100 SAT Words Beginning with “D” – 100 Words

dally

waste time

Too long already had the young General dallied, wasting time.Wingfield, Lewis
dapper

marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners

Favoring elegant, tailored suits, he was once named one of the best dressed men in America by People magazine for his “diplomatically dapper” style.
dauntless

invulnerable to fear or intimidation

He had dauntless courage, unwearied energy, engaging manners, boundless ambition, unsurpassed powers of debate, and strong personal magnetism.Herndon, William H.
dawdle

take one’s time; proceed slowly

Being alone, she ate slowly, and deliberately dawdled over the meal, to kill time.Allyn, Jack
dearth

an insufficient quantity or number

In those arid deserts, they suffered from thirst as well as from dearth of provisions.Dawson, Æneas MacDonell
debacle

a sudden and complete disaster

Meanwhile, for now, Mr. Obama has no major scandals or foreign policy debacles.New York Times (Feb 4, 2012)
debilitate

make weak

Necropsy reports told of horses that had been running with debilitating ailments: stomach ulcers, degenerative joint diseases, pneumonia, metal screws from previous broken bones.New York Times (Mar 27, 2012)
debunk

expose while ridiculing

Many examples show that what physicians once accepted as truth has been totally debunked.Scientific American (Mar 25, 2011)
deduce

conclude by reasoning

These cases, extreme as they are, do not justify, in my judgment, the conclusion deduced from them.Kelly, Edmond
defame

charge falsely or with malicious intent

Doesn’t King know he is going to be smeared and defamed for these hearings no matter what?
defiance

an act boldly resisting authority or an opposing force

At least 10 people were escorted by security out of the building after a systematic protest in defiance of the board’s actions.
defunct

no longer in force or use; inactive

Gold’s has found that its express gyms fit well in spaces vacated by defunct or shrinking retailers.Wall Street Journal (Sep 7, 2011)
dejected

affected or marked by low spirits

Around the table, the group of men—pallid, gloomy, dejected, disheartened.Colles, Julia Keese
deleterious

harmful to living things

A number of the species are edible, while others have been recorded as deleterious, poisonous, etc.Taylor, Thomas
delicacy

something considered choice to eat

The lady soon prepared supper, consisting of broiled chicken, and other delicacies.Aughey, John H.
deluge

the rising of a body of water and its overflowing onto land

Dykes and bridges were washed away in places and roads submerged by the muddy deluge.
demeanor

the way a person behaves toward other people

Hollande projects a unifying, jovial persona and leadership method that clashes with Sarkozy’s dominating, impetuous, controversial, and at times grating demeanor.
demographic

a statistic characterizing human populations

In my country, about 70 percent of the citizens are 30 years old or younger, and there are similar demographics in many other developing countries.New York Times (Apr 3, 2012)
denounce

accuse or condemn openly as disgraceful

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the courthouse, chanting slogans denouncing the perpetrators and demanding justice for victims.New York Times (Apr 5, 2012)
depict

show in, or as in, a picture

The life-size bronze statue depicts Shannon Stone and his young son wearing baseball caps.Seattle Times (Apr 6, 2012)
deplete

use up, as resources or materials

Eighty-four percent of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, according to the U.N.
derivation

the source or origin from which something comes

The derivation of the words courteous and courtesy from court is obvious.Milton, John
descendant

a person considered as coming from some ancestor or race

The families that founded the two groups are closely related to each other through marriages between their descendants.New York Times (Nov 23, 2011)
descry

catch sight of

Looking off seaward, I could descry no sails.Drake, Samuel Adams
desolate

providing no shelter or sustenance

The surroundings were barren rocks, gloomy deep valleys, and desolate gullies, the only redeeming feature being a glimpse of the ocean on one hand.Whymper, Frederick
destitute

poor enough to need help from others

They wandered over muir and fell, in poverty and sorrow, being destitute, afflicted, tormented.Turnbull, Robert
deter

