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High Frequency Word List: A-E | Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT PDF Download

Word List: A

1. Aberrant (adjective): 

  • markedly different from an accepted norm
  • Example: When the financial director started screaming and throwing food at his co-workers, the police had to come in to deal with his aberrant behavior.

2. Aberration (noun): 

  • a deviation from what is normal or expected
  • Example: Aberrations in climate have become the norm: rarely a week goes by without some meteorological phenomenon making headlines.

3. Abstain (verb): 

  • choose not to consume or take part in (particularly something enjoyable)
  • Example: Considered a health nut, Jessica abstained from anything containing sugar--even chocolate.

4. Abstruse (adjective): 

  • difficult to understand; incomprehensible
  • Example: Physics textbooks can seem so abstruse to the uninitiated that readers feel as though they are looking at hieroglyphics.

5. Accolade (noun): 

  • an award or praise granted as a special honor
  • Example: Jean Paul-Sartre was not a fan of accolades, and as such, he refused to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964.

6. Acerbic (adjective): 

  • harsh in tone
  • Example: Most movie critics are acerbic towards summer blockbusters, often referring to them as garbage.

7. Acrimony (noun): 

  • bitterness and ill will
  • Example: The acrimonious dispute between the president and vice-president sent a clear signal to voters: the health of the current administration was imperiled.

8. Adamant (adjective): 

  • refusing to change one's mind
  • Example: Civil rights icon Rosa Parks will forever be remembered for adamantly refusing to give up her seat on a public bus--even after the bus driver insisted, she remained rooted in place.

9. Admonish (verb): 

  • to warn strongly, even to the point of reprimanding
  • Example: Before the concert began, security personel admonished the crowd not to come up on stage during the performance.

10. Admonitory (adjective): 

  • serving to warn; expressing reproof or reproach especially as a corrective
  • Example: At the assembly, the high school vice-principal gave the students an admonitory speech, warning them of the many risks and dangers of prom night.

11. Aesthete (noun): 

  • one who professes great sensitivity to the beauty of art and nature
  • Example: A true aesthete, Marty would spend hours at the Guggenheim Museum, staring at the same Picasso.

12. Aesthetic (adjective): 

  • concerned with the appreciation of beauty
  • Example: The director, not known for his aesthetic sensibilities, decided not to use costumes at all, and put on the play in everyday clothing.

13. Aesthetic (noun): 

  • a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.
  • Example: The artist operated according to a peculiar aesthetic, not considering any photograph to be worth publishing unless it contained a marine mammal.

14. Amalgam (noun): 

  • a mixture of multiple things
  • Example: The band's music was an amalgam of hip-hop, flamenco and jazz, blending the three styles with surprising results.

15. Ambiguous (adjective): 

  • open to more than one interpretation
  • Example: The coach told his team, "Move towards that side of the field"; because he did not point, his directions were ambiguous, and the team had no idea to which side he was referring.

16. Ambivalent (adjective): 

  • mixed or conflicting emotions about something
  • Example: Sam was ambivalent about studying for the exam because doing so ate up a lot of his time, yet he was able to improve his analytical skills.

17. Ameliorate (verb): 

  • make something bad better
  • Example: Three Cups of Tea tells the story of western man who hopes to ameliorate poverty and the lack of education in Afghanistan.

18. Amenable (adjective): 

  • easily persuaded
  • Example: Even though she did not like the outdoors, Shirley was generally amenable and so her brother was able to persuade her to go camping.

19. Amorphous (adjective): 

  • shapeless
  • Example: His study plan for the GRE was at best amorphous; he would do questions from random pages in any one of seven test prep books.

20. Anomalous (adjective): 

  • not normal
  • Example: According to those who do not believe in climate change, the extreme weather over the last five years is simply anomalous--average temps should return to average, they believe.

21. Anomaly (noun): 

  • something that is not normal, standard, or expected
  • Example: After finding an anomaly in the data, she knew that she would have to conduct her experiment again.

