Short Vocabulary Words Practice (page 2)

Updated on Sep 8, 2011


Choose the word from the vocabulary list that means the opposite, or most nearly the opposite, of the following groups of words.

  1. nadir, bottom, lowest point, underachievement
  2. soil, condemn, retain, keep
  3. actual, significant, relevant, important
  4. protect, retain, house, host
  5. please, calm, clarify, comfort
  6. fix, repair, heal, enable
  7. genuine, trustworthy, sincere, authentic
  8. inferior, subpar, subordinate, second-rate
  9. savior, relief, preserver, gift
  10. straight, direct, right, good


Short words are sometimes hard to remember because they don't have all those helpful prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Try flash cards for this list in particular.

Matching Questions

Match the word in the first column with the corresponding word in the second column.

  1. dire           a. easily deceived
  2. sham         b. to get with great effort
  3. gibe           c. to distribute by measure
  4. eke           d. to turn aside from a course
  5. crux          e. to disable or disfigure
  6. dupe         f. having dreadful consequences
  7. mete         g. to make taunting remarks
  8. veer          h. basic or central feature
  9. maim         i. impostor
  10. awry          j. askew

Practice Activities

Now that you know these short but important words, they'll turn up everywhere! You may also find, especially if you make a deliberate effort, that ample opportunities arise for you to try these words out for yourself.

These words are very common, so give yourself the challenge of both listening for them when you watch the news, for example, and inserting them into your own common speech. Confide in your friend that things have really gone awry in your household (we hope not) or that your mother-in-law has become the bane of your existence.

Crossword Puzzle

Choose the word from the vocabulary list that best fits into the crossword puzzle. You can check your answers at the end of the chapter following the answers to the questions.

Short Words That Mean a Lot


Words in Context

The narrator begins to explain his situation by saying that he can cite, by way of an example, that he is one of the biggest dupes that ever lived. We may infer that cite means to quote (a situation or example). We can conclude that dupe(s) refers to someone who was deceived, based on the statement, "I wondered how I didn't see his scheming ways all along." This same statement, along with the term "so-called friend," can help the reader to infer that sham means someone who is scheming, or not loyal. When the narrator says that he tried to straighten things out but that they went awry anyway, it is clear that awry must mean when things go off course, or askew. When the narrator ekes out the truth, he says that it involved a lot of prying, so we can assume that eke means to get something like the truth with a lot of difficulty. By the time the narrator gets the truth, he says the situation has already become too dire. We can infer that dire means extreme or unsalvageable because the narrator says that there was no way to get his money back at that point. The last sentence describes the narrator's "so-called friend" as a miserable bane of his existence, or a source of constant misery and annoyance.

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