Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


What is the SAT? | The Princeton Review


285 SAT Words You Absolutely Must Know

eccentric -off center, hence a bit odd, weird, peculiar
elusive - out of reach, hard to catch, evasive
eminent - outstanding, illustrious, very prominent, notable
exorbitant - literally out of orbit, hence unreasonable
expound - to elaborate, to explain in great detail
extricate - to get out of an entanglement or difficulty
extrovert - an outgoing personality
amorphous - having no form or shape
anarchy - having no government, hence great disorder, chaos
anomaly - not following the norm, hence an exception to a rule
atheist - person who does not believe in God
redundant - to repeat something over and over again
refurbish - to make new again, renovate
rejuvenate - to feel young again
repatriate - to return to one's country of origin
resilient - to bounce back from adversity or change
revitalize - to regain energy
revoke - to take back
immutable - unchanging
impartial -unbiased, treating all equally
impious - lacking reverence, disrespectful
inauspicious - not favorable
incorporeal - without material form or substance
incorrigible - incapable of being reformed
indefatigable - incapable of being fatigued, having great stamina
insatiable - incapable of being satisfied
intrepid - having no fear, dauntless
inviolable - secure and thus cannot be violated
unfazed; unflappable - calm, not disturbed; not easily upset, calm
unfettered - free from restraints, liberated
unfounded - groundless, without substance, false
unorthodox - not following established ways of thinking
unparalleled - having no parallel, hence unequaled
unremitting - unrelieved, relentless, ceaseless
unscathed - unhurt, unharmed
unsubstantiated; unwarranted - not proven; lacking justification
untenable - that which cannot be defended
abdicate - give up, resign, as to abdicate a throne
aberration - a departure from what is normal or typical
abhor - to dislike intensely, loathe, despise
benediction - to say or speak well of, hence a blessing
benefactor - one who has given help, especially financial
benevolent - an inclination to do good, kindliness
benign - good natured, kindly, favorable, not malignant
malefactor; malignant - not evildoer or criminal; having an evil influence, very harmful
malediction; malevolent; malicious - a curse; wishing evil or harm to others; to cause pain or distress
supercilious - thinking you are above others, arrogant, haughty
supersede - replace, take the place of
misanthrope - a person who hates or distrusts mankind
miscreant - one who behaves criminally, an evildoer, a malefactor
misnomer - wrong name
amicable; amity; amiable - pleasant; peaceful; friendly, affable
gregarious - enjoying the company of groups, affable
segregate - separating into different groups
egregious - out of the group, outstandingly bad
antipathy; empathy - feeling against someone or something; feeling the same as everyone else
diffident - lack of faith in oneself, lack of confidence
fidelity; infidelity - loyalty, faithfulness; unfaithfulness
perfidious - treacherous, untrustworthy
elucidate; lucid - to make clear, clarify; clear, readily understood
pellucid; translucent - very clear, transparent; permitting the passage of light
acrid - unpleasantly pungent in taste or odor
acrimonious - full of spite, bitter, nasty
acuity; acumen - keenness of perception; mental sharpness
acute - a sharp angle, very keen
exacerbate - to sharpen or aggravate a conflict, inflame
affluent - to flow in abundance, wealthy
confluence - to flow together, convergence
superfluous - to flow above, hence exceeding what is necessary
complacent - to be so calm as to be self-satisfied, smug
implacable - incapable of being calmed, relentless
placate - to calm the anger of
placid - to be outwardly calm, composed
anachronism - something that is not happening in its proper time
chronological - arranged in the order of occurrence
synchronize - to occur at the same time, simultaneous
circumspect - to look around and thus be cautious
perspicacity - having keen vision, as in being perceptive, astute
specious - seemingly fair or true, but actually not so, deceptive
impugn - to challenge the accuracy or honesty of something
pugnacious - combative, quick to fight
repugnant - offensive, very distasteful, repulsive
ecstatic, exultant - elated, exhilarated, exuberant
elated, exhilarated, exuberant - ecstatic, exultant
despondent, dejected - disconsolate, dispirited
disconsolate, dispirited - despondent, dejected
dogged, obdurate, recalcitrant - intractable, intransigent, obstinate
intractable, intransigent, obstinate - dogged, obdurate, recalcitrant
clandestine, furtive - covert, stealthy, surreptitious
covert, stealthy, surreptitious - clandestine, furtive
allay, alleviate, assuage - appease, mitigate mollify
appease, mitigate, mollify - soothe, calm, relieve
banal, hackneyed, trite - commonplace, trivial or made common and worn out by overuse
overture; prelude; prologue - an introduction to a musical; performance; poem or play
