100 SAT words Beginning with “O” – 100 Words

oasis

a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary

In August, editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan and I traveled to the foundation’s headquarters, an oasis of greenery and glass in sweltering Kansas City, Missouri.
obdurate

showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings

Mr. Oldstone, in particular, exhausted all his powers of persuasion to yet delay his departure, but he found him obdurate.M. Y. Halidom (pseud. Dryasdust)
obedient

dutifully complying with the commands of those in authority

“‘With all due respect, I have the honor to be, Sir, “‘Your most obedient and humble servant.’Semmes, Raphael
obeisance

bending the head or body in reverence or submission

All heads were inclined in an obeisance of deep homage.Sienkiewicz, Henryk
obfuscate

make obscure or unclear

Yet as we tried to understand, there always seemed to be an obfuscating layer: something or someone was working against comprehension.
objective

the goal intended to be attained

“Our main objective is to maintain a balance between market share and profitability,” Chief Executive Officer Marco Antonio Bologna said in the earnings statement.
obligation

the state of being bound to do or pay something

I considered myself as a married man and under obligation to alter my way of living, and I stopped playing.Seingalt, Jacques Casanova de
oblique

not direct, explicit, or straightforward

An old man, of monstrous obesity, seated on a wooden chair, devoured his pittance with animal voracity, casting on either side oblique angry glances.Sue, Eugène
oblivious

lacking conscious awareness of

They were lying down and apparently oblivious to my approach—perhaps asleep.Various
obloquy

state of disgrace resulting from public abuse

Thus public men are content to leave their reputation to posterity; great reactions take place in opinion; nay, sometimes men outlive opposition and obloquy.Newman, John Henry Cardinal
obscure

not clearly understood or expressed

Nor has any obscure, mysterious, or illusive point in history been cleared up by the spirits.Flammarion, Camille
obsequious

attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner

The man had been eager in his attentions, deferential, almost obsequious.Packard, Frank L. (Frank Lucius)
obsolete

no longer in use

Over the past dozen or so years, hospitals across the country have gone digital, leading to better patient outcomes and making hangar-size file-storage facilities obsolete.Slate (Apr 9, 2012)
obstinate

marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield

No opposition was so great, no difficulty so stubborn and obstinate, which he did not conquer by his beloved Son, the author of our salvation.Arndt, Johann
obstreperous

noisily and stubbornly defiant

If particularly wild, obstinate, or obstreperous, he still keeps breaking away, and refusing to come into camp.Shields, George O.
obstruct

block passage through

Through Icy Sound we found some difficulty in penetrating, as the channel was much obstructed by ice.Fitzroy, Robert
obtain

come into possession of

Nine years later, Napoleon managed, by skilful intrigues, to obtain quiet possession of Malta.Whymper, Frederick
obtrusive

undesirably noticeable

“We’ve done research, and the ads are considered annoying, irritating and obtrusive,” Mr. Norris said after watching Barnes & Noble’s presentation.New York Times (Nov 7, 2011)
obtuse

slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity

The affair had been mentioned so plainly that it was impossible for the most dense and obtuse person not to have understood the allusion.Brazil, Angela
obviate

prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening

Fevers are at present alarmingly prevalent, arising from causes which judicious attention and sanitary means would easily obviate.Ballou, Maturin Murray
occlude

block passage through

In many cases we can dissolve the clot that is occluding the artery or blood vessel in the brain and restore normal flow.Seattle Times (Nov 29, 2010)
occult

supernatural practices and techniques

He studied magic, and his thirst for knowledge of the occult sciences grew.Butterworth, Hezekiah
occupy

live in (a certain place)

