The GRE verbal reasoning exam tests your communication skills with a multitude of challenging, unusual, and difficult GRE vocab words. Candidates often get stumped by questions that are purposely confusingly worded.
Remember, GRE questions are designed to confuse you with tricky vocab words that you aren’t familiar with. Don’t let these words fool you.
The best way to ace the GRE Verbal Reasoning test is to improve your understanding and use of the most popular GRE vocabulary words. This way you will be prepared for your test date and won’t get tripped up on uncommon words.
100 Most Common GRE Vocabulary Words List
Here is a list of the most common GRE vocabulary words that appear on Verbal Reasoning. Test your knowledge and ability to communicate.
- Abasement – humiliate or degrade
- Abate – become less intense
- Accession – attain position of power
- Acerbic – sharp and forthright
- Acolyte – assistant in religious celebration
- Acumen – ability to make quick, good judgements
- Alacrity – brisk readiness
- Antipathy – deep-seated feeling
- Apostle – disciple of Jesus Christ
- Apprise – tell or inform
- Armada – fleet of warships
- Arson – criminally set fire to property
- Ascribe – attribute something to
- Banal – lacking originality to the point of being boring
- Barrage – concentrated artillery bombardment over a large area
- Bevy – large group of people
- Boor – ill-mannered person
- Bucolic – relating to the pleasant aspects of country living
- Canonical – according to the order of canon law
- Capricious – sudden change of mood
- Chauvinism – exaggerated patriotism
- Circumspect – unwilling to take risk
- Coalesce – come together to form one group
- Coffer – small box to hold valuables
- Condone – accept or allow
- Contrite – expressing remorse
- Credulous – having too great a readiness to believe things
- Demur – raise doubts
- Depravity – moral corruption
- Deride – express contempt for
- Endemic – found among people in a specific area
- Eulogy – speech praising someone highly
- Hegemony – leadership
- Inculpate – accuse or blame
- Ingenuous – innocent or unsuspecting
- Lethargic – sluggish
- Listless – lacking energy
- Livid – furiously angry
- Loll – sit in a relaxed fashion
- Lurid – vivid in color
- Mar – disfigure
- Mince – grind or cut up
- Minion – follower
- Mirth – amusement
- Misanthrope – a person who dislike humanity and avoids human society
- Modest – unassuming or moderate
- Morose – sullen
- Muse – daughter of Zeus
- Obdurate – stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion
- Oblique – neither parallel or at a right angle
- Opaque – not able to be seen through
- Overwrought – anxiety
- Paradox – statement despite sound reasoning leads to conclusion that seems senseless
- Paucity – the presence of something in small quantities
- Pertain – to be related to
- Philanthropic – seeking to promote the welfare of others
- Pine – evergreen tree
- Placate – make less angry
- Platitude – statement with moral content
- Plethora – excessive amount of something
- Posit – assume as fact
- Prodigal – spending resources wastefully
- Prophetic – accurately describing the future
- Purist – someone who insists on following the letter of the law
- Pyre – pile of combustible material
- Quack – sound make by a duck
- Reticence – not revealing one’s thoughts
- Rue – bitterly regret
- Ruminate – think deeply
- Specious – superficially plausible
- Stigma – mark of disgrace associated with an action
- Strut – rod forming part of a framework
- Sublime – of such excellence as to inspire others
- Surly – unfriendly
- Syncopation – displace downbeats or accents in musical composition
- Taunt – remark meant to provoke someone
- Tawdry – showy but cheap and of low quality
- Temperate – climate of mild temperatures
- Terse – sparing use of words, abrupt
- Tome – large, heavy book
- Torrid – very hot and dry
- Transgression – act that goes against the law
- Treacherous – guilt of betrayal
- Vapid – offering nothing that is challenging or stimulating
- Verbose – using or expressing in more words than are needed
- Venerate – regard with great respect
- Vestige – a trace of something that doesn’t exist
- Vilify – speak about in a disparaging manner
- Viscous – having this consistency
- Volatile – evaporate at normal temperatures
- Waffle – fail to make up one’s mind
- Waft – pass easily through the air
- Wanton – deliberate or unprovoked
- Waver – become unsteady or unreliable
- Whitewash – conceal mistakes
- Whittle – carve out of wood
- Winsome – attractive in appearance or character
- Wizened – wrinkled with age
- Wry – expressing dry, mocking, humor
- Zeal – get enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause
Free GRE Vocabulary Flashcards
One of the best ways that you can improve your vocabulary is to use GRE vocabulary flashcards. They are easy to use, you can bring them anywhere, and are insanely useful. These cards help develop your understanding of the confusing words that are likely to show up on the test.
There are several sources to find free GRE vocabulary flashcards, but one of the best is the Magoosh Free GRE Vocabulary Flashcards app. You can install this on your iPhone or Android phone and practice your vocab anywhere. Even if you don’t think you’ll use it that much, it’s worth downloading. It’s free!
Vocab Tip: One of the best ways to remember vocab words is to make your own flashcards. I know it can be time consuming, but you remember things much better when you are forced to physically write them down. It sounds weird, but it works. Make a set of GRE vocab flashcards out of 3×5 cards and you will remember these tricky words much better.
How to Improve GRE Vocabulary
There are several strategies to improving your GRE vocab skills that many students don’t know about. Some of these are simple tips while others come down to hard work and repetition.
Here are a few ways that you can improve your GRE vocabulary skills:
Make Your Own Flashcards
I know I just mentioned this in the last section, but it’s that important. Make your own flashcards! I can’t tell you how useful they are to remembering tough and confusing words.
Read Challenging Books
A great way to increase your vocabulary skills is to challenge yourself by reading unusual books. These could be textbooks, novels, or source materials. Anything with more obscure words will help you increase your vocab.
A good source of challenging reading material is pretty much any book written by William F. Buckley. He was a logophile that loved to include his vast lexicon in his writing. Look him up.
Many people think the only way to improve their vocabulary is to simply read and memorize lists of words. That’s imply not true.
A great way to learn new words is to write more frequently. Every time you write an essay or short story, you are using new words. Challenge yourself to work on your writing.
Plus, you will need to work on your writing skills in the Analytical Writing GRE test anyway.
GRE Word of the Day
Create a GRE word of the day calendar that lists a new word each day for you to implement into your conversations that day. You are likely to remember words more easily if you use them more often.
It’s a good idea to do this for every day that you study for the test. So if you plan on studying for two months, take a few minutes and write out vocab words and definitions on a calendar for the next two months. Then everyday you can implement the next word of the day.