22. antipathy (noun): 

  • an intense feeling of dislike or aversion
  • Example: Maria had an antipathy for tour groups, often bolting to the other side of the museum as soon as she saw a chaperone leading a group of wide-eyed tourists.

23. antithetical (adjective): 

  • sharply contrasted in character or purpose
  • Example: His deep emotional involvement with these ideas is, in fact, antithetical to the detachment Buddhism preaches.

24. Apathetic (adjective): 

  • marked by a lack of interest
  • Example: Mr. Thompson was so talented at teaching math that even normally apathetic students took interest.

25. Apathy (noun): 

  • an absence of emotion or enthusiasm
  • Example: Widespread apathy among voters led to a very small turnout on election day.

26. Apocryphal (adjective): 

  • being of questionable authenticity
  • Example: The web is notorious for sandwiching apocryphal stories between actual news.

27. appease (verb): 

  • pacify by acceding to the demands of
  • Example: Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister during WWII, tried to appease Hitler and in doing so sent a clear message: you can walk all over us.

28. Arbitrary (adjective): 

  • based on a random, groundless decision
  • Example: One of the arbitrary decrees in place during the emperor's rule is that all citizens pay him weekly homage at his palace.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE

29. Arcane (adjective): 

  • requiring secret or mysterious knowledge
  • Example: Most college fraternities are known for arcane rituals that those hoping to the join the fraterntiy must learn.

30. Arduous (adjective): 

  • demanding considerable mental effort and skill; testing powers of endurance
  • Example: In order to deal with the arduous cross-country journey, truck drivers often survive on a string of caffeinated drinks, staying awake for up to 30 hours at a time.

31. Artful (adjective): 

  • exhibiting artistic skill
  • Example: Picasso is generally considered the most artful member of the Cubist movement.

32. Artful (adjective): 

  • clever in a cunning way
  • Example: Bernie Madoff's artful Ponzi scheme stole billions of dollars from investors and is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.

33. Ascetic (adjective): 

  • practicing self-denial
  • Example: His ascetic life is the main reason he inspired so many followers, especially since he gave up wealth and power to live in poverty.

34. ascetic (noun): 

  • one who practices great self-denial
  • Example: Historically, ascetics like Ghandi are often considered wise men partially because of their restraint.

35. Askance (adverb): 

  • with a look of suspicion or disapproval
  • Example: The old couple looked askance on the teenagers seated next to them, whispering to each other, "They've got rings through their noses and purple hair!"

36. audacious (adjective): 

  • willing to be bold in social situations or to take risks
  • Example: As all of the other campers cowered in their tents, Bill, armed only with a flashlight, audaciously tracked down the bear that had raided their food.

37. Audacity (noun): 

  • aggressive boldness in social situations
  • Example: She surprised her colleagues by having the audacity to publically criticize the findings of an distinguished scientist.

38. Auspicious (adjective): 

  • favorable, the opposite of sinister
  • Example: Despite an auspicious beginning, Mike's road trip became a series of mishaps, and he was soon stranded and penniless, leaning against his wrecked automobile.

39. Austere (adjective): 

  • practicing self-denial
  • Example: His lifestyle of revelry and luxurious excess could hardly be called austere.

40. Austere (adjective): 

  • unadorned in style or appearance
  • Example: Late Soviet architecture, although remaining largely austere, moved into experimental territory that employed previously unused shapes and structures.

41. Austere (adjective): 

  • harsh in manner of temperament
  • Example: The principal of my elementary school was a cold, austere woman; I could never understand why she chose to work with children.

42. Avaricious (adjective): 

  • excessively greedy
  • Example: Since avaricious desire is similar to gluttony or lust--sins of excess--it was listed as one of the seven deadly sins by the Catholic church.

Word List: B

1. Banal (adjective): 

  • repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
  • Example: The professor used such banal expression that many students in the class either fell asleep from bordeom or stayed awake to complete his sentences and humor friends.

