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GRE Antonyms

by Deepa Mittal

Are you bored of picking up Barron's word list or dictionary to learn new words?

Take a break!

Try something else today - grab a pen, a pocket notebook and watch an English movie, or start with an interesting novel!

Trust me, this is a great way to improve your vocabulary. Write down the new words you encounter while watching movie, reading novel, or newspaper. Look up their meanings and synonyms in the dictionary. Create your own sentences and review these words periodically until you become familiar with them.

Once you have developed a strong vocabulary, it should not be hard to crack verbal section and particularly antonyms.

Cracking Antonym Section

The antonym section of GRE is approximately 9 questions long and requires you to choose the opposite of a given word from a set of five choices. This section tests your ability to understand the words - their usage, primary and secondary meaning. In some cases, this type of question may require you to look for secondary meaning of word to find an antonym.

A typical antonym question will look like this:

pedestrian
1) prosaic
2) banal
3) original
4) circumspect
5) eulogistic

Solution: Here you need to consider secondary meaning of this word. The word pedestrian, in addition to meaning "on foot" also means "common, or dull". The words prosaic(dull), banal are synonyms. Original is an antonym and the correct answer.

Here's an approach to answer antonyms…..

  • If the word is known to you, then you can directly select the opposite without spending much time on the question.
  • In some questions, a synonym of the word is deliberately added in a list of answer choices. Stay Alert. You are not looking for a word that means the same but the opposite.

This is the most common mistake that students make.

  • If you do not know the meaning of the word, try to infer its meaning by breaking it into pieces.

Knowledge of roots, prefixes and suffix will help in finding meaning of word.

e.g: ANTIPATHY
ANTI (against) PATH (to feel) Y(noun suffix)
meaning: feeling of hatred

  • Figure out whether the word has positive or negative connotation. This will help in eliminating the wrong answer choices. For example, if the word is positive, you should look for a word with a negative connotation. You can also eliminate any words that also have a positive connotation

e.g: AFFABLE
A) jovial
B) disconcert
C) surly
D) prolific
E) gregarious

The word affable has positive connotation. So all positive words (jovial, prolific, magnanimous) can be crossed out. Affable means polite, easily approachable. Surly (meaning rude) is the antonym.

The words with the prefix de, dis, in have negative connotation.

  • If you can't find the opposite to the primary meaning, look for the secondary meaning of the word.

e.g: RENT
A) own
B) deplete
C) harbor
D) restore
E) release

Here rent is used as a verb, meaning to tear apart. Restore is the antonym.

  • Watch out for eye-catchers. The word SUFFRAGE may remind you something related to suffer (or pain), but suffrage means the right to vote.

Some more Tips to improve your vocabulary

  • When you learn a word, try to create a picture related to the word or its meaning in your mind. This will help in recalling the meaning of word.
  • Incorporate the new words into your speech.
  • When looking for the meaning of a word in dictionary, also look for its secondary meaning and synonyms.
  • Crossword puzzles and scrabble - a great way of increasing your vocabulary.

30 Comments
    adminprasanna
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    adminprasannaSat, 20 Jul 2013 11:09:23 -0000

    Get full guide on GRE exam pattern and all preparation tips Click on
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    adminprasanna
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    adminprasannaSat, 20 Jul 2013 11:04:55 -0000

    Get full guide on GRE exam pattern and all preparation tips Click on

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    zubair malik
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    Fri, 26 Aug 2011 00:41:23 -0000

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    madhulikag
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    madhulikagWed, 28 Oct 2009 08:29:42 -0000

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    abirkhan
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    Abir khanSun, 30 Aug 2009 18:35:21 -0000

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    kartheeka_p
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    kartheeka pMon, 20 Jul 2009 04:28:40 -0000

    this s a good lesson. where can i find lessons about anologies.

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    deepa mittal
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    Deepa MittalTue, 21 Jul 2009 11:37:31 -0000

    Click here to view the lesson on analogies.

