100 SAT words Beginning with “S” – 100 Words

sacrilegious

grossly irreverent toward what is considered holy

Some say the artwork blurs the line between church and state; others consider it sacrilegious to have Mexico’s patron saint pictured surfing.Seattle Times (Jun 8, 2011)
sacrosanct

treated as if holy and kept free from violation or criticism

After decades of being considered politically sacrosanct, why are homeowner mortgage write-offs suddenly on the chopping block?Washington Post (Aug 12, 2011)
sagacious

acutely insightful and wise

The sagacious painter had a truer insight into this matter than most of our modern educationists.Miller, Hugh
salubrious

promoting health

The air is extremely salubrious, and the place has long been remarkable for its freedom from epidemics.Holdsworth, J. H.
sardonic

disdainfully or ironically humorous

With unemployment in some parishes above 25 percent, sardonic bumper stickers entered state lore: “Last one out, turn off the lights.”New York Times (Aug 8, 2010)
satiate

fill to satisfaction

That means it’s more effective at keeping your blood sugar levels stable, leaving you feeling satiated and less likely to start eating again hours later.
satirical

exposing human folly to ridicule

Inevitably there were instant faux feeds on Twitter with satirical commentary about Bin Laden’s death, including Ghost Osama and Osama in Hell.New York Times (May 2, 2011)
saturate

infuse or fill completely

The head was shockingly disfigured, battered by some heavy instrument, and the clothes were saturated with blood.Various
scarce

deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand

Many Americans reside in food deserts—communities where retailers offering fresh food are scarce but fast-food restaurants and convenience stores selling prepared foods can abound.Scientific American (May 13, 2012)
scathing

marked by harshly abusive criticism

“You sickening little coward—you sneak,” said Osmond, with scathing contempt.Reynolds, Mrs. Baillie
schism

division of a group into opposing factions

After building a market worth at least $6 billion, fair trade is undergoing a schism, with Fair Trade USA splitting off.BusinessWeek (Nov 3, 2011)
scion

a descendent or heir

Mr. Papandreou, a political scion whose father and grandfather were also prime ministers, took office late last year.New York Times (Feb 7, 2010)
scornful

expressing extreme contempt

Mr. Gates also was scornful of the top deal makers: “Russian democracy has disappeared, and the government is an oligarchy run by the security services.”New York Times (Dec 29, 2010)
scrupulous

characterized by extreme care and great effort

“His films have a look, an ambience, a setting, that’s very real because of his scrupulous attention to detail,” Mr. Jewison added.New York Times (Aug 3, 2010)
scrutinize

examine carefully for accuracy

Days before Thanksgiving, AT&T’s heavyweight lobbying team was busy setting up meetings with antitrust authorities scrutinizing the company’s $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile.Washington Post (Dec 9, 2011)
seamless

perfectly consistent and coherent

String quartets, made up of four similar instruments that blend seamlessly and resonate together, are the thoroughbreds of chamber music.New York Times (Apr 13, 2012)
secede

withdraw from an organization or polity

On the 3rd of November a revolution broke out at Panama, and the state seceded from Colombia and declared itself to be an independent republic.Various
secession

formal separation from an alliance or federation

But southern Sudanese living in northern Sudan were more ambivalent — 42 percent opted for unity and 58 percent for secession.New York Times (Jan 21, 2011)
sedentary

requiring sitting or little activity

There is a growing body of research showing that very active women are less likely to develop breast cancer than their sedentary peers.
seditious

in opposition to a civil authority or government

If stones were thrown at the police and seditious cries were raised, it was no more than might be reasonably expected.Froude, James Anthony
sedulous

marked by care and persistent effort

For something like eleven summers I’ve written things that aimed to teach Our careless mealy-mouthéd mummers To be more sedulous of speech.Adams, Franklin P. (Franklin Pierce)
segregation

the act of keeping apart

In Malaysia, there is no gender segregation; women hold top positions in banks and other companies, and female university students now outnumber men.New York Times (Nov 21, 2011)
semantics

the study of language meaning

Web semantics developers in recent years have trained computers to classify news topics based on intuitive keywords and recognizable names.Scientific American (Jun 16, 2011)
seminal