2. Banality (noun): 

  • a trite or obvious remark
  • Example: Herbert regarded the minister's remark as a mere banality until Sharon pointed out profound implications to the seemingly obvious words.

3. Belie (verb): 

  • to give a false representation to; misrepresent
  • Example: The smile on her face belies the pain she must feel after the death of her husband.

4. Belligerent (adjective): 

  • characteristic of one eager to fight
  • Example: Tom said that he was arguing the matter purely for philosophical reasons, but his belligerent tone indicated an underlying anger about the issue.

5. Betray (verb): 

  • to reveal or make known something, usually unintentionally
  • Example: With the gold medal at stake, the gymnast awaited his turn, his quivering lip betraying his intense emotions.

6. Blatant (adjective): 

  • without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious
  • Example: Allen was often punished in school for blatantly disrespecting teachers.

7. Bolster (verb): 

  • support and strengthen
  • Example: The case for the suspect's innocence was bolstered considerably by the fact that neither fingerprints nor DNA were found at the scene.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE

8. Brazen (adjective): 

  • unrestrained by convention or propriety
  • Example: Their large "donations" to the local police department gave the drug cartel the brazen confidence to do their business out in the open.

9. Bucolic (adjective): 

  • relating to the pleasant aspects of the country
  • Example: The noble families of England once owned vast expanses of beautiful, bucolic land.

10. Bumbling (adjective): 

  • lacking physical movement skills, especially with the hands
  • Example: Within a week of starting, the bumbling new waiter was unceremoniously fired.

11. Burgeon (verb): 

  • grow and flourish
  • Example: China's housing market is burgeoning, but some predict that the growth is merely a bubble and will burst much like the U.S. real estate bubble of 2008.

Word List: C

1. Calumny (noun): 

  • making of a false statement meant to injure a person"s reputation
  • Example: With the presidential primaries well under way, the air is thick with calumny, and the mud already waisthigh.

2. Capricious (adjective): 

  • determined by chance or impulse or whim rather than by necessity or reason
  • Example: Nearly every month our capricious CEO had a new plan to turn the company around, and none of them worked because we never gave them the time they needed to succeed.

3. Castigate (verb): 

  • to reprimand harshly
  • Example: Drill sergeants are known to castigate new recruits so mercilessly that the latter often break down during their first week in training.

4. Censure (verb): 

  • to express strong disapproval
  • Example: After being caught in bed with a mistress, the mayor was quickly censured by the city council.

5. Chastise (verb): 

  • to reprimand harshly
  • Example: Though chastised for his wanton abuse of the pantry, Lawrence shrugged off his mother's harsh words, and continued to plow through jars of cookies and boxes of donuts.

6. Chortle (verb): 

  • to chuckle, laugh merrily
  • Example: Walking past the bar, I could hear happy, chortling people and the blast of horns from a jazz band.

7. Circumscribe (verb): 

  • restrict or confine
  • Example: Their tour of South America was circumscribed so that they saw only popular destinations and avoided the dangerous parts of cities.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE

8. Circumvent (verb): 

  • cleverly find a way out of one's duties or obligations
  • Example: One way of circumventing the GRE is to apply to a grad school that does not require GRE scores.

9. Commensurate (adjective): 

  • to be in proportion or corresponding in degree or amount
  • Example: The convicted felon's life sentence was commensurate to the heinousness of his crime.

10. Concede (verb): 

  • acknowledge defeat
  • Example: I concede. You win!

11. Concede (verb): 

  • admit (to a wrongdoing)
  • Example: After a long, stern lecture from her father, Olivia conceded to having broken the window.

12. Concede (verb): 

  • give over; surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another
  • Example: The Spanish were forced to concede much of the territory they had previously conquered.

13. Confound (verb): 

  • be confusing or perplexing to
  • Example: Though Harry loved numbers, he found calculus confounding.

