500 Key Words for the SAT Vocabulary

  1. Abstract
    adj-- theoretical; not concrete

    Think of: Absent tracks

    Picture: A steam train riding on invisible tracks. The tracks are abstract, just an idea.

    Other form: Abstraction (noun)

    Sentence: Advanced algebra is too abstract for most people.
  2. Abstruse
    adj-- hard to understand

    Sounds like: Abb's truce

    Picture: A hillbilly holding a rifle in one hand and a note in the other. The note may be a truce from the family he's been feuding with (the Abb's), but he's not sure because it's hard to understand.

    Other forms: Abstrusely (Adv); abstruseness (noun)

    Sentence: Her abstruse explanation of hte accident was bewildering.
  3. accolade
    noun- an award, or praise

    Sounds like: Echo lad

    Picture: A young boy is standing of the edge of a cliff, facing a vertical wall of rock. He yells wonderful things about himself so that his voice echoes off the wall and comes back to him.

    Sentence: The film recieved accolades from both the critics and the general public.
  4. Acclaim
    verb- praise; applaud

    Sounds like: a claim

    Picture: An insurance company. The newcomer on the staff has just handled her first claim. Her co-workers, a supportive bunch, are all clapping for her and offering their congratulations.

    Other forms: Acclaim, acclamation (nouns) (Don't confuse with "acclimation.")

    Sentence: Mark Twain was a highly-acclaimed author and lecturer.
  5. Acquiescent
    adj--- reluctantly agreeable; compliant

    Sounds like: Agree yes cent

    Picture: There is a penny seated on a bench. Children urge the penny to play with them. He knows they will never give up. so he gives in and quietly and reluctantly gets up to play.

    Other forms: Acquiesce (verb); acquiescence (noun)

    Sentence: Some employers insist on acquiescence and will fire anyone who rebels.
  6. Acrimony
    noun- words or behavior filled with harshness or anger

    Looks like: acre money

    • Picture: Two neighboring farmers arguing over who owns a certain acre of land.
    • Farmer 1: "This is my acre. You want it? Give me my money and it's yours!"
    • Farmer 2: "Your money? This is my land, you big, ugly, stupid farmer. Now get out of here before I say something really acrimonious!"

    Other forms: Acrimonious (adj); acrimoniously (adv)

    Sentence: Unfortunately, divorce proceedings are often filled with acrimony.
  7. Adamant
    adj--- refusing to change; stubborn, unyielding

    Looks like: a dam ant

    Picture: A giant ant acting as a dam, blocking a stream. The other ants need the water for their colony. "Come on," they say, "get out of the way!" But the large ant refuses to move.

    Sentence: She was adamant that her son be home by midnight.
  8. Adroit
    adj--- skillful in physical activity, or in handling difficult situations

    Looks like: android, which is a human-like robot

    Picture: An android playing basketball. He dribbles behind his back and does reverse lay-ups with either hand. A reporter is impressed. "He has the best skills I've ever see. And he's equally adroit at handling the media, particularly concerning his use of illegal battery packs in the Olympics."

    Sentence: Her adroitness on the balance beam stunned the crowd.
  9. Advocate
    adj-- support; plead for; speak on behalf of

    Sounds like: Ad for Kate

    Picture: Kate is seeking her first jon. She's smart and well-educated, but has no experience. Kate's aunt, publisher of the local newspaper, has always encouraged Kate. She begins running ads, telling the reader how talented and reliable Kate is. "I strongly advocate your hiring her" says says each ad.

