10 Tricky Lookalike GRE Words


The following pairs of words look similar and are easily confused with each other.  Test writers often take advantage of this confusion.  Some are very similar in meaning, while others are different.  Know the difference!



adulate:  to praise 

adulterate:  to make impure

adverse:  hostile

 averse:  unwilling 

anachronism:  an outdated custom

 anarchism:  disruptive

antipathy:  hatred, aversion

 apathy:  indifference

ascetic:  self-denying

aesthetic: related to beauty or art

baleful:  forshadows evil

Baneful: Harmful or destructive

Censure: To criticize severely; to officially rebuke

Censor: To examine and remove objectionable material

Capitulate: yield

Recapitulate: summarize briefly

Disparate: Two things are fundamentally different

Desperate: a person who is frightened and in need of help

Divers: Of varying types; several

Diverse: Showing a great deal of variety; very different


1)  adulate and adulterate

Adulate: Flatter in an obsequious manner

Part Of Speech: Verb

Sentences

  1. During our brief exchange, it was clear Plant didn’t want to be adulated — he didn’t need his ego stroked by a fawning fan.
  2. This inexperience obliged me to adulate a lot of art before I was comfortable with it.


Adulterate: Render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance

Part Of Speech: Verb

Synonyms: Make impure, Degrade, Debase, Spoil, Taint,
Antonyms: Refine,

Sentences
  1. The rice stored in their school for the noon meal scheme was found to be adulterated with fine iron particles, urea, bits of mortar and what not.
  2. Ghee is adulterated to the extent of 80 to 85 percent with Vanaspati.

2) adverse and averse

Adverse: Preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable

Part Of Speech: Adjective  
Synonyms: Unfavourable, Disadvantageous, Inauspicious, Unpropitious, Unfortunate,
Antonyms: Favourable, Beneficial, Positive, Friendly,

Sentences:
  1. He believed it would have adverse effect on business and trade in the community.
  2. Despite the adverse blustery weather conditions, it was clear that Oxford had the edge.

Averse: Having a strong dislike of or opposition to something

Part Of Speech: Adjective
Synonyms:Opposed to, Against, Antipathetic to, Hostile to, Antagonistic to,
Antonyms:Keen

Sentences
  1. He was averse to the consumerist craze of the middle class, which has led to the bankruptcy of capitalist mores.
  2. Strong and aggressive, he is not averse to a bit of shirt pulling and uses his arms effectively to hold off defenders.

3) anachronism and anarchism

Anachronism: A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned

Part Of Speech:Noun


Sentences

  1. This awkward anachronism came about when a couple of hundred prefabricated bungalows, built to house workers on an irrigation project in the 1960s, fell into disuse.

  2. The filmmaker has to create a period ambience and avoid anachronisms.

 


Anarchism: a political theory favoring the abolition of governments


Sentences: 

  1. As Valerie’s life unfolds in a blur of expectations and disappointment—predatory men, particularly, lurk at every stage of the story—her anarchism is humanized, without losing its teeth.

  1. The desire to kill elites is instead driven by primal vengeance, not a desire for a new world order like the anarchism preached by Ledger's Joker and Tom Hardy's Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises."


4) antipathy and apathy

Antipathy: A deep-seated feeling of aversion

Part Of Speech: Noun

Synonyms: Hostility, Antagonism, Animosity, Aversion, Animus,

Antonyms: Liking, Affinity, Rapport,

Sentences

  1. This was unusual, given conventional medicine's antipathy towards anything considered wacky or unprovable.

 

  1. Whatever the accuracy of those perceptions, the mutual antipathy is unspoken, but pervasive.


Apathy: An absence of emotion or enthusiasm


Part Of Speech: Noun

Synonyms: Indifference, Lack of interest, Lack of enthusiasm, Lack of concern, Unconcern,

Antonyms: Enthusiasm, Interest, Passion,


Sentences

  1. In this day and age of political apathy, there's at least one group I respect.

  2. Indeed there does appear to be a great deal of apathy up until this weekend when a number of people attended a march in London.