14. Confound (verb): 

  • mistake one thing for another 
  • Example: Americans often confound sweet potatoes with yams, and refer to both vegetables by the same name.

15. Conspicuous (adjective): 

  • without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious 
  • Example: American basketball players are always conspicuous when they go abroad--not only are they American, but some are over seven feet tall.

16. Constituent (noun): 

  • a citizen who is represented in a government by officials for whom he or she votes 
  • Example: The mayor's constituents are no longer happy with her performance and plan to vote for another candidate in the upcoming election.

17. Constituent (noun): 

  • an abstract part of something 
  • Example: The constituents of the metal alloy are nickle, copper, and tin.

18. Construe (verb): 

  • interpreted in a particular way 
  • Example: The author's inability to take a side on the issue was construed by both his opponents and supporters as a sign of weakness.

19. Contingent (noun): 

  • a gathering of persons representative of some larger group 
  • Example: A small contingent of those loyal to the king have gathered around the castle to defend it.

20. Contingent (adjective): 

  • possible but not certain to occur 
  • Example: Whether the former world champions can win again this year is contingent upon none of its star players getting injured.

21. Contrition (noun): 

  • the feeling of remorse or guilt that comes from doing something bad 
  • Example: Those who show contrition during their prison terms--especially when under review by a parole board--often get shortened sentences.

22. Contrive (verb): 

  • to pull off a plan or scheme, usually through skill or trickery 
  • Example: Despite a low GPA, he contrived to get into college, going so far as to write his own glowing letters of recommendation.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE

23. Copious (adjective): 

  • in abundant supply 
  • Example: In midsummer, there are copious popiscle stands at the beach; in the winter, there are none.

24. Craven (adjective): 

  • pathetically cowardly 
  • Example: Though the man could have at least alerted the police, he crouched cravenly in the corner as the old woman was mugged.

25. Cryptic (adjective): 

  • mysterious or vague, usually intentionally 
  • Example: Since Sarah did not want her husband to guess the Christmas present she had bought him, she only answered cryptically when he would ask her questions about it.

26. Culminate (verb): 

  • reach the highest or most decisive point 
  • Example: Beethoven's musical genius culminated in the 9th Symphony, which many consider his greatest work.

27. Culpability (noun): 

  • a state of guilt 
  • Example: Since John had left his banana peel at the top of the stairwell, he accepted culpability for Martha's broken leg.

Word List: D

1. Decorous (adjective): 

  • characterized by good taste in manners and conduct 
  • Example: Sally's parties are decorous affairs, and instead of the usual beer and music, there is tea and intellectual conversation.

2. Decorum (noun): 

  • propriety in manners and conduct
  • Example: You will obey the rules of decorum for this courtroom or spend the night in a jail cell, said the judge to the prosecutor.

3. Deferential (adjective): 

  • showing respect 
  • Example: If you ever have the chance to meet the president, stand up straight and be deferential.

4. Deleterious (adjective): 

  • harmful to living things 
  • Example: The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was deleterious to the fishing industry in the southern states.

5. Delineate (verb): 

  • describe in detail 
  • Example: After a brief summary of proper swimming technique, the coach delineated the specifics of each stroke, spending 30 minutes alone on the backstroke.

6. Demur (verb): 

  • to object or show reluctance 
  • Example: Wallace disliked the cold, so he demurred when his friends suggested they going skiing in the Alps.

7. Denigrate (verb): 

  • charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone 
  • Example: Count Rumford denigrated the new theory of heat, demonstrating that it was wholly inadequate to explain the observations.

8. Denote (verb): 

  • be a sign or indication of; have as a meaning
  • Example: Even if the text is not visible, the red octagon denotes "stop" to all motorists in America.

9. Dderivative (adjective): 

  • (or a creative product, e.g. music, writing, etc.) not original but drawing on the work of another person 
  • Example: Because the movies were utterly derivative of other popular movies, they did well at the box office.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one for the GRE

10. Derive (verb): 

  • come from; be connected by a relationship of blood, for example 
  • Example: Many words in the English language are derived from Latin, including the word "derive."

