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The New SAT: Words to Capture Tone – List #2 – 25 Words

dubious

fraught with uncertainty or doubt

Some of the claims are dubious, though startling if true.Forbes (May 20, 2015)
foreboding

a feeling of evil to come

But something else bothered him – a cold sense of foreboding, as if he hadn’t heard the worst news yet.Blood of Olympus
malicious

having the nature of threatening evil

China’s Internet police issued warnings against those who sought to point fingers or spread malicious rumors online.Washington Post (Jun 3, 2015)
callous

emotionally hardened

Like death, his father’s presence was cold and often callous, but it was real- brutally honest, inescapably dependable.Blood of Olympus
dismay

the feeling of despair in the face of obstacles

“I can’t help but cry … because I thought people would defend me and say something. Some people just shook their heads in dismay.”Washington Times (Jun 1, 2015)
rejection

the state of being turned down

When he talked of the pain of rejection, the heartbreak of grief, he knew exactly what he was talking about, both personally and politically.The Guardian (Aug 17, 2015)
superior

of high quality or performance

Rugby league people insist, in all seriousness, that rugby league is the greatest game of all, that it’s superior to all other games.The Guardian (Sep 6, 2015)
patronizing

characteristic of those who treat others with arrogance

The term “tolerance” itself is problematic for its patronizing implications, for the “tolerant” one is always the one in the dominant position.New York Times (Jan 24, 2015)
candor

the quality of being honest and straightforward

Her candor and exquisite simplicity framed the rest of my trip and helped me better understand the land I was living in.The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
contradictory

not able to be true at the same time

It seems contradictory to say Watson played the match of her life in defeat, but she did.The Guardian (Jul 4, 2015)
averse

strongly opposed

So averse was she to weapons when her children were young that she wouldn’t let them play with water pistols.Economist (Jul 30, 2015)
disgust

strong feelings of dislike

He rolled his eyes and walked away in disgust.US News (Aug 28, 2015)
genuine

not fake or counterfeit

A finance ministry official said both genuine and forged passports were in the packets intercepted in the post.BBC (Sep 4, 2015)
sincere

open and genuine; not deceitful

It is real and sincere, a reflection of the authentic desires and feelings of the People.Salon (Jun 14, 2015)
enthusiastic

having or showing great excitement and interest

As enthusiastic as he was to climb in the Himalaya, Chin didn’t know the first thing about launching an international expedition.National Geographic (Aug 10, 2015)
puerile

displaying or suggesting a lack of maturity

Such puerile charges remind me rather of the tricks of children than actions of men.Charles H. Fowler
idealistic

of high moral or intellectual value

Today’s foreign-policy thinkers must also test their idealistic notions of American possibility on a geo­political landscape littered with the wreckage of ideals past.New York Times (Sep 1, 2015)
conciliatory

making or willing to make concessions

In theory a more conciliatory leader might offer some hope for compromise and peace.Economist (Sep 3, 2015)
jovial

full of or showing high-spirited merriment

“We’re not pushing a hardcore agenda. The events tend to be very friendly and jovial, but safety is our No. 1 concern.”Los Angeles Times (Aug 20, 2015)
witty

combining clever conception and facetious expression

The whole evening was a strange yet fluid mix of witty comments and funny anecdotes with thoughtful reflection about literature and poignant personal disclosures.Newsweek (Feb 28, 2015)
derisive

expressing contempt or ridicule

In the darkness, the players spent Saturday morning as punching bags for the coaches’ derisive comments.Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream
morose

showing a brooding ill humor

Eeyore, the morose donkey in Winnie-the-Pooh, at one point complains: ‘A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.’Salon (May 23, 2015)
bellicose

having or showing a ready disposition to fight

Lewis is a magnetic and intimidating Henry VIII, accomplishing more with a harsh whisper than he does with a bellicose tantrum.Washington Post (Apr 3, 2015)
sardonic

disdainfully or ironically humorous

Humor must lie beneath the surface, ready to materialize in the form of a sardonic quip, or a quick dose of withering wit.Los Angeles Times (May 28, 2015)
dire

fraught with extreme danger; nearly hopeless

The library’s executive team testified before Congress in the spring about the dire need for more storage space for its ­ever-increasing collections.Washington Post (Sep 3, 2015)

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