turn away from by persuasion

Let no sportsman or amateur naturalist be deterred from visiting Patagonia by the discouraging words of Darwin.Spears, John R.
detrimental

causing harm or injury

The damage it’s done is just so detrimental to the country.
devout

deeply religious

Devout peasants always kneel as the blessed infant passes.Hare, Augustus J. C.
dexterity

adroitness in using the hands

“It’s not as good as an actual hand, obviously, but it gives you more dexterity because the fingers move independently.”Seattle Times (Dec 1, 2010)
diabolical

showing cunning or ingenuity or wickedness

He is ever hankering after forbidden arts, and many have fallen the innocent victims to his diabolical intrigues.Roby, John
diaphanous

so thin as to transmit light

Watercolour, being transparent but visible, is made for the insubstantial: for painting water, reflection, vapour, sky, the hazy, diaphanous and remote.
diatribe

thunderous verbal attack

The grotesquely violent diatribes that the characters sometimes hurl at each other parody the vicious language Lear heaps on his ungrateful daughters, for instance.New York Times (Jan 15, 2010)
dichotomy

a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses

The stark dichotomy between their own lives and the projections on the televisions in their living rooms becomes more pronounced.New York Times (Jan 2, 2012)
didactic

instructive, especially excessively

Min is nothing if not didactic, lecturing to the point of hectoring the reader.Seattle Times (Apr 8, 2010)
diffident

lacking self-confidence

He had exceedingly good parts, but was somewhat diffident and bashful.Rameur, E.
dilettante

an amateur engaging in an activity without serious intention

For the rest, in practice I am an idler, a dilettante, and a good deal else that is pleasant and utterly useless.Griffith, George Chetwynd
dire

fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless

In Florida, the demand for foster homes was so dire that children were sleeping in child welfare offices as recently as a few years ago.Washington Post (Dec 31, 2011)
disconcerting

causing an emotional disturbance

There was no drooping of fringed lids, no disconcerting silences; she chatted with ease and piquancy.Rives, Hallie Erminie
discord

lack of agreement or harmony

For all the alleged discord in this country, there’s an amazing amount of real agreement on what “a better America” would look like.
discreet

marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint

Sarkozy has attempted to tone down his image, becoming more discreet about his private life.
discrepancy

a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions

The historical discrepancies are sufficiently glaring to make the story more than questionable.Baring-Gould, S. (Sabine)
disenfranchise

deprive of voting rights

European Union observers said the vote was “marred by avoidable and logistical failures, which led to an unacceptable number of Ugandan citizens being disenfranchised.”
disfigure

mar or spoil the appearance of

A darker scowl changed and disfigured his brow, as he lost hope of gaining me.Weyman, Stanley John
disgruntled

in a state of sulky dissatisfaction

PA Parenteau breakaway goal less than two minutes later stretched New York’s lead and caused a cascade of boos from disgruntled Maple Leafs fans.Seattle Times (Mar 21, 2012)
disheveled

in disarray; extremely disorderly

The fierce winds blew some walls off some rooms, leaving disheveled beds and misplaced furniture but miraculously no injuries.
disingenuous

not straightforward or candid

It feels both flattering and insulting, comforting and unsettling, honest and disingenuous.New York Times (Sep 13, 2011)
disinter

dig up for reburial or for medical investigation

In the Northern Islands the entire remains are disinterred, carefully cleaned, wrapped up once more, and reburied; here, the skull and jawbone only are retained.Kloss, C. Boden
disjointed

lacking orderly continuity

His thoughts lost their continuity and became scrappy, disjointed, hazy.Reynolds, Mrs. Baillie
dismal

causing dejection

Brownsville is a neighborhood so distinguished by negatives that even on a cloudless day, a dismal, enervating tension can take hold.New York Times (Jan 14, 2012)
dismantle

take apart into its constituent pieces

The Tunny machines, like the Colossus computers they worked alongside, were dismantled and recycled for spare parts after World War II.
dismay

