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GRE Vocabulary Wednesday: Words to keep you Co-mpany

There is such a profusion of ‘c’ words in the GRE lexicon that I could not make up my mind which to choose. So, I had to narrow the scope by adding another letter: ‘o’. Even then, there are so many ‘co-‘ words that it wasn’t easy! Below, are a list of words that begin with ‘co’-, some common (collusion and concomitant) and some not so common (cognoscenti and coterie).



This word might evoke smashing glass, but we are not talking about a collision. Collusion means collaboration, usually for some devious end. A good synonym for collusion is conspiracy. The GRE, however, won’t use collusion—and it’s verb form collude—in the following sense:

The criminals colluded in trying to take down the government.

This is of course a perfectly acceptable usage. However, the GRE tends to employ the word in a more academic context:

When the vanquished do not offer their version of events, they unwittingly collude with the victors, thereby allowing only one narrative to emerge.



Things are usually closely tied together, so that is difficult for one thing to happen without another closely following. For instance, when you get a cold there is often an accompanying headache. Or, if you are using Clemmonsdogpark, oftentimes there may be accompanying web browsing, as you might check—especially after a long passage— the news or your email. The accompanying headache and the web browsing can be said to be concomitant: they accompany—but do not necessarily cause—something else.

Concomitant with the increase in crime has been a drop in the number of people who walk outside at night.



Have an odd hobby? Don’t want to feel alone? Well, you can look online and find people who share this same interest. Now you can spend Friday evenings with others reading, say, Chaucer. In other words, you now have a medieval reading coterie. A coterie—a small group with similar interests or backgrounds—doesn’t have to relate to some esoteric hobby. For instance, as a new parent, I’ve found that my coterie has come to consist of other new parents. I guess there are few better ways to bond than sharing diaper horror stories.



Anything from golf to gardening there are those who’ve cultivated a deep interest and knowledge of the subject. We call these people cognoscenti (collectively), or cognoscente (if we are referring to just one).  All of us have some field in which we developed an interest. Now, instead of calling yourself an expert, you can think of yourself as cognoscente.



A corollary is a natural consequence of something. As a corollary of GRE prep, you’ve probably developed a pretty impressive vocabulary. Other corollaries of prepping for the GRE include increased attention span, facility with numbers, and, on the negative side, eye strain.


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