ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

RAMBLE

Possible Answers:

Mob

Consider

Crowd

Wander

Disheveled

Correct answer:

Wander

Explanation:

Often, we use the term “ramble” to mean that someone is talking without ceasing and without making any discernable point. This sense of the word is related to another meaning, namely, “to wander” or “to go walking without any real destination.” When someone rambles in words, he or she merely lets his or her thoughts wander about whatever topic is pleasing—like one wandering on forest pathways.

Example Question #1 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

PATRONIZE

Possible Answers:

Overlook

Support

Adjudicate

Father

Dismiss

Correct answer:

Support

Explanation:

Here, the only option for “patronize” that is appropriate is “support.” Often, the word “patronize” or “patronizing” means “condescending kindness” or “showing superiority veiled in kind words.” It can also mean, “To support or often go to a store, restaurant, or other business.” Here, think of being a “patron” (a customer). This is the sense of the word. Among the options provided, “support” most closely matches this usage.

Example Question #2 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

PATRONIZE

Possible Answers:

Condescend

Natal

Father

Generate

Oversee

Correct answer:

Condescend

Explanation:

When someone is “patronizing,” he or she shows care for someone but does so in a way that shows that he or she feels superior or in a condescending manner. For example, one might say, “When John would say to Jenna, ‘You’re a sweet one,’ his tone always belied his haughty attitude toward her.”

Example Question #3 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

MASSES

Possible Answers:

People

Diseases

Ignorance

Obese

Shekels

Correct answer:

People

Explanation:

The word “masses” used in the plural can have two main meanings. The first would be “masses” as in certain amounts of matter. For example, we talk about a tumor as being a “mass,” meaning that it is an undefined amount of matter in one place in the body. It can be used, of course, for any such set of masses. However, it can also be extended from this basic sense to indicate a large amount of “human matter” (speaking metaphorically). Thus, it comes to mean a large group of people, generally undifferentiated. At the foot of the U.S. Statue of Liberty is a plaque containing the words of the poem “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. It contains the famous words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” It is calling other countries to send to the U.S. the “masses” (the trapped crowds, at least as portrayed in the poem) from other nations. Often, the word “masses” has a negative sense, as in “the uneducated masses.” Among the answers provided, "people" is the only one that describes the "masses" as the "people" in general.

Example Question #5 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

ARRESTING

Possible Answers:

Illegal

Defensive

Fascinating

Authoritative

Patrolling

Correct answer:

Fascinating

Explanation:

When someone is "arrested" by the police, he or she is stopped (among other things). The adjective “arresting” describes something that stops a person, as when someone sees an “arresting view” in nature. Such a sight makes the person “stop in his or her tracks.” Such things could be called "fascinating," for arresting things are generally quite interesting and engrossing as are fascinating ones. All of the other answers are attempting to draw you into false resonances with the “police sense” of “arrest.”

Example Question #6 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

MECHANISM

Possible Answers:

Engineering

Procedure

Lever

Computer

Physical

Correct answer:

Procedure

Explanation:

The word “mechanism” is likely somewhat familiar. It is clearly relate to words like “mechanical” and “mechanic.” It is likewise related to “machine” and words like that. Often, a word is used in an extended sense, as when we call a group of people working together “a perfectly working machine.” A “mechanism” can be such a procedure of things working together. For instance, one could call the process of governmental action leading up to the passing of a bill “the mechanisms of the state.” We do not always use such language, but it is appropriate.

Example Question #7 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

PREMISES

Possible Answers:

Failures

Agreements

Endorsements

Building

Precursor

Correct answer:

Building

Explanation:

The word “premise” can be used in logic regarding the ideas and statements that are presupposed in an argument. However, when the word is used in the plural, it can mean—depending upon the context—a building and its surrounding land. You likely have experienced the word used in a sentence like, “The young man was escorted from the store’s premises, for his rowdy behavior was disturbing many of the patrons.” Here, the implication is that the young man was physically taken from the property because of his actions.

Example Question #8 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

DELICATE

Possible Answers:

Difficult

Broken

Squeamish

Firm

Gregarious

Correct answer:

Squeamish

Explanation:

"Delicate" means physically fragile or not able to handle much stress. The best choice is "squeamish," since its definition is the closest in meaning to "delicate" when "delicate" is used figuratively—easily shocked. Considering the other choices, "firm" is an antonym of this word and means hard and durable, and "broken" means reduced to fragments or not functioning properly.

Example Question #4 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

NEGOTIATE

Possible Answers:

Overcome

Assert

Concur

Argue

Agree

Correct answer:

Overcome

Explanation:

Although we often think of “negotiations” as the interaction between two parties attempting to come an agreement, it can also have the sense of “finding a way past an obstacle.” For instance, one can say, “She managed to negotiate the winding passes of the mountain, only to realize that she had many more miles to travel.” For this reason, do not be tricked by any of the wrong answers, all of which mean to tempt you into choosing in accord with your sense of “negotiation” as an attempt to come to an agreement. None of those other options express the very act of negotiating (in which there is “back and forth”). The best option is “overcome.”

Example Question #10 : Synonyms: Distinguishing Between Multiple Definitions

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

WHET

Possible Answers:

Overwrought

Defiant

Persevere

Compassionate

Stimulate

Correct answer:

Stimulate

Explanation:

“Whet” means physically sharpen or encourage and stimulate, as in the phrase "whet one's appetite." “Persevere” means persist; “defiant” means noncompliant, showing resistance and stubbornness; “overwrought” means hysterical or in a state of agitation; and “compassionate” means kind and loving.

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