Another reason sales have fallen is that previously occupied homes have become a better deal than new homes.Time (Apr 17, 2012)
odious

unequivocally detestable

Hideous and odious, revolting beyond all expression, the underground war finished by becoming impossible.Tarde, Gabriel
odium

hate coupled with disgust

Week after week, the seceders were held up to public odium, derision and scorn.Doheny, Michael
odoriferous

having a natural fragrance

Some odoriferous substances are fragrant for many years, exhaling continually, yet are not quickly consumed.Gilbert, William
odyssey

a long wandering and eventful journey

He hit six rodeos in seven days, an odyssey that took him to stops in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and California.Newsweek (Dec 10, 2010)
offend

cause to feel resentment or indignation

The research said milder expressions should be used to “avoid offending the public and stoking social tensions”.
officious

intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner

Be kind, of course; that’s only your duty, but I call it officious and presumptuous to interfere in other people’s lives.Earnshaw, Elizabeth
offset

compensate for or counterbalance

The chain has been raising prices on some drinks to help offset higher costs for commodities like coffee and milk.New York Times (Jan 27, 2012)
ogle

stare or look at, especially with amorous intentions

“This simple food keeps you in beautiful health, Father,” said Mistletoe, ogling the swarthy face of the Abbot with an affection that he duly noted.Stewardson, John
olfactory

of or relating to the sense of smell

The human brain’s olfactory bulb is activated differently depending on where a smell hits the nostril, indicating that odor receptor organization is not uniform.Scientific American (Sep 26, 2011)
oligarchy

a political system governed by a few people

The track management of this particular university was an oligarchy; was governed by a few absolute individuals.Marchand, J. N.
omen

a sign of a thing about to happen

Pale-faced, wide-eyed, statuesque, their presence, interpreted by a vivid imagination, might have been regarded as an omen of impending misfortune.Harris, Joel Chandler
ominous

threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments

He knew there was something ominous in her silence, like gathering thunder.Canfield, Dorothy
omit

leave undone or leave out

Titles are abbreviated, mottoes dropped, foot notes cut out, and many earlier poems reduced, or omitted entirely.Freneau, Philip
omnipotent

having unlimited power

We can still call Him Omnipotent in the sense that He possesses all the power there is.Rashdall, Hastings
omnipresent

existing everywhere at once

He is here, there, and everywhere; he is omnipresent—this curse of Finland.Alec-Tweedie, Mrs. (Ethel)
omniscient

infinitely wise

The Omniscient Being alone can have perfect knowledge of all beings and things as they are.Peabody, Andrew P. (Andrew Preston)
omnivorous

feeding on both plants and animals

Rats and mice are practically omnivorous, feeding upon all kinds of animal and vegetable matter.Lantz, David E.
onerous

burdensome or difficult to endure

The charge was an onerous one, requiring constant and severe labor, as well as the exercise of patience, prudence, and good judgment.Richardson, James D. (James Daniel)
onomatopoeia

using words that imitate the sound they denote

This correspondence of sound and sense is called onomatopoeia.Baum, Paull Franklin
onslaught

a rapid and continuous outpouring

Most companies are facing an onslaught of information about customers from social networks, the Internet, and mobile devices.
onus

a burdensome or difficult concern

With Xavi out injured, the onus was on Alonso to supply his forward line and he excelled at the task.
opalescent

having a play of lustrous rainbow colors

It is a picture beautiful as the opalescent colors of a soap bubble.Leacock, Stephen
opaque

not transmitting or reflecting light or radiant energy

Comets differ from the bodies which we have just been describing in that they appear filmy and transparent, whereas the others are solid and opaque.Dolmage, Cecil Goodrich Julius
operative

a person secretly employed in espionage for a government

I am a Secret Service operative seeking information about Cheney.Taft, William Nelson
opiate

a narcotic drug

Signs of opiate drug use include pinpoint pupils, too much sleep, too little motivation, unexplained absences and worsening grades, counselors say.Seattle Times (Oct 1, 2011)
opponent

someone who offers resistance

Sarkozy has been criticized by opponents and even some allies for his sometimes brutal manner of pushing through decisions.
opportune

suitable or advantageous especially for a particular purpose

Most viewed the budget surplus as opportune: a chance to pay down the national debt, cut taxes, shore up entitlements or pursue new spending programs.Washington Post (Feb 19, 2012)
opportunist

