GRE Vocab (D-F)

  1. Debutante (n)
    young woman making debut in high society

    The debutante spent hours dressing for her very first ball, hoping to catch the eye of an eligible bachelor.

    Synonyms: lady; maiden
  2. Declivity (n)
    downward slope

    Because the village was situated on the declivity of a hill, it never flooded.

    Synonyms: decline; descent; grade; slant; tilt
  3. Decorous (adj)
    proper; tasteful; socially correct

    The countess trained her daughters in the finer points of decorous behavior, hoping they would make a good impression when she presented them at Court.

    Synonyms: appropriate; comme il faut; courteous; polite
  4. Decorum (n)
    appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety

    The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the decorum appropriate for a visit to the place.

    Synonyms: correctness; decency; etiquette; manners; mores; propriety; seemliness
  5. Deface (v)
    to mar the appearance of; vandalize

    After the wall was torn down, the students, began to deface the statues of Communist leaders of the former Eastern Bloc.

    Synonyms: disfigure; impair; spoil
  6. Deference (n)
    respect; courtesy

    the respectful young law clerk treated the Supreme Court justice with the utmost deference.

    Synonyms: courtesy; homage; honor; obeisance; respect; reverence; veneration
  7. Deleterious (adj)
    subtly or unexpectedly harmful

    If only we had known the clocks were defective before putting them on the market, it wouldn't have been quite so deleterious to our reputation.

    Synonyms: adverse; inimical; injurious; hurtful
  8. Demagogue (n)
    a leader or rabble-rouser, usually appealing to emotion or prejudice

    He began his career as a demagogue, giving fiery speeches at political rallies.

    Synonyms: agitator; inciter; instigator
  9. Demur (v)
    to express doubts or objections

    • When scientific authorities claimed that all the planets revolved around the Earth, Galileo, with his superior understanding of the situation, was forced to demur.
    • Synonyms: dissent; expostulate; kick; protest; remonstrate
  10. Deride (v)
    to speak of or treat with contempt; to mock

    The awkward child was often derided by his "cooler" peers .

    Synonyms: gibe; jeer; mock; ridicule; scoff; sneer; taunt
  11. Desiccate (v)
    to dry out thoroughly

    After a few weeks lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely desiccated.

    Synonyms: dehydrate; dry; parch
  12. Desultory (adj)
    jumping from one thing to another

    Athena had a desultory academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in 3 years.

    Synonyms: aimless; disconnected; erratic; haphazard; indiscriminate; objectless; purposeless; random; stray; unconsidered; unplanned
  13. Diaphanous (adj)
    allowing light to show through; delicate

    These diaphanous curtains do nothing to block out the sunlight.

    Synonyms: gauzy; sheer; tenuous; translucent; transparent
  14. Diatribe (n)
    an abusive, condemnatory speech

    The trucker bellowed a diatribe at the driver who had cut him off.

    Synonyms: fulmination; harangue; invective; jeremiad; malediction; obloquy; tirade
  15. Dictum (n)
    authoritative statement

    "You have time to lean, you have time to clean," was the dictum our boss made us live by.

    Synonyms: adage; apothegm; aphorism; decree; edict
  16. Diffident (adj)
    lacking self-confidence

    Steve's diffidence during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field.

    Synonyms: backward; bashful; coy; demure; modest; retiring; self-effacing; shy; timid
  17. Dilate (v)
    to make larger; expand

    When you enter a darkened room, the pupils of you eyes dilate so as to let more light in.

    Synonyms: amplify; develop; elaborate; enlarge; expand; expatiate
  18. Dilettante (n)
    someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic

    Jerry's friends were such dilettantes they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week.

    Synonyms: amateur; dabbler; superficial; tyro
  19. Dirge (n)
    a funeral hymn or mournful speech

    Melville wrote the poem "A Dirge for James McPherson" for the funeral of a Union general who was killed in 1864.

    Synonyms: elegy; lament
  20. Dilatory (adj)
    intended to delay

    The congressman used dilatory measures to delay the passage of the bill.

    Synonyms: dragging; flagging; laggard; lagging; slow; slow-footed; slow-going; slow-paced; tardy
  21. Disabuse (v)
    to set right; free from error

    Galileo's observations disabused scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the earth

    Synonyms: correct; undeceive
  22. Discern (v)
    to perceive or recognize

    It is easy to discern the difference between butter and butter-flavored topping.

    Synonyms: catch; descry; detect; differentiate; discriminate; distinguish; espy; glimpse; know;separate; spot; spy; tell
  23. Disparate (adj)
    fundamentally different; entirely unalike

    Although the twins are physically identical, their personalities are disparate.