containing seeds of later development

Branches, even trunks might bend and break, but the seminal roots sent up new shoots next season, which in another year, bore fruit scantily.McCulloch-Williams, Martha
sentient

endowed with feeling and unstructured consciousness

Emotions and intelligence are connected with nerve structures in all sentient beings that we have experience and knowledge of.Brooks, David Marshall
sentiment

a personal belief or judgment

Every American will read these works with national pride, and have his better feelings and sentiments enkindled and strengthened.—Western literary Messenger.Headley, Joel Tyler
sequential

in regular succession without gaps

Nissan has taken on a more aggressive marketing approach in recent months in Brazil, where car sales have hit sequential records for four years.
sequester

set apart from others

Emerson says, “The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one object from the embarrassing variety.”Carnagey, Dale
serendipity

good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries

Serendipity is a recurring theme in Chandler’s biography, with one happy accident after another pushing him in a certain direction.
serenity

the absence of mental stress or anxiety

The serenity he doubtless enjoys as a Zen monk will probably help.BBC (Jan 14, 2010)
sibylline

resembling or characteristic of a prophet or prophecy

Their Sibylline books have prophesied the fall of Rome, though they use the name ‘Babylon.’Strindberg, August
simian

relating to or resembling an ape

At least 10 large black-faced langur monkeys are being used at the Delhi Games venues to stop smaller simian monkeys from causing trouble.Children’s BBC (Oct 1, 2010)
simile

a figure of speech expressing a resemblance between things

Then he rushed away without saluting me, and looking as black as the ace of spades—that simile suits my present mood!Fogazzaro, Antonio
simultaneous

occurring or operating at the same time

Supertaskers can juggle simultaneous tasks without experiencing a drop in attention or focus, which flies against the conventional wisdom about how the human brain functions.
slack

not tense or taut

He moved on down toward the cottonwoods and reaching them stood in their shadows, arms at his sides, shoulders slacked as if weakened, irresolute.Titus, Harold
sobriety

the state of being unaffected or not intoxicated by alcohol

His lawyer Heather Boxeth has said O’Neal relapsed by drinking alcohol after five years of sobriety and was in rehab.Seattle Times (Feb 4, 2012)
solace

comfort in disappointment or misery

“Hurt/comfort” stories revolve — as you might imagine — around one character’s getting injured physically or emotionally and another character’s providing solace.
solitude

a state of social isolation

Then, feeling that this sorrow required solitude, one after another slipped away, slowly, gently, and on tiptoe, leaving Helen alone with her husband’s body.Dumas, Alexandre
solvent

a liquid substance capable of dissolving other substances

The alchemist gave up his search for an universal solvent upon being asked in what kind of vessel he expected to keep it when found.Ingersoll, Robert Green
somatic

characteristic of the body as opposed to the mind or spirit

Nature and the spiritual, without this embodied intelligence, this somatic being, called man or angel or ape, are as ermine on a wax figure.Rihani, Ameen Fares
sophist

someone whose reasoning is subtle and often specious

This word comes from the Greek “sophistes,” meaning a sophist, that is to say, one who makes a pretence of being wise.Tagore, Rabindranath
specious

plausible but false

You might be tempted to think of the biggest airline as the one with the most aircraft, but capacity differences make this reasoning specious.
spectator

a close observer; someone who looks at something

More than 200 spectators watched aircraft take to the skies on Tuesday at Mona Airfield.
spectrum

a broad range of related objects, values, or qualities

Bisher covered a spectrum of sports — including football, baseball, horse racing, auto racing and boxing — that reflected the tastes of his Southern readership.New York Times (Apr 5, 2012)
speculation

a message expressing an opinion based on incomplete evidence

He said the four conspiracy charges leveled at his client were supported by nothing but “ speculation, innuendo and conjecture.”New York Times (Nov 1, 2011)
spontaneous

said or done without having been planned in advance

In his solo concerts since the 1970s, Mr. Jarrett has committed himself to spontaneous improvisation, to ideas that surface in the moment.New York Times (Jan 17, 2011)
sporadic

recurring in scattered or unpredictable instances

Police have clamped down on demonstrations, and lingering unrest has been sporadic and scattered.
spurious

