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GRE Vocab Wednesday: Sentence Equivalence from Clemmonsdogpark Part II

I pecked around our copious Sentence Equivalence questions and noticed quite a few good words that have never been featured on Vocab Wednesday, or at least haven’t been featured for many years (yes, I’ve been doing this for quite awhile now!) I encountered more such words than I expected, so I made this a two part series (this one is slightly shorter than the usual five words, though).

Soporific

Percy finally finished his 800-page novel, foisting it on his hapless sidekick Kelsey, who promptly fell asleep only five pages into the soporific drivel.

Six-hour operas in a foreign language you don’t understand (sorry Wagnerians!), lectures on quantum physics by monotonic professors, a powerpoint by a newbie intent on reading each word written on the slide—all are things that are soporific: they are so boring they put you to sleep. Soporific doesn’t need to always have the boring connotation. For instance, red wine is a soporific; it induces sleep (though you might smile yourself to sleep rather than be bored to sleep). Hopefully, my vocabulary Wednesday videos are not soporific!

Demure

While the author’s work was extolled during his day, he is now seen as painting one-dimensional women characters, who were unfailingly demure and servile.

This is one of those gender-inflected words: it is typically associated with one of the two genders. In this case, it describes women who are modest and reserved. It is old-fashioned in the sense that it was viewed as positive trait in a female. Thankfully, times have changed—though the definition remains unchanged. It’s important not to confuse this word with demur, which is a verb meaning to object lightly.

Egregious

Bob was known to forget things when he was in a rush, but forgetting his passport in the airport bathroom was such an egregious lapse in focus that even he felt ashamed.

A very interesting word! Originally, this word meant outstandingly good. But just as the word ‘bad’ took on its opposite meaning—at least slangily—back in the early 90s (think Michael Jackson’s Bad), egregious back in the 16th century (way before there were any music videos) took on an opposite meaning: outstandingly bad. That meaning has stayed with us today. This word is an important GRE word so it would be an egregious oversight for you not to make it part of your working vocabulary.

Table

Though the controversial bill was tabled by the overworked government, the fact that it was considered in the first place was seen as a breakthrough by its proponents.

I know. You’re thinking flat thing with four legs. But this is actually a verb. Even more surprisingly, it doesn’t mean to put on table. Rather, it means to take off the table, meaning to no longer put something up for consideration. You get this word in politics a lot. When a governing body no longer considers a bill or measure, they put aside for the time being, or table it. But don’t table this word. Learn the definition today.

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