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GRE Vocab Wednesday: More Words from the New ETS Verbal Guide

Yes, the new verbal guide (ETS’s new Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions book) is full of a trove of GRE words yet to appear in Vocab Wed., so here are a few more. That said, the majority of the words in the guide have been in Vocab. Wed., so it seems like I’m on to something. 🙂



Nobody is being shot out of a cannon in this word. However, you will get canonized if you are so important in an artistic or literary way that you’ve become enshrined as one of the greats. Originally taken from church lexicon referring to old manuscripts that became part of the Bible, canonize now refers to the likes of Bach (classical music), Mark Twain (American literature), or Pablo Picasso (20th century art).



The ‘to cut off or remove’ definition of this word might be familiar to some of you in a physiological context (excising tumors is common). However, the GRE tends towards the figurative definitions. To excise a person from a process would be to completely remove them from it (that’s more or less the gist of the sentence in the verbal guide). If you feel the GRE should be excised from the admissions process, then you may not be alone. (Though, there will always be some form of standardized test, poised to excise).



A great word that shows how roots can mislead. Trans- across and gress- to move. Therefore, transgression must mean to move across. Ah yes, I transgressed the American continent in my convertible. While that may be the case, to transgress has nothing to do with movement and everything to do with naughty behavior. To transgress is go beyond the bounds of moral principled behavior. For now, let’s leave “transgressing” the continent to the Beat generation.



So, while this word has yet to be featured on Vocabulary Wed., it is part of our free —which is a good thing. Apparently, the GRE loves this word since it shows up in two of the questions in the guide. And always remember, there is no one vocab resource that is a panacea for your vocab ills, so use a variety of resources. Oh, panacea? It comes from the Greek meaning cure-all. The word is bandied about a lot in political and social circles. Come election time, candidates will be promising various panaceas for the many problems that plague our society.



You might have heard of orthodox: the correct, accepted way. Ortho- comes from the Greek for correct; dox means opinion. Hetero- means other. A heterodox opinion goes against the common opinion. Heterodox opinions include the following: Justin Bieber is free of transgression and should be canonized alongside the Beatles and Elvis; four cups of coffee a day is a panacea for any mental state of unease; and California should be excised from the American landmass and be an independent nation island in which there is no such thing as a transgression (actually, that might be the orthodox view in some parts of that state).



If you want to state something forcefully, then you contend it. A synonym is the word maintain, a GRE favorite. People in high places tend to do a lot of both. The courtroom is filled with people contending one thing or the other. Political talk shows are full of contending (and contention—a related word that means heated disagreement).


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