300 Most Difficult SAT Words

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definitions & notes
only words

  1. abject

    of the most contemptible kind
  2. aberration

    a state or condition markedly different from the norm
  3. abjure

    formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief
  4. abnegation

    the denial and rejection of a doctrine or belief
  5. abrogate

    revoke formally
  6. abscond

    run away, often taking something or somebody along
  7. abstruse

    difficult to understand
  8. accede

    yield to another's wish or opinion
  9. accost

    approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
  10. accretion

    an increase by natural growth or addition
  11. acumen

    shrewdness shown by keen insight
  12. adamant

    insistent; unwilling to change one's mind or opinion
  13. admonish

    scold or reprimand; take to task
  14. adumbrate

    describe roughly or give the main points or summary of
  15. adverse

    in an opposing direction
  16. advocate

    a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea
  17. affluent

    having an abundant supply of money or possessions of value
  18. aggrandize

    embellish; increase the scope, power, or importance of
  19. alacrity

    liveliness and eagerness
  20. alias

    a name that has been assumed temporarily
  21. ambivalent

    uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
  22. amenable

    disposed or willing to comply
  23. amorphous

    having no definite form or distinct shape
  24. anachronistic

    chronologically misplaced
  25. anathema

    a formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication
  26. annex

    attach to
  27. antediluvian

    of or relating to the period before the biblical flood
  28. antiseptic

    thoroughly clean and free of disease-causing organisms
  29. apathetic

    showing little or no emotion or animation
  30. antithesis

    exact opposite
  31. apocryphal

    being of questionable authenticity
  32. approbation

    official acceptance or agreement
  33. arbitrary

    based on or subject to individual discretion or preference
  34. arboreal

    of or relating to or formed by trees
  35. arcane

    requiring secret or mysterious knowledge
  36. archetypal

    of an original type after which other things are patterned
  37. arrogate

    seize and take control without authority
  38. ascetic

    someone who practices self denial as a spiritual discipline
  39. aspersion

    a disparaging remark
  40. assiduous

    marked by care and persistent effort
  41. atrophy

    a decrease in size of an organ caused by disease or disuse
  42. bane

    something causing misery or death
  43. bashful

    self-consciously timid
  44. beguile

    influence by slyness
  45. bereft

    lacking or deprived of something
  46. blandishment

    flattery intended to persuade
  47. bilk

    cheat somebody out of what is due, especially money
  48. bombastic

    ostentatiously lofty in style
  49. cajole

    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
  50. callous

    emotionally hardened
  51. calumny

    a false accusation of an offense
  52. camaraderie

    the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability
  53. candor

    the quality of being honest and straightforward
  54. capitulate

    surrender under agreed conditions
  55. carouse

    engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking
  56. carp

    any of various freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae
  57. caucus

