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vocabulary
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The Second Hundred Study Words for

Standardized Tests like the SAT® & ACT®

Ordered by Importance of Study
Based on the SAT® as redesigned for tests taken after January of 2016
Return to the Top 100 Words
elaborate
as in:
elaborate on your plan
Please elaborate on the reasons you think this is the best plan.
elaborate = explain in detail
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
add details or explain in detail
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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assert
2 meanings
as in:
asserted her opinion that...
The defense also asserts that the defendant has no previous record.
asserts = says (that something is true — especially something disputed)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assert means:
to say that something is true — especially something disputed
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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as in:
asserted her authority
She says women should assert themselves more.
assert = to be forceful in exercising rights
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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dispute
2 meanings
as in:
their border dispute
The area has long been a source of dispute between India and Pakistan.
dispute = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
disagreement, argument, or conflict
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
She disputes his claim.
She disputes her landlord's claim that the music was that loud.
disputes = challenges
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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implication
2 meanings
as in:
the implication is that...
I object to her implication that my work was sub-standard.
implication = something implied (said indirectly)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implication means:
Something that follows from something else.  The thing that follows could be:
  • something suggested indirectly (not said directly)
  • something that can be concluded (often a logical consequence)
  • something that results from something else
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
Her implication in the crime
She is suspected of implication in three burglaries.
implication = involvement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implication means:
involvement in or the suggestion that someone was involved in something — especially a crime
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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implicit
3 meanings
as in:
not explicitly but implicitly
"Did she explicitly promise?"
"Well, I guess not explicitly, but nobody who was there could have missed the implicit promise."
implicit = implied (not said directly)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implicit means:
implied though not directly expressed
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
implicit problem with the design
This risk is implicit in your plan. We can work to minimize the danger, but it cannot be eliminated.
implicit = exists as an inseparable part or characteristic
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
I trust her implicitly.
Her team has implicit confidence in her decisions.
implicit = complete
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implicit means:
complete (without any doubts)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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utter
3 meanings
as in:
utter stupidity
She suffered utter devastation when her child died in the accident.
utter = complete
DefinitionGenerally this sense of utter means:
complete or total (used as an intensifier—typically when stressing how bad something is)
Word Statistics
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
utter a complaint
I was too shocked to utter a complaint.
utter = say something aloud
Word Statistics
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
utter a sound
She wanted to warn him, but fear kept her from uttering a sound.
uttering = making a sound with the voice
DefinitionGenerally this sense of utter means:
make a sound with the voice
Word Statistics
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
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reflection
4 meanings
as in:
my reflection in the mirror
I was looking at my reflection in her sunglasses.
reflection = image
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
an image (seen on a mirror or other shiny surface)
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
lit by the reflection
I watched the reflection of the sunlight in the underside of the pool umbrella.
reflection = light seen after it bounces off a surface to another
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
light seen after it bounces off a surface to another; or the process of bouncing light, sound, or other energy off of a surface
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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as in:
is a reflection of American values
The diversity of our police force is a reflection of our community.
reflection = representation
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
representation, demonstration, or expression
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
After reflection, I think...
Upon reflection, I should have been more patient with her.
reflection = careful thought
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
careful thought — sometimes concerning memories
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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comprehend
I don't think she comprehends how dangerous this has become.
comprehends = fully understands
DefinitionGenerally comprehend means:
to understand something — especially to understand it completely
Word Statistics
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
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novel
We're looking for novel advertising ideas.
novel = new and original
DefinitionGenerally this sense of novel means:
new and original — typically something considered good
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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apprehensive
She is apprehensive about her new job.
apprehensive = worried over possible misfortune
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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inconsistent
Her play is inconsistent. Sometimes she's unbeatable and other times she beats herself.
inconsistent = not the same at different times
DefinitionGenerally inconsistent means:
not the same in different parts or at different times

or:

not in agreement [with something else]
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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moreover
The company has too much debt. Moreover, it is responsible for a long term lease on expensive office space.
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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sinister
They created a sinister plan to recruit terrorists.
sinister = threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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ornate
The hotel is decorated with ornate furniture, lots of carved designs, and gold leaf gilding.
ornate = having lots of decorative detail
DefinitionGenerally ornate means:
of a thing:  having lots of decorative detail

