toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books

The Third 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*
(click/touch triangles for details)
Return to the Top 100 Words
disparage
She has a reputation for disparaging the efforts of her co-workers.
disparaging = criticizing or making seem less important
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
anomaly
They rate a nuclear event from 1 (an anomaly) to 7 (a major accident).
anomaly = something outside of the range of what is normally expected
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
obsolete
My mother still has a twenty-year-old obsolete computer in storage.
obsolete = no longer in general use because it was replaced by something better
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
supplementary
Contributions at a public school provide funds for supplementary items beyond the those deemed vital and funded by taxes.
supplementary = additional
DefinitionGenerally supplementary means:
additional — possibly improving, completing, or making up for a deficiency of something
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
earnest
I began training in earnest the summer before high school.
in earnest = in a serious manner
DefinitionGenerally earnest means:
characterized by sincere belief

or:

intensely or excessively serious
Word Statistics
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
capital
She worked hard to raise capital to start their new company.
capital = cash (or more generally, material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of capital means:
material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
indignant
She was indignant, but agreed to be searched when they accused her of shoplifting.
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
Word Statistics
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
confide
She confided in me. I won't repeat what was said.
confided = placed trust (in someone) by talking about private things
DefinitionGenerally confide means:
to place trust (in someone) by talking about private things or telling secrets
Word Statistics
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
skeptical
I am skeptical about her plan.
skeptical = doubtful
DefinitionGenerally skeptical means:
doubtful (that something is true or worthwhile)

or more rarely:

generally tending to doubt what others believe
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
apprehension
3 meanings
as in:
apprehension about finals
She looked around the examination room with apprehension.
apprehension = concern about what will happen
DefinitionGenerally this sense of apprehension means:
worry about what is to come
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
apprehension of the criminal
The tip led to the criminal's apprehension in Mexico.
apprehension = the capture of a criminal
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
apprehension of the situation
Apprehension precedes comprehension.
apprehension = to understand

or:

in psychology and philosophy:  immediate awareness prior to analysis and judgment
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
implication
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
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
lament
She lamented the loss.
lamented = expressed grief about
DefinitionGenerally lament means:
to express grief or regret
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
static
He was raised in a static village community where most people farmed in the same manner as their grandparents.
static = not changing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of static means:
not moving or not changing
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
indulge
She indulges her children more than is good for them.
indulges = allows them to get their way (gives into their desire)
DefinitionGenerally indulge means:
to give into a desire or enjoy something — especially in excess of what is thought good—such as a desire to eat too much cake, or be too lazy

or:

to allow or help someone to get their way or enjoy something — especially something that (probably because of excess) is not considered to be good or proper
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
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
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
indulgent
Indulgent parents risk spoiling their children.
indulgent = treating with extra kindness or leniency (in this case, not demanding enough of the children)
DefinitionGenerally indulgent means:
to treat with extra kindness or tolerance
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
treacherous
The road through Afghanistan's Kabul gorge is even more treacherous than the Road of Death in Bolivia.
treacherous = dangerous
DefinitionGenerally treacherous means:
dangerous

or:

likely to betray; or guilty of betrayal
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
dilemma
It is an ethical dilemma.
dilemma = a situation in which a difficult choice must be made between imperfect alternatives
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
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
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
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
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
adversary
She is his greatest adversary.
adversary = opponent
DefinitionGenerally adversary means:
an opponent
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
eminent
She is an eminent scholar.
eminent = standing above others in attainment or reputation
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
gender
Gender roles were more defined when my grandmother was growing up.
gender = male/female/trans
DefinitionGenerally this sense of gender means:
male or female

or (especially with regard to self-identification): the state of being male, female, or in any of many trans categories
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
austere
He took a vow of silence and leads an austere life at the monastery.
austere = lacking luxury (and stern)
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
unprecedented
Human impact on the environment is increasing at an unprecedented rate.
unprecedented = not having happened before
DefinitionGenerally unprecedented means:
not having happened before; or nothing similar having happened before
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
inhibit
as in:
she is shy and inhibited
She's personable and funny with her friends, but tends to be inhibited with strangers.
inhibited = unable to act naturally due to being overly self-conscious
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
complacent
She had become complacent after years of success.
complacent = unworried and satisfied
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
endow
She endowed the foundation with a million dollars.
endowed = gave
DefinitionGenerally endow means:
give something of value to — usually a significant amount of money or something of financial value, but sometimes qualities or abilities too
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
deplete
The poorer a country's people are, the greater the temptation to deplete the country's forests and fisheries.
deplete = use up (resources or materials)
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
notwithstanding
Notwithstanding other provisions of this contract, employee may be fired immediately if there is any material misrepresentation on employee's resume or job application.
notwithstanding = in spite of (used to connect contrasting ideas)

