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

Word List: P

1. panache (noun): 

  • distinctive and stylish elegance
  • Example: Jim, with his typical panache, came to the wedding reception with a top hat, a cane, and a long cape covered in sequins.

2. parochial (adjective): 

  • narrowly restricted in scope or outlook
  • Example: Jasmine was sad to admit it, but her fledgling relationship with Jacob did not work out because his culinary tastes were simply too parochial; "After all," she quipped on her blog, "he considered Chef Boyardee ethnic food."

3. Parsimonious (adjective): 

  • extremely frugal; miserly
  • Example: Katie is so parsimonious that she only buys a pair of socks if all of her other socks have holes in them.

4. Pedantic (adjective): 

  • marked by a narrow focus on or display of learning especially its trivial aspects
  • Example: Professor Thompson was regarded as an expert in his field, but his lectures were utterly pedantic, focused on rigorous details of the most trivial conventions in the field.

5. Pedestrian (adjective): 

  • lacking imagination
  • Example: While Nan was always engaged in philosophical speculation, her brother was occupied with far more pedestrian concerns: how to earn a salary and run a household.

6. Pejorative (adjective): 

  • Expressing disapproval (usu. refers to a term)
  • Example: Most psychologists object to the pejorative term "shrink", believing that they expand the human mind, not limit it.

7. Perfidy (noun): 

  • an act of deliberate betrayal; a breach of a trust
  • Example: The lowest circles in Dante's Inferno were for those who had practiced perfidy, and among these, the very lowest was for those, such as Judas, who had been treacherous to one of their benefactors.

8. Pernicious (adjective): 

  • exceedingly harmful; working or spreading in a hidden and injurious way
  • Example: The most successful viruses are pernicious: an infected person may feel perfectly healthy for several months while incubating and spreading the virus.

9. Petulant (adjective): 

  • easily irritated or annoyed
  • Example: When Ed first met Ruth, he didn't realize she was so petulant, but now that they are three months into their relationship, Ed feels a day doesn't go by in which she isn't whining about some minor issue.

10. Placate (verb): 

  • cause to be more favorably inclined; gain the good will of
  • Example: I was able to placate the angry mob of students by promising to bring cookies on Monday.

11. Platitude (noun): 

  • a trite or obvious remark
  • Example: The professor argued that many statements regarded as wise in previous times, such as the Golden Rule, are now regarded as mere platitudes.

12. Poignant (adjective): 

  • emotionally touching
  • Example: After the Montagues and Capulets discover the dead bodies of Romeo and Juliet,  in the play's most poignant moment, the two griefstricken familes agree to end their feud once and for all.

13. Polemic (noun): 

  • a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something.
  • Example: The professor launched into a polemic, claiming that Freudian theory was a pack of lies that absolutely destroyed European literary theory.

14. Posit (verb): 

  • assume as fact
  • Example: Initially, Einstein posited a repulsive force to balance Gravity, but then rejected that idea as a blunder.

15. Pragmatic (adjective): 

  • guided by practical experience and observation rather than theory
  • Example: Rather than make a philosophical appeal to the Congressmen, the Speaker decided to take a far more pragmatic approach, making small side-deals that would add votes to his bill.

16. Precipitous (adjective): 

  • done with very great haste and without due deliberation
  • Example: He was expecting a precipitous rise in the value of a "hot" tech stock, so he was disappointed when it only inched up a dollar or two each day.

17. Preclude (verb): 

  • keep from happening or arising; make impossible
  • Example: The manager specified that all other gates be locked, to preclude the possibility of persons without tickets entering the arena undetected.

18. Precocious (adjective): 

  • characterized by or characteristic of exceptionally early development or maturity (especially in mental aptitude)
  • Example: Though only seven years old, she was a precocious chess prodigy, able to beat players twice her age.

