ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Synonyms: Roots from Greek

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

IDYLLIC

Possible Answers:

Perfect

Flawless

Peaceful

Epic

Gregarious

Correct answer:

Peaceful

Explanation:

When something is “idyllic,” it is peaceful or picturesque. The word indirectly comes from the Greek “eidos” meaning form, idea, or picture. Do not confuse “idyllic” with words related to “ideal” in the sense of meaning perfect or best. The best option is “peaceful,” which is most directly related to the definition of “idyllic.”

Example Question #2 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

UTOPIAN

Possible Answers:

Visionary

Bombastic

Cynical

Robotic

Frightening

Correct answer:

Visionary

Explanation:

The word “utopia” is used to describe a perfect place with no problems. For instance, someone might imagine a perfect city like Plato did in his Republic. This was perhaps a beautiful idea, but it was practically impossible. This practical impossibility is almost always part of a “utopia.” Someone who is “utopian” is idealistic and somewhat “visionary” in the sense of proposing large, ambitious plans. (Hence, the plans are a lot like a utopia.) Interestingly, the word “utopia” was coined by Thomas More, who wrote the text Utopia, describing just such a city. Its name was a play on words. The “u-” prefix means not. Thus a “utopia” is a “non-place.” It does not and cannot exist. However, the “eu-” prefix means good (as in “euphony” and “eulogy”). A utopia looks good, but it does not exist.

Example Question #3 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

MISANTHROPIC

Possible Answers:

Disinclined

Heinous

Impassive

Eccentric

Antisocial

Correct answer:

Antisocial

Explanation:

This word's component parts give you clues as to its meaning: "mis-" is a negative prefix, and "-anthropic" includes the root "anthro," derived from the Greek word for "man." “Misanthropic” thus means disliking people and doing everything possible to avoid people. This is closest in meaning to “antisocial,” which means not social and avoiding people. As for the other answer choices, “disinclined” means not inclined and thus not likely; “impassive” means not caring and not showing emotion; “eccentric” means weird and unconventional; “heinous” means wicked and evil.

Example Question #4 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

THEIST

Possible Answers:

Mechanist

Believer

Nonbeliever

Worship

Outsider

Correct answer:

Believer

Explanation:

Do not confuse “theist” with “atheist.” The “theist” base found in the latter word means “one believing in God or gods.”

It is derived from the Greek for “god,” though it is also related to a very similar set of Latin roots for the same notions pertaining to God. It can be found in words like “theology” (the study of God) as well as “pantheism” (the belief that all things in the world are identical with God). The Latin relatives change the “th” into a “d,” as found in words like “deify” and “deism.” Among the options given, “believer” is the closest that one can find.

Example Question #2 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

LEXICON

Possible Answers:

Newspaper

Mapmaker

Dictionary

Researcher

Legality

Correct answer:

Dictionary

Explanation:

The word “lexicon” comes from the Greek word for “word.” When someone is “dyslexic,” he or she has problems interpreting words. (The “dys-” prefix means “bad or difficult”). The word “lexicon” might mean the general vocabulary of a person, as when we say, “The expression ‘active potency’ is not in the general lexicon of the ‘man on the street.’” Likewise, the word lexicon can mean “dictionary”—a book of words.

Example Question #6 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

COSMOPOLITAN

Possible Answers:

Multicultural

Arrogant

Conceited

Vain

Wealthy

Correct answer:

Multicultural

Explanation:

When a person is “cosmopolitan,” he or she is at ease in any culture in the world. The word itself is derived from Greek roots with which you are likely familiar. The “cosmo-” portion comes from the Greek for “world or order.” The “-politan” is related to meanings like “city” and “citizen.” You have experienced this word in “politics” and “politician.” Someone who is “cosmopolitan” is “a citizen of the world.”

Example Question #7 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

SOPHISTRY

Possible Answers:

Intellectual

Worldly

Cosmopolitan

Scholastic

Fallacy

Correct answer:

Fallacy

Explanation:

The word “sophistry” is related to the word for wisdom, Sophia, which is found in words like “sophisticated” and “philosophy,” but it is not here used in a positive sense whatsoever. Sophistry conveys the idea that someone is using reasoning in a manner that is not truly honest or correct in order to make misleading arguments. A “fallacy” in logic is a mistake (either intended or unintended) that causes the reasoning to end in an incorrect conclusion. Among the options provided, this is the only word that approaches the meaning of “sophistry.”

Example Question #8 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

DILEMMA

Possible Answers:

Quandary

Commentary

Perpetuation

Brevity

Despondency

Correct answer:

Quandary

Explanation:

The prefix "di-" means two, so a "dilemma" is a problem with two possible solutions, neither of them optimal, or a "quandary." As for the other answer choices, “brevity” means conciseness, economy of language; “commentary” means discussion presenting individuals' opinions about some situation or thing; “despondency” means hopelessness and sadness; and "perpetuation" is the act of making something (often something bad) continue to exist.

Example Question #9 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

EUPHONIOUS

Possible Answers:

Discordant

Superfluous

Pleasant-sounding

Harsh

Sensual

Correct answer:

Pleasant-sounding

Explanation:

The prefix "eu-" means good and "-phon-" means sound, so it makes sense that “euphonious” means sounding nice, mellow, and sweet, or "pleasant-sounding." As for the other answer choices, “harsh” means unpleasant, rough and grating; “discordant” means disagreeing or contradictory; “sensual” means relating to, or pleasing to, the senses; and “superfluous” means nonessential.

Example Question #10 : Synonyms: Roots From Greek

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

EGALITARIAN

Possible Answers:

Oligarchical

Academic

Political

Divided

Democratic

Correct answer:

Democratic

Explanation:

The word "egalitarian" comes from roots meaning equal. When a society is egalitarian, it treats all of its members as equals and tries to acknowledge this. The best option among those provided here is "democratic." This does not have to do directly with the current American political party that goes by this name. Instead, "democratic" is based on a particular Greek notion of one kind of government that bases itself on the equality of all the people. None of the other options express this kind of egalitarianism.

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