Can You Pass This College Vocabulary Quiz?



When someone is callous, they're emotionally hardened. "The events of his life had left him callous and unkind."


To debunk something is to expose it, often while ridiculing it. "His theory on the evolution of plants through magic was debunked by scientists."


Empirical evidence is derived from science and experimentation. "Rather than relying on theory, Jenny gathered empirical evidence that supported her ideas."


A bane is something that causes misery or even death. "This messy divorce is the bane of my existence right now."


Something that is defunct is inactive and no longer functioning. "The now-defunct cupcake shop stood vacant and dark on the busy street."


When something is widespread, especially something negative, it's rife. "The local government was rife with hypocrisy."


To be vitriolic is to be harsh, bitter and malicious. "His vitriolic tirade about office politics was not tolerated by management."


A dirge is a song or hymn of mourning used at a memorial. "The funeral procession was accompanied by a sad dirge, sung by the church choir."


To be bereft is to be sorrowful from the loss of something. "After the death of her husband, Susan was utterly bereft."


A requisition is an authoritative demand or request for property or materials. "The requisition came from upper management for five dozen cardboard boxes."


A panacea is a perceived remedy for all ills. "Hank felt better after eating the M&M's, and that's why he assumed that chocolate was a panacea for everything that ailed him."


An aberration is something that is different from the norm. Someone with a genetic aberration may have a rare disability or talent.


Blandishment is flattery that is intended to persuade someone. "His startling blandishment of the governor was a strategy to win funding for his organization."


Calumny is a false accusation or slander. "The poor girl did not commit the crime, but rather, she was a victim of vicious calumny."


Candor is the quality of being straightforward and honest. "The jury was impressed by the witness' candor."


An iconoclast is someone who challenges, or attacks, cherished ideas and institutions. "Harriet challenged the rules of art to such a degree that she became an iconoclast in many peoples' eyes."


To impinge is to infringe upon something. "I don't mean to impinge upon your plans for marriage, but I must say that I do not care for the groom."


Abnegation is to deny or reject a doctrine or belief. "Her lack of belief in her native Islam was pure abnegation."


A maverick is someone who is independent in thought and action. "The maverick of the group looked outside the box and never took things for granted."


Something that is pithy is not only concise, but it's also full of meaning. "Her pithy haiku expressed so much in so few words."


To be sanctimonious is to be hypocritically pious. "The corrupt priest was horribly sanctimonious, while on the side he was gambling with the church's money."


To be stolid is to show little emotion. "The judge was stolid and unforgiving, even while the witness wept and pleaded with him."


A travesty is something that misrepresents or imitates a style. "The artist said that he was an impressionist, but his painting of roses was an utter travesty in the eyes of those in the know."


Veracity refers to the unwillingness to tell lies. "The town council couldn't deny the young girl's veracity, as she described the true dangers of the local park."


To vituperate is to spread negative information about something, or verbally attack someone. "Whenever her husband got drunk, he would vituperate her all night long." This word is rarely used.


To abrogate is to formally revoke something. "The president knew the law was wrong, and therefore he chose to abrogate it with his own pen."


When something is abstruse, it's difficult to penetrate. "Because her comment was so abstruse, Mike had to pick it apart for about twenty minutes, searching for the meaning."


Accretion is the natural growth or addition of something. "The love they had for one another led to the accretion of their little family, fortune and wellbeing."


When you aggrandize something, you expand it. "In light of new information, Sally was able to aggrandize the scope of her business."


To capitulate is to surrender under agreed circumstances. "The warring tribe's capitulation led to an eventual peace treaty."


To cleave is to separate or cut with a sharp instrument. "The mountain man was able to cleave the wood with one swipe of his ax."


Compunction is the feeling of deep regret, often for a misdeed. "Although she was responsible for killing the butterfly, the little girl showed no compunction."


When you consign something, you give it over to another for safekeeping and care. "Although she loved her stuffed monkey, she consigned it to her friend when she went on vacation."


When something is didactic, it is instructive - perhaps overly so. "That noisy mother was didactic, always telling the other mothers what they ought to do."


When someone is dour, they have a brooding ill humor. "The dour receptionist treated me like I didn't exist."

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About This Quiz

Do you want to improve your vocabulary? Want to see how many tricky words you can remember from college? Curious whether your personal lexicon is impressive, abysmal, or simply just adequate? Then you're in the right place. Class has begun!

English is said to be one of the most complex languages of all. Beyond that, most college graduates or students are expected to know certain words and be able to use them correctly in a sentence. These words can be found in textbook and classrooms alike. So, how many do you think you remember from your intense days of learning? Remember cramming for the verbal section of the SAT? How many of those words can you recall? If you wish you could use words like "cogent" (powerfully persuasive) and "pertinacious" (stubbornly unyielding) correctly, or at least be able to define them, then head over to this quiz!

What are you waiting for? Take this first step to becoming (or seeming like) the smartest person in your circle! Let's see if you know words like "vitriolic" or "aberration" (they're not what you might think!). What about "ostentatious" or "conundrum"? (They mean pretentious and a difficult problem, respectively.) We promise we won't admonish you for not getting a perfect score. Don't abscond now without testing your knowledge first! See what we did there? Alright, now let's find out if you're a master of English vocabulary, or at least holding steady at a college level.

Put on your word whiz hat, and let's get started!

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