preamble; preface - introduction to legal document; introductory statement to book, article, speech
coda; epilogue - a concluding musical section; a concluding section of a literary work
addendum; postscript - and addition to a book; a not appended to a completed letter
adjourn; hiatus - to suspend until a later time; a temporary gap, moratorium, respite
moratorium; respite - a temporary pause; adjournment, hiatus
impetuous; impulsive - done on the spur of the moment; done on first impulse, without thought
impromptu; rash - done on the spur of the moment; without careful thought
garrulous, loquacious, verbose - overly talkative
laconic, reticent - succinct, taciturn, keeping brief and to the point
fleeting, transient - temporary
ephemeral, evanescent - fleeting, transient
absolve, vindicate - to free from blame, prove guiltless
exculpate, exonerate - absolve, to free from blame, prove guiltless
abhorrent, appalling, despicable - heinous, repulsive, horrible in an extreme way
apprehension, foreboding, premonition - uneasy feeling about the future
enervated, languid, wan - indolent, phlegmatic, lethargic, exhausted and lacking energy
lethargic, listless - languid, exhausted and lacking energy
diatribe, harangue, tirade - a long abusive speech or lecture
braggart - a person known for bragging
brigand - a person known for living by plunder, a bandit
chauvinist - a person known for excessive nationalism, a jingoist
cynic - a person known for distrusting human nature
debunker - a person known for exposing falsehoods
demagogue - a person known for using popular prejudices and false claims to gain power
egoist - a person known for using popular prejudices and false claims to gain power
glutton - a person known for having a huge, insatiable appetite for food and drink
hedonist - a person known for seeking pleasure
hypocrite - a person known for saying one thing and doing another, insincere
iconoclast - a person known for attacking settled beliefs
laggard - a person known for being habitually tardy, dilatory
loafer; loiterer - a person known for being habitually lazy; a person known for idleness
magnate - a person known for having great power
malingerer - a person who pretends illness so as to avoid work
martinet - a person known as a strict disciplinarian
miser; skinflint - a person known for being stingy; a person known for excessive thrift, a miser
optimist - a person known for having a hopeful outlook on life
pacifist - a person known for opposing war and violence
pessimist - a person known for having a gloomy outlook on life
philanthropist - a person known for generosity, a humanitarian
pragmatist - a person known for using a practical approach to solving problems
quack - a person who pretends to have skill or knowledge he/she does not have, a charlatan
raconteur - a person known for telling witty stories and anecdotes
renegade - a person known for rejecting lawful or conventional behavior
reprobate - a person known for being morally corrupt, depraved
rogue - a person known for being mischievous
sage - a person known for wisdom
spendthrift - a person known for spending money unwisely
stalwart - a person known for being very loyal to a cause
stickler - a person known for insisting on exact standards
virtuoso - a person known for excelling in the technique of an art
zealot - a person known for excessive loyalty to a cause
acquit - to clear of a charge
alias - an assumed name, a false name or pseudonym
bequest - something left to an heir in a will
codicil - an addition to a will
embezzlement - to illegally take another's property
heir - a person who inherits another's property or title
injunction - a court order requiring or prohibiting an action
jurisprudence - the science of law
perjury - to give false testimony
deify - to worship as a god, to show great respect
devout - very religious
heretical - holding an opinion opposed to official or established beliefs
orthodox - conforming to established beliefs, conventional
sanctimonious - pretending to be pious and devout, false piety
appreciate; depreciate - to rise in value; to fall in value
dearth; duty; remuneration - an inadequate supply; a tax on imports, payment due for a service
belligerent - at war, engaging in hostilities
coerce - to compel, to use force to achieve one's goals
covenant - a solemn and binding agreement
demarcation - the settling or making of boundaries or limits
dissolution - to dissolve, fall apart
dominion - to have supreme authority over
mandate - an authoritative command requiring someone to do something
sedition - to incite resistance against lawful authority
olfactory - connected with a sense of smell
palatable - agreeable to the taste, hence acceptable
savory - appetizing to the taste or smell
tactile - connected with the sense of touch
unpalatable - not agreeable to the taste, hence unacceptable
unsavory - distasteful, disagreeable
abstruse - difficult to understand, very abstract
aesthetics - the study of beauty
affable - pleasant, friendly
ameliorate - to make better, improve
amenable - willing to agree, responsive, cooperative
approbation - approval
