GRE vocabulary

20 Words You Should Know Before Your GRE Exam

What comes to your mind when you think about the GRE prep? Language skills, of course. But do GRE vocabulary terms really matter that much for performing well on the test’s verbal component? 

Yes. Learning new terms is required for 50% of the verbal section questions on the GRE. 

The advanced vocabulary part of the GRE prep may be the most challenging. 

You’ll need to brush up on your English language abilities and learn the vocabulary terms. 

20 words to know before your GRE exam

In order to maximize your GRE verbal score, learning how to comprehend vocabulary words by using the context is really beneficial. We have compiled a list of 20 words you should definitely know before your GRE exam. 

  1. Assuage – Verb

Meaning – To lessen the intensity of (a bad sensation).


  • The announcement seemed to be made to assuage worries both domestically and overseas. 
  • She was only pretending to be a loving mother in an effort to assuage her guilt.

Allay, alleviate, lighten, mitigate, and relieve are a few popular synonyms for assuage. While both of these terms have the same meaning—”to make something less painful”—the word “assuage” denotes the sweetening of anything that is harsh or unpleasant. That is why, “assuage” is more formal and popularly used than other words in GRE prep.

  1. Brusque – Adjective

Meaning – Marked by rude or using very few words. 


  • His brusque comments annoyed the committee members. 
  • All of the waitresses are Eastern European and are brusque.

Brusque was first used by English speakers to describe the acidity of wine, but it rapidly grew to mean harsh and rigid behaviour, as one might anticipate from a term with connotations to scratchy, stiff brooms. It is widely used to denote the same and hence, is important for GRE prep.

  1. Lucid – Adjective

Meaning – Very clear and easy to understand.


  • My knowledge has been much improved by lucid explanations.
  • She is very lucid in her verbal speech. 

Lucid implies a distinct logical coherence and obvious hierarchy. Whereas using “clear” is less formal than “lucid“. That is why it is included in this list. 

  1. Erudite – Adjective

Meaning – Having or showing great knowledge


  • My father is very erudite in his profession. 
  • The lecturer was erudite and funny at the same time.

Although it may also indicate “lacking elegance” or “uncivilised,” rude is most often used to denote someone who is “discourteous” or “uncouth.” Considering these interpretations, erudite remains faithful to its etymology: someone who is erudite has been elevated by a passion to study from a rough or ignorant condition to a refined and knowing one.

  1. Opaque – Adjective

Meaning – Unclear, not easily understood


  • The thin, white shirt is not opaque despite its whiteness and serves as the ideal cover for my top. 
  • The speech of the orator was somehow opaque.

If you want to describe anything that doesn’t let light through (like a thick curtain) or that’s challenging to grasp, use the term opaque (like bureaucratic gobbledygook). It is most reliable and widely used. 

The English term opaque, which derives from the Latin opaque, originally meant “dark,” but it is today used to denote literally “not transparent” or figuratively “hard to grasp; obscure.”

  1. Zeal – Noun

Meaning – A strong determination or great enthusiasm 


  • With the zeal that the oppressive forces had for large chain supermarkets, they did defend the gas station, for instance, as well as a few other particular establishments. 
  • They welcomed modernity with zeal expressed in the form of automation, yet many of their more traditional coworkers avoided them.

However, zeal need not be religious; it can refer to any sense of ardour and excitement. Sports teams, music, causes, and (sometimes, but not always) their work all inspire passion in people. Passion is somehow commonly used but zeal is more reasonable. 

  1. Abstain – Verb

Meaning – To restrain oneself from doing something


  • He also abstained from taking alcohol out of respect for his religion. 
  • Reema has abstained from attending lectures. 

English speakers have been using abstain, along with several of its relatives, at least since the 14th century. Abstain is the word you should definitely know as it appears formal and decent. 

  1. Laudable – Adjective

Meaning – Deserving praise and commendation


  • What she does in embroidery is pretty laudable. 
  • Her performance was laudable in annual function.

The word “laudable” is often used and ranks 63.919 worldwide in a list of the most frequently used words in the English dictionary. And, hence, it is very important in GRE prep too. 

  1. Homogeneous – Adjective

Meaning – Of the similar kind


  • This piece of cloth is somehow homogeneous to its previous one. 
  • The homogeneity in both the topics are somehow confusing. 

The Greek word homogenous means “of the same sort.” It used to refer to just those who shared ancestors, but in English, we now use it to refer to anything that exhibits similarity. It’s possible that everyone in your area makes the same amount of money and drives the same make and model of vehicle. Using “same” could be normal and common in lieu of using homogeneous. The word widely comes in GRE prep

  1. Mitigate – Verb

Meaning – Make less severe, painful 


  • Doctors are trying hard to mitigate his sufferings. 
  • She is planning to mitigate her job experience. 