19. Predilection (noun): 

  • a strong liking
  • Example: Monte had a predilection for the fine things in life: Cuban cigars, 200 dollar bottles of wine, and trips to the French Riviera.

20. Prescience (noun): 

  • the power to foresee the future
  • Example: Baxter's warnings about investing in technology stocks seemed like an act of prescience after the whole market declined significantly.

21. Prevaricate (verb): 

  • to speak in an evasive way
  • Example: The cynic quipped, "There is not much variance in politicians; they all seem to prevaricate".

22. Prodigal (adjective): 

  • rashly or wastefully extravagant
  • Example: Successful professional athletes who do not fall prey to prodigality seem to be the exception-most live decadent lives.

23. Prodigious (adjective): 

  • so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe
  • Example: After the relatively small homerun totals in the "dead ball" era, Babe Ruth's homerun totals were truly prodigious: every year, he set a new all-time record.

24. Profligate (noun): 

  • someone who spends money recklessly or wastefully 
  • Example: Most lottery winners go from being conservative, frugal types to outright profligates who blow millions on fast cars, lavish homes, and giant yachts.

25. Prolific (adjective): 

  • intellectually productive
  • Example: Schubert was the most prolific composer, producing hundreds of hours of music before he died at the age of 31.

26. Propitious (adjective): 

  • presenting favorable circumstances; likely to result in or show signs of success
  • Example: The child's heartbeat is still weak, but I am seeing many propitious signs and I think that she may be healing.

27. Provincial (adjective): 

  • characteristic of the a limited perspective; not fashionable or sophisticated
  • Example: Maggie's enthusiasm about her high school teams seemed provincial to her college classmates, all of whom were following a nationally ranked college team.

28. Pundit (noun): 

  • someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field
  • Example: Steven Pinker's credentials are unquestioned as a pundit; he has taught at MIT and Stanford, teaches at Harvard, and has published a number of influential books on cognition, language, and psychology.

Word List: Q

1. Qualify (adjective): 

  • to be legally competent or capable
  • Example: If James had made more than $50,000 last year, then he wouldn't have qualified for the low-income scholarship.

2. Qualify (verb): 

  • to make less severe; to limit (a statement)
  • Example: Chris qualified his love for San Francisco, adding that he didn't like the weather as much as the weather in Los Angeles.

3. Querulous (adjective): 

  • habitually complaining
  • Example: The querulous old woman was begining to wear down even the happier members of the staff with her ceaseless complaining.

4. Quotidian (adjective): 

  • found in the ordinary course of events
  • Example: Phil gets so involved thinking about Aristotle's arguments that he totally forgets quotidian concerns, such as exercising and eating regularly.

Word List: R

1. Ravenous (adjective): 

  • extremely hungry; devouring or craving food in great quantities
  • Example: John didn't each much at all during the week he had the flu, so now that he is regaining his health, it's not surpring that he has a ravenous appetite.

2. Rebuke (verb): 

  • criticize severely or angrily; censure
  • Example: The police chief rebuked the two officers whose irresponsible decisions almost led to the deaths of seven innocent by-standers.

3. Reconcile (verb): 

  • make (one thing) compatible with (another)
  • Example: Peggy was unable to reconcile her kind friend Jane with the cruel and merciless character Jane played on television.

4. Recondite (adjective): 

  • difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge
  • Example: I found Ulysses recondite and never finished the book, waiting instead to read it with someone else so we could penetrate its meaning together.

5. Refractory (adjective): 

  • stubbornly resistant to authority or control
  • Example: Used to studious high school students, Martha was unprepared for the refractory Kindergarteners who neither sat still nor listened to a single word she said.

6. Refute (verb): 

  • prove to be false or incorrect
  • Example: No one could refute his theories or propositions, and that is why he was esteemed by all his colleagues in the philosophy department.

7. Reproach (verb): 

  • to express criticism towards
  • Example: At first, Sarah was going to yell at the boy, but she didn't want to reproach him for telling the truth about the situation.

