20 SAT Vocabulary Terms to Master This Summer

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20 SAT Vocabulary Terms to Master This Summer


Between tanning at the beach and relaxing by the pool, summer is the ideal time to strengthen your vocabulary as you relax and soak up some sun. Having a strong vocabulary becomes necessary when preparing for the reading and writing passages on the SAT.

Many advanced, college-level words will appear in the multiple-choice and sentence completion questions, so it helps to become familiar with the majority of words. Here’s a list of popular SAT key terms that you should add to your repertoire:

  • Ascetic (adj) – self-denying, abstinent, austere.

Example: The monk lived an ascetic life deep in the wilderness, denying himself all forms of luxury.

  • Beseech (verb) – to beg, plead, implore.

Example: She beseeched him to give her a second chance, but he refused.

  • Choleric (adj) – easily angered, short-tempered.

Example: The choleric principal raged at the student arriving late to school.

  • Colloquy (noun) – dialogue or conversation, conference.

Example: The congressmen held a colloquy to determine how to proceed with the environmental legislation.

  • Demur (verb) – to express doubts or objections.

Example: When scientific authorities claimed that all the planets revolved around the Earth, Galileo, with his superior understanding of the situation, showed demur.

  • Dictum (noun) – authoritative statement; popular saying.

Example: Maggie tried to live her life by the dictum “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

  • Efficacious (adj) – effective, efficient.

Example: Penicillin was one of the most efficacious drugs on the market when it was first introduced.

  • Evinced (verb) – to show clearly, display, signify.

Example: The new secretary evinced impressive typing and filing skills.

  • Fulsome (adj) – sickeningly excessive; repulsive.

Example: Diana felt nauseous at the sight of the rich, fulsome dishes weighing down the table at the banquet.

  • Importune (verb) – to ask repeatedly, beg.

Example: The assistant importuned her boss with constant requests for a raise and promotion.

  • Inimical (adj) – hostile, unfriendly.

Example: Even though a cease-fire had been in place for months, the two sides were still inimical to each other.

  • Lugubrious (adj) – sorrowful, mournful; dismal.

Example: Irish wakes are a rousing departure from the lugubrious funeral services most people are accustomed to.

  • Obviate (verb) – to make unnecessary; to anticipate and prevent.

Example: The river was shallow enough for the riders to wade across, which obviated the need for a bridge.

  • Palaver (noun) – idle talk.

Example: The journalist eagerly recorded the palaver among the football players in the locker room.

  • Perfidious (adj) – faithless, disloyal, untrustworthy.

Example: The actress’s perfidious companion revealed all her intimate secrets to the gossip columnist.

  • Prevaricate (verb) – to lie, evade the truth.

Example: Rather than admit that he had overslept again, the employee prevaricated, claiming that traffic made him late.

  • Salubrious (adj) – healthful.

Example: Rita hoped that the fresh mountain air would have a salubrious effect on her health.

  • Scintillate (verb) – to sparkle, flash.

Example: The society hostess was famous for throwing parties that scintillated and impressed every guest.

  • Timorous (adj) – timid, shy, full of apprehension.

Example: Louis, a timorous boy, often relied on his older sisters to act for him whenever aggressive behavior was called for.

  • Venerate (verb) – to adore, honor, respect.

Example: In a traditional Confucian society, the young venerate the older members of their village, and defer to the elders’ wisdom.

Make the Most of Summer With Improved SAT Vocabulary!

Studying during the summer may seem tedious, so try making a study group with a few classmates and casually go over a set of key terms each day. Set some time aside for studying these terms with physical flashcards or making a Quizlet. Next, practice these terms with sentence completion exercises, then apply the vocabulary knowledge and make a game with a study group.

For example, within 7 minutes, students in groups of 4-5 will use as many vocabulary terms they can think of in a conversation; this exercise can make it easier to use the SAT vocabulary as a part of everyday speech. Before a new school year, students now take the lead on studying for SAT vocabulary and successfully preparing for various types of questions.