is a tautology"
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!"
recalcitrant \rih-KAL-sih-truhnt\, adjective:
This recalcitrant fellow was the only dissenter in an otherwise unanimous recommendation.
If they lingered too long, Clarice hurried them along in the same annoyed way she rushed recalcitrant goats through the gate.
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.
Recalcitrant derives from Latin recalcitrare, "to kick back," from re-, "back" + calcitrare, "to strike with the heel, to kick," from calx, calc-, "the heel."
lugubrious \lu-GOO-bree-us; -GYOO-\, adjective:
His patriarchy often seemed lugubrious; he would often have tears in his eyes when elucidating all my failings.
Oh yes, he says, and his lugubrious expression suggests that the loss afflicts him still.
Lugubrious comes from Latin lugubris, from lugere, to mourn.
Previous visits hadn't yielded this art-after-death aura, which had everything to do with two installations on display, work so lugubrious it cast a pall over . . . well, just over me, but dark clouds hovered above the city, and the gloomy weather might as well have emanated from the art.
MERCURIAL * PEDANTIC * CRAVEN * LICENTIOUS
Liable to sudden unpredictable change
"mercurial twists of temperament"
"mercurial preparations"; "mercurial sore mouth"
—Synonyms 1. inconstant, indecisive. 2. spirited.
—Antonyms 1. constant, steady. 2. phlegmatic.
* CONNOISSEUR * IMBROGLIO * PECCADILLO * SANGUINE
An expert able to appreciate a field; especially in the fine arts
1.An intricate and confusing interpersonal or political situation
2. A very embarrassing misunderstanding
A petty misdeed; a "little sin"
Confidently optimistic and cheerful
Inclined to a healthy reddish color often associated with outdoor life
A blood-red color
"a fresh and sanguine complexion"
using too many words
"verbose and ineffective instructional methods"
* UNCTUOUS -
Unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech
"the unctuous Uriah Heep"
* ERUDITE -
Having or showing profound knowledge
"an erudite professor"
* GARRULOUS -
Full of trivial conversation
specious \SPEE-shuhs\, adjective:
A specious theory is confuted by this free and perfect experiment.
Specious is from Latin speciosus, from species, "appearance," from specere, "to look at."
-- Gale Eisenstodt, "Behind the Chrysanthemum Curtain", The Atlantic, November 1998
Well, setting aside the sentimental nostalgia that elevates the "good old days" to a spurious perfection . . . the fact remains that Nellie Melba was a unique vocal phenomenon.
-- Tim Page, "For Melba a Well-Deserved Toast", Washington Post, February 9, 2003
Spurious comes from Latin spurius, "illegitimate, hence false, inauthentic."
Temerarious comes from Latin temerarius, "rash," from temere, "rashly, heedlessly."