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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Article of the Month – Warriors

This week’s GRE Wednesday is related to April’s Article of the Month about the Golden State Warriors. Read those articles first, then watch the video below!

Cachet

Charlie was utilitarian in his fashion choices; a logo emblazoned on the front of a shirt, anything with a whiff of cachet, he avoided wearing.

The first syllable of the word is pronounced cash-. And money is exactly what this word conveys. Drive a Volkswagen? Nice engineering but not much cachet. Drive a BMW? Even if it doesn’t outperform the Volkswagen by much, it’s got cachet, or prestige. People associate it with money and luxury. So if you are sporting Ralph Lauren, driving an Alfa Romeo to class at Harvard, then that’s a whole lot of cachet.

Remember not to confuse this word with cache, which a small hiding place for stuff, like cash. But you wouldn’t want to put cachet in a cache; you’d likely want to show it off.

Hidebound

For those who are hidebound to the idea that a college education means sitting in a lecture hall daily and taking a few midterms, the online learning paradigm has been difficult to accept.

Often people don’t want to do something differently because it upsets the status quo. So if you feel that the rules must always be followed, that this simply the way things are done, then you are likely hidebound. Do you feel GRE prep must always be done hunched over a weighty textbook? If so, you are hidebound in approach to your prep (since you are reading this post, I doubt you fall into this camp).

Austere

The school valued instructors whom students felt were approachable and relatable and so Mr. Fenton, who had long frightened students with his austere demeanor, only lasted a few weeks.

Austere can describe a person who has a very harsh or severe temperament. Such a person rarely smiles and can be very intimidating.

Austere can also relate to architecture and to economics. If a building is austere, that means it lacks any decoration (think of a big concrete building). If the government enacts austerity measures, it spends very little, usually in order to balance the budget.

Wherewithal

The travel writer claimed that even if she had the wherewithal to travel in luxury, she would still stay in modest accommodations, because for her experiencing the local culture was the main reason she traveled.

Wherewithal is a fancy way of saying money or the resources necessary to get something done. You can say a person lacked the wherewithal to buy a new car; you can say the government lacked the wherewithal to take on a project of such epic scope.

Gumption

Gumption is a complex word, and probably one that would be difficult to translate into a foreign language. It’s a combination of wits, common sense, and a little bit of pluck. You can’t be merely brave, or simply shrewd; it is a savvy marriage of the two.

Let’s say that there is a power outage at the testing center while you are taking the GRE. The testing center won’t give you your money back and you are forced to retake the test and pay the retake fee. Do you just drive home crestfallen? Not if you have gumption! You find whom to email at ETS (the creators of the GRE) when such problems occur. You write an eloquent, impassioned letter detailing and documenting the snafu. You beseech the reader for a full refund. Will they give it to you? Who knows—but writing that email took some gumption.

Autocratic

As soon as Caleb was nominated by his friends to lead the day hike, he became autocratic; he forbid any of the other boys from taking water breaks, even as the temperature climbed past 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is the benign dictator, who wants the best for his or her people. Then there is the autocratic. He or she rules with complete power and cares nothing for the will of the people. Henry Ford, the putative inventor of the assembly line and mind behind the model-T car, was renowned for his austerity, ruling over his workers in such an autocratic fashion that their wishes, health, and sanity was never an issue. A good mnemonic:

Ford, who had more to do with the ascendancy of the automobile than anyone, was an AUTOcrat.

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