8. Repudiate (verb): 

  • reject as untrue or unfounded
  • Example: Many in the public believed the rumors of a UFO crash outside town, so the chief of police did everything he could to repudiate the rumors.

9. Rescind (verb): 

  • cancel officially
  • Example: The man's driver's license was rescinded after his tenth car accident, which meant he would never be allowed to legally drive again.

10. Restive (adjective):

  • restless
  • Example: The crowd grew restive as the comedian's opening jokes fell flat.

11. Resurgent (adjective): 

  • rising again as to new life and vigor
  • Example: The team sank to fourth place in June, but is now resurgent and about to win the division.

12. Reticent (adjective): 

  • reluctant to draw attention to yourself; temperamentally disinclined to talk
  • Example: When asked about her father, Helen lost her outward enthusiasm and became rather reticent.

13. Reverent (adjective): 

  • feeling or showing profound respect or veneration
  • Example: The professor could speak objectively about the other composers, but he always lectured about Brahms with a particularly reverent air, unable to offer a single criticism of his compositions.

14. Rudimentary (adjective): 

  • being in the earliest stages of development; being or involving basic facts or principles
  • Example: I would love to be able to present a fully polished proposal to the board, but right now, our plans for the product are still in the most rudimentary stages.

15. Rustic (adjective): 

  • characteristic of rural life; awkwardly simple and provincial
  • Example: The vacation cabin had no electricity and no indoor plumbing, but despite these inconveniences, Nigel adored its rustic charm.

Word List: S

1. Sanction (verb): 

  • give authority or permission to
  • Example: The authorities have sanctioned the use of the wilderness reserve for public use; many expect to see hikers an campers enjoying the park in the coming months.

2. Sanction (noun): 

  • a legal penalty for a forbidden action
  • Example: International sanctions have been placed on certain shipping lanes that were thought to be involved in human trafficking.

3. Scrupulous (adjective): 

  • characterized by extreme care and great effort
  • Example: Because of his scrupulous nature, Mary put him in charge of numbering and cataloging the entire collection of rare stamps.

4. Scrupulous (adjective): 

  • having a sense of right and wrong; principled
  • Example: Everyone trusted what he said and followed his example because he was scrupulous and honest.

5. Soporific (adjective): 

  • inducing mental lethargy; sleep inducing
  • Example: Although the professor is brilliant, his bland monotone gives his lectures a soporific effect.

6. Specious (adjective): 

  • based on pretense; deceptively pleasing
  • Example: Almost every image on TV is specious and not to be trusted.

7. Specious (adjective): 

  • plausible but false
  • Example: He made a career out of specious arguments and fictional lab results, but lost his job and reputation when his lies were exposed by an article in The New York Times.

8. Sporadic (adjective): 

  • recurring in scattered and irregular or unpredictable instances
  • Example: The signals were at first sporadic, but now we detect a clear, consistent pattern of electromagnetic radiation eminating from deep space.

9. Spurious (adjective): 

  • plausible but false
  • Example: When listening to a politician speak, it is hard to distinguish the spurious claims from the authentic ones.

10. Staunch (adjective): 

  • firm and dependable especially in loyalty
  • Example: No longer a staunch supporter of the movement, Todd now will openly question whether its goals are worthwhile.

11. Stringent (adjective): 

  • demanding strict attention to rules and procedures
  • Example: Most of the students disliked the teacher because of his stringent homework policy, but many students would later thank him for demanding so much from them.

12. Subsume (verb): 

  • contain or include
  • Example: The rogue wave quickly subsumed the pier and boardwalk, destroying everything in its path.

13. Subsume (verb): 

  • consider (an instance of something) as part of a general rule or principle
  • Example: Don Quixote of La Mancha subsumes all other modern novels, demonstrating modern literary devices and predating even the idea of a postmodern, metanarrative.