of speech:  more complicated than necessary because of unusual words and phrases (fans might call it flowery or finely finished, but most would call it too complicated or showy)
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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assume
3 meanings
as in:
I assume it's true
I assume she was at school today, but I don't remember actually seeing her.
assume = accept as true (without proof)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to accept something as true without proof
Word Statistics
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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as in:
She assumed power
The dictator assumed control of the country at midnight this morning.
assumed = took (power)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
beginning to take power or responsibility
Word Statistics
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
She assumed a false identity
She assumed the identify of her victim until the body was found.
assumed = took on (or adopted)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to take on (adopt, wear, strike a pose or appearance of) — often while pretending or disguising
Word Statistics
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
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alternative
as in:
alternative medicine
I'm taking the pills the doctor prescribed, but I'm also looking into alternative medicine such as acupuncture.
alternative = non-traditional or non-standard
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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foreshadow
The author is known for creative use of foreshadowing.
foreshadowing = using events as signs of future events
DefinitionGenerally foreshadow means:
to be a sign of future events
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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precise
2 meanings
as in:
about noon; 12:03 to be precise
Is it precise enough if I measure to the closest inch?
precise = exact
DefinitionGenerally this sense of precise means:
exact (accurate)
Word Statistics
Library19 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
a precise personality
She has the kind of precise personality that never has a cluttered desk or an out-of-fashion item in her closet.
precise = meticulous (careful about details)
Word Statistics
Library19 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
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function
6 meanings
as in:
Its main function is to...
The function of the lens of the eye is to focus light on the retina.
function = job
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
purpose, job, or natural activity
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
can't function well without sleep
I don't function well on less than six hours of sleep a night; and I do best on nine.
function = work or operate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
work or operate — sometimes to work or operate normally or in a particular way
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
I'm attending a function tonight
I promised to attend their function tonight. I think it's important that we show our support.
function = social event or ceremony
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
a social event or ceremony — especially one attended for work or out of a sense of duty
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
oxygen is a function of altitude
Their success is a function of their teamwork and practice.
function = result
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
saying one results from another; or saying that the amount of one thing is dependent upon the value of another.
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
Amazon's new search function
I like Amazon's new search function.
function = computer code that performs a specific task
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as in:
a mathematical function
What is the function to calculate how much carpet is required to cover a rectangular room of a given length and width?
function = formula (a mathematical expression that describe a relationship between variables)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
a formula or mathematical expression that describes a relationship between variables
Word Statistics
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compensate
2 meanings
as in:
he compensates with extra effort
She uses several techniques to help compensate for her dyslexia.
compensate = make up
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
make up for; or adjust for
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
she is generously compensated
The company has offered to compensate everyone impacted by the defective cars.
compensate = make payment to
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
to make payment to someone (often in amends for a loss or inconvenience they suffered)
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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abstract
3 meanings
as in:
abstract thought
We all agree that we want what's "best for the country", but that is an abstract concept and we cannot agree on which specific laws should be passed.
abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance

or more rarely:

describing someone as distracted — thinking about something outside of the immediate conversation or circumstances
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
read the abstract
The abstract is free, but there is a fee to see the entire article.
abstract = summary
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
a summary; or to summarize — especially academic writing
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as in:
abstract art
She is an abstract painter.
abstract = not representing or imitating external reality or the objects of nature
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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entity
The law applies to any legal entity that can enter into a contract.
entity = person or organization
DefinitionGenerally entity means:
a person, organization, lifeform, or anything with a separate existence
Word Statistics
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empirical
Is her theory supported by empirical data?
empirical = based on experience or observation rather than theory
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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apparent
The effects of the drought are apparent to anyone who sees the dry fields.
apparent = clear or obvious
DefinitionGenerally apparent means:
clear or obvious; or appearing as such but not necessarily so
Word Statistics
Library50 uses in 10 avg bks
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appropriate
as in:
appropriated the
The money has been appropriated, but it hasn't been spent yet.
appropriated = given or assigned for a particular use
DefinitionGenerally this sense of appropriate means:
give, assign, or seize a resource — usually for a particular use
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
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inevitable
It is as inevitable as death and taxes.
inevitable = certain to happen
DefinitionGenerally inevitable means:
certain to happen (even if one tried to prevent it)
Word Statistics
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
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inclined
2 meanings
as in:
I'm inclined to
I'm inclined to believe him.
inclined = have a tendency; or an attitude or mood that favors something
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency; in the mood; or an attitude that favors something
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
on an incline or incline his head
I climbed down the incline.
incline = something that is at an angle (in this case, probably sloping land)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of incline means:
to be at an angle or to bend
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
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acquire
Children acquire language at an amazing rate.
acquire = obtain (come into the possession of something)
Word Statistics
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
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precede
Stone tools preceded bronze tools.
preceded = were before in time
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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enable
The test enables earlier identification of autism.
enables = makes possible
DefinitionGenerally enable means:
to make possible (in various senses such as:)
  • to give someone the ability, knowledge, or authority to do something
  • to activate a computer system for use
  • to permit someone to repeat bad behavior, so they reinforce the bad pattern
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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domestic
2 meanings
as in:
the domestic market
The deparment is responsible for studying all the domestic species of animals and plants.
domestic = relating to a home country

or (much more rarely,): relating to a geographic area that is smaller than a country
Word Statistics
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as in:
domestic happiness
We share the domestic chores.
domestic = household (relating to home or family)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of domestic means:
relating to a home or family
Word Statistics
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resolution
4 meanings
as in:
a New Year's resolution
Her New Year's resolution is to read deeply at least one hour a day.
resolution = a firm decision to do something
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
a United Nations resolution
The United Nations passed a resolution condemning the country's use of chemical weapons.
resolution = a formal statement of opinion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolution means:
a formal statement of decision or opinion voted on by a group
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as in:
Her resolution weakened.
She ran each mile of the marathon with increasing resolution.
resolution = determination
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as in:
a dispute resolution fund
We anticipate a peaceful resolution to the dispute.
resolution = a solution or outcome
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objective
By any objective analysis, you would have to agree that...
objective = fact-based (not influenced by personal feelings or preferences)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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disdain
She tries to be polite, but cannot hide her disdain for authority.
disdain = lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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attain
She was the first woman to attain the rank of general.
attain = gain or reach something with effort
DefinitionGenerally attain means:
to gain or reach something with effort
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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inherent
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the inherent dignity of each person.
inherent = existing as an inseparable part or characteristic
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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invoke
She invoked the Fifth Amendment as reason not to answer.
invoked = cited or called upon for validation
DefinitionGenerally invoke means:
to call upon