the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles

She looked at him with dismay, as though lamenting, making him responsible for her misfortune.Blasco Ib??ez, Vicente
disparage

express a negative opinion of

In pitching for more contracts, AMR publicly tries to avoid disparaging fire departments, even as it criticizes the public business model.
disparity

inequality or difference in some respect

Nationwide, women’s groups point out the glaring gender disparity in public life, noting that there are only 6 female governors and 17 female senators.New York Times (Mar 26, 2012)
dispassionate

unaffected by strong emotion or prejudice

His words recall to us a windy afternoon on Fifth Avenue, in the days when our Uncle Sam was dispassionate and neutral.Bone, David W. (David William)
dispatch

the act of sending off something

Messengers were immediately dispatched in every direction, sending the glad tidings on.Headley, Joel Tyler
dispel

force to go away

The idea that sufferers from heart disease should avoid physical exertion has been dispelled by a noted physiologist who has successfully employed regulated exercise.McCarty, Louis Philippe
dispense

grant an exemption

Lumber being scarce in that vicinity, floors, doors, as well as sash and glass, were dispensed with.Gray, William Henry
disperse

cause to separate

They were dispersed by riot police officers but returned a few hours later before being chased away again.New York Times (Feb 13, 2012)
displace

cause to move, usually with force or pressure

“There is a desperate need for food, for shelter and assistance,” Johnson said after visiting the affected area and meeting displaced people.
disposable

designed to be thrown away after use

Sadly, it’s also normal to see these disposable cups spewing out of bins and knocking about on pavements.
disposition

your usual mood

At this time, he moved in the best society, where his courtly manners and genial disposition made him a general favorite.Stark, James H.
disseminate

cause to become widely known

Few will be surprised if more details are disseminated before the big reveal at Detroit’s Cobo Hall.New York Times (Dec 30, 2011)
dissertation

a treatise advancing a point of view resulting from research

He attended Duke University, won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford and earned a Ph.D., writing a dissertation on humanitarian movements and relief work.New York Times (May 8, 2011)
dissident

a person who objects to some established policy

Just as political dissidents fought the Soviet regime, so, too, did others oppose the educational system.New York Times (Sep 15, 2011)
dissimilar

not alike

How do two cities so dissimilar in location, size, and environment end up on the same end of the cost-of-living scale?
dissimulate

hide feelings from other people

He was simply more cautious than is usual in men, and so exceedingly honest that it was impossible for him to dissimulate.Swiggett, Samuel A.
dissipate

cause to separate and go in different directions

The leaked gas — mainly methane — was dissipating in the atmosphere very quickly, Total said.New York Times (Apr 2, 2012)
dissipated

preoccupied with the pursuit of pleasure

The Prince of Wales also still pursued the most dissipated rounds of pleasure, making his very name hateful to every virtuous ear.Hamilton, Lady Anne
dissipation

dissolute indulgence in sensual pleasure

But some men mean by college spirit something finer than lawlessness, dissipation, and rowdyism.Addams, Jane
dissolute

unrestrained by convention or morality

Extravagance, debauchery, and dissolute habits were sure to work out in time the attendant ills of wretchedness, destitution, and penury.Carroll, Mitchell
dissolution

the termination or disintegration of a relationship

A loosening and final dissolution of old unions, which no longer satisfy all conditions, cannot be recommended until new constellations are within reach.Various
dissolve

cause to fade away

And then the glittering mass begins to dissolve and fade away.Rameur, E.
dissonance

the auditory experience of sound that lacks musical quality

On that album Wilco opened up its music, letting noise, dissonance and other disruptions transmogrify what had been solid, straightforward roots-rock.New York Times (Sep 26, 2011)
dissonant

lacking in harmony

He thinks it’s a practical joke, because the music is fragmentary, halting, dissonant and weird.
dissuade