11. Derive (verb): 

  • reason by deduction; establish by deduction 
  • Example: From the multiple set of footprints in the living room, the investigator derived an important clue: Sheila was not alone in the room at the time of the murder.

12. Dictatorial (adjective): 

  • expecting unquestioning obedience; characteristic of an absolute ruler 
  • Example: The coach was dictatorial in his approach: no players could ever argue or question his approach.

13. Didactic (adjective): 

  • instructive (especially excessively) 
  • Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Illyich is a didactic novel, instructing the reader on how to live a good life.

14. Diffident (adjective): 

  • showing modest reserve; lacking self-confidence 
  • Example: As a young girl she was diffident and reserved, but now as an adult, she is confident and assertive.

15. Dilatory (adjective): 

  • wasting time 
  • Example: Lawyers use dilatory tactics so that it takes years before the case is actually decided.

16. Dilettante (noun): 

  • an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge 
  • Example: Fred has no formal medical training; while he likes to claim authority on medical issues, he is little more than a dilettante

17. Disaffected (adjective): 

  • discontented as toward authority 
  • Example: After watching his superior take rations from the soliders, he quickly became disaffected and rebeled.

18. Discrete (adjective): 

  • constituting a separate entity or part 
  • Example: What was once known as Czechoslovakia has since split into two discrete, independent nations.

19. Disinterested (adjective): 

  • unbiased; neutral 
  • Example: The potential juror knew the defendant, and therefore could not serve on the jury, which must consist only of disinterested members.

20. Dispassionate (adjective): 

  • unaffected by strong emotion or prejudice 
  • Example: A good scientist should be dispassionate, focusing purely on what the evidence says, without personal attachment.

21. Disseminate (verb): 

  • cause to become widely known 
  • Example: Before the effects of anaethesia were disseminated, patients had to experience the full pain of a surgery.

22. Dogmatic (adjective): 

  • highly opinionated, not accepting that your belief may not be correct 
  • Example: Bryan is dogmatic in his belief that the earth is flat, claiming that all pictures of a spherical earth are computer generated.

23. Duress (noun): 

  • compulsory force or threat 
  • Example: The witness said he signed the contract under duress and argued that the court should cancel the agreement.

Word List: E

1. Eclectic (adjective): 

  • comprised of a variety of styles 
  • Example: Joey was known for his eclectic tastes in music, one moment dancing to disco the next "air conducting" along to Beethoven's 9th symphony.

2. Economical (adjective): 

  • avoiding waste, efficient 
  • Example: Journalists favor an economical style of writing, in which no unnecessary words are used and every sentence is as short as possible.

3. Edifying (adjective): 

  • enlightening or uplifting so as to encourage intellectual or moral improvement
  • Example: I recently read an article in the Times about whether good literature is edifying or not; specifically, does reading more make a person more moral.

4. Efficacious (adjective): 

  • producing the intended result 
  • Example: Since Maggie's cough syrup, which had expired five years back, was no longer efficacious, she coughed through the night.

5. Egregious (adjective): 

  • standing out in negative way; shockingly bad 
  • Example: The dictator's abuse of human rights was so egregious that many world leaders asked that he be tried in an international court for genocide.

6. Elicit (verb): 

  • call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses) 
  • Example: Just smiling--even if you are depressed--can elicit feelings of pleasure and happiness.

7. Elucidate (verb): 

  • make clearer and easier to understand 
  • Example: Youtube is great place to learn just about anything--an expert elucidates finer points so that even a complete novice can learn.

8. Eminent (adjective): 

  • standing above others in quality or position 
  • Example: Shakespeare is an eminent author in the English language, but I find his writing uninteresting and melodramatic.

9. Enervate (verb): 

  • to sap energy from 
  • Example: John preferred to avoid equatorial countries; the intense sun would always leave him enervated after he'd spent the day sightseeing.