a person who places expediency above principle

A Rangoon resident told the BBC that some of these groups were seen as opportunists playing along with the junta for personal gain.BBC (Mar 30, 2010)
opposition

a body of people united against something

Medical Missions in Persia have already worked wonders, breaking down opposition, winning friends even amongst the most fanatical.Hume-Griffith, A.
oppressive

marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior

The consequences flowing from this unjust and oppressive system of taxation are appalling.Cloud, D. C.
opprobrium

state of disgrace resulting from public abuse

They know how easily the taunting of Mr Brown over bullying allegations and ill-scripted condolence letters engendered public sympathy rather than opprobrium.BBC (Apr 28, 2010)
optimist

a person disposed to take a favorable view of things

Ms. McCarthy remains hopeful about the future of public education: “I’m forever an optimist.New York Times (Apr 9, 2010)
optional

possible but not necessary; left to personal choice

All other laws, it is optional with each man to obey, or not, as he may choose.Spooner, Lysander
opulent

rich and superior in quality

The count was rich in land, but his income could not be compared with that of the opulent Garnet.Palacio Valdés, Armando
opus

a musical work that has been created

Barnes will perform his opus, “Acknowledgment of a Celebration,” which he debuted at last fall’s Earshot Jazz Festival.Seattle Times (May 31, 2010)
oracle

an authoritative person who divines the future

Dionysus further possessed the prophetic gift, and his oracle at Delphi was as important as that of Apollo.Various
oracular

of or relating to prophecy or someone who tells the future

Nor does his philosophic attitude exclude the possibility of a certain faith in oracular foresight and divination.Dill, Samuel
orator

a person who delivers a speech

As an orator Senator Evarts stood in the foremost rank, and some of his best speeches were published.Various
ordinance

an authoritative rule

Police say officers began patrolling parks near the stadium Monday night to make sure no park ordinances are violated, especially those related to alcohol.Seattle Times (Apr 10, 2012)
ordinary

lacking special distinction, rank, or status

While the government and the developers are doing well, many ordinary people are hurt by the high cost of living.
ordination

the status of being sworn into a sacred office

Some forty English students are educated for the priesthood and return on their ordination for work in their native land.O’Reilly, Elizabeth Boyle
organic

grown or raised without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

And because she has an organic farm, she does not use spray pesticides, experimenting with spraying soapy water.Washington Post (Sep 24, 2010)
orientation

a course introducing a new situation or environment

To reduce the number of dropouts, it is offering students a three-week “ orientation” during which they can quit without charge.
orifice

an opening, especially one that opens into a bodily cavity

The mouth, a round, lipless orifice, contracted or dilated at will; from it came whistling words.Diffin, Charles Willard
origin

the source of something’s existence or from which it derives

British, but especially English, place names are, in a vast majority of cases, either of Saxon, Norse, or Celtic origin.Russell, T. O.
originate

come into existence; take on form or shape

Some plants, such as the sweet potato, originated in the Andes Mountains but apparently spread across the Pacific Ocean before the arrival of Columbus.
ornate

marked by elaborate rhetoric and elaborated with details

Unlike his literary icon, Herman Melville, he doesn’t adorn his writing with ornate flourishes or complicated scaffolding.Scientific American (Dec 20, 2011)
ornithologist

a scientist who studies birds

Besides the structural resemblances, which are, of course, the only ones considered by ornithologists in classifying birds, the indigo buntings have several sparrow-like traits.Blanchan, Neltje
orotund

full and rich, of sounds

The answer came back in a deep, orotund, sing-song voice.Ward, Herbert D. (Herbert Dickinson)
orthodox

adhering to what is commonly accepted

His opinions, clashing as they did with orthodox creeds, were given in a tentative, questioning fashion, so that where ecclesiastical censure fell, retreat was easier.Clodd, Edward
orthogonal

meeting at right angles

His love of the orthogonal, which like 1980s dance moves once verged on the robotic, is relaxing into less pure angles.
oscillate

move or swing from side to side regularly

When the polariton flow was excited with two laser beams, the quantum fluid began to oscillate backwards and forwards in ways predicted by quantum mechanics.Forbes (Jan 9, 2012)
osseous

