86 Critical SAT Vocab Words You Must Know

Don't sweat - we'll make it easy for you to memorize each of these vocab words. We'll also explain how they're used on the test.

Here's the thing, the SAT doesn't just test your understanding of tough words - it also uses sometimes confusing words in the question themselves.

But don't worry - we got you. Here you'll find a list of 86 SAT vocab words that will likely show up on test-day. Click the words you don't know to highlight them and keep track of them.

Critical, must-know words

WordDefinitionIn a Sentence
abatereduceSeeing the rude way he talked to his ex, my crush on him abated.
agitateto stress or disturbPeople who tap their pencils during tests agitate me deeply.
ambiguousunclearSometimes I like to send ambiguous emojis to freak people out: 🎃
ambivalenthaving mixed feelingsI am ambivalent about the Nicki vs. Cardi feud - the internet made it seem bigger than it is.
arcanehard to understandThe SAT science passages are arcane.
assertsay something forcefullyIt's time for us all to assert the need for greater racial equity.
begrudgingto give in without really wanting toSometimes I pretend to bedgrudgingly agree with someone so that they owe me one.
biasto have beliefs that make you favor something, usually unfairlyEvidence shows our criminal justice system is biased against black men and women.
characterizeto describe somethingI characterize my displeasure at someone's text by responding with 🤡.
concedeadmit to something after denying it at firstDo you think Tristan will ever concede that he cheated on Khloe?
condescensiontreating someone like they're worse than youActing condescending while helping someone kind of cancels everything out.
contentioussomething likely to cause an argumentClimate change is a super contentious issue these days, even though polar bears are literally dying.
conventionalstandard or regularIsn't it strange that equal pay for men and women doing the same job isn't conventional?
conveyexpress or shareBefore you date someone, you should observe how they convey their anger at a slow internet connection.
corroboratesupportI can be bribed with hot cheetos to corroborate any story.
curtailto reduce or cut shortWhy is it that funding for music and art programs is always curtailed first?
contextthe situation something happened inI honestly don't know the context of most gifs that I use - they just look funny.
cloutinfluenceClout chasers just end up looking desperate.
depleteuse up completelyI don't charge my phone until the battery is almost completely depleted - yolo.
depictshow or representDepicting Asian men in movies as awkward and unattractive has largely been racist.
dismaystress or anxietyEven though I don't want to go to parties, I am dismayed if I'm not invited.
eloquentreally good at speaking or writingKendrick Lamar is so eloquent, he became the first rapper to win a Pulitzer Prize.
empatheticrelating to someone elseI'm an empathetic crier, seeing other people cry makes me cry, too.
enigmaa mysteryThe meanings behind Kanye West's tweets are enigmas to most people.
entrenchedfirmly set and unlikely to changeParents can be so entrenched in their beliefs, they forget to listen.
exacerbatemake worseSeeing the "..." while someone is typing a text exacerbates my social anxiety.
elaborateto explain in detail or something that is really complexI feel no need to elaborate on my elaborate emoji texts: 🐩🌻☃️🍕
ephemerallasting a short-timeMoney in my bank account feels ephemeral.
fluctuateto change a lot in a way that isn't normalI fluctuate between giving myself lots of credit and none at all.
foreshadowto hint at something before it happensThe worst trailers are the ones that don't just foreshadow the movie, they give away the whole plot.
fundamentalbasic, centralAccess to enough food, water and basic healthcare can be considered fundamental rights.
garnerget or collectOne benefit of social media is that it lets us garner attention for social issues the news doesn't cover.
hypotheticalsomething not proven yet or not real yetMy hypothetical girlfriend loves when I play NBA 2K all day.
imperativeabsolutely necessaryIt is imperative that everyone votes in order to make sure everyone's voices are heard.
indifferenthaving no interest in somethingFor some reason, we're taught that someone who seems indifferent is just playing hard-to-get.
indispensableabsolutely necessaryOreos are an indispensable part of my daily, healthy diet.
irrationalnot logicalPeople say horoscopes are irrational, but that doesn't mean they're wrong 😎.
irrelevantnot connected to something or unimportantAwards that don't recognize the diversity of talent in the world are irrelevant.
keeneager2020 seems pretty keen for some peace and quiet.
magnanimouskind and generousOprah set the bar high for magnanimous celebrities.
malevolenceevilPretty sure Maleficent's name sounds like malevolence to make her seem evil.
