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100 Most Common SAT Vocabulary Words List

The following list of the 100 most common SAT vocabulary words was made by counting how many times a SAT word was the focus of an SAT test question between 1995 and 2002. These SAT test question types include Analogies, Sentence Completions, and Vocabulary-in-Context items. 

Word or Word Group Definition
abandoned v: to give oneself up to (e.g., evil); to cast off or reject
accusation (accuse) n: an indictment, a charge of an offense; the act of accusing
ambiguity (ambiguous) n: hesitation, doubt; an uncertainty; an instance of double meaning
analyze (analyst) v: to examine critically in order to bring out key elements or structure; to ascertain the elements of something
antagonize (-ism, -istic, -ist) v: to struggle against
apology (apologize, apologetic) n: an acknowledgment of fault or failure
architect (architecture) n: a designer of any complex structure or plan
astute adj: shrewd, crafty
blueprint n: a plan or program of action
boundary n: something that marks the limit or dividing line, or that limit itself
canvas n: a type of cloth used in sails, tents, to paint onv: to solicit support or votes
comic (comedy, comedian) adj: causing or intended to cause laughter
compassion (-ate) n: sympathy, pity
compete (competition, competitive) v: to strive for an objective
complex (complexity) n: a group of related elementsadj: formed by combination; intricate or not easily analyzed
comprehensive adj: large in scope; all-inclusive
compromise n: a joint agreement between two partiesv: to come to terms by mutual concessions
condemn (condemnation) v: to declare to be wrong or evil
conflict n: a battle, a fightv: to fight or to battle
confusion (confused) n: the state of being perplexed
consensus n: agreement or unity of opinion
contemporary adj: occurring at the same time
contempt (contemptuous) n: the act of despising someone or something
convention (conventional) n: an agreement; a norm or generally accepted rule, practice, or behavior; an assembly of people
conversation n: a spoken interchange; a talk
corrective (correct, correction) n: something that counteracts harm; something that restores health or proper behavior
critic (critical, criticism, criticize) n: one who judges the truth or value of any matter
debate (debatable) n: strife or contention in argumentv: to argue, discuss, quarrel over
deceit (deceitful, deceive) n: misrepresentation or concealment of the truth; an instance of such behavior
defend v: to protect or uphold
defined (definable, definition) adj: having a specified outline or form
demand n: a request, especially if urgentv: to ask for or require
deride v: to laugh mockingly at; to scorn
desert v: to abandon
destroy (destruction) v: to ruin or put out of existence
determined adj: resolved upon; resolute
digress (digression) v: to deviate from or to stray; to depart from the main point in argument
discredit n: a lack of reputation; a loss or lack of confidence or trustv: to injure the reputation of; to disbelieve
disease n: illness
disregard v: to pay no attention to
distort (distortion) v: to twist; to misrepresent
document v: to prove by evidence
dominate (dominance, dominant) v: to master; to prevail
doubt (doubtful) n: uncertaintyv: to hesitate to believe; to be uncertain
elect (election, electorate) v: to choosen: chosen, selected
emotion n: a state of mind; a strong feeling
endurance (endure) n: the ability to last or hold out
enhance v: to raise the level of
evaporate (evaporation) v: to convert into gas; to disappear
exclude (exclusive) v: to keep out; to deny entry to
expand (expansion) v: to spread out; to give full expression to
generosity (generous) adj: magnanimity; liberality in giving
hedonism (hedonist, hedonistic) n: the love of pleasure as the chief goal of life
hypocrisy (hypocrite, hypocritical) n: the practice of falsely professing a belief to which one’s own actions do not conform
hypothesis n: a proposition or assumption put forth as the basis for further investigation
illusory (illusion) adj: deceptive
imitate (imitation) v: to mimic or copy
integrity n: completeness; free from moral corruption
investigate (investigation, investigator) v: to examine a matter thoroughly; to make a systematic search
isolation (isolated) n: unconnected with anything else
lubricate (lubricant) v: to make slippery or smooth in order to minimize friction
manual adj: pertaining to hands, especially labor done by handn: a book of instruction
measure n: a size or quantity determined by measuring; something assessed by judgment or observationv: to ascertain size, quantity, or distance; to regulate or restrain
modest (modesty) adj: having a moderate estimate of one’s ability; not exaggerated or excessive
narrate (narrative, narrator) v: to tell a story
navigate (navigable, navigation) v: to find one’s way
neglect (negligence, negligent) v: to pay no or insufficient attention to
novel (novelty, novelist) v: new, originaln: a usually long prose narrative
obey (obedience) v: to comply with or submit to
observe (observable, observation) v: to watch carefully; to adhere to (e.g., a custom)
offense (offensive) n: an attack; a breach of law, duty, or manners
oppose (opponent, opposition) v: to set oneself against; to confront with objections
perplex (perplexing, perplexity) v: to confuse; to torment
persistent (persistence) adj: enduring; persisting in an action
persuade (persuasive) v: to successfully talk someone into an action or belief
plot n: a small piece of ground; a plan; a conspiracyv: to plan, especially a conspiracy
preserve v: to keep from harm
progress (progressive) n: advancement; developmentv: to proceed; to move by stages; to move forward
prohibitive (prohibit) adj: having the quality of preventing something from happening
prosaic (prose) adj: commonplace, dull
protagonist n: the chief person in a work of fiction; the leading person in a contest
restrain (restraint, restrained) v: to prevent from doing something; to limit
revise (revision) v: to look over repeatedly, as in a plan or piece of writing
satisfactory (satisfy) adj: sufficient, adequate
scrutinize v: to inspect closely; to examine methodically
stimulate (stimulant, stimulation, stimulus) v: to rouse to action; to animate
supplant v: to cause the downfall of; to remove from a position
suppress v: to cause an activity to cease; to cause a person to become powerless
surreptitious adj: obtained by suppression of the truth; acting stealthily or secretly
universal adj: applicable in all cases; including or affecting all members of a particular group; pertaining to the universe
varied adj: of different sorts or kinds
venerate (venerable, venerability) v: to regard with deep respect; to pay honor to something



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