GRE Difficult Vocabulary Words, Randomly Selected

Here is a batch of randomly-selected difficult GRE Vocabulary Words*. To see more difficult words that tend to often appear on the GRE test, refresh this page. Study, review, and try to learn as many of these words as you can so that you can attain a high score on the verbal section of the exam.

However, as with all GRE vocabulary lists, memorizing words is not the best way to acquire and retain new vocabulary words. Instead, you should read critically, extensively, and often. And, use MyGRETutor's vocab tutor to keep track of the words that you have mastered, and to brush up on those words that you might have mastered in the past but might have slightly forgotten.

WordPart of Speech  Definition

frieze nAn ornamental carving on a wall, often depicting humans, animals, gods, and their interaction; the front facade of a classical building.
canvass vTo scrutinize; to examine with great care.
tumid adjSwollen; bombastic; pompous; exaggerated.
pastiche nA literary or musical composition imitating a previous artist, often with a satirical undertone.
bedraggle vTo make dirty; to wet thoroughly.
escutcheon nA ceremonial shield; a coat of arms; a protective, ornate plate.
dissimulate vTo pretend; conceal by feigning; to hide.
insouciance nThe state of being light-hearted; a condition on nonchalance.
palimpsest nA parchment or piece of writing material used for a second time after the original writing has been erased.
diaphanous adjSheer (of cloth); transparent; gauzy.
raffish adjVulgar; base; tawdry.
redoubtable adjArousing respect; evoking fear or reverence.
balneal adjPertaining to bathing; of, or relating to baths.
absquatulate vTo run away quickly; to leave in a hurry; to abscond.
impugn vDispute or contradict in an insulting way; attack as false or questionable; to challenge.
anchorite nA person who has decided to devote his or her life to secluded study.
proscenium nThe part of a stage that is front of curtain.
frowzy adjDirty; untidy; smelling bad.
pique vTo affect with irritation; to wound the pride of; to excite curiosity.
stygian adjDark; gloomy; black. 

*We determine the difficulty of a word by keeping track of how many people get it right on the vocabulary tutor section of MyGRETutor. Easy words are those words whose definition, on average, is selected by at least 80% of users. Medium words are those words whose definition is, on average, correctly selected between 50 and 80 percent of the time, and difficult words are those words whose definition is correctly selected less than 50% of the time.