Thursday, December 13, 2012

Words On Standardized Tests That No One Uses In Real Life

I imagine there is someone over at Electronic Testing Services (or the Devil as I like to refer to them as) who sits around with a gigantic Oxford English Dictionary, one with a brown leather cover and gold tipped pages,  picking the most obscure words possible to put on the GRE. I'm convinced that most of these words no one has actually ever used.  I know this because I was an English and Writing major and I have never grazed eyes on these words. I thought a few of them might be made up but OH NO they are actually all real words that sit in some catalog of unused vocabulary meant to make you cry when you see them in a timed testing situation.

I thought I'd share them with you so you can feel the full weight of how ridiculous some of these words actually are.

Seriously. Try pronouncing it right now. You don't know this word. It means cowardly animal. It's supposed to be synonymous with craven but's just so many syllables. I like to think of the cowardly lion when I think of this word. I should really staple this picture to my word list.

The Cowardly Lion is afraid of big words
Definition: government ruled by the mob. Unless you're discussing Scarface or the Godfather, this word is just not useful at all. As I'm writing this blog, there are red squiggly lines under "ochlocracy" because spell-check doesn't even recognize it and as far as I'm concerned, spell-check is the authority on whether a word is usable or not.

Pacino only speaks money

Definition: being or related to a Chimera. Oh, right a Chimera.... "What the hell is a chimera?".  A chimera is a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, goat's body and serpent's tail. It's supposed to really mean "being imagined but not realistic". If you happen to read Greek mythology, and remember all the terms from it, and are able to deduce that this word is actually referring to a fire-breathing female monster myth...  then maybe you'll get this question correct.

Yup, there's pictures to prove it's a real thing

Definition: very beautiful. Sounds like a mix between pulpit and attitude or polka and rude. If someone said this to me unprompted with the definition, I'd probably take it as an insult. It's actually from 15th century English. So I'm sure someone from ETS dug it up and thought "AHA I bet they've never heard this one before".

Definition: a gentle breeze. Only way you know this word is if you know the led zeppelin song where it's mentioned that one time.  But I have been actively using it for months much to the dismay of everyone around me who are fed up with my over-pretentious vocabulary.

That must be a zephyr blowing through his hair

Definition: The substitution of the name for an attribute or adjunct for that thing meant. Ex: "Clackers" as referring to business women in heels; "Suits" as referring to high level executives.  I think it's just the "nymy" at the end that confuses me. Sounds like the middle of the alphabet when someone is trying to get through m and n in a drunk slur. Drunk slur... All this word will ever be to me.

Definition: Bloody. Don't google image this term. I just did and it was disturbing. This word, I only know, because it was used in MacBeth and I took a lot of Shakespeare classes in college... and it's as nerdy as it sounds.

Nice use of the visual  of "sanguinary"

Great thing about this post is now I actually know all these words after taking the time to detail them. I'm sure fate will wipe them from any test I will ever see because that's just the GRE's way...

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