appropriated - to take or make use of without authority or right
arduous - long and difficult and thus hard to accomplish
audacious - very bold
blanch - to drain of color, become pale
bombastic - pretentious, inflated speech or writing, lacking in humility
brandish - to shake or wave in a menacing manner
brusque - rough and abrupt in manner or speech, curt
burgeon - to grow rapidly
cantankerous - difficult or irritating to deal with
capacious - spacious, roomy
circuitous - following a circular or winding path, indirect
circumscribe - to draw a line around, hence to restrict or limit
compendium - a concise list or summary
consensus - a general agreement, common consent
corroborate - to support with evidence, confirm a claim
decorum - conformity to accepted norms of behavior
defile - to make unclear or impure, desecrate
demonstrative - an open display of feelings
demystify - to make clear and thus less baffling
desolate - lonely, uninhabited
desultory - marked by a lack of a plan or purpose, lacking direction
dilatory - tending to delay or procrastinate
disabuse - to rid of false ideas, enlighten, free from error
disdain - to look on with scorn
disingenuous - giving a false appearance of simple frankness, hence calculating and crafty
disparage - to run down, belittle, speak poorly of
diversion - something that diverts or amuses
divulge - to make known, reveal
docile - easy to manage, malleable
dogmatic - very stubborn adherence to beliefs
eclectic - selecting from a wide variety of sources, methods, or styles
effervescent - to give off bubbles and thus be bubbly, exuberant
emulate - to imitate, copy
enamor - fill with love
equanimity - evenness of mind, especially under stress
espouse - to give support to
exasperate - to cause irritation or annoyance
exigency - great urgency, requiring immediate attention
fallible - prone to making errors
fastidious - exacting, meticulous, hard to please
fathom - figure out, comprehend, probe the depth of
feasible - possible
fervor - intense feelings; great passion
flaunt - to violate conventions, treat with contempt
garish - excessively vivid colors
gingerly - very cautious, careful
gratuitous - not called for by the circumstances, as a gratuitous insult
gullible - easily fooled or duped
hubris - excessive pride, arrogance
idiosyncrasy - any personal peculiarity, eccentricity
incandescent - giving off light, gleaming, brilliantly shining
incantation - use of spells or verbal charms spoken as part of a magical ritual
incipient - in the early stages, just beginning, embryonic
incontrovertible - cannot be disproved
indelicate - lacking a sensitivity for the feelings of others, tactless
indiscreet - an action marked by a lack of decorum, hence tasteless
indomitable - incapable of being subdued, unconquerable
ineffable - incapable of being expressed, indescribable
innate - present in an individual from birth
insipid - without flavor, tasteless, not exciting, dull
insolent - disrespectful in speech or conduct, haughty
insuperable - something incapable of being overcome
irrevocable - not possible to revoke, unalterable, unable to be called back
legion - a very large number
levity - light-hearted humor
limpid -transparent, perfectly clear
linchpin - the key element in something
machinations - scheming or crafty actions intended to accomplish an evil end
mercurial - rapid and unpredictable changes in mood
milestone - a significant or important turning point
munificent - very generous
nuance - a subtle distinction or shade of difference
ominous - threatening evil or disaster, inauspicious
ostentatious - fond of conspicuous display, pompous, pretentious
paragon - a model of excellence
paramount - of supreme importance
patronizing - to act superior toward, to adopt an air of condescension
perfunctory - done in a routine manner
polemic - involving a dispute, very argumentative
precipitous - acting with undue haste
predilection - a liking or preference for something
quixotic - idealistic in an impractical way
ransack - to search closely and carefully, to turn upside down
raucous - harsh, jarring sound, blaring
rebuke - to criticize sharply, reprimand, berate
rectitude - great integrity, moral uprightness, honesty
redoubtable - formidable, worthy of respect
reprehensible - conduct deserving criticism or censure
skulk - to move in a stealthy or furtive manner
specious - tempting but false, untrue, spurious
sporadic - occurring occasionally, infrequently, not regular
spurious - falsified, fake, and thus not genuine
staid - marked by self-restraint, sober, grave
stanch - to stop the flow of blood from a wound
strident - loud, harsh sound
suffuse - to spread over or through, to diffuse
talisman - an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
torpor - a lack of energy, lethargy
ubiquitous - present everywhere, pervasive
usurp - to illegally seize power, property, or position
vacuous - empty, having or showing a lack of intelligence or insight
venal - capable of being bought or influenced by money, corrupt
wan - lacking vitality
watershed - a very important event


