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

natation nThe process of swimming.
devolution vThe passing of property from one person to another, as by hereditary succession.
pied adjMulti-colored; having patches of different colors.
bowdlerize vTo modify; to clean up; to amend by removing certain parts.
prosody nThe study of the metric structure of a poem or single verse; the art of versification.
obeisance nA bow; a gesture of homage.
apse nA semicircular domed projection of a building, most often a church.
gelid adjWintry; very cold; icy.
arenaceous adjContaining or derived from sand.
dowse vTo search for, usually referring looking for a water source.
exiguity adjScanty; small; a dire lack.
aubade nA song sung at dawn, greeting the morning.
legerdemain nDexterity of hand; the use of skillful tricks in an attempt to entertain, baffle, and amuse.
lucubration nDiligent meditation or study, usually done at night.
rebus nThe representation of words in the form of pictures or symbols; a puzzle where a player must decode a message consisting of pictures representing syllables and word.
proscenium nThe part of a stage that is front of curtain.
manumission nThe act of freeing from slavery.
upbraid vTo scold; to reproach. 
effendi nA title of respect; a person who is a member of the aristocracy.
pugilistic adjPertaining to fighting with one's hands; referring to boxing.

*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.