100 SAT Words Beginning with “A” – 100 Words

abase

cause to feel shame

She is not abased or dejected, but exalted, rather.Sinclair, May
aberration

a state or condition markedly different from the norm

While Tampa Bay has taken a huge nosedive a year after going 10-6, maybe that 2010 success was an aberration.Seattle Times (Dec 26, 2011)
abhor

find repugnant

There are sane readers who abhor gratuitous violence but love Reacher’s menacing wisecracks.New York Times (Sep 20, 2011)
abject

most unfortunate or miserable

Mr. Jobling stood wringing his hands helplessly, his flaccid features expressive of abject despair.Douglas, Hudson
abrasive

sharply disagreeable, unpleasant, or harsh

“He has always been focused, driven, demanding and, as a result, very difficult and abrasive,” Mr. Norman said.New York Times (Oct 7, 2011)
abstain

refrain from doing, consuming, or partaking in something

Griffin felt that he had better abstain from questioning, and let his host run on.Marsh, Richard
abstract

existing only in the mind

Presenting an abstract concept, waving our arms trying to describe it, we will lose our audience right away.
abundant

present in great quantity

Fringing and barrier reefs are abundant throughout the archipelago, surrounding nearly every island.Gabel, Norman E.
accentuate

stress or single out as important

It was a carefully studied costume; and he accentuated its eccentricity by adopting theatrical attitudes and an air of satisfied negligence.Leblanc, Maurice
acclimate

get used to a certain environment

The Jets will leave Friday for Denver, the better to acclimate to the altitude and change in time zone.New York Times (Oct 14, 2010)
accomplice

a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan

Tiller, the thief, and a supposed accomplice, are under arrest.Various
accord

concurrence of opinion

Friday’s accord removes one of two main sticking points that have been holding up a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries.Wall Street Journal (Mar 9, 2012)
acerbic

harsh or corrosive in tone

They were complaining, sometimes yelling, and maybe a bit acerbic.New York Times (Mar 29, 2012)
acme

the highest level or degree attainable

Paris wholly has got to the acme of its frenzy; whirled, all ways, by panic madness.Various
acquiesce

agree or express agreement

I favored building a fire and staying there till morning, but Frank preferred pushing on to camp, so I acquiesced.Shields, George O.
acquit

pronounce not guilty of criminal charges

He said that in the absence of other evidence, “the accused is acquitted and discharged.”New York Times (Jan 9, 2012)
acrimonious

marked by strong resentment or cynicism

At times, the two groups squabble like schoolchildren, and the exchange gets acrimonious.BBC (Feb 9, 2010)
acute

extremely sharp or intense

Labor shortages are already so acute in many Chinese industrial zones that factories struggle to find enough people to operate their assembly lines.New York Times (Mar 31, 2012)
adamant

impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, or reason

But high profile or no, Mr. Kors is adamant about keeping his personal life under wraps — even as his wedding day approaches.New York Times (Aug 5, 2011)
adept

having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude

He proved an adept playmaker, however, making several nice passes and finishing with 7 assists.New York Times (Jan 7, 2012)
adhere

stick to firmly

Adhering to strict safety standards has kept me alive in some very dangerous situations.
admonish

scold or reprimand; take to task

“Children, children, stop quarrelling, right here in public!” admonished Mrs. Dering, in a low, shocked tone.Perry, Nora
adorn

make more attractive, as by adding ornament or color

Old master reproductions adorn chianti-colored walls; tapestries hang in the restrooms.Seattle Times (Feb 9, 2012)
adroit

quick or skillful or adept in action or thought

Neither is he adroit in the exercise of his duty; instead performs it bunglingly; his thoughts preoccupied, and eyes wandering about.Reid, Mayne
adulation

exaggerated flattery or praise

Taylor, a demagogue of the Democratic party, was hypocritically appealing to his “horny handed neighbors” in language of feigned adulation.Levy, T. Aaron
adversity