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    sivanesh
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    sivanesh selvanatarajanSun, 17 May 2009 08:45:03 -0000

    very good one

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    ghadge
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    saurabhFri, 20 Feb 2009 14:41:29 -0000

    Really its a good one

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    sdasarathan
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    DASARATHANSun, 08 Feb 2009 15:56:00 -0000

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    chanureddy
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    chanureddySun, 25 Jan 2009 16:37:49 -0000

    truly helpful

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    shravan kumar m
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    shravan kumar mFri, 23 Jan 2009 12:54:18 -0000

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    sringeri
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    rashmi rTue, 20 Jan 2009 07:16:52 -0000

    Your advice on antonyms is great!thank you! But ,i've a problem… could you clarify…Whythe word "RENT" CANNOT have the antonym…"OWN" ?Because , we do use … while speaking" rented house"…so why w'd it be wrong to choose "own"?

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    chandra_avinash
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    Avinash ChandraThu, 05 Feb 2009 06:02:00 -0000

    Hi,

    The word "rent" in the lesson is different in meaning. Here it's being used in the sense of - "tearing something apart".

    Your usage is also correct - however it's better to not that while the opposite of rent can be own, the opposite of own is not rent. The exact opposite of own would be disown.

    Cheers!

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    AXDSAA
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    AXDSAATue, 06 Jan 2009 11:38:44 -0000

    INTERESTING FOR A BEGINEER

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    akshay kalambur
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    akshay kalamburFri, 26 Dec 2008 07:43:59 -0000

    nice lesson about the way to attack antonym questions in GRE

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    shalimar
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    shalimarThu, 25 Dec 2008 14:59:20 -0000

    quite well disguige the whole concept of antonyms

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    ashokrudra
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    ashokrudraSun, 21 Dec 2008 13:55:58 -0000

    its nice but how can we know which one is antonym or synonym.it means i dont know anything.thats y am asking

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    deepa mittal
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    Deepa MittalThu, 25 Dec 2008 14:52:40 -0000

    Antonym is the opposite and synonym is the word having same meaning as the given word.

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    arunexoticguy
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    arun prasath shankarThu, 04 Dec 2008 16:36:55 -0000

    coooooooooooooool

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    srikanth  reddyss
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    srikanth reddyssSun, 30 Nov 2008 13:49:04 -0000

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    deepa mittal
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    Deepa MittalTue, 25 Nov 2008 14:32:58 -0000

    Check out Vocabulary Section here that includes a vast number of lessons to help you build Vocab. Cross Word Puzzles are not there right now but we will have them soon.

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    prashanthpnu
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    Prashanth Kumar RMon, 24 Nov 2008 14:51:29 -0000

    Short lesson but has very good points.
    Do we have any cross word puzzle or any such games in learn hub which improves Vocabulary?

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    noor_khan
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    noor inayat khanFri, 21 Nov 2008 11:19:16 -0000

    not good…its better if u visit GREedge.com…They have some good articles on site.

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    Elysian
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    ElysianWed, 19 Nov 2008 09:36:33 -0000

    Good but not new so

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    CRMSHOBHIT01
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    shobhitFri, 14 Nov 2008 16:28:42 -0000

    keeping posting and learning..

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    sumit pancholi
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    sumit pancholiSun, 09 Nov 2008 15:51:20 -0000

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    priyanjali
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    priyanjaliSat, 08 Nov 2008 05:48:18 -0000

    i think it's helpful to improve the vocabulary

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    jajajajaaj
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    jajajajaajFri, 07 Nov 2008 19:13:46 -0000

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    satyabhMon, 03 Nov 2008 14:26:48 -0000

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    chandru raiah
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    chandru raiahFri, 31 Oct 2008 12:58:24 -0000

    i think it is a good experiance

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    mridulsingh
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    MRIDUL SINGHThu, 30 Oct 2008 14:18:18 -0000

    very good…..

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    joydas
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    joydasSun, 07 Sep 2008 07:36:20 -0000

    The lesson is really supposed to be helpful.

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deepa mittal
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Last Updated At Dec 07, 2012
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