100 SAT Words Beginning with “M” – 100 Words

macabre

shockingly repellent; inspiring horror

Thus was uncovered one of history’s most macabre bouts of serial killing.New York Times (Oct 9, 2011)
machination

a crafty and involved plot to achieve your ends

With life experiences like those behind her, the extreme plot machinations of Hollywood melodrama must have possessed an everyday familiarity for Stanwyck.New York Times (Apr 24, 2010)
maculate

spot, stain, or pollute

It fell upon their faces, touching their whiteness with a ruddy tinge, accentuating the stains with which so many of them were freaked and maculated.Bierce, Ambrose
maelstrom

a powerful circular current of water

The entire bowl was now a maelstrom of swirling bodies, legs and arms.Browne, Howard
magnanimous

noble and generous in spirit

She will love to dwell on that large, generous, magnanimous, open, forgiving heart.Various
magniloquent

lofty in style

The day was spent in magniloquent addresses, which affected the style of ancient types, urgent exhortations to war, poetical orations, rounds of applause, rapturous demonstrations.Dawson, Æneas MacDonell
magnitude

the property of relative size or extent

But an aftershock of almost the same magnitude, less deep that the first quake, hit soon after he finished speaking.
maim

injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration

Think of the maimed, the mutilated, the mangled!Ingersoll, Robert Green
majestic

having or displaying great dignity or nobility

By-and-by the three temples loomed into view, standing in all their beauty on the barren waste, majestic, uninjured, extraordinary.Woolson, Constance Fenimore
malady

any unwholesome or desperate condition

As with most of the infectious maladies, scarlet fever extended to the Western World through European shipping.Various
malaise

a general feeling of discomfort, uneasiness, or depression

Sammy was placed on antibiotics in case a bacterial infection was causing his fever and malaise.Seattle Times (Dec 19, 2011)
malapropism

misuse of a word by confusion with one that sounds similar

New words are eagerly seized; hence the malapropisms and solecisms so frequently made fun of, without appreciation of their cause.Reynolds, Stephen Sydney
malevolent

wishing or appearing to wish evil to others

They are malevolent and murderous and may be summoned by black magic.
malice

feeling a need to see others suffer

But it would have been easy enough to simply say that no malice was intended and she regretted if anyone was offended by the phrase.
malignant

dangerous to health

The latest growth is “most likely malignant,” Chávez conceded – aggressively so, medical experts are suggesting – leaving him “preparing to face the worst.”
malingerer

someone shirking duty by feigning illness or incapacity

On the other hand, the malingerer may actually produce injuries on his person either to excite commiseration or to escape from work.Robertson, W. G. Aitchison (William George Aitchison )
malleable

easily influenced

Laws are malleable, and courts can be purchased or influenced to a local’s advantage.New York Times (Dec 22, 2010)
manifestation

an indication of the existence of some person or thing

Nay, the process was going on within, though its visible manifestations may have ceased.Various
manifold

many and varied; having many features or forms

Then, too, there are innumerable separate agencies, working in ways manifold and diverse.Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn)
manipulate

influence or control shrewdly or deviously

It says Google manipulated Safari users into believing they could permanently opt out of targeted advertising, when in reality they couldn’t.New York Times (Feb 17, 2012)
manumit

free from slavery or servitude

The slave, now free, would lay down his life for the man who has manumitted him.Reid, Mayne
mar

render imperfect

This energetic and clear-textured approach allowed for plenty of striking details of percussion and phrasing, marred only by a few brass blemishes.New York Times (Mar 10, 2012)
marital

of or relating to the state of marriage

In many jurisdictions, if your separately owned property increases in value during the marriage, that increase is also considered marital property.
maritime

relating to ships or navigation

In any case, the report argues, international maritime law in theory obligates ships to come to the assistance of those in trouble at sea.
martyr

one who suffers for the sake of principle

Despite the pounding summer sun, Protesters turned out to demand justice for those killed during the revolution, who are seen as martyrs for democracy.New York Times (Jul 1, 2011)
materialistic