    meet to select a candidate or promote a policy
  58. cavort

    play boisterously
  59. circumlocution

    an indirect way of expressing something
  60. circumscribe

    draw a geometric figure around another figure
  61. circumvent

    surround so as to force to give up
  62. clamor

    utter or proclaim insistently and noisily
  63. cleave

    separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument
  64. cobbler

    a person who makes or repairs shoes
  65. cogent

    powerfully persuasive
  66. cognizant

    having or showing knowledge or understanding or realization
  67. commensurate

    corresponding in size or degree or extent
  68. complement

    something added to embellish or make perfect
  69. compunction

    a feeling of deep regret, usually for some misdeed
  70. concomitant

    following or accompanying as a consequence
  71. conduit

    a passage through which water or electric wires can pass
  72. conflagration

    a very intense and uncontrolled fire
  73. congruity

    the quality of agreeing; being suitable and appropriate
  74. connive

    form intrigues (for) in an underhand manner
  75. consign

    give over to another for care or safekeeping
  76. constituent

    one of the individual parts making up a composite entity
  77. construe

    make sense of; assign a meaning to
  78. contusion

    an injury in which the skin is not broken
  79. contrite

    feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
  80. contentious

    showing an inclination to disagree
  81. contravene

    go against, as of rules and laws
  82. convivial

    occupied with or fond of the pleasures of good company
  83. corpulence

    the property of excessive fatness
  84. covet

    wish, long, or crave for
  85. cupidity

    extreme greed for material wealth
  86. dearth

    an insufficient quantity or number
  87. debacle

    a sudden and complete disaster
  88. debauch

    a wild gathering involving excessive drinking
  89. debunk

    expose while ridiculing
  90. defunct

    no longer in force or use; inactive
  91. demagogue

    a leader who seeks support by appealing to popular passions
  92. denigrate

    attack the good name and reputation of someone
  93. derivative

    a compound obtained from another compound
  94. despot

    a cruel and oppressive dictator
  95. diaphanous

    so thin as to transmit light
  96. didactic

    instructive, especially excessively
  97. dirge

    a song or hymn of mourning as a memorial to a dead person
  98. disaffected

    discontented as toward authority
  99. discomfit

    cause to lose one's composure
  100. disparate

    fundamentally different or distinct in quality or kind
  101. dispel

    cause to separate and go in different directions
  102. disrepute

    the state of being held in low esteem
  103. divisive

    causing or characterized by disagreement or disunity
  104. dogmatic

    pertaining to a code of beliefs accepted as authoritative
  105. dour

    showing a brooding ill humor
  106. duplicity

    the act of deceiving or acting in bad faith
  107. duress

    compulsory force or threat
  108. eclectic

    selecting what seems best of various styles or ideas
  109. edict

    a formal or authoritative proclamation
  110. ebullient

    joyously unrestrained
  111. egregious

    conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible
  112. elegy

    a mournful poem; a lament for the dead
  113. elicit

    call forth, as an emotion, feeling, or response
  114. embezzlement

    the fraudulent appropriation of funds or property
  115. emend

    make corrections to
  116. emollient

    a substance with a soothing effect when applied to the skin
  117. empirical

    derived from experiment and observation rather than theory
  118. emulate

    strive to equal or match, especially by imitating
  119. enervate

    weaken physically, mentally, or morally
  120. enfranchise

    grant freedom to, as from slavery or servitude
  121. engender

    call forth
  122. ephemeral

    anything short-lived, as an insect that lives only for a day
  123. epistolary

    written in the form of letters or correspondence
  124. equanimity

    steadiness of mind under stress
  125. equivocal

    open to two or more interpretations
  126. espouse

    choose and follow a theory, idea, policy, etc.
  127. evanescent

    short-lived; tending to vanish or disappear
  128. evince

    give expression to
  129. exacerbate

    make worse
  130. exhort

    spur on or encourage especially by cheers and shouts
  131. execrable

    unequivocally detestable
  132. exigent

    demanding immediate attention
  133. expedient

    appropriate to a purpose
  134. expiate

    make amends for
  135. expunge

    remove by erasing or crossing out or as if by drawing a line
  136. extraneous

    not belonging to that in which it is contained
  137. extol

    praise, glorify, or honor
  138. extant

    still in existence; not extinct or destroyed or lost
  139. expurgate

    edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate
  140. fallacious

    containing or based on incorrect reasoning
  141. fatuous

    devoid of intelligence
  142. fetter

    a shackle for the ankles or feet
  143. flagrant

    conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible
  144. foil

    hinder or prevent, as an effort, plan, or desire
  145. forbearance

    good-natured tolerance of delay or incompetence
  146. fortuitous

    lucky; occurring by happy chance
  147. fractious

    easily irritated or annoyed
  148. garrulous

    full of trivial conversation
  149. gourmand

    a person who is devoted to eating and drinking to excess
  150. grandiloquent

    lofty in style
  151. gratuitous

    unnecessary and unwarranted
  152. hapless

    unfortunate and deserving pity
  153. hegemony

    the dominance or leadership of one social group over others
  154. heterogenous

    consisting of elements that are not of the same kind
  155. iconoclast

    someone who attacks cherished ideas or institutions
  156. idiosyncratic

    peculiar to the individual
  157. impecunious

    not having enough money to pay for necessities
  158. impetuous

    characterized by undue haste and lack of thought
  159. impinge

    infringe upon
  160. impute

    attribute or credit to
  161. inane

    devoid of intelligence
  162. inchoate

    only partly in existence; imperfectly formed
  163. incontrovertible

    impossible to deny or disprove
  164. incumbent

    necessary as a duty or responsibility; morally binding
  165. inexorable

    impossible to prevent, resist, or stop
  166. inimical

    not friendly
  167. injunction

    a judicial remedy to prohibit a party from doing something
  168. inoculate

    inject or treat with the germ of a disease to render immune
  169. insidious

    working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way
  170. instigate

    provoke or stir up
  171. insurgent

    in opposition to a civil authority or government
  172. interlocutor

    a person who takes part in a conversation
  173. intimation

    a slight suggestion or vague understanding
  174. inure

    cause to accept or become hardened to
  175. invective

    abusive language used to express blame or censure
  176. intransigent

    impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, or reason
  177. inveterate

