50 Difficult Words with Meanings

50 Difficult Words with Meaning

50 Difficult Words with Meanings. Really? Is it something that matters in the preparation of competitive exams? Or is it even something you should bother going through?
The simple answer is YES. Good vocabulary can take you to places in the competitive exams as well as in life. Well, this list of 50 Difficult Words with Meanings, is carefully curated and includes some difficult words that you would surely like to flaunt in your first introductions and also in your Instagram captions.

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Why Bother about 50 Difficult Words with Meanings in the First Place?

Some words in English can be a pest for everyone, whether it be a native speaker or a new learner. There are multiple tough words in the language which are troublesome. It becomes impossible to get a hold of these words, especially for those who are preparing for competitive exams. Students, however, invent new techniques to ease the learning process like using music to learn new words or making flashcards with hard words on one side and meaning on the other. Another fascinating method for memorizing difficult words is to associate a story around it as remembering the story is much easier than retaining the meaning of a tough word. 

We know that for all those who wish to pursue an education abroad or even appear for entrances it is important that you fare well in the verbal ability section of the test, it can seem like a never-ending task- learning new difficult words and their meanings, so we have curated a list of few difficult words that can give you an edge over others while you prepare for your SAT/ACT or GMAT/GRE as well as IELTS/TOEFL/PTE.

This list is also going to help students with English for competitive exams. Even those who enjoy the English language or wish to improve their vocabulary can go through our list and learn 50 Difficult Words with Meanings.

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Importance of Vocabulary in Competitive Exams

Vocabulary is one of the biggest and most important aspects when preparing for competitive exams and you need to master your vocabulary well before you take the test. There is always a limit to the number of words you can effectively study at one time and almost impossible to learn thousands of words by cramming at the last minute. Take your time to learn around 20 hard words and then deeply understand its meaning by constructing sentences and using them in your day-to-day interactions.

Use of English Vocabulary in GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) mainly comprises 4 sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing and Integrated Reasoning. A thorough English vocabulary is must to score on 3 of these sections of the GMAT syllabus, with only the quantitative section relying more on your mathematical and logical skills. In the various sections of the GMAT exam pattern, students are assessed on their ability to read and understand the written material and apply those to the subsequent questions to conform to standard written English. Moreover, GMAT verbal reasoning questions and critical reasoning problems imperatively evaluate one’s knowledge of English proficiency in terms of reasoning and analytical skills.

Use of English Vocabulary in GRE

The GRE exam pattern includes 3 sections: Quantitative, Verbal and Analytical Writing. While studying the GRE syllabus, you must master English grammar along with hundreds of hard words to get a good score on two of these three sections excluding the quantitative reasoning section.

Sample Question Under the Category of Sentence Equivalence: Although it does contain pioneering strategies, one would hardly describe the work as ____________. 

  1. Original
  2. Orthodox
  3. Eccentric
  4. Conventional
  5. Innovative
  6. Trifling

The answer is (1) and (5)

Explanation: We first eliminate the words “Orthodox” and “Conventional” because they are very similar in meaning and do not complete the sentence sensibly. The word “Although” and “Hardly” are crucial signpost here. The work contains some pioneering strategies, but apparently it is not completely a pioneering work.

Complete List of 50 Difficult Words with Meanings and Examples

1. Abnegation /abnɪˈɡeɪʃ(ə)n/

Renouncing a belief or doctrine
Example: “I believe in the abnegation of political power”

2. Aggrandize /əˈɡrandʌɪz/

enhance power, wealth or status
Example: It was an action intended to aggrandize the Frankish dynasty.

3. Alacrity /əˈlakrɪti/

eagerness
Example: He accepted the invitation with alacrity.

4. Anachronistic /ənakrəˈnɪstɪk/

misplaced chronologically
Example: He is rebelling against the anachronistic morality of his parents.

5. Archetypal /ˌɑːkɪˈtʌɪp(ə)l/

quintessential of a certain kind
Example: She is the archetypal country doctor.

6. Ascetic /əˈsɛtɪk/

one who practices self-denial as part of spiritual discipline
Example: She has adopted an ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and manual labour.