a state of misfortune or affliction

Forty years in the wilderness, meeting adversities together, fighting enemies, marching as one host, made them a nation.Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman
advocacy

active support of an idea or cause

That sentiment faded after the 1930s, he said, as consumer advocacy focused more on protecting shoppers.New York Times (Nov 11, 2011)
aesthetic

characterized by an appreciation of beauty or good taste

In old-fashioned, aesthetic terms, his glossy, color pictures of modern housing projects in Turkish cities under moody, gray skies are beautiful.New York Times (Oct 14, 2011)
affable

diffusing warmth and friendliness

She is restless, irritable, out of sorts, censorious, complaining at home; animated, gracious, affable, complaisant abroad.Hyde, William De Witt
affinity

a close connection marked by community of interests

Malaysia has a close affinity with many Middle Eastern nations through their shared religion.
affliction

a cause of great suffering and distress

Firm and exceptional natures are thus moulded out of miseries, misfortunes and afflictions.Leonard, Arthur Glyn
affluent

having an abundant supply of money or possessions of value

Affluent families can afford guns, which are more efficient for bagging some elusive animals than a poorer household’s typical snare trap.New York Times (Dec 27, 2011)
aggrandize

embellish; increase the scope, power, or importance of

Louis XIV. was growing increasingly ambitious of enlarging his domains and aggrandizing his power.Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot)
agile

moving quickly and lightly

Are not many beasts physically stronger, more nimble and agile than man?Nordau, Max Simon
agrarian

relating to rural matters

We’re not an agrarian society any longer, where more hands help farm the land.New York Times (Jun 20, 2011)
alacrity

liveliness and eagerness

The men obeyed with alacrity, as all were glad to go, lying in camp so long.Terrill, J. Newton
alienate

arouse hostility or indifference in

Keeping schools closed and blocking certain public services is not a strategy we support and could alienate public opinion and play into the governor’s hand.New York Times (Feb 18, 2011)
allege

report or maintain

David is alleged to have written several Psalms, but of this there is little evidence beyond pious assertion.Bradlaugh, Charles
allegiance

the act of binding yourself to a course of action

Notwithstanding this good fortune, Pontiac daily saw his followers dropping off from their allegiance; for even the boldest had lost heart.Parkman, Francis
allegory

a style that describes a subject by suggestive resemblances

Achingly beautiful, quiet and graceful, his award-winning novel Waiting is a love story superimposed on a political allegory.
alleviate

provide physical relief, as from pain

Lewis said he got a Synvisc shot – an injection commonly used to alleviate arthritic symptoms – in his left knee on Monday.Washington Post (Mar 7, 2012)
allude

make an indirect reference to

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Mr. Obama turned up the heat, alluding to the plan without fleshing out details.New York Times (Jan 27, 2012)
aloof

remote in manner

Too much focus on official duties can make an incumbent look isolated and aloof.New York Times (Mar 12, 2012)
altruistic

showing unselfish concern for the welfare of others

The gesture was not necessarily altruistic; he was hoping for a donation in return.New York Times (Jan 24, 2011)
ambiguous

having more than one possible meaning

“The election law in New York is written in an ill-defined, ambiguous way,” Goldfeder said, adding that he did not believe any laws were broken.
ambivalent

uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow

“If managers are ambivalent, or wavering, then investor uncertainty increases and the stocks become more volatile.”
ameliorate

make better

Possessed of broadly humanitarian sympathies, he became interested in ameliorating the conditions of imprisoned debtors.Bolton, Herbert Eugene
amiable

diffusing warmth and friendliness

He was also remarkable for his amiable and cheerful manners.Anonymous
amicable

characterized by friendship and good will

Thus, by kindness, the natives of this region were won to friendship, and amicable relations were established.Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot)
amnesty

a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense

After three years in prison, he was released last October in an amnesty that freed about 200 political detainees.Seattle Times (Mar 5, 2012)
amorphous

having no definite form or distinct shape

The problem is that where genes are tidy bits of DNA, the environment is huge, amorphous and hard to quantify.New York Times (Jun 9, 2010)
ample