What Does “SAT” Stand For?

Today, “SAT” has no meaning as an acronym. The SAT acronym originally stood for “Scholastic Aptitude Test” but as the test evolved the acronym’s meaning was dropped. 

In 1997, the main test became known as the “SAT I: Reasoning Test” while the individual subject exams, known as “Achievement Tests”, became the “SAT II: Subject Tests.”  The numbers were later eliminated, and the tests became known as the “SAT Reasoning Test” and “SAT Subject Tests”. The name simplified even further to just “SAT” when it was redesigned as an achievement test in 2016, though students will often still encounter all the different name variations.

What Does “PSAT” Stand For?

“PSAT” stands for “Preliminary SAT” but has no meaning on its own as there is no single test, but rather three PSAT-related assessments: the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test), PSAT 10, and PSAT 8/9.


The new SAT writingtest will consist of the following:


  • A 25-minute persuasive essay, based on your reaction to one or two quotations. This is worth one-third of the test.
    (This will beread by two readers and will be graded holistically on a 1-6 scale. Thehighest essay score will be a 12.)
  • A 35-minute revision section worth two-thirds of the test.
    (This will begraded like all objective sections. Each correct answer will earn 1 point,each incorrect answer will cost you _ point, and any unanswered questionwill earn or cost you nothing.)Hints for writing the25-minute persuasive essay:
    • Your essay should range between 300-400 words.
    • You should write 4 or 5 paragraphs.
    • You MUST pre-plan in order to write a well-organized essay.
    • You will be given only two lined pages; write small.
    • You must write neatly; as unfair as this is, you will be judged by the neatness of your response.
    • Take a firm stance on the topic; this must be persuasive.
    • Use examples from literature, science and technology, the arts, current events, or your own observation or experience.
    Reviewthe following grammar and usage skills for the new 35-minute revision section:
    • Subject- Verb Agreement (Review all rules.)
    • Tense Problems or Changes (Especially a helping verb with past tense)
    • Idiomatic Expression (Verb followed by preposition. See attached list.)
    • Wrong Word Usage (Words Often Confused)
    • Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement or Unclear Pronoun Reference
    • Correct Pronoun Use (Objective vs. Subjective)
    • Adjective vs. Adverb Use
    • Double Negatives
    • Run-On Sentences
    • Sentence Fragments
    • Misplaced Modifiers
    • Parallelism in Sentences
    • Wordiness
    • Correct Use of Conjunctions (Faulty coordination/subordination)

    Library Media Specialist

    Nancy Green's picture
    Nancy Green
    Timberlane Regional High School
    36 Greenough Road
    Plaistow, New Hampshire 03865