7. Beguile /bɪˈɡʌɪl/

influence someone in a deceptive way
Example: He beguiled the voters with his good looks.

8. Blandishment /ˈblandɪʃm(ə)nt/

intentional flattery for persuasion
Example: The blandishments of the travel brochure.

9. Cajole /kəˈdʒəʊl/

persuade by flattery or coaxing
Example: He hoped to cajole her into selling the house.

10. Callous (/ˈkaləs/

disregard for others
Example: Her callous comments about the murder made me shiver.

11. Camaraderie /kaməˈrɑːd(ə)ri/

a sense of solidarity arising out of familiarity and sociability
Example: I like the enforced camaraderie of office life.

12. Circumlocution /ˌsəːkəmləˈkjuːʃ(ə)n/

expressing someone in an indirect way
Example: His admission came after years of circumlocution.

13. Clamor /ˈklamə/

proclaim something noisily
Example: The questions rose to a clamour in the meeting.

14. Cognizant /ˈkɒ(ɡ)nɪz(ə)nt/

awareness or realization
Example: Politicians must be cognizant of the political boundaries within which they work.

15. Construe /kənˈstruː/

interpret or assign meaning
Example: His words could hardly be construed as an apology.

16. Convivial /kənˈvɪvɪəl/

enjoyable atmosphere or jovial company
Example: It is a convivial cocktail party.

17. Demagogue /ˈdɛməɡɒɡ/

a political leader who uses rhetoric to appeal to prejudices and desires of ordinary citizens
Example: The minister is a gifted demagogue with particular skill in manipulating the press.

18. Denigrate /ˈdɛnɪɡreɪt/

belittle someone
Example: There are many doom and gloom merchants who denigrate their own country.

19. Didactic /dɪˈdaktɪk/

instructive with a moral intent
Example: It is a didactic novel that set out to expose social injustice.

20. Disparate /ˈdɪsp(ə)rət/

of a distinct kind
Example: They inhabit disparate worlds of thought.

50 Difficult Words with Meanings

21. Eclectic /ɪˈklɛktɪk/

deriving the best ideas and styles from a diverse range of sources
Example: My universities offering an eclectic mix of courses.

22. Egregious /ɪˈɡriːdʒəs/

reprehensible or outrageously bad
Example: It is an egregious abuse of copyright.

23. Embezzlement /ɛmˈbɛzlm(ə)nt/

misappropriation of funds
Example: He has charges of fraud and embezzlement.

24. Enervate /ˈɛnəveɪt/

lacking in vitality or mentally/ morally drained
Example: The weather has an enervating heat today.

25. Ephemeral /ɪˈfɛm(ə)r(ə)l/

lasting for a short duration
Example: Fads are ephemeral: new ones regularly drive out the old.

You are mid-way the golden list of 50 Difficult Words with Meanings. Even if you feel you haven’t grasped any of these hard words, hang on and continue reading the difficult words and meanings and we will tell how you can remember these 50 Difficult Words with Meanings at the end of it.

26. Equanimity /ˌɛkwəˈnɪmɪti/

maintaining composure in stressful situations
Example: He accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity.

27. Fatuous /ˈfatjʊəs/

devoid of intelligence
Example: It was a fatuous comment.

28. Gratuitous /ɡrəˈtjuːɪtəs/

uncalled for or unwarranted
Example: Gratuitous violence was reported.

29. Iconoclast /ʌɪˈkɒnəklast/

someone who criticizes or attacks cherished ideas and beliefs
Example: His son Gegnesius in 722 was taken to Constantinople, where he won over to his opinions the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian. 

30. Idiosyncratic /ˌɪdɪə(ʊ)sɪŋˈkratɪk/

something peculiar to an individual
Example: He emerged as one of the great, idiosyncratic talents of the nineties.

31. Incumbent /ɪnˈkʌmb(ə)nt/

something that is morally binding
Example: The government realized that it was incumbent on them to act.

32. Inveterate /ɪnˈvɛt(ə)rət/

habitual
Example: She is an inveterate gambler.

33. Libertarian /ˌlɪbəˈtɛːrɪən/

someone who cherishes ideas of free will
Example: He is studying libertarian philosophy.

