Once you’ve reviewed our list of the top 52 GRE vocabulary words, keep building your GRE vocabulary knowledge with this list of 48 more vocab words you’re likely to encounter on the exam. We’ll break down these GRE-level words with their definitions in context to help you remember them as you work through the GRE Verbal section. Improving your GRE vocabulary will help you on all GRE Verbal question types and on the GRE Analytical Writing section. After reviewing these top GRE words, put your skills to the test by taking our short GRE vocabulary practice quiz.
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GRE Vocabulary Practice Quiz
- deference – noun – respect, courtesy
The respectful young law clerk treated the Supreme Court justice with the utmost deference.
- bombastic – adj. – pompous in speech and manner
The ranting of the radio talk-show host was mostly bombastic; his boasting and outrageous claims had no basis in fact.
- obsequious – adj. – overly submissive and eager to please
The obsequious new associate made sure to compliment her supervisor’s tie and agree with him on every issue.
- specious – adj. – deceptively attractive; seemingly plausible but fallacious
The student’s specious excuse for being late sounded legitimate but was provided otherwise when her teacher called her home.
- mollify – verb – to calm or make less severe
Their argument was so intense that it was difficult to believe that any compromise would mollify them.
- dirge – noun – a funeral hymn or mournful speech
Melville wrote the poem “A Dirge for James McPherson” for the funeral of a Union general who was killed in 1864.
- veracity – noun – truthfulness; accuracy
She had a reputation for veracity, so everyone trusted her description of events.
- disparate – adj. – fundamentally different; entirely unlike
Although the twins appear to be identical physically, their personalities are disparate.
- exigent – adj. – urgent; requiring immediate action
The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was exigent to stop the source of the bleeding.
- castigate – verb – to punish or criticize harshly
Many Americans are amazed at how harshly the authorities in Singapore castigate the perpetrators of what would be considered minor crimes in the United States.
- iconoclast – noun – one who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions
His lack of regard for traditional beliefs soon established him as an iconoclast.
- amalgamate – verb – to combine; to mix together
Giant Industries amalgamated with Mega Products to form Giant-Mega Incorporated.
- paragon – noun – model of excellence of perfection
She is a paragon of what a judge should be: honest, intelligent, hardworking, and just.
- chicanery – noun – deception by means of craft or guile
Dishonest used car salespeople often use chicanery to sell their beat-up old cars.
- occlude – verb – to stop up; to prevent the passage of
A shadow is thrown across the earth’s surface during a solar eclipse, when the light from the sun is occluded by the moon.
- foment – verb – to arouse or incite
The protestors tried to foment feelings against the war through their speeches and demonstrations.
- quiescent – adj. – motionless
Many animals are quiescent over the winter months, minimizing activity in order to conserve energy.
- intransigent – adj. – uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled
The professor was intransigent on the deadline, insisting that everyone turn the assignment in at the same time.
- disabuse – verb – to set right; to free from error
Galileo’s observations disabused scholars of the notion that the Sun revolved around the Earth.
- stolid – adj. – unemotional; lacking sensitivity
The prisoners appeared stolid and unaffected by the judge’s harsh sentence.
- opprobrium – noun – public disgrace
After the scheme to embezzle the elderly was made public, the treasurer resigned in utter opprobrium.
- florid – adj. – excessively decorated or embellished
The palace had been decorated in a florid style; every surface had been carved and gilded.
- soporific – adj. – causing sleep or lethargy
The movie proved to be so soporific that soon loud snores were heard throughout the theater.
- dogmatic – adj. – dictatorial in one’s opinions
The dictator was dogmatic – he, and only he, was right.
- aggrandize – verb – to increase in power, influence, and reputation
The supervisor sought to aggrandize herself by claiming that the achievements of her staff were actually her own.
- perfunctory – adj. – done in a routine way; indifferent
The machinelike bank teller processed the transaction and gave the waiting customer a perfunctory smile.
- luminous – adj. – bright, brilliant, glowing
The park was bathed in luminous sunshine, which warmed the bodies and the souls of the visitors.
- malinger – verb – to evade responsibility by pretending to be ill
A common way to avoid the draft was by malingering – pretending to be mentally or physically ill so as to avoid being enlisted by the army.
- guile – noun – deceit or trickery
Since he was not fast enough to catch the roadrunner on foot, the coyote resorted to guile in an effort to trap his enemy.
- esoteric – adj. – known or understood by only a few
Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the esoteric world of particle physics.
- cogent – adj. – convincing and well-reasoned
Swayed by the cogent argument of the defense, the jury had no choice but to acquit the defendant.
- repudiate – verb – to reject the validity of
The old woman’s claim that she was Russian royalty was repudiated when DNA tests showed she was of no relation to them.
- torpor – noun – extreme mental and physical sluggishness
After surgery, the patient experienced torpor until the anesthesia wore off.
- taciturn – adj. – silent, not talkative
The clerk’s taciturn nature earned him the nickname “Silent Bob.”
- anachronism – noun – something out of place in time
The aged hippie used anachronistic phrases, like “groovy” and “far out,” that had not been popular for years.
- dilettante – noun – someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic
Jerry’s friends were such dilettantes that they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week.
- propitiate – verb – to conciliate; to appease
The management propitiated the irate union by agreeing to raise wages for its members.
- insipid – adj. – lacking interest or flavor
The critic claimed that the painting was insipid, containing no interesting qualities at all.
- inchoate – adj. – not fully formed; disorganized
The ideas expressed in Nietzsche’s mature work also appear in an inchoate form in his earliest writing.
- banal – adj. – predictable, clichéd, boring
He used banal phrases like “have a nice day” and “another day, another dollar.”
- estimable – adj. – admirable
Most people consider it estimable that Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India.
- dilate – verb – to make larger; to expand
When you enter a darkened room, the pupils of your eyes dilate to let in more light.
- diffident – adj. – lacking self-confidence
Steve’s diffident manner during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field.
- austere – adj. – severe or stern in appearance; undecorated
The lack of decoration makes military barracks seem austere to the civilian eye.
- stigma – noun – a mark of shame or discredit
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was required to wear the letter A on her clothes as a public stigma for her adultery.
- onerous – adj. – troublesome and oppressive; burdensome
The assignment was so extensive and difficult to manage that it proved onerous to the team in charge of it.
- inimical – adj. – hostile, unfriendly
Even though the children had grown up together, they were inimical to each other at school.
- condone – verb – to overlook, pardon, or disregard
Some theorists believe that failing to prosecute minor crimes is the same as condoning an air of lawlessness.