100 SAT Words Beginning with “B” – 100 Words

baffle

be a mystery or bewildering to

It baffles her physician as well, and has got doctors increasingly worried.
baleful

deadly or sinister

His glance fell on Van Bleit, pallid, red-eyed, obviously suffering, observing him with the baleful look of some savage captive beast.Young, F.E. Mills
balk

refuse to comply

Congressional Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives, have balked at raising the debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by significant spending cuts.
ballad

a narrative song with a recurrent refrain

And in the encore there was a new ballad, “Silent Treatment,” which Ms. Bryan sang gently, backed only by Mr. Dafydd on acoustic guitar.New York Times (Apr 1, 2012)
ban

prohibit especially by law or social pressure

That’s why gambling and wagers are heavily regulated or banned outright in nearly every country.Slate (Apr 4, 2012)
banal

repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse

Not bare or messy — that might be interesting — just banal.New York Times (Mar 8, 2011)
bane

something causing misery or death

Knee pain is the bane of many runners, sometimes causing them to give up altogether.Seattle Times (Jun 7, 2010)
banish

expel, as if by official decree

He, however, was destined never to return but was proscribed and banished.Stark, James H.
banter

converse in a playful or teasing way

Instead, they bantered, enthused, tripped over each other’s words and generally offered their audience the warmest welcome imaginable.Seattle Times (Jan 25, 2011)
barbaric

without civilizing influences

The law was immediately hailed as a victory by animal welfare groups over what they consider to be a barbaric and outdated practice.New York Times (Jul 28, 2010)
barrage

the heavy fire of artillery to saturate an area

They destroyed army communications, local cellphone towers and laid down a barrage of mortar fire.
barren

providing no shelter or sustenance

New homes are sprouting from farmland once irrigated by the nearby Tigris River but rendered barren by war and neglect.New York Times (Mar 14, 2012)
bastion

projecting part of a rampart or other fortification

Dinner over, melons disposed of, fort, stores, and quarters examined, arrangements were made for sleeping in the various sheds and bastions of the fort.Gray, William Henry
bathetic

effusively or insincerely emotional

Taken together, her tribulations have the makings of bathetic melodrama.New York Times (Jul 14, 2011)
bearing

characteristic way of holding one’s body

He thought her face, her whole bearing, singularly composed in view of his announcement.Weyman, Stanley John
beckon

summon with a wave, nod, or some other gesture

Ten minutes more and the orderly opened the door, and, obedient to my beckoning finger, stepped out as the lady was ushered in.King, Charles
bedlam

a state of extreme confusion and disorder

With more than 190 people killed and hundreds wounded just three days before the country’s general election, Spain was thrown into political bedlam.Newsweek (May 5, 2011)
befuddle

be confusing or perplexing to

But regulators are profiling data to help find patterns in trading activity that previously would have left regulators befuddled and scratching their heads.
beguile

attract; cause to be enamored

This is such an entertaining, beguiling, charming and exciting picture.
behemoth

someone or something that is abnormally large and powerful

Behemoths like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and UBS have snapped up numerous small firms to create industry giants.Reuters (Jul 19, 2010)
beholden

under a moral obligation to someone

Now, this obligation has offended me very much, because I am proud, and do not like to be beholden to people.Thackeray, William Makepeace
behoove

be appropriate or necessary

The Hamburg magistrates had offered one hundred thalers for my arrest; consequently it behooved me to be very cautious.J?kai, M?r
belie

be in contradiction with

Tang’s congenial and accommodating administrative style, however, sometimes belies a harder edge.
belittle

lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of

A splendid or an affecting story may be degraded or belittled by being told in an unworthy style.Various
bellicose

having or showing a ready disposition to fight

So far from unduly fostering a bellicose spirit tending to war, these would be tactful preventives of wasteful foreign and civil broils.Lee, Carson Jay
belligerent

