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

trumpery adjDecorative; of little value; worthless.
canvass vTo scrutinize; to examine with great care.
animadversion nCensure; severe criticism.
cull vTo pick out from among many; to reject; to select.
pulchritude nBeauty; comeliness.
umbrageous adjShady; apt to take offense.
ostensible adjApparent; appearing as such but not necessarily so; pretended.
horripilation nThe process by which hair bristles in response to cold weather or fear; often referred to as having goose flesh.
raffish adjVulgar; base; tawdry.
droll adjQueer; amusing; waggish.
missive nA letter; a written statement; a written communication.
stipple vTo engrave, draw, or paint by small dots or small motions.
vouchsafe vTo grant, as in a favor or through grace.
mantle nA loose sleeveless outer garment.
foist vTo impose upon another by coercion; to palm off; to insert improperly.
cynosure nAn object of general attention; the thing that is at the center of attention.
militate vTo work against or to have an influence in; to have an effect
salmagundi nA mixture of items.
venal adjWilling to be dishonest; willing to be bribed.
matutinal adjOccurring in the morning; early in the day.

*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.