34. Licentious /lʌɪˈsɛnʃəs/

someone who is promiscuous
Example: The ruler’s tyrannical and licentious behaviour.

35. Mendacious /mɛnˈdeɪʃəs/

deceitful
Example: This campaign has mendacious propaganda.

36. Multifarious /ˌmʌltɪˈfɛːrɪəs/

multifaceted or diverse
Example: The university offers multifarious activities.

37. Obdurate /ˈɒbdjʊrət/

being stubborn and refusing to change one’s opinion
Example: I argued this point with him, but he was obdurate.

38. Ostracism /ˈɒstrəsɪz(ə)m/

excluding a person or certain section from society by majority consent
Example: “I argued this point with him, but he was obdurate”

39. Pejorative /pɪˈdʒɒrətɪv/

showing disapproval
Example: Permissiveness is used almost universally as a pejorative term.

40. Pertinacious /ˌpəːtɪˈneɪʃəs/

someone who is stubbornly unyielding
Example: She worked with a pertinacious resistance to interruptions.

41. Phlegmatic /flɛɡˈmatɪk/

expressing little or no emotion
Example: He portrays the phlegmatic British character on the show.

42. Promulgate /ˈprɒm(ə)lɡeɪt/

to broadcast or announce
Example: These objectives have to be promulgated within the organization.

43. Quotidian /kwɒˈtɪdɪən/

something that is of daily occurrence
Example: The car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic.

44. Recalcitrant /rɪˈkalsɪtr(ə)nt/

resistant to authority
Example: A class of recalcitrant fifteen-year-olds raided the store.

45. Sanctimonious /ˌsaŋ(k)tɪˈməʊnɪəs/

pretense of being morally pious to exhibit moral superiority
Example: What happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first?

46. Solipsism /ˈsɒlɪpsɪz(ə)m/

the philosophical theory that only the self-existence is known and all that exists
Example: We cannot avoid the popularity of solipsism mentality.

47. Travesty /ˈtravɪsti/

distorting facts or imitation
Example: The absurdly lenient sentence is a travesty of justice.

48. Ubiquitous /juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/

omnipresent or existing everywhere
Example: His ubiquitous influence was felt by all the family.

49. Vicissitude /vɪˈsɪsɪtjuːd/

an unwelcome or unpleasant change in circumstances or fortune
Example: Her husband’s sharp vicissitudes of fortune.

50. Vociferous /və(ʊ)ˈsɪf(ə)rəs/

something or someone who is offensively/ conspicuously loud.
Example: He was a vociferous opponent of the takeover.

Good job. How many of these 50 Difficult Words with Meanings do you actually remember? No, don’t peep. Be honest. It’s okay even if you remember none of these hard words for now. The task of making yourself familiar with the new difficult words, especially those that we don’t use in our everyday conversations can seem impossible and exhaustive, but fret not for a few simple tricks can help you go a long way. 

Tips to Remember these 50 Difficult Words with Meanings

Our mind tends to be more active and learn better while we engage in activities that seem more fun, learning difficult words can seem boring but you can make this task more fun and exciting. You and your friends can make placards with difficult words and challenge each other with meanings, the fun activity will keep you engaged and help you keep those difficult words in mind.

If group activities don’t seem like the ideal situation for you, you can make lists of the difficult words and revise them before going to bed, our brain tends to revise the things we learn and observe through the day while we sleep so this might help you learn better.

What can be the best defence against a lineup of scary answer choices in GMAT exam and GRE? Are you looking for the best ways to learn hard words for these competitive exams? Apply the below-mentioned hacks to improving your vocabulary and subsequently the GMAT and GRE verbal scores:

50 Difficult Words with Meanings

[Bonus] 20 Additional Hard Words with Examples

Have you memorized 50 difficult words? If yes, we have got another set of hard words that will definitely help you ace in competitive exams. Here we begin..