5) ascetic and aesthetic

Ascetic: Characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons

Part Of Speech: Adjective

Synonyms: Austere, Self-denying, Abstinent, Abstemious, Non-indulgent,

Antonyms: Sybaritic, Sybarite,


Sentences

  1. Sufism emphasises the more mystical and ascetic aspects of the religion.

  2. Bernard's over-rigorous pursuit of ascetic discipline adversely affected his health.

 

Aesthetic: Concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty

Part Of Speech: Adjective

Synonyms: Decorative, Ornamental, Graceful, Elegant, Exquisite,

 

Sentences

  1. There is a disquieting aesthetic beauty and grace found in the war dead.

  2. The art on the walls was contemporary and unusual, creating an ambience of aesthetic appreciation.


 

6) baleful and baneful

Baleful: Threatening harm; menacing

Part Of Speech: Adjective

Synonyms: Menacing, Threatening, Unfriendly, Hostile, Antagonistic,

Antonyms: Benevolent, Friendly,


Sentences

  1. Whenever an election turns into a three-ring circus, I cast my baleful eye upon the proceedings and wonder what's really going on in the heart that beats beneath the fright wig.

  2. Finally, I disagree with his conception of human nature, inasmuch as I don't believe the baleful features of human life that he refers to are ‘inherent features’ of human nature.


Baneful: Harmful or destructive

Part Of Speech: Adjective

Synonyms: maleficent


Sentences

  1. But Bogle continued to maintain that many funds were overcharging investors, and once called the industry “the poster-boy for one of the most baneful chapters in the modern history of capitalism.”

  2. George Washington devoted much of his farewell address, in 1796, to warning about the “baneful effects of the spirit of party.”



7) censure and censor

Censure: To criticize severely; to officially rebuke

Part Of Speech: Verb

Synonyms: Condemnation, Criticism, Attack, Abuse, Revilement,

Antonyms: Approval, Commendation,


Sentences

  1. The dramatic departures come after Cllr Holden and Cllr Smith were censured last month by the Standards Board.

  2. In recent years North Yorkshire police were condemned for establishing a canteen culture and county ambulance service chiefs were censured for bullying.

 

Censor: To examine and remove objectionable material

Part Of Speech: Verb

Synonyms: Expurgator, Cut, Delete, Delete parts of, Redact,


Sentences

  1. The Esquire Theatre, on the other hand, is guilty of censoring the work of an artist, no matter how poor that work might actually be.

  2. Please do a better job of censoring your material for the sake of those warfighters and their families.



8) capitulate and recapitulate

 Capitulate: Cease to resist an opponent or an unwelcome demand; yield

Part Of Speech: Verb

Synonyms: Surrender, Give in, Yield, Admit defeat, Concede defeat,

Antonyms: Resist, Hold out,


Sentences

  1. On 29 May there was a bombshell - the Belgian army had capitulated, reducing further the perimeter around Dunkirk.

  2. This alone had made it possible to seize ocean bases from which to launch the final attack and force her metropolitan Army to capitulate without striking a blow.

 


Recapitulate: summarize briefly


Part Of Speech: verb

Synonyms: repeat, reprise, reprize


Sentences

  1. The genes that Gunz uncovered act too late in brain development to be studied in brain organoids, which recapitulate only the early stages.

  2. The authors of the new paper, a team led by Sarah Miller of the University of Michigan law school, recapitulate the sorry history of Medicaid expansion.


9) disparate and desperate

Disparate: Two things are fundamentally different

Part Of Speech: Adjective

Synonyms: Contrasting, Different, Differing, Dissimilar, Unlike,

Antonyms: Homogeneous,


Sentences

  1. The second class of disparates have more to do with the particular foibles of the aperture involved.

  2. Here live disparates, renegades and various isolationists who don't want to join the greater Namqua society.

 

Desperate: a person who is frightened and in need of help


Part Of Speech: Noun

Synonyms: hopeless

 

Sentences

  1. They pressed towels to his chest in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, authorities said.

  2. In a desperate attempt to curb the growing unrest, authorities blocked the internet and imposed the curfew.


10) divers and diverse

Divers: Of varying types; several


Part Of Speech: Adjective


Sentences

  1. Shakespeare mocks such ethical conundrums in divers ways.

  2. Then you take them home and by divers evil arts turn them into lamp bases, photo frames and, oh, irony - bookends.


Diverse: Showing a great deal of variety; very different


Part Of Speech: Adjective

Synonyms: Various, Many and various, Sundry, Manifold, Multiple,

Antonyms: Similar, Uniform,


Sentences

  1. An increasing number of students are from racially/ethnically diverse backgrounds.

  2. The aim was to try to attract a more diverse range of applicants.


 


This blog was written by Rashmi Veena.