turn away from by persuasion

Several old miners tried, with the best of intentions, to dissuade Gabe from going to those diggings, saying he would only meet with failure.Webster, Frank V.
distant

located far away spatially

I counted eight peaks, and then, on coming nearer, others, that at first had blended with those higher and more distant ones, detached themselves.Drake, Samuel Adams
distend

swell from or as if from internal pressure

Some kids said LaNiyah’s distended abdomen looked like she was carrying a baby.Seattle Times (Apr 7, 2011)
distill

remove impurities from and increase the concentration of

He has made his mark by simplifying and distilling his ideas, using as few elements as the conventions of showing art will allow.New York Times (Jun 24, 2011)
distillation

purifying a liquid by boiling it and condensing its vapors

This process of heating an organic compound in a closed vessel without access of air and collecting the products, is called destructive distillation.Meldola, Raphael
distort

twist and press out of shape

It was dark and distorted, swollen a great deal, and one of his eyes was closed.Micheaux, Oscar
distract

draw someone’s attention away from something

During the evening he had kept his sorrow at bay as well as he could, distracting his thoughts with passing objects.Weyman, Stanley John
distraught

deeply agitated especially from emotion

He is plainly distraught, utterly unbalanced by the sad experience he has had.Flotow, Friedrich von
distress

cause mental pain to

Prissy alone was genuinely distressed, and so affected was she that two big tears of woe trickled down her cheeks.Crockett, S. R. (Samuel Rutherford)
diverse

many and different

This remains a diverse country, and there are distinct regional differences even within a political party.Washington Post (Mar 7, 2012)
divest

cease to hold, as an investment

The practice was known as “tobashi,” and was used to mean “hiding bad loans” or “selling or divesting in unwanted stocks.”Wall Street Journal (Nov 8, 2011)
docile

willing to be taught or led or supervised or directed

The Puma is, however, easily tamed and becomes very docile under kindly treatment.Various
dogmatic

relating to or involving a religious doctrine

Expect neither theological controversy nor dogmatic discussion of any kind from me.R?ville, Albert
doleful

filled with or evoking sadness

He never held forth dark threats, nor adopted, like many preachers about him, the doleful tones of grief when he talked about religion.Ballou, Maturin Murray
domestic

produced in a particular country

At the same time, domestic oil production is actually increasing after decades of decline, meaning we have to import less than before.New York Times (Mar 21, 2012)
dominant

exercising influence or control

He looked strangely determined and forceful; almost, as she thought of it, dominant.Bindloss, Harold
dormant

inactive but capable of becoming active

In addition, this past winter was warmer than usual, so normally dormant ticks are active.Scientific American (Mar 23, 2012)
dreary

causing dejection

Looking out of my window the landscape is cold and dreary.Vay, P?ter
drudgery

hard, monotonous, routine work

My worthy employer, however, evidently intends holding on forever, and the sordid, monotonous drudgery has been getting insupportable lately.Bindloss, Harold
dubious

fraught with uncertainty or doubt

Through online forums, blogs and Twitter, a cottage industry has grown up around instant criticism of dodgy scientific claims and dubious findings.Nature (Dec 7, 2011)
duplicity

the act of deceiving or acting in bad faith

Whatever they touched was blighted; whatever they said or preached breathed treachery; wherever they went, vice, crime, and duplicity marked their track.Hogan, William
durable

capable of withstanding wear and tear and decay

The department said orders for durable goods, manufactured products expected to last three years or more, fell 0.5 percent, a smaller decline than initially estimated.
dwell

inhabit or live in

They did not dwell in fixed abodes, but wandered hither and thither as inclination and duty led.Ogg, Frederic Austin
dwindle

become smaller or lose substance

As decades pass, maximum heart rate slows, aerobic capacity wanes, muscle mass tends to dwindle.New York Times (Apr 2, 2012)
dystopian

of an imaginary place where life is extremely bad

And yet his dystopian vision that humanity’s lot, our inescapable fate, will be grinding, desperate poverty, lives on.

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