    Other forms: Advocate, advocacy (nouns)

    Sentence: Lawyers advocate for their clients.
  10. Affable
    adj-- friendly; easygoing

    Looks like: a fable

    Think of: Aesop's Fables. Picture Aesop, a Greek man who lived about 500 B.C. Imagine him as a friendly, outgoing person, standing in the center of the village and greeting people as they pass by

    Other forms: Affability (noun); affably (adv)

    Sentence: Most television news anchors appear to be affable, at least on the air.
  11. Affirmation
    noun--- positive statement; assertion; agreement

    Sounds like: a firm Asian

    Picture: A muscular man from the Orient being interviewed by a TV news reporter. "We've heard," says the reporter. "that you plan to break the world weightlifting record by lifting a toyota filled with Sumo wrestlers. Is this true?" "Yes," replies the Asian man. "And that includes a full tank of gas and maps in the glove compartment." Looking into the TV camera, the reporter says, "Up until nowit had been just another unfounded rumor. But now we've recieved affirmation."

    Other forms: Affirm (verbs); affirmative (adj); affirmatively (adv)

    Sentence: The prime minister saw her re-election as an affirmation of her policies.
  12. Alienate
    v-- to push someone away. or cause him to separate from people

    Sounds like: Alien Nate

    Picture: Nate, a Martian, is standing apart from a group of former Earthling friends. One says, "We don't want him around anymore. He's weird. It's like he's from another planet or something."

    Other forms: alien, alienation (nouns)

    Sentence: People who think they know everything often alienate their friends.
  13. Aloof
    adj-- detached; apart; indifferent

    Sounds like: a roof

    Picture: Person on the roof of a house, refusing to even look at the people below. He has completely removed himself from the group.

    Sentence: He ahs always sat alone, so people assumed he was aloof.
  14. Altruistic
    adj-- unselfish; caring

    Sounds like: Al True's Wish Stick

    Picture: A man name Al True has a "wish stick" or magic wand. He uses it to help people by giving them what they need.

    Other form: Altruism (noun)

    Sentence: Most religions teach that altruism is good.
  15. Ambidextrous
    adj-- able to use both hands with equal skill

    Sounds like: Bambi Dextrous

    Picture: A baseball pitcher named Bambi Dextrous who pitches with both hands at the same time.

    Sentence: Juggling must be easier for people who are ambidextrous.

    Connect with: Dexterity
  16. Ambiguous
    adj-- unclear; vague; having several possible interpretations

    Sounds like: a big U.S.

    • Picture: Mother and son are standing at the front door. Son is about to leave on a trip.
    • Mom: So where exactly are you going?
    • Son: Somewhere.
    • Mom: Somewhere where?
    • SonL Somewhere in the U.S.
    • Mom: You're being very vague. It's a big U.S. out there.

    Other forms: Ambiguity (noun); ambiguously (adv)

    Sentence: When questioned by police, the suspect gave ambiguous answers.
  17. Ambivalence
    n-- indecision; feeling of being pulled in two directions

    Looks like: Val inside ambulance (ambiVALence)

    Picture: Val is about to have a baby. She's gone into labor while her husband is at work. She's called for an ambulance to take her to the hospital, but now that she's inside the ambulance she's having second thoughts about going without her husband: :Wait! Let's give him a few more minutes. No, we should go. I'm in labor. Okay, take me to the hospital. No, wait! Maybe he'll get here soon..."

    Other forms: Ambivalent (Adj); ambivalently (adv)

    Sentence: The house had been in the family for generations, so they were ambivalent about selling it.
  18. Ameliorate
    v-- to make an unpleasant situation better; to improve

    Sounds like: a meteor ate

    PictureL a house was overrun with two-headed snakes. Suddenly, a meteor swooped down and gobbled up all the snakes. So a meteor ate the snakes and improved the situations in the house.

    Sentence: The terrible working conditions were ameliorated only by her friendly co-workers.
  19. Amity

    Sounds like: Emma tea

    Picture: A lady named Emma who invites neighbors and passersby over to her house for tea every day. Visitors are lined up at the front door, while a steady stream of people holding teacups flows fromt the back dooor and spills out onto the back lawn. A smiling Emma says, "I'm just trying to be friendly."

    Connect with: Amicable (adj); amigo (Spanish)

    Sentence: Complete amity amond bordering nations is always difficult.
  20. Amorphous
    adj-- without form or shape

    Sounds like: Yay, more for us!

