HSPT Verbal : Synonyms, Antonyms, and Changes in Intensity

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Hale is to fit as sensitive is to __________.

Possible Answers:

delicate

auditory

distressed

olfactory

feminine

Correct answer:

delicate

Explanation:

The word “hale” is often used in the expression “hale and hardy” to describe someone who is healthy. The word “fit,” taken in the sense of “being in the state of fitness” (i.e. “good shape / health”) is relatively synonymous to “hale.” We are thus looking for a synonym for “sensitive.” All of the wrong answers are traps. Although sensitive has several meanings, none of them correlate to those meanings. The best option is “delicate,” as when the word sensitive is used to describe (e.g.) “sensitive skin,” that is, skin that is delicate and easily hurt.

Example Question #2 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Aboriginal is to native as desiccated is to __________.

Possible Answers:

miserable

plain

dry

enraged

vehement

Correct answer:

dry

Explanation:

Perhaps you have heard of the “aborigines” of Australia. They are the native inhabitants of the island who precede the later colonists. The word itself comes from the Latin for “from the origin,” as though to say, “a person living in an area from the origin of its inhabitation.” The word “aboriginal” is the general adjective used for any such people, animal, or plant. One can think of it as being relatively synonymous to “native.” We are thus looking for a synonym for “desiccated.” The word “desiccated” means “completely dried out.” Only one option fits that meaning, namely, “dry.”

Example Question #3 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Foreign is to alien as bombastic is to __________.

Possible Answers:

angry

grandiloquent

farcical

podium

laconic

Correct answer:

grandiloquent

Explanation:

Although it is somewhat normal to use the term “alien” to refer extra terrestrials, you likely also use the term when speaking of “alien peoples,” that is, people who are in a country having come from another. The word is related to the English “alias,” which is an alternative name that someone might use (to disguise his or her identity or merely for professional reasons). Both words come from the Latin for “other.” Thus, something that “alien” is foreign to a given area. The two words are relatively synonymous. The word “bombastic” describes someone who speaks in an overstated style, looking to be impressive with his or her oratory. The word “grandiloquent” literally means “large speaking,” in the sense of having an “inflated” style of speech, which is quite synonymous to “bombastic.”

Example Question #1 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Intrude is to encroach as disregard is to __________.

Possible Answers:

ignore

laziness

arrogance

illiterate

dislike

Correct answer:

ignore

Explanation:

When someone “intrudes” into a situation or space, he or she thrusts himself or herself into a something in which he or she is not welcome. Such an act could also be described as “encroaching,” which is relatively synonymous. When someone “disregards” something, he or she gives little attention to it—pays it little or no regard. Such an act could fairly be described as “ignoring” as well, which is the best option among those provided.

Example Question #5 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Culmination is to summit as nadir is to __________.

Possible Answers:

common

progress

moderat

bottom

superfluous

Correct answer:

bottom

Explanation:

The Latin word “columen” means “height, peak, or summit. Generally, the word “culmination” is used to describe the “high point” of some activity. For instance, one could say, “The man’s dissertation was the culmination of four years or careful archival research and analysis.” The word can be used metaphorically in the sense of “summit,” meaning “high point.” Thus, the analogy is one of synonymy. The word “nadir,” on the other hand, means “lowest point,” as in, “After ten years of continued failure, George believed he finally had finally reached the nadir of his career and could only improve matters henceforth.” The best option, therefore, is “bottom.”

Example Question #2 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Destined is to fated as acquitted is to __________.

Possible Answers:

condemned

guilty

exonerated

trial

adjudged

Correct answer:

exonerated

Explanation:

When we speak of someone’s destiny, we mean thereby to indicate what we believe will unquestionably happen in the future of his or her life. Such a person is believed to have a certain “fate.” Thus, to be “destined” is to be “fated” to something. The words are relatively synonymous. The word “acquitted” is most often used to describe the decision of a jury to declare someone not guilty of a crime, thus freeing that person of guilt. The word “exonerated” means “to forgive someone of guilt after considering the matter in question.” It comes from the Latin literally meaning, “To take the burden off of (someone).” The “-onerate” portion of the word is related to the word “onerous,” which means “burdensome.”

Example Question #7 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Superfluous is to excessive as slender is to __________.

Possible Answers:

emaciated

fulsome

unhealthy

beautiful

lean

Correct answer:

lean

Explanation:

The word “superfluous” literally means “flowing over” in the sense of “being too much for the situation, hence overflowing the needs.” When something is thus overflowing, it is excessive—it exceeds the needs of a situation. Thus, we are looking for a synonym for “slender.” While the word “emaciated” might tempt you, it is far too strong of a word, indicating an unhealthy and sickly thinness. The better option is “lean,” which does not have these additional connotations and is thus a better synonym for “slender.”

Example Question #3 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Intense is to extreme as expensive is to __________.

Possible Answers:

overwrought

impoverished

costly

prohibitive

penurious

Correct answer:

costly

Explanation:

When something is described as being “intense,” it is considered as being “to a great degree” with regard to some quality. For instance, “intense winds” are very strong winds and “intense cold” is “extreme cold.” Thus, the words “intense” and “extreme” are relatively synonymous, so a synonym is needed for “expensive.” Among the options provided, several wrong answers are likely tempting like “prohibitive,” “impoverished,” and “penurious.” All of these are distantly related to matters of money and expense, but they do not signify the same meaning as “expensive” itself. Though “costly” might seem to be too simple of a word, here the simplest is indeed the best and correct.

Example Question #1 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Lax is to negligent as malaise is to __________.

Possible Answers:

anger

disagreement

thrill

sadness

uneasiness

Correct answer:

uneasiness

Explanation:

When someone is “lax,” he or she is “loose” with discipline or care. The word is related to “relax.” In the case of “lax,” it is often implied that such “laxity” is a bad character trait for which the person should be judged negatively. Since “negligence” is the failure to perform a necessary or required task with appropriate care, it is a relative synonym for lax. “Malaise” is the state of feeling uneasy, though one cannot exactly explain why this is the case. Thus, the best synonymous answer for this analogy is “uneasiness.”

Example Question #10 : Synonyms, Antonyms, And Changes In Intensity

Consensus is to agreement as freedom is to __________.

Possible Answers:

argument

liberty

political

fighter

constitution

Correct answer:

liberty

Explanation:

Perhaps you have heard the expression, “political consensus.” It is used to describe the situation when a group of differing political parties are able to come together in agreement on some topic. The word “consensus” literally means “feeling or sensing together.” (The “con-” prefix means “with,” as in “congregate” and “chili con carne”—chili with meat). Thus, “consensus” is relatively synonymous with “agreement.” Among the options provided for freedom, several might tempt you because of indirect references and relations (like “fighter,” “constitution,” and “political”); however, the best option is “liberty,” which is the only option that is directly synonymous with “freedom.”

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