10. Engender (verb): 

  • give rise to 
  • Example: The restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles were so severe that they engendered deep hatred and resentment in the German people.

11. Entrenched (adjective): 

  • fixed firmly or securely 
  • Example: By the time we reach 60-years old, most of our habits are so entrenched that it is difficult for us to change.

12. Ephemeral (adjective): 

  • lasting a very short time 
  • Example: The lifespan of a mayfly is ephemeral, lasting from a few hours to a couple of days.

13. Equivocal (adjective): 

  • Confusing or ambiguous 
  • Example: The findings of the study were equivocal--the two researchers had different opinions on what the results signified.

14. Eradicate (verb): 

  • to completely destroy 
  • Example: I tried eradicating the mosquitos in my apartment with a rolled up newspaper, but there were too many of them.

15. Erudite (adjective): 

  • having or showing profound knowledge 
  • Example: Before the Internet, the library was typically were you would find erudite readers.

16. Eschew (verb): 

  • avoid and stay away from deliberately; stay clear of 
  • Example: Politicians are the masters of eschewing morals; academics are the masters of eschewing clarity.

17. Esoteric (adjective): 

  • confined to and understandable by only an enlightened inner circle 
  • Example: Map collecting is an esoteric hobby to most, but to geography geeks it is a highly enjoyable pasttime.

18. Espouse (verb): 

  • to adopt or support an idea or cause 
  • Example: As a college student, Charlie espoused Marxism, growing his beard out and railing against the evils of the free-market.

19. Exacerbate (verb): 

  • make worse 
  • Example: Her sleeplessness exacerbated her cold--when she woke up the next day, her sinuses were completely blocked.

20. Exacting (adjective): 

  • requiring and demanding accuracy 
  • Example: Though his childhood piano teacher was so exacting, Max is thankful now, as a professional pianist.

21. Exalt (verb): 

  • praise or glorify 
  • Example: The teenagers exalted the rock star, covering their bedrooms with posters of him.

22. Exonerate (verb): 

  • pronounce not guilty of criminal charges 
  • Example: The document clearly indicated that Nick was out of the state at the time of the crime, and so served to exonerate him of any charges.

23. Expound (verb): 

  • add details or explanation; clarify the meaning; state in depth 
  • Example: The CEO refused to expound on the decision to merge our department with another one, and so I quit.

24. Extant (adjective): 

  • the opposite of extinct 
  • Example: Despite many bookstores closing, experts predict that some form of book dealing will still be extant generations from now.
The document High Frequency Word List: A-E | Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT is a part of the CAT Course Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC).
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FAQs on High Frequency Word List: A-E - Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT

1. What is the importance of high frequency word lists in language learning?
Ans. High frequency word lists are important in language learning because they contain the most commonly used words in a language. By focusing on these words, learners can quickly build a solid foundation of vocabulary and improve their overall language proficiency.
2. How can high frequency word lists be used to enhance exam preparation?
Ans. High frequency word lists can be used to enhance exam preparation by helping learners prioritize their study time. By focusing on the words that are most likely to appear on the exam, learners can optimize their vocabulary learning and increase their chances of success.
3. Are high frequency word lists the same for all languages?
Ans. No, high frequency word lists are not the same for all languages. The words that are most commonly used in one language may be different from those in another language. It is important for language learners to find high frequency word lists that are specific to the language they are studying.
4. Can high frequency word lists be used for self-study?
Ans. Yes, high frequency word lists can be a valuable resource for self-study. Learners can use these lists to guide their vocabulary learning and track their progress. By focusing on the most commonly used words, learners can quickly improve their language skills.
5. How can one effectively memorize high frequency word lists?
Ans. There are several techniques that can help with memorizing high frequency word lists. These include creating flashcards, using mnemonic devices, practicing with spaced repetition, and using the words in context through reading and writing exercises. Consistent and regular practice is key to effectively memorizing high frequency word lists.
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