(In this case, even if other parts of the contract protect the employee from being fired without notice, the employee can be fired immediately for these reasons. The other parts of the contract do not withstand this part.)
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.)
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
controversial
The issue of the death penalty is highly controversial in some states.
controversial = tends to arouse strong disagreement
DefinitionGenerally controversial means:
tending to arouse strong disagreement
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
mitigate
Don't judge her so harshly until you consider the mitigating circumstances.
mitigating = making less harmful or unpleasant
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
solidarity
The incident threatens Arab solidarity.
solidarity = agreement and mutual support
DefinitionGenerally solidarity means:
a state of agreement and support — especially for political action
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
paramount
The children's well-being is paramount.
paramount = most important
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
mediate
She suggested asking Saudi Arabia to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
mediate = help others to settle a disagreement
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
altercation
We have video of the altercation.
altercation = a noisy argument, confrontation, or fight
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
brevity
I'm not sure they appreciated her speech, but I know they liked its brevity.
brevity = lasting a short time
DefinitionGenerally brevity means:
the use of just a few words; or lasting a short time
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
egregious
She asked for triple damages due to egregious negligence.
egregious = exceptionally bad
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
abysmal
The refugee camp has abysmal living conditions.
abysmal = very bad
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
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
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
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
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
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
The exact meaning of this sense of grave can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad or solemn
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — in a sincere and serious manner
Word Statistics
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
devour
3 meanings
as in:
devoured three sandwiches
The lions devoured the antelope.
devoured = ate rapidly and completely
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devour means:
eat rapidly and completely — usually due to being very hungry
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
devours crime novels
She devoured everything he wrote.
devoured = read with eager interest
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devour means:
to read, listen, or watch with eager interest
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
devoured by flames
The entire block was devoured in the fire.
devoured = consumed or destroyed completely
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devour means:
to consume or destroy completely
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
initiate
3 meanings
as in:
initiate discussions
The study concluded that women initiate divorce more frequently than men.
initiate = begin the process of
DefinitionGenerally this sense of initiate means:
to cause (something) to begin
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
initiate into the art of drumming
That weekend, she was initiated into the art of fly fishing.
initiated = introduced (did it for the first time)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of initiate means:
introduce to an activity or area of knowledge
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
initiate into the fraternity
The photo is from the ceremony when she was initiated into the sorority.
initiated = accepted into the group in a special ceremony
DefinitionGenerally this sense of initiate means:
to accept someone's membership into an organization — typically in a ceremony — sometimes including a period of instruction and/or test
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
rhetoric
She uses convincing rhetoric, but makes bad decisions.
rhetoric = the use of words to make a point
DefinitionGenerally rhetoric means:
the use of words to make a point

or more rarely:

study of the technique and rules for using language effectively (especially to persuade)
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
pervasive
We were losing 35 to 0 at halftime and there was a pervasive sense of gloom in the locker room.
pervasive = existing throughout something
DefinitionGenerally pervasive means:
existing throughout something; or generally widespread
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
superficial
She has only superficial knowledge on the subject.
superficial = shallow
DefinitionGenerally superficial means:
relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating (often of injuries or thinking)
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
perceptive
She made a perceptive observation.
perceptive = of something noticed that many people might have missed
DefinitionGenerally perceptive means:
to be better at noticing or realizing things than most people
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
exemplify
When he said "Let's roll," his courage exemplified America's determination to defend itself.
exemplified = acted as an example
DefinitionGenerally exemplify means:
to act as an example
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
mean
We have a mean annual rainfall of 23 inches.
mean = average
DefinitionGenerally this sense of mean means:
the average number
For example, the mean of 1 & 3 is 2.
More generally, the mean of n numbers is computed by dividing the sum of the numbers by n; for example, the mean of 1, 2, and 6
= (1+2+6) / 3
= 9 / 3
= 3
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
although
Although she knows a lot about the business, she still has a lot to learn from her mother.
although = even though (used to connect contrasting ideas)
DefinitionGenerally although means:
even though; or but