14. Subversive (adjective):

  • in opposition to a civil authority or government
  • Example: The ruling political party has begun a campaign to shut down subversive websites that it deems as a threat to "national safety."

15. Sullen (adjective): 

  • showing a brooding ill humor
  • Example: Herbert took board games too seriously, often appearing sullen after losing.

16. Superfluous (adjective): 

  • serving no useful purpose
  • Example: How can we hope to stay open if we don't eliminate all superfluous spending, like catered meetings and free acupucture Tuesday?

17. Superfluous (adjective): 

  • more than is needed, desired, or required
  • Example: Everything in this closet is superfluous and can be given to charity.

18. Supplant (verb): 

  • take the place or move into the position of
  • Example: For many, a cell phone has supplanted a traditional phone; in fact, most 20-somethings don't even have a traditional phone anymore.

19. Sycophant (noun): 

  • a person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage
  • Example: The CEO was unaware of the damaging consequences of his choices, largely because he surrounded himself with sycophants who would never dare criticize him.

Word List: T

1. Taciturn (adjective): 

  • habitually reserved and uncommunicative
  • Example: While the CEO enthusiastically shares his plans and agenda with all who will listen, the CFO is far more taciturn, rarely revealing his perspective.

2. Tantamount (adjective): 

  • being essentially equal to something 
  • Example: In many situations, remaining silent is tantamount to admitting guilt, so speak to prove your innocence.

3. Temperance (noun): 

  • the trait of avoiding excesses
  • Example: Welles wasn't known for his temperance--he usually ate enough for two and drank enough for three.

4. Tempered (adjective): 

  • moderated in effect
  • Example: The wide-eyed optimism of her youth was now tempered after she had worked many years in the criminal justice system.

5. Tenacious (adjective): 

  • stubbornly unyielding
  • Example: Even the most tenacious advocates for gun ownership must admit some of the dangers that firearms present.

6. Timorous (adjective): 

  • timid by nature or revealing fear and nervousness
  • Example: Since this was her first time debating on stage and before an audience, Di's voice was timorous and quiet for the first 10 minutes.

7. Torpor (noun): 

  • inactivity resulting from lethargy and lack of vigor or energy
  • Example: After work, I was expecting my colleagues to be enthusiastic about the outing, but I found them in a state of complete torpor.

8. Tortuous (adjective): 

  • marked by repeated turns and bends; not straightforward
  • Example: Because the logic behind McMahon's side of the debate was so tortuous, his audience came out either completely confused or, worse, feeling they'd been tricked.

9. Tractable (adjective): 

  • readily reacting to suggestions and influences; easily managed (controlled or taught or molded)
  • Example: Compared to middle school students, who have an untamed wildness about them, high school students are somewhat more tractable.

10. Transient (adjective): 

  • lasting a very short time
  • Example: The unpredictable and transient nature of deja vu makes it a very difficult phenomenon to study properly.

11. Travesty (noun): 

  • an absurd presentation of something; a mockery
  • Example: What I expected to be an intelligent, nuanced historical documentary turned out to be a poorly-produced travesty of the form.

12. Treacherous (adjective): 

  • tending to betray
  • Example: Even though Jesse James was an outlaw, his killer, Robert Ford, is remembered more for his treacherous actions than for eliminating a criminal and murder.

13. Treacherous (adjective): 

  • dangerously unstable and unpredictable
  • Example: The bridge built from twine and vine is treacherous to walk across, and so I think I will stay put right here.

14. Trite (adjective): 

  • repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
  • Example: Many style guides recommend not using idioms in writing because these trite expressions are uninteresting and show a lack of imagination on the part of the writer.

15. Truncate (verb): 

  • reduce the length of something
  • Example: The soccer game was truncated when the monsoon rain began to fall.
The document High Frequency Word List: P-T | Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC) - CAT is a part of the CAT Course Verbal Ability (VA) & Reading Comprehension (RC).
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