characteristic of an enemy or one eager to fight

He was carrying his war tools and stood facing me for an instant in quite a belligerent attitude.O’Neil, Owen Rowe
bemoan

regret strongly

Facing life-threatening surgery, Adam calls his therapist and bemoans all the things he’s never done.BusinessWeek (Sep 30, 2011)
bemused

perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements

Alternately bemused, puzzled, and intrigued, he read it over again and again.Scientific American (Jan 30, 2012)
benefactor

a person who helps people or institutions

Even world-class universities such as Oxford and Cambridge live off “old money” from property assets and a few key benefactors.BusinessWeek (May 12, 2011)
benevolent

showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding

Invariably gentle, attentive, serious, benevolent, easily satisfied, he remained serene and peaceful.Leonard, Arthur Glyn
benign

not dangerous to health; not recurrent or progressive

But its images cannot distinguish malignant tumors from benign growths filled with harmless breast tissue.Scientific American (May 10, 2011)
bequeath

leave or give, especially by will after one’s death

The widow lived for a few years, and, at her death, he bequeathed upon the daughter of his adoption all that his mother possessed.Various
berate

censure severely or angrily

At almost every move through the drill he berated them caustically, though in such faultless military language of reproof as to keep him from censure.Hancock, H. Irving (Harrie Irving)
bereavement

state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one

The team also helps the patients’ families, instructing them in caring techniques and providing bereavement counseling after death.Washington Post (Sep 7, 2010)
beseech

ask for or request earnestly

Mr. Binney pleaded and besought, but all to no avail, and left his Tutor’s presence at last, a disgraced and despairing man.Marshall, Archibald
besiege

surround so as to force to give up

The troops in the Potomac army were all lying in front of Petersburg, under fire day and night, preparing to besiege the place.Terrill, J. Newton
besmirch

smear so as to make dirty or stained

Because the dealer, widely respected in the Zurich art world, did not want his reputation besmirched, he agreed to settle the claim out of court.New York Times (Sep 24, 2010)
bestow

present

There was stillness in the room—utter stillness as at last Percivale laid his sleeping wife down, and, bending over her, bestowed a parting kiss.Reynolds, Mrs. Baillie
betrothed

the person to whom you are engaged

Perhaps he thinks an engaged young lady should be demure and dutiful, having no eyes or ears for any one except her betrothed.Harland, Marion
bewildered

perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements

Only the most commonplace things were said, and yet she puzzled him, bewildered him.Hocking, Joseph
bias

influence in an unfair way

Analytical thinking happens in the left hemisphere of the brain and is essential to making more objective, less biased decisions.
bicker

argue over petty things

At times it felt like the candidates had already talked themselves out on the big themes and could only bicker over table scraps.Slate (Feb 23, 2012)
bifurcated

divided into or made up of two parts

Like Lost, it’s story, at least at first, is bifurcated, taking place half in the magical world, half in ours.
bilateral

affecting or undertaken by two parties

Economic issues took up about half of the bilateral talks between the two leaders, said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
billowing

characterized by great swelling waves or surges

It was here that the Army cooked up chemical weapons, launched poison-packed mortar shells and sent gas clouds billowing over the fields.New York Times (Mar 17, 2012)
binge

an occasion for excessive eating or drinking

The government surveys showed binge drinking — having more than five drinks in one day — increased among all ethnic groups and genders, but particularly among men.Seattle Times (Dec 22, 2010)
blanch

turn pale, as if in fear

Officers and men stood aghast, with blanched faces, scarce knowing how to act.Le Queux, William
bland

lacking stimulating characteristics; uninteresting

Many critics were less than enamored with the kind of “easy listening” Mr. Williams embodied, deriding his approach as bland and unchallenging.New York Times (Oct 9, 2011)
blandishment

flattery intended to persuade

He had expected coaxings, blandishments, the pleadings and wiles with which Virginia the elder had made him so intimately acquainted.Reynolds, Mrs. Baillie
blare