For instance, if you are using, “Doctors are trying to lessen her sufferings”, you can notice the sentence is slightly put off. But, if you use “mitigate” in lieu of lessening, it would make the sentence as well as the vocabulary broader, and hence, it is advised to learn this word before your GRE prep. 

  1. Antipathy – Noun

Meaning – A strong feeling of dislike 


  • Despite their antipathy for one another, the two parties were able to come to a compromise. 
  • He is a reclusive individual who has an antipathy for the media.

Antipathy is most commonly used word in GRE prep and in English dictionary. Using dislike or hate could be of normal use but using antipathy is highly preferred. It seems more practical and formal. 

  1. Eulogy – Noun

Meaning – Speech for someone who died (especially to praise)


  • At the burial, a eulogy was delivered by his business partner in cattle rearing. 
  • He appears affected by her eulogy.

Both the terms “elegy” and “eulogy” can be used to refer to writing or speaking in memory of a deceased person. The term “elegy” is usually used by poets or authors to express the sentiments felt by the ones who have lost someone. The term “eulogy” is also frequently used to refer to phrases concerning the departed; this is its fundamental meaning in both English and the Greek language from whence it was derived, and since it has been used widely. 

  1. Bolster – Verb

Meaning – To help or inspire someone/something; to fortify something.


  • Our house wifi was so weak that we had to bolster it since our internet was so sluggish. 
  • Her presence would bolster his feeble resolve.

Before the 12th century, bolster was used for the first time. So, you can see that bolster is very ancient and widely accepted. Hence, it becomes important for you to learn this word for GRE prep.

  1. Ostentation – Noun 

Meaning – Display of wealth and luxury (to impress)


  • The actor avoids ostentation. She drives a cheap car and lives in a modest house. 
  • He writes plainly, concisely, and without ostentation. 

People whose lifestyles are labelled as showy are often perceived as spending their money in a way that is obvious that they have a lot of it. The word can also be used to characterise their consumption, in which case the emphasis is on the remarkable items they purchase. The word is very important both in daily use and for GRE prep.

  1. Dissonance – Noun

Meaning – lacking harmony or agreement


  • His vile treatment was in dissonance to his kind comments. 
  • The public would be pleased to hear an explanation from Congress on the dissonance between their promises and their actual results.

Music, psychology, cultural studies, poetry, and other fields all make use of the word “dissonance” in various situations. It involves conflict or dissension amongst several factors in every instance. Dissonance frequently comes in the GRE exam and hence it is important to learn for GRE prep.

  1. Lethargic – Adjective

Meaning – Lacking energy


  • Sloths is a term used by Anglo-Indians to refer to these strange tiny creatures because of their incredibly sluggish movements and lethargic behaviour during the day. 
  • They could be lethargic and spend a lot of time sleeping.

Greek lethargos, which originally meant “inactive through forgetfulness,” is where the word lethargy originates. The term lost its connotation of “forgetfulness” at some point and merely started lounging around all day. And, now it is prominently used worldwide.

  1. Venerate – Verb

Meaning – Showing great respect 


  • According to them, we should venerate our parents and elders. 
  • While I do think we should venerate honest politicians, I don’t think they should be paid a lot of money.

Note, a person can deserve veneration just as much as a deity does, if not more. We don’t normally worship our friends; instead, we save this emotion for gods or other extraordinary human beings. Most individuals aren’t venerated for everyday activities like taking out the garbage or hanging out on a Saturday, but Mother Teresa and Gandhi were venerated for their work with the impoverished, and Gandhi was venerated for his attempts to bring about peace. 

  1. Ephemeral – Adjective

Meaning – Lasting for a very short time. 


  • Her relationship with her father was ephemeral.
  • In some ways, these works of art serve as a reminder that ephemeral joys may be found on earth.

Ephemeral is like a one word for many words. For instance, it seems a bit narrow that your memory lasts for a very short time, but, if you use it, your memory is ephemeral, it gives the impression that you have a very good sense of humor as well as expertise in vocabulary. That’s why we recommend  you to learn ephemeral for your GRE prep.

  1. Volatile – Adjective

Meaning – likely to change unpredictably


  • Since the early 1970s, the world’s oil markets have been very volatile.
  • The weather has become volatile due to global warming.

By the end of the 16th century, people began using the term volatile to describe objects that were so light they appeared poised to take off. By the early 17th century, the word was being used to describe people or things that were just as susceptible to abrupt change as some gaseous substances. The term was quickly expanded to include vapours and gases. Volatile has recently appeared in situations that are far far from its avian roots in the economic, political, and technical spheres. And, hence it becomes important for you to learn this.

  1. Audacious – Adjective

Meaning – Willing to take risks.


  • This was an even audacious second compromise. 
  • He is very audacious towards his goals.

It can also mean defying expectations and taking actions that the majority of people don’t take, so using audacious seems more formal than using ‘risk’.
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