melodramaticsuper emotional and dramaticSometimes I can't tell if I'm being melodramatic or if I'm hungry or both.
materialisticobsessed with moneyMaybe people were happier when we were hunter-gatherers who weren't so materialistic.
misleadinggiving the wrong ideaI'm only misleading myself when I say "just one more chip."
modificationchangeNothing's perfect - every system can use modifications.
neglectfail to care forPhysical health is important, but let's not neglect our mental health.
nulla zero or invalid resultA contract is null if one side breaks the agreement.
obsoleteout of dateFacebook is quickly becoming obsolete.
omnipotencehaving unlimited powerAn omnipotent superhero would be too boring - victory is more exciting when there's some struggle.
opaquenot transparentThe more opaque TikTok is about how they use data, the less I want to use it.
oppresskeep people downUnaffordable housing is one way our society oppresses low-income families.
ornatedecorated with a lot of thingsWhile some Animal Crossing home are very ornate, mine just has 10 snapping turtles in the living room.
oustforce someone out of a positionAOC ousted her opponent in the election by being honest and by being a voice for her community.
overlookfail to notice somethingPretending to overlook bullying is sometimes worse than actually bullying.
pendingnot done yet, waiting for final decisionIf I could read minds, I'd never again feel stressed while my crush's text reply is pending.
precludeprevent something from happeningWearing a mask helps preclude the spread of COVID-19.
potentpowerful and strongKawhi is the most potent NBA 2K player, scoring tons of points and able to defend most other players.
rationallogicalMy fear of spiders is rational if you think about the 40,000 types of deadly spiders in the world (even if only 3 live in America).
regressiongoing backwardsAfter just a couple weeks of skipping practice, I can feel the regression in my muscles.
reinforceback up, strengthenThe best way to reinforce a new skill is by teaching it to someone else.
reconcilefind a way to make two things agree or work togetherI reconcile my love of Cheetos and my hate for cheesy fingers by using chopsticks to eat them.
rendermakeEven though I can't understand the lyrics, BTS's music renders me happy.
renounceto give something upUsually by February, I've renounced my New Year's resolution of exercising more.
repealto cancelGovernments should repeal laws that no longer make sense today - like the law against sending a surprise pizza in Louisiana.
reproachto criticizeThere should be a special punishment for people who reproach others for doing things they also do themselves.
reticentquietJust becamse someone is reticent doesn't mean they don't have good ideas.
revereto respect a lotWe probably revere celebrities a little too much - remember when Ariana was caught licking donuts?
revisemake a changeWhen I'm texting my crush, I revise my text at least three times.
samplinga small group that represents a larger groupAsking the opinions of a couple of students is not a true sampling of the school.
scopethe space that something is applied toThe scope of Lil Nas X's influence extends outside of rap into pop and country music as well.
selflessnot selfishPeople who have had easy lives have an easier time being selfless.
simulateimitateFinding out food commercials use shaving cream to simulate whipped cream was pretty upsetting.
shortcomingflaw or faultI go between thinking I have a million shortcomings to thinking I have none.
simulateimitateFinding out food commercials use shaving cream to simulate whipped cream was pretty upsetting.
skepticalnot convincedSince anyone can make a Twitter account, it's good to be skeptical of anything you read.
soughttried to findWe sought ways of inviting everyone, but there's just too much drama between people.
spawnto produceThe hope is that Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther spawn more movies that feature people of color.
spectaclean event or performance with a lot going onThere is no greater spectacle than reality show reunions, where everyone puts on a show.
stimulateto cause something to grow or changeWatching people eat on TV always stimulates my own hunger.
strivefight forWe should all strive to not be a**holes to each other.
subsequentnextThe first episode of Tiger King was weird, but subsequent episodes just kept getting weirder.
tenaciousstrong, not easily discouragedFind a dream and be tenacious - don't let anyone or anything (including the SAT) get you down.
undermineweaken the power or force of somethingEvidence that the coronavirus came from nature undermines the argument that it was created in a lab.
verbosewordySometimes people confuse being verbose with being smart.
warrantjustify, have a good reason for Does accidentally spilling orange juice on someone's phone warrant revenge? Asking for a friend.
yieldproduce or createAll of this studying will yield a higher test score #positivethinking.