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based upon context)
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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supplementary
The information contained in the second report is either corrective of or supplementary to the previous report.
supplementary = additional — possibly added to complete or make up a deficiency, or possibly functioning in a subsidiary or supporting capacity
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indignant
She was indignant, but agreed to be searched when they accused her of shoplifting.
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
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Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
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scorn
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
scorned = treated with disrespect or disdain
DefinitionGenerally scorn means:
treat with a strong disrespect or disdain — sometimes accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
Word Statistics
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
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optimistic
I'm optimistic that I'll get into a good college.
optimistic = expecting the best
DefinitionGenerally optimistic means:
expecting the best; or focusing on the good part of things
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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simulate
A computer model is used to simulate the effects of wind.
simulate = imitate or represent
DefinitionGenerally simulate means:
make an imitation or representation of
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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contemporary
2 meanings
as in:
contemporary design
It's easier to find outstanding books when selecting from those that have been in print for a long time, but were it not for that I would prefer modern literature with its contemporary language, issues, and ideas.
contemporary = characteristic of or belonging to the present time
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as in:
they are contemporaries
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were contemporary artists who competed for some projects.
contemporary = lived at the same time
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contemporary means:
living at the same time

or:

something occurring in the same period of time as something else
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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gender
Gender roles were more defined when my grandmother was growing up.
gender = male/female
DefinitionGenerally this sense of gender means:
all the members of one sex (male or female)

or: the state of being either male or female

or (recently and especially with regard to self-identification): the state of being male, female, transsexual, or any of many other categories
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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notwithstanding
Notwithstanding my fear, I want to try parachuting from an airplane.
notwithstanding = in spite of (In this case, my fear does not withstand my desire to try parachuting. My desire is stronger than my fear.) (used to connect contrasting ideas)
DefinitionGenerally notwithstanding means:
in spite of; or in spite of the thing mentioned
(Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nevertheless, nonetheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
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provocative
Her provocative article is sure to create debate.
provocative = tending to provoke, excite, or stimulate — especially controversy, sexual desire, or anger
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acquisition
From the fifth grade onward, most vocabulary acquisition occurs incidentally while reading.
acquisition = to get possession of
DefinitionGenerally acquisition means:
obtaining possession of something; or the thing possessed
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inhibit
as in:
he is shy and inhibited
She's personable and funny with her friends, but tends to be inhibited with strangers.
inhibited = restrained behavior — especially due to a lack of confidence
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contemporaneous
The recession in Asia was contemporaneous with that in the United States.
contemporaneous = occurring in the same period of time; or of the same period
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agitate
Our goal is to agitate public unrest, so there will be a cry for change.
agitate = stir up (create or increase emotional unrest)
DefinitionGenerally agitate means:
to stir up — emotionally (such as anxiety) or physically (such as shaking)
Word Statistics
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
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grave
Her smile disappeared as she suddenly realized the gravity of her situation.
gravity = seriousness or importance (weightiness)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
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tone
Which of the following words best maintains the tone established in this passage.
tone = general feeling
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tone means:
the general feeling, mood, or attitude of something — especially of something said or written
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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subtle
3 meanings
as in:
a subtle poison
She is working subtly against us.
subtly = working in an indirect or hidden way
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as in:
a subtle shade of blue
a subtle, but unmistakable warning
subtle = understated so as not to draw attention to itself
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as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
She used subtle reasoning to expose the absurdity of his argument.
subtle = making use of slight distinctions
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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tentative
2 meanings
as in:
said it tentatively
The puppy approached us tentatively until it knew we wouldn't harm it.
tentatively = done in a careful way indicating a lack of confidence
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tentative means:
done in a careful or unsure way (indicating a lack of confidence in exactly what will happen)
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
a tentative plan
My plans are still tentative.
tentative = with an expectation that there may be changes
Word Statistics
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devise
She plans to devise something to launch water balloons.
devise = invent or come up with a way of doing something
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devise means:
to come up with a way of doing something — typically a creative idea or plan
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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contend
3 meanings
as in:
She contended that...
Her lawyer contends that the contract isn't valid.
contends = claims or says
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to claim that something is true
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as in:
She contended with it
She contends with headaches.
contends = struggles
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to struggle
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as in:
She contended for the gold medal
Militant groups are contending for control of the country
contending = competing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to compete
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candid
Don't worry about my feelings. I'd like your candid opinion.
candid = honest and direct
Word Statistics
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Still More SAT® & ACT® Words