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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Words from April Article of the Month (Part I)

This April’s Article of the Month is quite challenging — and the vocabulary is no exception.

Many great GRE vocabulary words grace the lines of this enlightening work, which discusses philosophy’s place inside of academia and, ultimately, its role in our lives.

But you are here for GRE words. And many of these have never shown up in any of the vocabulary blog posts. Still, don’t forget to read the article once you’ve gone through the post.


If something is irreducible it cannot be broken down into more parts. Irreducible, as far as roots go, is not irreducible, and can be broken down into ir-, redu-, -cible, or the opposite of reducible. At one time we thought that the atom was irreducible, but now we know that there are subatomic particles. Indeed, the very fabric of the universe — that which is irreducible — has yet to be found. Physicists hope that the Higgs-Boson will help us determine the stuff the universe is made up of at the most irreducible level.


A premise is the part of an argument that a conclusion is based on. To premise, as a verb, is to base your conclusion on certain facts. For instances, the United States Constitution is premised on the idea that every person is equal and therefore should have the same rights and freedoms as everybody else.


This word is not the opposite of opposite, as the ‘a-‘ root may lead you to think. Something that is apposite is apt, suitable for the occasion. An apposite remark will break the ice or reduce tension.


Oftentimes we are subjected to peer pressure. We try to hold our ground, but often the “peer pressure-er” is too adamant and we give in, or acquiesce. The word also carries another connotation: when we acquiesce we not only give in, but we do so docilely, without protest. So if you find yourself carping at your friend for dragging you to the latest Stallone movie, then you haven’t really acquiesced, but are still chafing at having to sit through 2-hours of geriatric beefcakes blasting their way to victory. Once you’re in your seat resigned to this fact, then you’ve acquiesced.


It’s not hard to find a vociferous group angrily beating their metaphorical chests in protest: just go to a local sporting event. At some point, the referee or umpire is going to make a call that doesn’t sit too well with the fans. And sit the fans will not. They will get up and loudly protest. To describe this clamorous outburst, we have the word vociferous. Members of Congress can become vociferous, as can callers into talk radio.

Vociferous can also describe an argument or speech that is marked by general noisiness on an issue.


Anything that speaks ill of the church or God is blasphemous. Many current books decry religion and the very existence of God. These books, at least in religious circles, will likely viewed as blasphemous. Taken a little loosely, this word can be used to describe any words that are unkind to some monolithic institution:

Some scientists embrace Darwin with messianic fervor, construing any criticism of The Origin of Species as blasphemous.


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