more than enough in size or scope or capacity

Both are highly respected and well known, with ample experience in development and economic policy making.New York Times (Mar 22, 2012)
anachronism

locating something at a time when it couldn’t have existed

Today, the British monarchy seems like even more of an anachronism, notes my friend Merida, a London bureau friend now living in New York.
analogous

similar or equivalent in some respects

The two conditions, although apparently analogous, are, in reality, very different.Various
anecdote

short account of an incident

With his fourth book, “Business at 16,” Mr. Bagchi hopes to get teenagers interested in business, partly by using fictional anecdotes, including boy-meets-girl stories.New York Times (Nov 29, 2011)
animosity

a feeling of ill will arousing active hostility

In this brutal contest, two opposing teams face off against each other with competing agendas, borrowed tuxedos and tight smiles concealing deep animosities.New York Times (Jan 14, 2011)
annihilate

kill in large numbers

Men deployed may fall back and escape; a mass of columns under direct artillery fire must surrender or be annihilated.Morse, John
anomaly

deviation from the normal or common order or form or rule

In this view, crises can be understood only as anomalies, the consequences of unusual outside shocks.
anonymous

having no known name or identity or known source

Throughout the process, the targeted consumers are tagged with an alphanumeric code, removing their names and making the data anonymous.New York Times (Feb 21, 2012)
antagonism

an actively expressed feeling of dislike and hostility

It bred a sense of resentment and secret antagonism which he took less pains to hide, from that night.Prichard, Katharine Susannah
antecedent

someone from whom you are descended

Paul Bunyan is known by his mighty works; his antecedents and personal history are lost in doubt.Laughead, W. B.
anthropomorphic

suggesting human features for animals or inanimate things

The same anthropomorphic fallacy that accords human attributes to giant corporations like BP distorts clear thinking about how to limit their political influence.
anticipate

be excited or anxious about

I will continue to sit here as usual, waiting, grinning, tapping and anticipating my future.New York Times (Mar 22, 2012)
antipathy

a feeling of intense dislike

At any rate, they had, as a matter of fact, produced widespread discontent and bitter antipathies between classes.Stephen, Leslie
antithetical

sharply contrasted in character or purpose

Memorisation has a bad reputation in education today, dismissed as antithetical to creativity.
apathy

an absence of emotion or enthusiasm

When not thus engaged, his days were passed in listless apathy.Anonymous
aptitude

inherent ability

If there is such a thing as inherited aptitude for art it certainly showed itself in the family of Bach.Forkel, Johann Nikolaus
arbitrary

based on or subject to individual discretion or preference

The pieces don’t build or develop, sections are carelessly joined, endings seem arbitrary.New York Times (Jun 4, 2011)
arcane

requiring secret or mysterious knowledge

Not just the knowledge of world geography but the very conceptualisation of space in this late medieval map looks to us remote and arcane.
archaic

so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period

There are other advantages as well to reading the classics electronically—you can tap archaic words on the screen for an instant definition.
archetype

something that serves as a model

In many ways, Mr. Romney and Mr. Huntsman embody the Mormon archetype: clean-cut, Republican American family men.New York Times (Nov 18, 2011)
ardent

characterized by intense emotion

Age, study, experience, retirement, reflection, had in no wise dimmed the fire of his ardent nationalism.McCarthy, Justin
arduous

characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion

He seemed about thirty-five years of age, though the trace of arduous mental and physical exertion gave him a rather worn and older appearance.Lindley, Augustus F.
aristocratic

belonging to or characteristic of the nobility

Several aristocratic families were stripped of their status after World War II, limiting the number of royal matches.
artifice

a deceptive maneuver, especially to avoid capture

But small men use lying artifices and disguises to protect themselves.Hillis, Newell Dwight
ascetic

characteristic of the practice of rigorous self-discipline

Another frequent cause of visions is long-continued fasting combined with more or less ascetic devotion.Vere, Maximilian Schele de
aspire