plausible but false

Sedan.—No genuine stamps ever existed; all were spurious.Johnson, Stanley Currie
spurn

reject with contempt

Saying that agents and publishers had spurned him 162 times, Mr. Wimmer laid claim to being the most-rejected published novelist in history.New York Times (May 25, 2011)
squabble

a quarrel about petty points

There was trouble going on here and there, petty wars and political squabbles.MacGrath, Harold
squalid

foul and run-down and repulsive

There was nothing but poverty— squalid, disgusting poverty—visible everywhere, and Lucy grew sick and faint at the, to her, unusual sight.Holmes, Mary Jane
squander

spend extravagantly

He laid up the money that he earned, instead of squandering it, as young men in his situation often do, in transient indulgences.Various
stagnant

not growing or changing; without force or vitality

In that dull household, where so few events ever disturbed the stagnant quiet, this sudden journey produced an indescribable sensation.Fleming, May Agnes
stagnate

stand still

Services, accounting for about three quarters of the economy, stagnated with zero growth.
stalemate

a situation in which no progress can be made

But, in the end, nothing really gets resolved, nobody wins and the stalemate continues.Washington Post (Dec 18, 2011)
stamina

enduring strength and energy

But these were searching days for everyone, when physical endurance and mental stamina were stretched to their furthest limit.Wilson, S. J.
statutory

prescribed or authorized by or punishable under law

We have eliminated the opposition down our way—perfectly legal and statutory.Fitzgerald, Robert
steadfast

marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable

Steadfast in his convictions and imperturbable under pressure, Mr. Miller was the ultimate iconoclast.
stoic

seeming unaffected by pleasure or pain; impassive

Then the typically stoic Green Bay Packers coach briefly lost his composure, pausing for several seconds as he choked up with emotion.Chicago Tribune (Jan 12, 2012)
stratification

the act of arranging persons into classes or levels

People were much the same, she thought, in every class; there was no stratification of either rightness or righteousness.Wells, H. G. (Herbert George)
striate

mark with stripes of contrasting color

These white streaks give the bird the striated appearance from which it obtains its name.Dewar, Douglas
stultify

deprive of strength or efficiency; make useless or worthless

Indian humanities and social sciences institutes have been neglected over the years — stultified by curricular inflexibility, underfinanced and understaffed.New York Times (Apr 8, 2010)
stupefy

make senseless or dizzy by or as if by a blow

For several seconds he remained standing quite motionless and breathless, staring in stupefied amazement at the dark outline of the enemy.Gilson, Charles
subdue

put down by force or intimidation

Police officers surrounded the prison grounds while F.B.I. agents and guards tried to subdue the inmates, Sheriff Mayfield said.New York Times (May 23, 2012)
subjugate

make subservient; force to submit or subdue

The ancient Romans ruled the world by subjugating the remotest nations, pillaging and breaking them down.Garibaldi, Giuseppe
subliminal

below the threshold of conscious perception

If she was unhappy, her unhappiness lay too deep in subliminal abysses to struggle to the surface of her consciousness.King, Basil
subordinate

lower in rank or importance

From the earliest times she was regarded as man’s inferior and relegated to a subordinate position in society.Zahm, John Augustine
subservient

compliant and obedient to authority

Ms. Greig, he said, is a meek, subservient woman whom Mr. Bulger ordered around.New York Times (Jul 14, 2011)
subside

wear off or die down

Once more the waves had subsided, and an almost flat calm prevailed.Westerman, Percy F. (Percy Francis)
subsidiary

functioning in a supporting capacity

A symbol has a chief meaning, and then various subsidiary meanings related to that chief meaning.Besant, Annie Wood
subsistence

a means of surviving

But how avoid him while she had no other means of subsistence than working in an open shop?Burney, Fanny
subversive

in opposition to an established system or government

The ideas of the French democracy were in the beginning revolutionary, disorderly, and subversive of national consistency and good faith.Croly, Herbert David
successor

a person who inherits some title or office

Mr. Stewart has promised to stay on until a successor is hired.New York Times (May 11, 2012)
succinct

briefly giving the gist of something

The intros to each posting are short, succinct, and witty.BusinessWeek (Feb 14, 2012)
sully