    Synonyms: different; dissimilar; divergent;diverse; variant; various
  24. Dissemble (v)
    to present a false appearance; to disguise one's real intentions or character

    The villain could dissemble to the police no longer-he admitted the deed and tore up the floor to reveal the stash of stolen money.

    Synonyms: act; affect; assume; camouflage; cloak; counterfeit; cover-up; disguise; dissimulate; fake; feign; mask; masquerade; pose pretend; put on; sham
  25. Dissonance (n)
    a harsh and disagreeable combination, especially of sounds

    Cognitive dissonance is the inner-conflict produced when long-standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence.

    Synonyms: clash; contention; discord; dissension; dissent; dissidence; friction; strife; variance
  26. Distaff (n)
    the female branch of the family

    The lazy husband refused to cook dinner for his wife, joking that the duty belongs to the distaff's side.

    Synonyms: maternal
  27. Distend (v)
    to swell, inflate, or bloat

    Her stomach was distended after she gorged on the six-course meal.

    Synonyms: broaden; bulge
  28. Dither (v)
    to act confusedly or without clear purpose

    Ellen dithered around her apartment, uncertain how to tackle th family crisis.

    Synonyms: falter; hesitate; vacillate; waffle; waver
  29. Diurnal (adj)
    existing during the day

    Diurnal creatures tend to become inactive during the night.

    Synonyms: daylight; daytime
  30. Divine (v)
    to foretell or know by inspiration

    The fortune-teller divined from the pattern of the tea leaved that her customer would marry five times.

    Synonyms: auger; foresee; intuit; predict; presage
  31. Doctrinaire (adj)
    rigidly devoted to theories without regard for practicality; dogmatic

    The professor's manner of teaching was considered doctrinaire for such a liberal school.

    Synonyms: dictatorial; inflexible
  32. Dogma (n)
    a firmly held opinion, especially a religious belief

    Linus's central dogma was that children who believe in the great pumpkin will be rewarded.

    Synonyms: creed; doctrines; teaching; tenet
  33. Dogmatic (adj)
    dictatorial in one's opinions

    The dictator was dogmatic, claiming he, and only he, was right.

    Synonyms: authoritarian; bossy; dictatorial; doctrinaire; domineering; imperious; magestrial; masterful; overbearing; peremptory
  34. Droll (adj)
    amusing in a wry, subtle way

    Although the play couldn't be described as hilarious, it was certainly droll.

    Synonyms: comic; entertaining; funny; risible; witty
  35. Dupe (v)
    to deceive; a person who is easily deceived

    Bugs Bunny was able to dupe Elmer Fudd by dressing up as a lady rabbit.

    Synonyms: beguile; betray; bluff; cozen; deceive; delude; fool; hoodwink; humbug; mislead; take in trick
  36. Dyspeptic (adj)
    suffering from indigestion; gloomy and irritable

    The dyspeptic young man cast a gloom over the party the minute he walked in.

    Synonyms: acerbic; melancholy; morose; solemn; sour
  37. Ebullient (adj)
    exhilarated; full of enthusiasm and high spirits

    The ebullient child exhausted the babysitter, who lacked the energy to keep up with her.

    Synonyms: ardent; avid; bubbly; zestful
  38. Eclectic (adj)
    selecting from or made up from a variety of sources

    Budapest's architecture is an eclectic mix of eastern and western styles

    Synonyms: broad; catholic; selective
  39. Edify (v)
    to instruct morally and spiritually

    The guru was paid to edify the actress in the ways of Buddhism.

    Synonyms: educate; enlighten; guide; teach
  40. Efficacy (n)

    The efficacy of penicillin was unsurpassed when it was introduced, completely eliminating almost all bacterial infections.

    Synonyms: dynamism; effectiveness; efficiency; force; power; productiveness; proficiency; strength; vigor
  41. Effigy (n)
    stuffed doll; likeness of a person

    In England, effigies of the historic rebel Guy Fawkes are burned in commemoration of his life.

    Synonyms: dummy; figure; image
  42. Effrontery (n)
    impudent boldness; audacity

    The receptionist had the effrontery to laugh out loud when the CEO tripped over a computer wire and fell flat on his face.

    Synonyms: brashness; gall; nerve; presumption; temerity
  43. Elegy (n)
    a sorrowful poem or speech

    Though Thomas Gray's Elegy is about his death and loss, it urges its readers to endure this life, and to trust in spirituality.

    Synonyms: dirge; lament
  44. Eloquent (adj)
    persuasive and moving; especially in speech

    The Gettysburg Address is moving not only because of its lofty sentiments buts because its eloquent words.