marked by a desire for wealth and possessions

Moreover, in contrast to the dominant thinking of our age, which is materialistic, King’s philosophy is spiritual and religious.King, Basil
materialize

come into being; become reality

As ties warmed, the two countries discussed joint ventures, though most haven’t materialized.
maternal

characteristic of a mother

Maternal mortality rates are also high, with 85 women dying in childbirth for every 100,000 live births, Tidey said.
matriarchy

social organization in which a female is the family head

In effect, however, women owned the country and women governed it; suddenly the matriarchy existed.Cox, Irving E.
matrix

an enclosure within which something originates or develops

Today, Web music services are spread across the entire range of the price/convenience/permanence matrix.New York Times (Jul 27, 2011)
maturation

the process of an individual organism growing organically

Again, that is a very fast maturation rate, making it efficient for breeding in the lab.Scientific American (Dec 28, 2011)
maudlin

effusively or insincerely emotional

He detested the florid sentimentality of some other universities, the maudlin old grads singing of bright college years!Canfield, Dorothy
maul

injure badly

Or if Sleepless in Seattle ended with Meg Ryan being graphically mauled to death by an escaped tiger.
maven

one who is very skilled in or knowledgeable about a field

The Deadhead community boasts any number of recording engineers, lighting experts, rock video mavens, electronic technicians of all descriptions.Sterling, Bruce
maverick

independent in behavior or thought

He’s still the same maverick, independent spirit he has always been.
mawkish

effusively or insincerely emotional

Herself full of mawkish sentimentality, her verses could not fail to be foolish, their whole impulse being the ambition that springs from self-admiration.MacDonald, George
maxim

a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits

As we are hastily reading books and papers we continually come across maxims, epigrams, and short, pithy sayings that attract us.McCarty, Louis Philippe
mayhem

violent and needless disturbance

Although some graffiti had already been removed, evidence of the previous night’s mayhem was visible in broken display cases.Chicago Tribune (Jan 30, 2012)
meager

deficient in amount or quality or extent

Prime Minister John Key said he was spreading his Marmite more thinly to stretch his meager and dwindling supply.New York Times (Mar 21, 2012)
meander

move or cause to move in a sinuous or circular course

That route turns out to be a long and meandering one, ending up at an ambiguous, or at least ambivalent, conclusion.New York Times (Feb 3, 2012)
mediate

act between parties with a view to reconciling differences

The United States has waded into the conflict in recent months saying it was willing to mediate disputes between smaller countries and China.New York Times (Nov 19, 2011)
melancholy

characterized by or causing or expressing sadness

I heard a melancholy murmuring, something like suppressed sighing and sobbing, with words between that I could not make out.Palacio Vald?s, Armando
melee

a noisy riotous fight

The Washington Post said the melee broke out in the fourth quarter as members of both teams tackled and threw punches at one another.
mellifluous

pleasing to the ear

There was much of this in our great man, whose voice became of the sweetest and most mellifluous key, as he bent before the peer.Fitzgerald, Percy Hethrington
melodramatic

characteristic of acting or a stage performance

Its melodramatic characters striking theatrical postures are uninspiring, to put it mildly.New York Times (Dec 10, 2010)
memorabilia

a record of things worth remembering

Construction workers on Thursday buried a stainless steel time capsule with memorabilia relating to President Franklin D. Roosevelt at Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.New York Times (Apr 13, 2012)
menace

express a threat either by an utterance or a gesture

And raising her stick in her shaking hand, she made a gesture so menacing that, fearing she would strike him, my lord stepped back.Weyman, Stanley J.
menagerie

a collection of live animals for study or display

If my cell were big enough, I should walk round and round as I have seen the caged animals do in menageries.Osborne, Thomas Mott
mendacious

intentionally untrue

He is tempted to make ambiguous statements; pledges, with secret passages of escape; contracts, with fraudulent constructions; lying excuses, and more mendacious promises.Beecher, Henry Ward
mendicant