1. Abject /ˈabdʒɛkt/

Experienced or present to the maximum degree
“The result plunged her into abject misery”

2. Abscond /əbˈskɒnd,abˈskɒnd/

Leave hurriedly and secretly
“After her secret was revealed she absconded from the party”

3. Bereft /bɪˈrɛft/

Deprived of or lacking
The house bereft colours and painting”

4. Calumny /ˈkaləmni/

The making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation
“He doesn’t seem like a person who would spread a calumny of others”

5. Capitulate /kəˈpɪtjʊleɪt/

Cease to resist an opponent or an unwelcome demand
“Our forces were prepared to capitulate enemies”

6. Dirge /dəːdʒ/

A lament for the dead, especially one forming part of a funeral rite
“When Rachel sang a dirge for her father, everyone had teary eyes”

7. Dispel /dɪˈspɛl/

make doubt disappear
“The calmness of the morning dispel Ross’s disappointment” 

8. Emollient /ɪˈmɒlɪənt/

Having the quality of softening or soothing the skin
“I prefer using an emollient shampoo over others”

9. Epistolary /ɪˈpɪst(ə)ˌləri/

In the form of letters 
“My grandparent’s college times epistolary collection is very interesting.”

10. Umbrage /ˈʌmbrɪdʒ/

Annoyance or offence
“She took umbrage of his rude comment.”

11. Epistolary /ɪˈpɪst(ə)ˌləri/

In the form of letters or documents
Example: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a perfect example of Epistolary.  

12. Exacerbate /ɪɡˈzasəbeɪt,ɛkˈsasəbeɪt/

To make a situation, a bad feeling or a problem worse
Example: According to a survey stress can cause or exacerbate health conditions the humans. 

13. Forbearance /fɔːˈbɛːr(ə)ns/

Self-control, Patience, Tolerance 
Example: Without forbearance, Ray wouldn’t have cleared his house loan. 

14. Gourmand /ˈɡʊəmənd,ˈɡɔːmənd/

A person who likes and enjoys eating food
Example: If you are a dessert gourmand, then you must try Kentucky Cholocalate Pie.

15. Heterogeneous /ˌhɛt(ə)rə(ʊ)ˈdʒiːnɪəs/

Diverse in content or character
Example: I gave him heterogeneous ideas for his master’s thesis topics. 

16. Impecunious /ˌɪmpɪˈkjuːnɪəs/

Having less money or no money at all
Example: After buying a new house, Sam was so impecunious that he couldn’t even afford Christmas cards. 

17. Pellucid /pɪˈl(j)uːsɪd,pɛˈl(j)uːsɪd/

Clear, Easy to understand, comprehensible
Example: His pellucid explanation on why he wants to leave the job made higher authorities release him without any conditions. 

18. Philanthropic /.fɪlənˈθrɒpɪk/

An organisation or person promoting the welfare of others 
Example: Because of the financial aid received by the philanthropic bodies, Kate managed to complete her higher education. 

19. Protean /ˈprəʊtɪən,prəʊˈtiːən/

Frequently changing, Trending, Versatile
Example: Vicky Kaushal is a protean actor who is capable of performing any kind of role. 

20. Spurious /ˈspjʊərɪəs/

Illegitimate, False
Example:  They made spurious claims of accidents just to get the insurance funds. 

Best Vocabulary Books 

Why do you want to limit yourself with only 50 difficult words? Become the master of vocabulary with the help of reference books. Here is a list of some best selling vocabulary books that can help you to ace the word meaning section of every competitive exam: 

Reference BooksLink
1100 Words You Need to Know by Murray Brombert, Melvin Gordon Click Here, to get your copy!
Word Power Made Easy by Norman LewisClick Here, to get your copy!
Verbal Advantage: Ten Easy Steps to a Powerful Vocabulary by Charles Harrington Elster Click Here, to get your copy!
The Vocabulary Builder Workbook by Chris LeleClick Here, to get your copy!
Six Weeks to Words of Power by Wilfred FunkClick Here, to get your copy!
Little Red Book of Word Power by Terry O’Brien Click Here, to get your copy!
Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder by  Mary Wood CornogClick Here, to get your copy!
Instant Word Power by Norman LewisClick Here, to get your copy!

We hope this list of 50 Difficult Words with Meanings and these tricks will help you engage with new difficult words and help you in your test preparation. If you wish to seek further guidance on your test preparation and your career, you can check out Leverage Edu today and schedule a free consultation session now.

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