    Synonyms: articulate; expressive; fluent; meaningful; significant; smooth-spoken
  45. Embellish (v)
    to add ornamental or fictitious details

    Britt embellished her résumé, hoping to make the lowly positions she had held sound more important.

    Synonyms: adorn; bedeck; elaborate; embroiderer; enhance; exaggerate
  46. Emulate (v)
    to copy; to try to equal or excel

    The graduate student sought to emulate his professor in every way, copying not only how she taught but how she conducted herself outside of class.

    Synonyms: ape; imitate; simulate
  47. Encomium (n)
    warm praise

    Georgias's "Encomium to Helen" was written as a tribute to Helen of Troy.

    Synonyms: citation; eulogy; panegyric; salutation; tribute
  48. Endemic (adj)
    belonging to a particular area; inherent

    The health department determined that the outbreak was endemic to the small village, so they quarantined the inhabitants before the virus could spread.

    Synonyms: indigenous; local; native
  49. Enervate (v)
    to reduce in strength

    The guerrillas hoped that a series of surprise attacks would enervate the regular army.

    Synonyms: debilitate; enfeeble; sap; weaken
  50. Engender (v)
    to produce, cause, or bring about

    His fear and hatred of clowns was engendered when he witnessed a bank robbery carried out by five men wearing clown costumes and make-up.

    Synonyms: beget; generate; procreate; proliferate; reproduce; spawn
  51. Enigma (n)
    a puzzle; a mystery

    Speaking in riddles and dressed in old robes, the artist gained a reputation of something of an enigma.

    Synonyms: conundrum perplexity
  52. Enumerate (v)
    to count, list, or itemize

    Before making his decision, Jacob asked the waiter to enumerate the different varieties of ice cream that the restaurant carried.

    Synonyms: catalog; index; tabulate
  53. Ephemeral (adj)
    lasting a short time

    The lives of mayflies seem ephemeral to us, since the flies average lifespan is a matter of hours.

    Synonyms: evanescent; fleeting; momentary; transient
  54. Epicure (n)
    person with a refined taste in food and wine

    Niren is an epicure who always throws the most splendid dinner parties.

    Synonyms: bon vivant; connoisseur; gastronome; gastronomist; gourmand; gourmet
  55. Equivocate (v)
    to use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead

    When faced with criticism of his policies, the politician equivocated and left all parties thinking he agreed with them.

    Synonyms: ambiguous; evasive; waffling
  56. Erratic (adj)
    wandering and unpredictable

    The plot seemed predictable until it suddenly took a series of erratic turns that surprised the audience.

    Synonyms: capricious; inconstant; irresolute; whimsical
  57. Ersatz (adj)

    Edda, a fashion maven, knew instantly that her friend's new Kate Spade bag was really an ersatz version purchased on the street.

    Synonyms: artificial; dummy; false; imitation; mock; sham; simulated; spurious; substitute
  58. Erudite (adj)
    learned, scholarly; bookish

    The annual meeting of philosophy professors was a gathering of erudite, well-published individuals in the field.

    Synonyms: learned; scholastic; wise
  59. Eschew (v)
    to shun; to avoid (as something wrong or distasteful)

    The filmmaker eschewed artificial light for her actors, resulting in a stark movie style.

    Synonyms: avoid; bilk; elude; escape; evade; shun; shy
  60. Esoteric (adj)
    known or understood only by a few

    Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the esoteric world of particle physics.

    Synonyms: abstruse; arcane; obscure
  61. Estimable (adj)

    Most people consider it estimable that Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India.

    Synonyms: admirable; commendable; creditable; honorable; laudable; meritorious; praiseworthy; respectable; venerable; worthy
  62. Ethos (n)
    beliefs or character of a group

    It is the Boy Scouts' ethos that one should always be prepared.

    Synonyms: culture; ethic; philosophy
  63. Eulogy (n)
    speech in praise of someone

    His best friend gave the eulogy, outlining his many achievements and talents.

    Synonyms: commend; extol; laud
  64. Euphemism (n)
    use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a more distasteful one

    The funeral director preferred to use the euphemism "sleeping" instead of the word 'dead'.

    Synonyms: nice-nellyism
  65. Euphony (n)
    pleasant, harmonious sound

    To their loving parents, the children's orchestra sounded like euphony, although an outside observer probably would have called it a cacophony of hideous sounds.

    Synonyms: harmony; melody; music; sweetness
  66. Exacerbate (v)
    to make worse

    It is unwise to try to take aspirin to try to relieve heartburn since instead of providing relief it will only exacerbate the problem.

