发布于 2014/07/25 00:22
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Here is but only a tiny sliver of words beginning with “in” that you can expect to see on the test. How many of the words below do you confidently know?


Not to be confused with “insight” – a very similar sounding word – incite means to stir up or provoke. Usually the context isn’t just one person getting an upset, but a large group of people who usually take to the streets smashing things. That’s why we often hear this word coupled with riots or any large-scale violence.


Likely to drop the ball? And I mean literally. Those who are inept are clumsy and unskilled. They won’t be able to catch a ball, and they’ll tend to knock things over. More generally inept can mean unskilled. An actor or a musician delivering an inept performance will likely elicit boos from the audience. Interestingly, the opposite of inept is adept. More interestingly, perhaps, is the fact that the words come from different roots.


Meant to point out that something is silly or foolish, inane typically modifies words relating to speaking: comment, chatter, conversation, remark, etc. Inane chatter is something all around us, depending on how much of a curmudgeon you are. Yet even the most magnanimous of us will have trouble denying that inane chatter is only a television switch away.


Sure, this word can refer to fragrant, burning sticks redolent of spice and. But there is a second—very different meaning—that might show up on the GRE: to make someone really angry, so that’s you are setting them on fire (figuratively, of course). In that sense, the two definitions are related: they both deal with setting things on fire, one figuratively the other literally. But don’t let the GRE incense you—though at some point it probably will—by forgetting this distinction.


While this might sound like a small pen, or any cute, diminutive thing, an inkling is something far more abstract. You know that little tingly feeling you get in your stomach when you think you are on to something? That’s an inkling: a slight suspicion or sense that something is going to happen.

Barry had an inkling that the stock market was going to crash, so he sold off many of his stocks—good thing, as weeks later the market did indeed crash.


You would be forgiven if you thought that this word related to thinking, because the ‘cognit’ looks like it relates to cognition. But an incognito is not a dunce(蠢学生), incapable of sustained thought. The ‘cognit’ in the word is similar to the same root in the word recognize. As such, it means that you can’t be recognized. In other words, if you want to make sure that nobody recognizes you—you know, like any famous person—you travel incognito: dark, bug-eyed sunglasses, an overly large hat, and no makeup (or four days stubble if you are a man).


  • incite通常指群体暴乱,而不是指自个的烦恼、愤怒,所以常常和riots之类的词一起出现(coupled)

  • inept强调unskilled,体育运动或者艺术表演

  • inane总是用来形容speech、talk之类的东西,空洞

  • 作者自己变了个方法联系incense的两个意思——即都有set on fire。烧一些香料时会有“香味”,而你若是把一个人set on fire,那就是“激怒”他了

  • inkling的解释十分形象,slight indication,肚子微微有点刺痛的感觉,因此也会“略懂”的意思,强调slight

  • Incognito的意思来自于recognize,指明星出门时的“不愿被人认出来的”,travel incognito

I Don’t Feel Like It

Don’t want to get out of bed — at least not before noon? Prefer to Netflix binge on the couch all day rather than leave the house? Generally don’t like to expend much effort doing anything? Well, hopefully this doesn’t describe you (though Netflix binging is forgivable), but the words below capture this mood of lethargy and laziness, where a couch is better than a car, car better than public transportation, and walking something to be cursed — and of course bed is the best.


If you like to avoid activity, and exertion(指任何形式的费力) in general, indolent is the word for you. But I’m guessing since you’re reading Vocab Wednesday and presumably studying for the GRE, you’re not that indolent. In fact, as a fancy word for lazy, indolent isn’t a word an indolent person would want to learn, let alone use. Why exert yourself using three syllables when a mere la-zy will do.


Idle, irresponsible, letting the proverbial reins drop, a feckless person lacks any initiative. He or she doesn’t want to take responsibility for anything, but would rather slack off through life. A feckless person may assume that feckless is related to reckless, and go on about their idle day. But the more driven types would hunt out a dictionary to find out that feckless is about not having any goals or ambitions.


Most people approach vocabulary with a lackadaisical attitude: they are unenthusiastic about words and are generally pretty unmotivated about increasing the size of their lexicon. To be lackadaisical is to be laid-back and unenthusiastic.


This word does not describe garbage yet to be thrown out. The verb disposed means to be inclined to do something. Indisposed, the opposite, means to not feel like doing something. Often, when invited out, people will say they are indisposed if they are not feeling well. In other words, they’d rather not the leave the house. Interestingly, a second definition of the word means ill. So when you are indisposed (ill), you are indisposed to leave your house.


Many think this is a hateful word, though that would actually be loathe. Loath — without the “e” — means to be reluctant to do something. It’s an adjective, not a verb like the other loathe. With loath, there is no laziness or lack of initiative going on here. I could be loath to doing any number of things. Maybe I’m tired or just momentarily uninterested. Perhaps I’m loath to studying late at night, not because I’m sleepy, but because I find I have trouble falling asleep. And there is nothing like a good night’s sleep to make sure I’m not feeling indolent the next day.


  • indolent就是lazy的高级表达,一个indolent的人绝对不会有心情去记一下一个更高级的表达

  • feckless,缺少任何的initiative

  • Lackadaisical,被动的,准确地形容了你背单词时的心情

  • Indisposed的解释最到位,因dispose有give a tendency,indisposed便是没有倾向,如果你身体不舒服的时候有人找你出去玩,那你的心情就是indisposed,因此indisposed还有一个意思就是ill

  • loath和loathe仅一字只差,后者是动词,憎恨,前者就是reluctant了。

If you’ve ever had the unenviable task of studying from a word list—something I highly discourage—you’ve no doubt started with words beginning with ‘a’ and have soldiered on from there, most likely not getting past the letter ‘c’ before throwing your hands in the air. But the purpose of this post is not to admonish you against using a word list; it is to focus on high-frequency GRE words that start with the letter ‘a’.


