ISEE Middle Level Verbal : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Middle Level Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #5 : Synonyms

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

ASSEMBLE

Possible Answers:

Make

Benefit

Vend

Compute

Question

Correct answer:

Make

Explanation:

“Assemble” can mean put together from parts or come together as a group, so "make" is the correct answer. “Benefit” means provide help to; “vend” means sell; and “compute” means calculate.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

ELEVATED 

Possible Answers:

Rocky

Intelligent

Redundant

Breezy

Noble

Correct answer:

Noble

Explanation:

The word "elevated" means, most generally, "higher than other things." Now, this most often is used to describe physical elevation—as in the elevated mountains in contrast to valleys and hills. However, it can also be applied to things that are elevated in the sense of being more noble or important. Thus, elevated discussion is discussion of important and noble things. Thus, among the words provided, the only option that directly recognizes such "heights" is "noble." Remember, "noble" not only refers to the person such as a prince or king. It also is an adjective meaning "excellent."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

BASE 

Possible Answers:

Infantry

Figurative

Immoral

Footstool

Militant

Correct answer:

Immoral

Explanation:

You most likely use "base" in the physical sense, describing something that is at the bottom of another thing—as in the base of a statue or some other thing. However, the meaning can be extended to mean anything that is low. This often is used to describe low morals or bad moral standards. Thus, to call something "base" is to say that the thing is immoral or very unacceptable. Thus, the best option here is "immoral."

Several of the other options try to trick you. A footstool seems low, but it is not synonymous with "base" even in the first sense discussed above. Also, we do often think of "military bases." However, these "bases" are the actual physical locations for the soldiers. The word is not synonymous with "militant" or "infantry".

Example Question #1 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

HAZY

Possible Answers:

Thick

Refuge

Vague

Oasis

Rainy

Correct answer:

Vague

Explanation:

We generally think of "hazy" in terms of the weather. On a hazy day, it is hard to see because the air is full of some sort of material, usually water vapor though it could also be something like smoke or any other material that creates some kind of cloudiness. Among the answers, the only wrong one that should be tempting is "thick," for haze can be thick. Perhaps also "rainy" is tempting, but to be "hazy" means something other than to be wet and rainy. (It is about making it difficult to see—as said earlier.) We also use the word to mean vague. A "hazy idea" is one that is not very clear. Another example is "hazy memories," meaning that something is hard to remember in its details—it is not a "clear" memory.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

VOCAL

Possible Answers:

Blunt

Excited

Melodic

Sonorous

Rousing

Correct answer:

Blunt

Explanation:

The word "vocal" has several meanings, though all deal with the voice. They come from similar Latin roots, ultimately derived from "vox" or "vocis," meaning voice. A vocal person is "outspoken," not hiding his or her ideas or feelings. Such a person rarely speaks in an indirect manner. Instead, he or she is very direct in expressing these ideas. When something is "blunt" it is neither sharp nor pointed; however it can be very flat—like a wooden board. A blunt person's opinion will be expressed like a large flat board of wood—openly and without any kind of covering up! Thus, a vocal person is "blunt" in this sense—stating things directly.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

DULL

Possible Answers:

Learned

Blunt

Rainy

Precipitous

Colored

Correct answer:

Blunt

Explanation:

The word "dull" has many meanings, though they do have some relationship to each other. We often think of a "dull knife" (or something of that sort). This means that such an instrument is no longer sharp. Dull colors are sort of like this. They are not bright or "sharp to the eye." Think of a dreary day—it is dull. Likewise, we say that someone is "dull" when he or she is not very intelligent or interesting. This is so because he or she does not have a "piercing" intellect that can handle intricate problems. Thus, of the options provided, the only option that directly defines a possible synonym is "blunt."

Example Question #3 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

BRIGHT

Possible Answers:

Regal

Popular

Intelligent

Scholarly

Solar

Correct answer:

Intelligent

Explanation:

The word "bright" is a great example of how we metaphorically use language in everyday speech. We will sometimes say that someone is "bright" or that an idea is "bright," meaning that it is intelligent. Such "brightness" is like an "intellectual light bulb," helping to illuminate some topic with insight. Hence also, we will call someone "dim" when he or she is not very intelligent.

Example Question #7 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

CRITICAL

Possible Answers:

Understated

Nasty

Malicious

Important

Destructive

Correct answer:

Important

Explanation:

The word "critic" comes from Greek and Latin words that mean to judge. When we "critique" someone or something, we give an opinion about that person or thing. Likewise, a "critical remark" is one that judges something, generally negatively. The word can also mean important when used as the adjective "critical." For example, at a "critical time," it is necessary to judge something one way or the other. This actually comes from the idea of judgment mentioned earlier. Something is "critical" because it requires a judgment—right now. By extension, we say something is "critical" when it is "important."

Example Question #8 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

SENSIBLE

Possible Answers:

Olfactory

Tangible

Intelligent

Balanced

Legal

Correct answer:

Balanced

Explanation:

Here, you must be careful not to use the word "sensible" as though it means able to be sensed. In that meaning, you would be referring to something related to one of the five senses—taste, touch, smell, etc. Two of the options try to trick you in this way—"tangible" and "olfactory;" however, these indicate individual sensible things but are not even acceptable synonyms for "sensible" in general in the way mentioned above.

Instead, we also use "sensible" to mean practical or showing common sense. Think of when we might say, "It was a sensible decision to come in during the storm, for otherwise, Johann might have been struck by lightning." Likewise, we could say, "Wilhelm was always quite sensible, refusing to express grand reflections on the meaning of all things." Thus, something that is "sensible" is "balanced" and not extreme.

Example Question #9 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

DULL

Possible Answers:

Flatware

Regular

Overweight

Standard

Boring

Correct answer:

Boring

Explanation:

Physically speaking, the word "dull" is contrasted to something that is pointed or sharp. From this meaning, the word can take on various other meanings. For instance, it can mean stupid—as though someone is not "sharp" enough to penetrate into some topic. Likewise, it can mean boring, as though something is not very "piercing" and interesting. This is the way that the word is being presented here among the options provided. For example, think of how we can say, "That was a dull class." This means that the class was boring and uninteresting.

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