make a strident sound

First there were trumpets; then brasses blared and drums rumbled.Broun, Heywood
blase

uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence

Dull-eyed, blase, frayed by the social whirl, worn out, pulseless, all of them.Reynolds, Francis J. (Francis Joseph)
blasphemy

profane language

Instead of becoming silent, he poured forth a fresh storm of blasphemy; and continued cursing all the time I remained within hearing.Beach, Charles A.
blatant

conspicuously and offensively loud

Then there was great shouting among the Sophomores, with much blatant, exultant cheering.Williams, Jesse Lynch
bleak

offering little or no hope

Although the situation looks bleak, there’s still room for hope, he said.Washington Post (Dec 31, 2011)
blemish

a mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something

Fine red lines often can be seen just under the skin, and some people also experience pimplelike blemishes.Seattle Times (Jan 19, 2011)
blithe

carefree and happy and lighthearted

Deep down inside her being something sang; outside, the carolling of the lark continued, blithe and joyous in the breaking dawn.Blackwood, Algernon
blunder

an embarrassing mistake

The candidate’s first name was misspelled “John” on media badges, a blunder later repeated in some campaign mailings.
blunt

characterized by directness in manner or speech

Even my lady, so blunt and outspoken by nature, had shrunk from trying to question the Dutch girl about her lover.Weyman, Stanley John
blurt

utter impulsively

But after that momentary pause he blurted out, “Is everything all right, Benny?”Titus, Harold
bluster

act in an arrogant, overly self-assured, or conceited manner

Ling was no longer an incarnate monster, a blustering, boisterous bully.Strang, Herbert
boast

possess or display some desirable feature

A pompous, boasting sort of man, I did not like him at all.Wood, Mrs. Henry
bode

indicate by signs

“Her early recovery is very promising,” and bodes well for further improvement, he said.Seattle Times (Jan 20, 2011)
bogus

fraudulent; having a misleading appearance

Also, Tello allegedly put the wrong address on the letter and included fake bar codes and bogus fax and telephone numbers, they said.New York Times (Jan 11, 2012)
bohemian

a nonconformist who lives an unconventional life

Bohemians were typically urban, liberal in outlook, but with few visible political passions and, above all, creative.
boisterous

noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline

Boys drinking champagne at adjacent tables were calling across to each other with boisterous merriment.Matthews, Brander
bolster

support and strengthen

Manufacturing bolstered the nation’s economic recovery in March, according to data released Monday, with companies reporting strong gains in production and employment.Washington Post (Apr 3, 2012)
bombardment

an attack by dropping explosive devices

He made up air raids and heavy bombardments and fairly tore up the village in which he was living.Broun, Heywood
bombastic

ostentatiously lofty in style

Once, only, your workmanship was not marred by schemes for titillating effects, for sensational contrasts, for grandiose and bombastic expression.Rosenfeld, Paul
boon

something that is desirable, favorable, or beneficial

The drilling has been an economic boon — creating jobs and reducing dependence on foreign energy.New York Times (Mar 18, 2012)
boorish

ill-mannered and coarse in behavior or appearance

He becomes boorish, subject to fits of passion, violent and unaccountable.Zweig, Stefan
bountiful

producing in abundance

The wheat harvest that year was so bountiful that grain overflowed storage facilities.
bourgeois

being of the property-owning class

This future son-in-law is very young, and remarkably good looking; he belongs to the upper bourgeois, even bordering on the nobility.Sue, Eug?ne
bout

a period of illness

While out of work, struggling financially, and single-handedly responsible for three children, Pauline had several bouts of depression during which she felt completely isolated.
bovine

any of various wild or domestic cattle

We can see handsome bovines at any fat cattle show.Lynch, Lawrence L.
bowdlerize

edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate

Being an iconic classic, however, hasn’t protected “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from being banned, bowdlerized and bleeped.New York Times (Jan 7, 2011)
boycott