    Picture: A mother bringing her three children bowls of some shapeless food. One of the kids says, "Yay, more for us!" One of the others says, "Yeah, but more what?"

    Sentence: Liquid water is amorphous; it always takes the shape of its container.

    Connect with: Metamorphosis
  21. Analogous
    adj-- similar

    Sounds like: an alligator

    Picture: Two alligators that look exactly alike

    Other form: analogy (noun)

    Sentence: A camera's aperture is analogous to the pupil of the eye.
  22. Anarchy
    n-- a lack of order; chaos

    Soudns like: an ark key

    Picture: The animals on Noah's Ark are running wild. Noah, standing on the pier, has somehow been locked out. He's yelling, "My key! Please, someone give me an ark key! This is chaos!"

    Other form: Anarchist (noun)

    Sentence: Without laws and rules, there would be anarchy everywhere.
  23. Anathema
    n-- a religious curse, or the thing or person being cursed

    Looks like: an anthem

    Picture: A man who, many years ago, fled his native country because of the cruel government in power there. Now, as an old man, he finds a record in his attic. When he plays the record, he hears, for the first time in four decades, the national anthem of his former home. The song reminds him of the cruel dictator still in power and he spits on the record, cursing the words, the dictator, and the entire government. The anthem is now anthema to him.

    Sentence: For many people in India, the killing of cows in anathema.
  24. Antagonistic
    adj-- in hostile competition; opposing

    Sounds like: Ant tag on his stick

    Picture: An ant holding a stick; on the stick hangs a tag that says, "I'll fight anybody, any time. How about right now?"

    Other forms: Antagonist, antagonism (nouns); antagonize (verb)

    Sentence: Political parties are often antagonistic toward each other
  25. Antiquated
    adj-- too old to be useful; outdated; obsolete

    Sounds like: Auntie Katie

    Picture: A very, very old woman named Auntie Katie. She lives in an old house with an old dog and old furniture. Every single thing in Auntie Katie's life is antiquated.

    Connect with: Antique, antiquity (nouns)

    Sentence: The wiring in some old houses is too antiquated to handle modern appliances.
  26. Antithesis
    n-- opposite

    Sounds like: anTEETHsis

    Picture: The teeth in your mouth. For every tooth, there is an opposite tooth. For example, for eer upper tooth, there is a corresponding (opposite) lower tooth.

    Other form: An antithetical (adj)
  27. Apathy
    n-- lack of interest or concern

    Sounds like: apple tree

    Picture: George Washington's father is questioning him about the cherry tree that has been chopped down. Young George, arms folded, replies: "I cannot tell a lie. I really don't care who chopped down the cherry tree."

    Other form: Apathetic

    Sentence: Many citizens are apathetic about elections and don't bother to vote.
  28. Apex
    n-- top; highest pint; summit

    Looks like: Ape x

    Picture: King Kong (the ape) climbing the Empire State Building. He's trying to get to a large letter "X" which is perched on top of the building's antenna (the highest point). As he climbs, he thinks to himself, "This will be the apex of my career."

    Sentence: It took the moutain-climbers four days to reach the apex.
  29. Appease
    v-- calm; pacify

    Sounds liek: peas

    Picture: A young child who's upset because he's hungry. He calms down when his mother gives him some peas. Or just think of "please" or "a peace" all of which sound like appease and suggest its meaning.

    Other form: Appeasement (noun)

    Sentence: Management tried to appease the strikers with a small salary increase.
  30. Arbitrary
    adj-- selected by random choice and without solid reason

    Sounds like: our bee, Jerry

    Picture: A giant glass tank called the Lost Bee Shelter. A young man is looking into the tank at thousands of flying bees. He says to the attendant, :I think that's him. That's our bee, Jerry."

    Other form: Arbitrarily (adv)

    Sentence: Your selection of a seat in a nearly empty theater is somewhat arbitrary.
Card Set
500 Key Words for the SAT Vocabulary
Vocabulary words from the test prep book "500 Key Words for the SAT" Book