a pauper who lives by begging

In others are the broken-down mendicants who live on soup-kitchens and begging. Ritchie, J. Ewing (James Ewing)
menial

relating to unskilled work, especially domestic work

He can always get work at unskilled manual labour, or personal or domestic service—in other words, at menial employment.Grayson, David
mercantile

relating to or characteristic of trade or traders

But external trade is regulated by governments on the principles of the mercantile system.Various
mercenary

a person hired to fight for another country than their own

“The Expendables” revolves around a group of mercenaries hired to overthrow a South American dictator.
mercurial

liable to sudden unpredictable change

Wind energy is notoriously mercurial, with patterns shifting drastically over the course of years, days, even minutes.Scientific American (Jan 4, 2012)
meretricious

tastelessly showy

Education and extensive reading have preserved them from faults of gaudiness and meretricious ornament.Various
mesmerize

attract strongly, as if with a magnet

The range of Ms. Traoré’s performance as Barbary — her rich and mesmerizing voice, regal bearing and fluid movement — has enchanted critics.New York Times (Oct 25, 2011)
metamorphosis

striking change in appearance or character or circumstances

In the film Nina goes through a metamorphosis onstage, from sweet swan to a thrashing, rabid, seething one, complete with feathers.Seattle Times (Dec 2, 2010)
metaphor

a figure of speech that suggests a non-literal similarity

We kept coming back to a metaphor of a big-game hunter looking for “ideas” instead of animals.Forbes (Aug 30, 2011)
metaphysical

highly abstract and overly theoretical

At the same time it is, when formulated, an abstract and metaphysical statement, which one cannot grasp at once, but to which one must grow.Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith
methodical

characterized by orderliness

Like most men who get through much work, Spencer was very methodical and orderly.Thomson, J. Arthur (John Arthur)
meticulous

marked by precise accordance with details

Kuhn kept meticulous records, documenting all paintings, exhibits and sales.
mettle

the courage to carry on

That was a task which tried their mettle, but once met and overcome, it fortified their courage to meet other ordeals.Adams, Andy
microcosm

a miniature model of something

In some ways what is playing out in this Ulster County town is a more colorful microcosm of affordable housing controversies elsewhere.New York Times (Sep 14, 2011)
mien

a person’s appearance, manner, or demeanor

Then Essex, majestic in mien and regal-looking in demeanour, and seeming to carry on his dress the cost of whole manors.Curling, Henry
migration

the periodic passage of groups of animals

Wheatears complete this 14,500 kilometer journey in nearly 90 days, too, a marathon migration very rare for such little birds.
milieu

the environmental condition

Adams is particularly good at capturing the rivalries, power struggles and pecking order in the newsroom, a milieu she knows intimately.New York Times (Feb 19, 2010)
militant

a reformer disposed to hard-line policies

Militants holed up in a tall building were firing rockets in different directions, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.Time (Apr 15, 2012)
minion

a servile or fawning dependant

They were common clay, mere ephemeral puppets, without hope of command, minions to take orders, necessary evils in an age of mechanism and high-speed commerce.McFee, William
minuscule

very small

The isotopes detected in Western states have been found in minuscule amounts, officials say, much too small to threaten health.
mirth

great merriment

At times he was as silent and mysterious as the sphinx, at other times brimming over with mirth and merriment.Hocking, Silas K. (Silas Kitto)
misanthrope

someone who dislikes people in general

The misanthropes pretend that they despise humanity for its weakness.Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith)
misconstrue

interpret in the wrong way

Unconsciously and boy-like, he did things which were often misconstrued as downright badness, whereas the boy had not the slightest intention of doing anything wrong.Cody, H. A. (Hiram Alfred)
miscreant

a person without moral scruples

Among such characters there will be miscreants capable of any crime, and therefore there is always danger.Forester, Thomas
misnomer

an incorrect or unsuitable name

“Boiled” custard is rather a misnomer as on no account must the boiling point be reached in cooking, for if the custard bubbles it curdles.McClure, Mary Jane
mitigate

lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of

Affliction is allayed, grief subsides, sorrow is soothed, distress is mitigated.Webster, Noah
mnemonic

of or relating to the practice of aiding the memory

He was able to beef up his memory by learning mnemonic techniques.Scientific American (Mar 25, 2011)
modest

limited in size or scope

For women’s coaches, however, third-party funds are modest, if they exist at all.New York Times (Apr 3, 2012)
modicum

a small or moderate or token amount

He volunteered a modicum of advice, limited in quantity, but valuable.Bolderwood, Rolf
mollify

cause to be more favorably inclined

Some cups of very good coffee had somewhat mollified him, and he came out smiling and talking in tolerably restored humor.Child, Lydia Maria Francis
momentous

of very great significance

By this momentous act Lewis XVI., without being conscious of its significance, went over to the democracy.Figgis, John Neville
monetary

relating to or involving money

The world’s major central banks are opening up the monetary spigots once again, pumping new money into their economies to bolster growth.
moniker

a familiar name for a person

He has been going by his childhood moniker for so long, it is the only name most people know.Seattle Times (Apr 10, 2012)
monolithic

characterized by rigidity and total uniformity

The two layers are placed within 10 minutes of each other, the purpose being to secure a monolithic or one-piece slab.Gillette, Halbert Powers
monotheism

belief in a single God

From that it passes on to monotheism, the belief in one God, who is the sole author and creator of the universe.Stace, W. T. (Walter Terence)
monotonous

sounded or spoken in a tone unvarying in pitch

The old man stopped suddenly, having told all his story in a dull, monotonous voice, with little feeling and no dramatic display.Allen, Grant
moot

of no legal significance, as having been previously decided

Emanuel also declined to say whether he will consider a write-in campaign — a moot point if the high court deems him ineligible.
moratorium

suspension of an ongoing activity

Drilling activity was suspended on June 12 under a moratorium the U.S. placed on exploration in waters deeper than 500 feet.Washington Post (Feb 28, 2011)
morbid

suggesting the horror of death and decay

I have been attending a lot of funerals recently and this has brought back to the fore my morbid fascination with funerals.BBC (Mar 30, 2010)
mores

the conventions embodying the fundamental values of a group

Societal attitudes toward servants are often shaped by ingrained mores about caste and class.New York Times (Apr 5, 2012)
morose

showing a brooding ill humor

He was never jolly now, but always discontented, and generally querulous, morose, or violently angry.Maxwell, W. B. (William Babington)
mortify

cause to feel shame

She could have wished that there should never be moonlight more, so shamed and mortified and humiliated did she feel.Oliphant, Mrs. (Margaret)
motif

a design that consists of recurring shapes or colors

Mr. Dine’s other recurring motifs — hearts, tools and Venuses — are scattered throughout the other galleries and the museum grounds.New York Times (Apr 14, 2012)
motley

consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds

All sorts and conditions of men were represented in the huge and motley throng.Brady, Cyrus Townsend
mull

reflect deeply on a subject

Thinkers like Aristotle have mulled over such questions for centuries, says philosopher Mark Vernon in the Magazine’s series on modern ethical dilemmas.
multitudinous

too numerous to be counted

Here, along the lines of multitudinous houses, up one street and down another, he wondered which of them might be occupied by her.London, Jack
mundane

found in the ordinary course of events

But researchers say one thing has not changed and spans the divides – the temporary escape from the mundane routine of everyday life.BBC (May 21, 2010)
munificent

very generous

My munificent, generous angel will come now and then, and from her cornucopia shower her gifts upon me.Sienkiewicz, Henryk
mutiny

open rebellion against constituted authority

Slaves make insurrection; soldiers or sailors break out in mutiny; subject provinces rise in revolt.Fernald, James Champlin
myriad

a large indefinite number

In this case, hundreds of drugs are involved, each with myriad approved uses in various animals.New York Times (Apr 12, 2012)
mythical

based on or told of in traditional stories

Dating back to classical antiquity, Corinth was reputedly the home of Pegasus, the winged mythical horse.

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