    habitual
  178. irreverence

    a mental attitude showing lack of due respect
  179. knell

    the sound of a bell rung slowly to announce a death
  180. laconic

    brief and to the point
  181. largesse

    liberality in bestowing gifts
  182. legerdemain

    an illusory feat
  183. libertarian

    an advocate of freedom of thought and speech
  184. licentious

    lacking moral discipline
  185. linchpin

    a central cohesive source of support and stability
  186. litigant

    a party to a lawsuit
  187. maelstrom

    a powerful circular current of water
  188. maudlin

    effusively or insincerely emotional
  189. maverick

    someone who exhibits independence in thought and action
  190. mawkish

    effusively or insincerely emotional
  191. maxim

    a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
  192. mendacious

    given to lying
  193. modicum

    a small or moderate or token amount
  194. morass

    a soft wet area of low-lying land that sinks underfoot
  195. mores

    the conventions embodying the fundamental values of a group
  196. munificent

    very generous
  197. multifarious

    having many aspects
  198. nadir

    the lowest point of anything
  199. negligent

    characterized by undue lack of attention or concern
  200. neophyte

    any new participant in some activity
  201. noisome

    offensively malodorous
  202. noxious

    injurious to physical or mental health
  203. obdurate

    stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
  204. obfuscate

    make obscure or unclear
  205. obstreperous

    noisily and stubbornly defiant
  206. officious

    intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner
  207. onerous

    burdensome or difficult to endure
  208. ostensible

    appearing as such but not necessarily so
  209. ostracism

    the act of excluding someone from society by general consent
  210. palliate

    lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of
  211. panacea

    hypothetical remedy for all ills or diseases
  212. paradigm

    a standard or typical example
  213. pariah

    a person who is rejected from society or home
  214. partisan

    a fervent and even militant proponent of something
  215. paucity

    an insufficient quantity or number
  216. pejorative

    expressing disapproval
  217. pellucid

    transparently clear; easily understandable
  218. penchant

    a strong liking or preference
  219. penurious

    excessively unwilling to spend
  220. pert

    characterized by a lightly saucy or impudent quality
  221. pernicious

    exceedingly harmful
  222. pertinacious

    stubbornly unyielding
  223. phlegmatic

    showing little emotion
  224. philanthropic

    of or relating to charitable giving
  225. pithy

    concise and full of meaning
  226. platitude

    a trite or obvious remark
  227. plaudit

    enthusiastic approval
  228. plenitude

    a full supply
  229. plethora

    extreme excess
  230. portent

    a sign of something about to happen
  231. potentate

    a powerful ruler, especially one who is unconstrained by law
  232. preclude

    make impossible, especially beforehand
  233. predilection

    a predisposition in favor of something
  234. preponderance

    exceeding in heaviness; having greater weight
  235. presage

    a foreboding about what is about to happen
  236. probity

    complete and confirmed integrity
  237. proclivity

    a natural inclination
  238. profligate

    unrestrained by convention or morality
  239. promulgate

    state or announce
  240. proscribe

    command against
  241. protean

    taking on different forms
  242. prurient

    characterized by lust
  243. puerile

    displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity
  244. pugnacious

    ready and able to resort to force or violence
  245. pulchritude

    physical beauty, especially of a woman
  246. punctilious

    marked by precise accordance with details
  247. quaint

    attractively old-fashioned
  248. quixotic

    not sensible about practical matters
  249. quandary

    state of uncertainty in a choice between unfavorable options
  250. recalcitrant

    stubbornly resistant to authority or control
  251. redoubtable

    inspiring fear
  252. relegate

    assign to a lower position
  253. remiss

    failing in what duty requires
  254. reprieve

    postpone the punishment of a convicted criminal
  255. reprobate

    a person without moral scruples
  256. rescind

    cancel officially
  257. requisition

    an authoritative demand
  258. rife

    excessively abundant
  259. sanctimonious

    excessively or hypocritically pious
  260. sanguine

    confidently optimistic and cheerful
  261. scurrilous

    expressing offensive, insulting, or scandalous criticism
  262. semaphore

    an apparatus for visual signaling
  263. serendipity

    good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries
  264. sobriety

    the state of being unaffected or not intoxicated by alcohol
  265. solicitous

    full of anxiety and concern
  266. solipsism

    the philosophical theory that the self is all that exists
  267. spurious

    plausible but false
  268. staid

    characterized by dignity and propriety
  269. stolid

    having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
  270. subjugate

    make subservient; force to submit or subdue
  271. surfeit

    indulge (one's appetite) to satiety
  272. surreptitious

    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
  273. swarthy

    naturally having skin of a dark color
  274. tangential

    of superficial relevance if any
  275. tome

    a large and scholarly book
  276. toady

    a person who tries to please someone to gain an advantage
  277. torpid

    in a condition of biological rest or suspended animation
  278. travesty

    a composition that imitates or misrepresents a style
  279. trenchant

    having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought
  280. trite

    repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
  281. truculent

    defiantly aggressive
  282. turpitude

    a corrupt or depraved or degenerate act or practice
  283. ubiquitous

    being present everywhere at once
  284. umbrage

    a feeling of anger caused by being offended
  285. upbraid

    express criticism towards
  286. utilitarian

    having a useful function
  287. veracity

    unwillingness to tell lies
  288. vestige

    an indication that something has been present
  289. vicissitude

    a variation in circumstances or fortune
  290. vilify

    spread negative information about
  291. virtuoso

    someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field
  292. vitriolic

    harsh, bitter, or malicious in tone
  293. vituperate

    spread negative information about
  294. vociferous

    conspicuously and offensively loud
  295. wanton

    a lewd or immoral person
  296. winsome

    charming in a childlike or naive way
  297. yoke

    join with stable gear, as two draft animals
  298. zephyr

    a slight wind
  299. wily

    marked by skill in deception
  300. tirade

    a speech of violent denunciation
Created on September 30, 2012
(updated November 4, 2020)