Ever wake up to chirping birds and a blue sky and think: hey, this is going to be a good day? If so, the clear skies and mellifluous avian chatter are auspicious signs: they indicate that the day is going to be a lucky one. Auspicious, which means favorable and likely to bring success, doesn’t necessarily have to refer to a day where it looks like everything will go your way. Auspicious signs pop up in the economy (right now with house prices on the rise pundits are crowing that a full rebound is afoot); auspicious signs can indeed pop up in your GRE prep (your score has been consistently going up and you have secured the ideal testing time). And if you happened on this post, wondering what GRE words are likely to show up…then, hey, that’s pretty auspicious. If you actually see auspicious test day, then that’s very auspicious.


Whenever campaign season is nigh, aspersions begin piling up in direct proportion to the amount of mudslinging. And that’s no surprise—aspersions are simply another way of describing the slung mud. That is, an aspersion is a verbal attack against a person’s reputation. Typically this word is couched in the apt phrase: “cast aspersions at.” After all, to cast is another way of saying to sling. The verb form of aspersion is the not so common asperse, which doesn’t get the cool “cast” phrase but simply stands alone in the mud.


give up a vice,such as proclaim on facebook,sort of resembling "abstain"

Imagine you’ve decided to give up a vice that you’ve been carrying with you for many years. It could be smoking, drinking, or gambling, or even something more innocuous, say, meat. But you’re not just giving it up—you’re telling everyone you know that you are formally giving up your vice. So if you proclaim on facebook that you are now a vegetarian, doing so is an abjuration of your carnivore ways. It’s hard to talk about abjure without mentioning adjure. Both are GRE words, but abjure is much more common (and that’s why it—and not adjure—is on the list). At the same time, you should not confuse the two meanings. Adjure means to earnestly urge or request someone to do something. To set an example for his congregation, the pastor abjured using curse words, even avoiding G-rated words like “darn it.” The human rights group adjured the dictator to free the hostages.


To strongly assert something

To strongly assert something, usually in a formal context, is to aver. For instance, I could go to traffic court and aver in front of the judge that I was actually going below the speed limit. Aver also pops up in academic contexts. Basically, such and such eminent scientist will aver something, meaning that he or she will declare that they stand behind their facts. Climate scientists aver that mean global temperatures will continue to rise each year unless countries seriously cut back on carbon emissions.


Have you opened up a college textbook and thought, “What the heck is this all about?” If not, just crack open any text on a higher-level math and you’re likely to be befuddled(迷糊的). Anything that is way over your head (meaning difficult to understand) is abstruse. While many GRE passages may strike you as abstruse at first, as long as you understand the main ideas and don’t fall for any of the traps in the questions, you will be fine.

Words from Myths

Words that are derived from ancient Greek and Roman mythology are so numerous that they almost go unnoticed. Indeed, they are inside a Trojan Horse that has been slipped into the confines of the English lexicon. Quite a few of these stowaways are GRE vocab words.



Tantalus was a figure condemned to the underworld for an unspeakable act. Indeed, he was placed in Tartarus, the deepest part of Hades. His punishment was simple: for eternity Tantalus had to stand waist-high in water, a fruit tree directly above him. While this setup may not sound like the worst punishment, whenever Tantalus reached out to grab the fruit on the tree, the branches would recede beyond his grip; whenever he would stoop to drink water, the water would sink below his thirsty mouth. Tantalus of course never gets the fruit, but we do get a great word: tantalize, which means to tempt someone with something very desirable that remains just beyond their grasp.



If you thought the fruit setup was bad, imagine pushing a massive boulder up a steep embankment only to watch it tumble back down the slope. As soon as it does so, you have to run back down the hill, and instantly begin pushing the boulder back up the hill. (At least Tantalus didn’t have to do any physical labor). Sisyphus, on the other hand, must spend eternity pushing–and running after–his boulder. Today, we have Sisyphean, a word usually used together with ‘task.’ A Sisyphean task is one that requires a prodigious amount of effort. The word is very similar to Herculean, which, as you can probably tell, also comes from mythology, via Hercules.



Narcissus was a beautiful lad so taken with his reflection in the water that he fell into the pool and drowned (too bad they didn’t have a mirror in those days). Today, a narcissistic person is one who is totally and utterly in love with him- or herself. If the whole narcissism thing gets really bad, i.e., you buy a T-shirt with your face on it, you start a cult, in which you are the leader, etc., then you even get your own clinical diagnosis: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.



Mars was the Greek god of war. No cruel afterlife fate for him. The word ‘Mar’tial simply means relating to war. You’ve probably even hard the word used before: martial arts are the fighting arts.



Taking the phrase “ignorance is bliss” to a whole other level, the Greeks had a special river in Hades (or the underworld) called the Lethe. If you took a sip from the Lethe, you would instantly forget everything, including all your woes. The Lethe-ians—that’s my word–were a very lazy, dopey sort. While nothing made them sad, nothing made them happy. They would just kind of lounge about like mythological manatees. To be ‘leth’argic doesn’t mean to imbibe from the Lethe. To be lethargic is to be slow and sluggish.

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