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GRE Voc”A”bulary Wednesday: Part II

Recently, I had an installment that featured GRE words beginning with the letter “A”. There were so many possible words that a few didn’t make the cut. Well, instead of letting these words slip away, I figured why not come up with Part II.

Accede (to)

To give in to a demand or a request is to accede to it. Notice the “to”, which makes this word a phrasal verb. That means that a preposition almost always accompanies the verb.

“Accede to” typically comes up in formal contexts and there is no shortage of those in the daily news. Recently, travelers coming from West Africa to the United States had to accede to new rules requiring them to undergo a quick medical screening to test for Ebola. The west hopes Putin will accede to international pressure, and surrender parts of the Crimea.


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This word sounds somewhat prurient, though it’s a lot more innocent than that. To adulterate just means to make something inferior by adding something else to it (that something else being of inferior quality). It could be something as simple as a beverage. If you like your cola straight out of a can, you wouldn’t want to adulterate it with ice cubes. If you like Vocabulary Wednesday, you wouldn’t want me to adulterate it, by, say, acting out each word (though that would make for an interesting segment!).

Also important is the word “unadulterated”, which means unmixed, pure, untainted. You can use this word to describe abstract things: she expressed unadulterated joy when she found out she got accepted into a top grad school.


If something is the exact opposite of another thing, and you don’t want to say “exact opposite” (or you just want to sound fancy), then antithetical is the word for you. Perhaps, having your friends come over to study GRE vocabulary is antithetical to a good time.


To let somebody know something is to apprise him/her of it. Usually this something is an important event unfolding.

Barack Obama is apprised of the latest happenings on the Ebola staff, so he can make important decisions with little lag time.


What’s GRE-speak for approval? Approbation. That’s right, it’s nothing more than a fancy word for approval. If you want to get extra fancy you can use the adjective form of the word: approbatory.


I’m not talking months here; I’m talking about the emperor Augustus Caesar, who want to be remembered for his greatness. So anything that fills you with awe and is so amazing—presumably Augustus himself—is august. August universities? Harvard and Yale. August cathedrals? St. Paul’s and the Notre Dame. August months? Okay, that’s joke.


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