composed of or containing bone

But the osseous outgrowth, the bones, you know, complicate things.Wells, H. G. (Herbert George)
ossify

make rigid and set into a conventional pattern

Looking at it out of the corner of my eye, I could think about being a teenager, before roles were ossified and boundaries set.New York Times (Nov 24, 2010)
ostensible

appearing as such but not necessarily so

This already-exhaustive book is studded with diary entries, academic papers and other ostensible evidence that its fictitious stories of destruction are true.New York Times (Jun 6, 2010)
ostentatious

tawdry or vulgar

He was frugal and dressed in plain, ordinary clothes rather than extravagant or ostentatious ones.Reilly, S. A.
ostracize

expel from a community or group

Although she may have been more sinned against than sinning, she is cast out and ostracized by society.Moody, Dwight Lyman
otiose

serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being

There is no superfluous ornament in his orations, nothing tawdry, nothing otiose.Lincoln, Abraham
oust

remove from a position or office

Maldives’ torture- addicted previous president was ousted and a more democratic government was established.Seattle Times (May 3, 2012)
outcome

something that results

“Very frustrating process, but a great outcome in the end,” Moore told The Idaho Statesman.Seattle Times (May 1, 2012)
outlandish

conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual

His outsized personality and outlandish comments – maybe not so absurd given what Ryan’s New York Jets have achieved – draw notice no matter the situation.Seattle Times (Jan 23, 2011)
outrage

strike with disgust or revulsion

Every single time reporters, analysts, and citizens are astonished, outraged, shocked anew that the politician didn’t just go ahead and admit what he did.Slate (Nov 9, 2011)
outrageous

grossly offensive to decency or morality; causing horror

“The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable,” Mr. Obama said at the White House, after meeting with Mrs. Clinton.New York Times (Feb 24, 2011)
outskirts

outlying areas, as of a city or town

Security forces were checking cars inside the city and in its outskirts.
outspoken

given to expressing yourself freely or insistently

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

beat through cleverness

To top it all off, he regularly outwits his elders, showing natural positional sense and finishing moves with the poise and intelligence of an expert.
ovation

enthusiastic recognition

Buster Poster, receiving rousing ovations from fans every time his name was announced, cleared another milestone with an RBI single in the first.Seattle Times (Apr 5, 2012)
overbearing

having or showing arrogant superiority to

He who had been so unprincipled and arrogant, so insolent and overbearing, his cleverness no longer needed, was tossed aside by his employers.Wingfield, Lewis
overcome

win a victory over

Abbott said he learned a lot by winning, by overcoming the odds.New York Times (Apr 30, 2012)
oversight

management by watching and directing a person or group

The former Pennsylvania senator defended the practice by saying that Congress has an important oversight role in shaping the federal budget.Chicago Tribune (Feb 23, 2012)
overt

open and observable; not secret or hidden

In this music, the Caribbean element often isn’t overt but is coded in the relationship between rhythm and melody.New York Times (Mar 6, 2010)
overthrow

cause the downfall of

Just two weeks ago, Mali’s 1991 revolution was reversed when mutinous soldiers overthrew a democratically elected government.New York Times (Apr 6, 2012)
overweening

presumptuously arrogant

There were crack riders and ropers who, just because they felt such overweening pride in their own prowess, were not really very valuable men.Roosevelt, Theodore
overwhelming

very intense

I think I was not so much afraid as oppressed by an almost overwhelming sense of loneliness.Gilson, Charles
overwrought

deeply agitated especially from emotion

Belshazzar, pale-faced and utterly overwrought, physically exhausted, mentally apprehensive, followed his father, walking alone.Potter, Margaret Horton
overzealous

marked by excessive enthusiasm for a cause or idea

He sat scared in Greece on his team’s bus as it was attacked by overzealous fans.Washington Post (Aug 31, 2011)
oxymoron

conjoined contradictory terms

As oxymorons go, the silent disco is right up there, along with vegan bacon, jumbo shrimps and the living dead.

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