refuse to sponsor; refuse to do business with

In what became known as the Chilean Winter, students at university campuses and high schools across the country organized strikes, boycotted classes and occupied buildings.New York Times (Apr 5, 2012)
brackish

slightly salty

The waters of West Africa, salt, brackish, and fresh abound with fish, and many kinds are, if properly cooked, excellent eating.Kingsley, Mary Henrietta
braggadocio

vain and empty boasting

Biggie talks about money and drugs, but “Juicy” contains no braggadocio, no empty boasts.
braggart

a very boastful and talkative person

In his cups he was a witty, though arrogant, braggart.Stocking, Charles Francis
brandish

exhibit aggressively

Yelling, shouting, and brandishing their weapons, the insurgents poured down.Henty, G. A. (George Alfred)
brash

offensively bold

Mr. Lancman, 43, is known for his brash, relentless and ambitious style.New York Times (Mar 19, 2012)
bravado

a swaggering show of courage

All their courage and bravado was gone, and now, like the miserable cowards that they were, they had sought safety in flight.Pinkerton, Allan
brawl

a noisy fight in a crowd

The slightest quarrel, the most commonplace street brawl are pretexts for rival factions to come out in battle array.Bastide, Charles
brawn

the trait of possessing muscular strength

He believes Hollywood has often have had an over-reliance on physical brawn as the deciding factor for portraying a strong man.
brazen

unrestrained by convention or propriety

House has saved two lives, but Foreman is furious at his brazen disregard for the rules.
breach

make an opening or gap in

Just look at how hackers breached the accounts of Google’s mail service in the past year, other RIM executives have noted.Washington Post (Apr 4, 2012)
breadth

the extent of something from side to side

On the left side were also two store-houses, each thirty-six paces long by twelve in breadth, covered with shingles.Drake, Samuel Adams
brevity

the attribute of being short or fleeting

Brevity is key; journalists do not have a lot of time.
brink

the limit beyond which something happens or changes

Patterson often asked Groce to ease up in Taylor’s demanding timed conditioning drills, noticing he was on the brink of hyperventilating from pushing his limits.
brisk

quick and energetic

The rooms were scrupulously clean, the table service brisk and punctual.Boyd, Mary Stuart
broach

bring up a topic for discussion

Funeral directors must also navigate a topic that, even under normal circumstances, can prove uncomfortable to broach: money.New York Times (Dec 29, 2011)
brood

hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing

In fact, a daunting quietness brooded over the spot.Bindloss, Harold
browbeat

discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner

For ten minutes he bullied and browbeat the luckless sergeant, whose men had not been responsible for opening fire.Westerman, Percy F. (Percy Francis)
brunt

the main part, especially of a force or shock

While Texas, an epicenter now for wildfires and crop losses, is taking the brunt of the drought, surrounding states are also suffering.
bucolic

idyllically rustic

He is glad when he sees men busy fishing, planting, and hunting, and engaged in all manner of bucolic occupations.Vondel, Joost van den
buffoon

a rude or vulgar fool

They were sluggards, buffoons, dimwits, liars, brutes, and—without exception—drunks.The New Yorker (Aug 2, 2010)
buoyant

characterized by liveliness and lightheartedness

By nature he was sunny and buoyant, taking life as he found it.Penny, F. E.
burden

an onerous or difficult concern

Reconstruction spending is adding to the nation’s huge debt burden.Wall Street Journal (Mar 9, 2012)
bureaucracy

unnecessary procedures that obstruct action

Professors and graduate students have benefited from improved working conditions, quicker turnaround for photocopying and scanning, and decreased bureaucracy and red tape.New York Times (Mar 21, 2012)
burgeon

grow and flourish

Elsewhere, rising prices highlight a more basic problem: making sure farm productivity keeps pace with burgeoning populations.Seattle Times (Jun 6, 2010)

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