make dirty or spotty

Burning coal sullies the atmosphere and leaves toxic ash mountains.Scientific American (Mar 18, 2012)
summon

call in an official matter, such as to attend court

Bryce Harper batting seventh in major league debut had no clue why his Class AAA manager summoned him into his office Friday afternoon.Washington Post (Apr 29, 2012)
sumptuous

rich and superior in quality

The city is rich in antiquities, in historic buildings associated with illustrious names, in works of art and in sumptuous palaces.Hartley, C. Gasquoine (Catherine Gasquoine)
sundry

consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds

In the preparation of this book, old journals, original records and documents, and sundry other trustworthy sources have been diligently consulted and freely utilized.Blaisdell, Albert F.
superannuated

too old to be useful

Law and government must keep pace with the progress of humanity, else the nation itself becomes effete, superannuated, deteriorated.Various
supercilious

having or showing arrogant disdain or haughtiness

James is outrageously supercilious, arrogant, conceited and rude.
supererogatory

more than is needed, desired, or required

Those arguments are not necessary, they are all supererogatory, like idle words.Brady, Cyrus Townsend
superficial

of, affecting, or being on or near the surface

In uncivilised times, generally speaking, men were rather quick to observe outward and superficial distinctions, while very slow to discover internal and essential variations.Hara, Katsuro
superfluous

more than is needed, desired, or required

He looked at them as if further talk were redundant, superfluous, unnecessary, a waste of time, and an insult.Lefevre, Edwin
superimpose

place on top of

This time, the camera focused only on his face and in editing, his head would be digitally superimposed on Pence’s body.
superlative

the form of a word denoting the greatest degree or extent

Qatar’s economy offers indicators in superlatives: the world’s highest growth rate and highest per capita income.New York Times (Nov 15, 2011)
supernatural

not able to be explained by physical laws

After vampires and shape shifters, now fairies are added to the fun supernatural mix.
supersede

take the place or move into the position of

Comic books, the convention’s original focus, have been superseded by movies, video games and action figures.New York Times (Apr 12, 2012)
supple

readily adaptable

However, humanity is so flexible and supple that, in one way or another, it always overcomes these attempts at prevention.White, Horace
supplementary

functioning in a supporting capacity

But, after all, these supplementary aids, though valuable, are deficient in guiding power.Palmer, Alice Freeman
suppliant

one praying humbly for something

I realized the hopelessness of my cause, and found myself facing Mr. Blight again, an humble suppliant for his pardon.Lloyd, Nelson
suppression

forceful prevention; putting down by power or authority

Bitterly, in blood and heartbreak and long suppression, they had been weighed down under superior force: but now the time of reprisals had come.Reid, George
surfeit

indulge (one’s appetite) to satiety

The law at last is satisfied, satiated, surfeited.Ingersoll, Robert Green
surreal

characterized by fantastic and incongruous imagery

In this surreal world, music records smell like different colors, foods tastes like specific noises, and sound comes in all varieties of textures and shapes.Scientific American (Feb 28, 2012)
surreptitious

marked by quiet and caution and secrecy

Truly, there had been some secret, surreptitious flittings in this old mansion.Walk, Charles Edmonds
sustenance

a source of materials to nourish the body

Furs have renewed my clothing, and I have never wanted for sustenance—chiefly nuts, fruits and vegetables.Paine, Albert Bigelow
sybaritic

displaying luxury and furnishing gratification to the senses

Ever since, the city has been ravishing visitors with its teeming souks, ornate palaces and sybaritic night life.New York Times (Dec 23, 2010)
sycophant

a person who tries to please someone to gain an advantage

Sycophants climb over the wall—but their flattery and fawning grow tiresome.Brisbane, Arthur
symmetry

balance among the parts of something

They all illustrate quaint melodic intervals and an instinct for balance and symmetry.Spalding, Walter Raymond
synchronous

occurring or existing at the same time

Mrs. Smiley spoke almost at the same moment but never precisely synchronous with Wilbur’s whisper.Garland, Hamlin
synonymous

meaning the same or nearly the same

The two phrases seem synonymous, and might often be used indifferently; but here there is evidently a well marked diversity of meaning.Maclaren, Alexander

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