    Synonyms: aggravate; annoy; intensify; irritate; provoke
  67. Exculpate (v)
    to clear from blame; prove innocent

    The legal system is intended to convict those who are guilty and exculpate those who are innocent.

    Synonyms: absolve; acquit; clear; exonerate; vindicate
  68. Exigent (adj)
    urgent; requiring immediate action

    The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was exigent to stop the source of the bleeding.

    Synonyms: critical; imperative; needed; urgent
  69. Exonerate (v)
    to clear of blame

    The fugitive was exonerated when another criminal confessed to committing the crime.

    Synonyms: absolve; acquit; clear; exculpate; vindicate
  70. Explicit (adj)
    clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression

    In Reading Comprehension, questions that ask directly about a detail in the passage are sometimes called Explicit Text questions.

    Synonyms: candid; clear-cut; definite; definitive; express; frank; specific; straightforward; unambiguous; unequivocal
  71. Exponent (n)
    one who champions or advocates

    The vice president was an enthusiastic exponent of computer technology.

    Synonyms: representative; supporter
  72. Expurgate (v)
    to censor

    Government propagandists expurgated all the negative references to the dictator from the film.

    Synonyms: bowdlerize; cut; sanitize
  73. Fallow (n)
    dormant; unused

    This field should lie fallow for a year so the soil does not become completely depleted.

    Synonyms: idle; inactive; unseeded
  74. Fanatical (adj)
    acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion

    The storm troopers were fanatical in their devotion to the emperor, readily sacrificing their lives for him.

    Synonyms: extremist; fiery; frenzied; zealous
  75. Fatuous (adj)
    stupid; foolishly self-satisfied

    Ted's fatuous comments always embarrassed his keen-witted wife at parties.

    Synonyms: absurd; ludicrous; preposterous; ridiculous; silly
  76. Fawn (v)
    to grovel

    The understudy fawned over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis.

    Synonyms: bootlick; grovel; pander; toady
  77. Fecund (adj)
    fertile; fruitful; productive

    The fecund couple yielded a total of 20 children.

    Synonyms: flourishing; prolific
  78. Fervid (adj)
    intensely emotional; feverish

    The fans of Maria Callas were particularly fervid, doing anything to catch a glimpse of the great opera singer.

    Synonyms: burning; impassioned; passionate; vehement; zealous
  79. Fetid (adj)
    foul-smelling; putrid

    The fetid stench from the outhouse caused Francesca to wrinkle her nose in disgust.

    Synonyms: funk; malodorous; noisome; rank; stinky
  80. Flag (v)
    to decline in vigor, strength , or interest

    The marathon runner slowed down as his strength flagged.

    Synonyms: dwindle; ebb; slacken; subside; wane
  81. Florid (adj)
    excessively decorated or embellished

    The palace had been decorated in an excessively florid style; every surface had been carved and gilded.

    Synonyms: baroque; elaborate; flamboyant; ornate; ostentatious; rococo
  82. Foment (v)
    to arouse or incite

    • The rebels tried to foment revolutions through their attacks on the government.
    • Synonyms: agitate; impassion; inflame; instigate; kindle
  83. Ford (v)
    to cross a body of water by wading

    Because of the recent torrential rains, the cowboys were unable to ford the swollen river.

    Synonyms: traverse; wade
  84. Forestall (v)
    to prevent or delay; anticipate

    The landlord forestalled T.J.'s attempt to avoid paying the rent by waiting for him outside his door.

    Synonyms: avert; deter; hinder; obviate; preclude
  85. Fortuitous (adj)
    happening by chance; fortunate

    It was fortuitous that he won the lotto just before he had to pay back his loans.

    Synonyms: chance; fortunate; haphazard; lucky; propitious; prosperous
  86. Fractious (adj)
    unruly; rebellious

    The general had a hard time maintaining discipline among his fractious troops.

    Synonyms: contentious; cranky; peevish; quarrelsome
  87. Frenetic (adj)
    frantic; frenzied

    The employee's frenetic schedule lefty her little time to socialize.

    Synonyms: corybantic; delirious; feverish; mad; rabid; wild
  88. Frugality (n)
    tending to be thrifty or cheap

    Scrooge McDuck's frugality was so great that he accumulated enough wealth to fill a giant storehouse with money.

    Synonyms: economical; parsimony; prudence; sparing
  89. Furtive (adj)
    secret; stealthy

    Glenn was furtive when he peered out of the corner of his eye at the stunningly beautiful model.

    Synonyms: clandestine; covert; shifty; surreptitious; underhand
Card Set
GRE Vocab (D-F)
500 "hardest" words/definitions/synonyms/example sentence