(Used to connect contrasting ideas. At the start of a sentence, other synonyms could include words and phrases such as however, yet, all the same, on the other hand, still, even so, and nonetheless.)
Word Statistics
Library59 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
trace
2 meanings
as in:
found a trace of
There was not a trace of the defendant's DNA at the crime scene.
trace = a tiny quantity or indication
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trace means:
a small quantity; or any indication or evidence of
The exact meaning of this sense of trace depends upon its context. For example:
  • a small indication that something was present — as in "The plane disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean without leaving a trace."
  • a very small amount of something — as in "The blood test showed a trace of steroids."
  • any evidence of something — as in "We did not find a trace of the gene."
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
trace the origin or development
Early cat domestication is traced back to China over 5,000 years ago.
traced = found through investigation
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trace means:
to find, search, research, or keep track of
This sense of trace usually has to do with information. It's specific meaning depends on its context. For example:
to find or search for something through investigation — often the origin of something:
  • "The police traced the call." — found out where it originated
  • "We are tracing the lost luggage" — searching for
  • "Can you trace the problem to its source?" — find through investigation
  • "She traced her family history to discover that her great-grandmother came to the United States from Lithuania when the Nazis occupied it." — discovered something through investigation
to research or report on the development of something
  • "She traced the history of the automobile in her paper." — researched the development of something
  • "Her presentation traced recent progress in alternative energy solutions." — reported on
to monitor or keep track of the progress or development of something
  • "She traces the progress of at-risk students." — monitors information
  • "I used binoculars to trace her progress up the mountain." — monitor, follow, or track
Word Statistics
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
relative
as in:
the relative importance
I am comparing the relative benefits of both proposals.
relative = compared with something else (in this case comparing the benefits of each proposal to the other rather than looking for some absolute benefit)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of relative means:
compared with something else (not an absolute value or not complete)
Word Statistics
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
thus
Increase law enforcement reduced the supply of the drug and thus increased the cost, but the improvement was partially offset when the increased cost encouraged more supply.
thus = therefore (for that reason)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of thus means:
therefore (for that reason; or what follows is so because of what was just said)
Word Statistics
Library26 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
resolve
4 meanings
as in:
I resolved to stop drinking.
This year I resolved to lose a pound a week for 5 weeks.
resolved = decided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to decide — typically a firm or formal decision
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
This committee hereby resolves...
The Security Council resolved that all parties should work together for the successful implementation of the National Peace Accords.
resolved = voiced an opinion by formal group vote
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
make a decision or voice an opinion by formal group vote
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
Her resolve weakened.
She never waivered in her resolve to attend a good college.
resolve = determination (firmness of purpose)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
firmness of purpose (strong determination to do something)
Word Statistics
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
How did you resolve the problem?
Three of the five issues have already been resolved.
resolved = settled or solved
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to solve a problem or settle a disagreement
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
despair
3 meanings
as in:
she felt despair
Don't give in to despair.
despair = a feeling of hopelessness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
hopelessness; or distress (such as extreme worry or sadness from feeling powerless to change a bad situation)
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
do not despair
Don't despair. Next year will be better.
despair = lose hope
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
to lose hope
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
she was the despair of the team
Conditions that would have been the despair of most people, only served to motivate her.
despair = thing that causes hopelessness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
something that causes hopelessness or great distress
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
therefore
Kim is taller than Ashley. Ashley is taller than Anna. Therefore, Kim is taller than Anna.
therefore = for that reason
DefinitionGenerally therefore means:
for that reason (what follows is so because of what was just said)
Word Statistics
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
anxiety
She suffers from more than the usual pre-test anxiety.
anxiety = nervousness or worry
Word Statistics
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
essential
The essential feature of the pen is that it writes so consistently.
essential = absolutely necessary; or of greatest importance
DefinitionGenerally essential means:
absolutely necessary; or of the greatest importance

or:

the defining or most important aspect of something
Word Statistics
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
dwell
3 meanings
as in:
Don't dwell on it.
Don't dwell on the past.
dwell = think or talk about something longer than seems appropriate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
to think, communicate, or let attention stay on (or return to) something for a prolonged period
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
It dwells in the forest.
The creature dwells in the forest.
dwells = lives in
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
make one's home in; or to live in; or to stay (in a place)
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
a modest dwelling
There is a second dwelling unit on the property.
dwelling = home
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwelling means:
a house or shelter in which someone lives
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
recollect
I think I recollect that she was away at college that year.
recollect = remember
DefinitionGenerally recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
intrigue
2 meanings
as in:
she was intrigued
She was intrigued by his surprising comment.
intrigued = interested, curious, or fascinated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of intrigue means:
cause to be interested, curious, or fascinated
Word Statistics
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
involved in intrigue
I try to avoid political intrigue.
intrigue = secret schemes or plots
DefinitionGenerally this sense of intrigue means:
a secret scheme or plot
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
accommodate
as in:
hotel accommodations
Overnight accommodations are available.
accommodations = physical space — especially a place where travelers can stay
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
inquiry
They created a commission of inquiry to look into the matter.
inquiry = investigation
DefinitionGenerally inquiry means:
the act of asking a question or performing an investigation
Word Statistics
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
petty
2 meanings
as in:
a petty crime
She handles petty crimes.
petty = of less importance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of petty means:
of less importance — at times implying insignificance
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
as in:
don't be petty
I'm disgusted with their small-minded pettiness.
pettiness = focusing on an unimportant flaw; or attempting to make someone suffer for an unimportant wrong
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
SAT® & ACT® are registered trademarks of the College Board and ACT, Inc respectively. They are not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™ and do not endorse this site. We try to highlight good SAT® study words, but we don't have inside information.