have an ambitious plan or a lofty goal

India’s leaders, eager for a bigger footprint in global affairs, now aspire to a permanent seat on an expanded United Nations Security Council.New York Times (Mar 31, 2012)
assimilation

the process of absorbing one cultural group into another

On the contrary, they themselves become Americanised, thanks to that faculty of assimilation which they possess in a high degree.Allyn, Jack
assuage

provide physical relief, as from pain

Moreover, I became at rest within myself, and the gaping, aching void which has filled my vitals these many days, became assuaged.Hamilton, J. Angus
atone

make amends for

But let us pause for a moment to remember what “redeeming” actually is: atoning or making up for some mistake or wrongdoing.New York Times (Jan 25, 2011)
attest

provide evidence for

Anticipating compensation, thousands flooded treatment centers seeking medical certificates attesting to their cholera.New York Times (Mar 31, 2012)
attire

clothing of a distinctive style or for a particular occasion

She was elegantly and fashionably attired, wearing rich earrings, gold chain and locket, three valuable rings in addition to her wedding-ring, and so forth.Whymper, Frederick
attribute

a quality belonging to or characteristic of an entity

This means that fundamentally important attributes such as common sense and curiosity are starting to take primacy.Washington Post (Mar 29, 2012)
attribution

assigning to a cause or source

But borrowing from sample essays found online or other online sources without attribution, even unintentionally, might result in your application being rejected.BusinessWeek (Dec 15, 2011)
audacious

disposed to venture or take risks

It was such an audacious, daring thing that the very thought made her dizzy.Stokes, Katherine
audible

heard or perceptible by the ear

Tavannes answered–but his words were barely audible above the deafening uproar.Weyman, Stanley J.
augment

enlarge or increase

Computer engineers, in high demand but short supply, can command six-figure salaries right out of college, augmented by signing bonuses and equity or stock options.New York Times (Jan 25, 2012)
augur

predict from an omen

But ultimately the numbers augured an inescapably grim fate: Lieberman’s approval rating in Connecticut bottomed out at just 31 percent last fall.
augury

an event indicating important things to come

It was altogether a pretty picture, that seemed to be a happy augury of the good times in store.Oxley, J. Macdonald (James Macdonald)
auspicious

auguring favorable circumstances and good luck

The coast at the point at which he reached it seemed specially designed by nature for his favorable and auspicious reception.Johnson, Willis Fletcher
austere

severely simple

Adams was poor, simple, ostentatiously austere; the blended influence of Calvinistic theology and republican principles had indurated his whole character.Stark, James H.
authentic

conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief

This census is not considered authentic, as many transparent errors were found in various parts of it.Casseday, Ben
authoritarian

characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule

But, he said, “all the ingredients of a repressive regime, an authoritarian regime, are there.”New York Times (Dec 13, 2011)
authoritative

of recognized power or excellence

His plays are being revived, and an authoritative and exhaustive edition of his writings is being issued by a leading publishing house.Ingleby, Leonard Cresswell
avarice

reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth

Greed about getting or keeping money pertains to avarice, not necessarily to simony.Callan, Charles Jerome
avenge

take action in return for a perceived wrong

But Amon-Ra of Thebes avenged the dishonour that had been done him, and stirred up his adorers to successful revolt.Sayce, A. H. (Archibald Henry)
aversion

a feeling of intense dislike

Our peculiar aversion, nay, our dread, of various alimentary substances are well known.Millingen, J. G. (John Gideon)
avid

marked by active interest and enthusiasm

An avid runner, Moyer eventually began arriving six hours early on game days to exercise on an underwater treadmill.New York Times (Mar 21, 2012)
avuncular

resembling an uncle in kindness or indulgence

He is a consummate retail politician, given to small talk and an avuncular style.New York Times (Feb 27, 2011)
awe

an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration

The aurora deeply impressed him, inspiring feelings of awe and reverence.Mudge, Zachariah Atwell

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