ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #8 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

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

GARNER

Possible Answers:

Embellish

Accumulate

Bedeck

Decorate

Forge

Correct answer:

Accumulate

Explanation:

Generally speaking, people use “garner” to mean “gather,” as when one says, “He garnered support for the petition, hoping to have a majority by the time of the vote.” To "accumulate" things is to gather them together, and this is adequately synonymous with “garner.” A number of the options are trying to make you confuse “garner” with “garnish,” meaning to decorate.

Example Question #9 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

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

MOCK

Possible Answers:

Destroy

Abuse

Replicate

Maltreat

Imitation

Correct answer:

Imitation

Explanation:

We often think of the word “mock” as a term of abuse: “The children all mocked the new student because of his thick glasses.” However, directly deals with the laugher or ridiculed involved (though it is also often in a nasty way). While several of these options (like “maltreat” and “abuse”) would be options if no better choice were available, the word “imitation” is best. “Mock” can be used as an adjective meaning “imitation,” as when one speaks of “mock leather” that is cheaper to buy than real leather.

Example Question #10 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

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

GRAPHIC

Possible Answers:

Baneful

Cartesian

Detailed

Photography

Beautiful

Correct answer:

Detailed

Explanation:

When you see the word “graphic,” you likely think of a picture on your computer or in a magazine. This is a true use of the word when it is a noun. However, it can also be an adjective, meaning several things. It can merely mean something like related to art that can be seen. This clearly is related to the aforementioned use of “graphic” as “image.” It can also describe something that provides a detailed account of something. Hence, you could say “a graphic description,” meaning a very lively and detailed description.” This is why “detailed” is the correct answer. The others do not provide an adequate synonym form. A graphic is not "photography," so this can be eliminated immediately. The word “Cartesian” is attempting to get you to think of a Cartesian graphing plane, like what you use in algebra class. However, that is not what “graphic” means either. Something that is graphic might be “beautiful,” but not necessarily. Therefore, the humble answer “detailed” suffices.

Example Question #31 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

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

QUARTER

Possible Answers:

Destroy

Money

Finances

Select

Region

Correct answer:

Region

Explanation:

The word “quarter” has many uses, many related to the sense of being “one-fourth” of a larger whole.   Among these options, do not be tempted by words like “money” or “finances,” which are merely superficial ploys to try to get you to choose something related to the American coin. Sometimes, the word “quarter” is used to describe a district or area in a larger geographical region. For instance, one sometimes speaks of the “Slovak quarter” of a city perhaps because many Slavs moved there, thus giving that section a certain character.

Example Question #32 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

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

QUARTER

Possible Answers:

Inexpensive

Housing

Money

Cheap

Select

Correct answer:

Housing

Explanation:

The word “quarter” has many uses, many related to the sense of being “one-fourth” of a larger whole. Among these options, the only matching word is “house.” At first, this might seem strange, but “house” can be used as a verb meaning “to provide living / storage space.” In the American Constitution, the third amendment places restrictions on the government’s ability to force citizens to house soldiers, whether in peace or in war. Observe how it uses ‘quarter’ in this sense: “No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

Example Question #33 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Temper most closely means __________.

Possible Answers:

exultation

overbearing

despot

strengthen

exhilaration

Correct answer:

strengthen

Explanation:

Although we think of “temper” as having to do with someone’s disposition (or the state of being angry in particular), the word does have the additional use of to harden. The word is related to Latin roots meaning to mix. When one makes “tempered steel,” it is heated and cooled in order to change its hardness. While it is heated, other materials might be added to the steel to alter its condition. Among the options, the only one that matches this sense is “strengthen.” The other options appear to deal with “temperament,” but none of them are general enough even to fit that usage.

Example Question #34 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

Answer the following question by selecting the word that is most nearly the same in meaning as the word in capital letters.

FATHOM

Possible Answers:

fidelity

mettle

depth

invocation

fallow

Correct answer:

depth

Explanation:

"Fathom" and "depth" are synonyms. "Fallow" means a cultivated area left unplanted. "Fidelity" means loyalty or trustworthiness. "Invocation" means a prayer or appeal. "Mettle" means boldness or strength of character.

Example Question #35 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

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

GOSSAMER

Possible Answers:

Incessant

Exuberant

Contrite

Delicate

Inferior

Correct answer:

Delicate

Explanation:

“Gossamer," when used as a noun, means a very fine spiderweb. When used as an adjective, this word means fine, lightweight, fragile, and gauzy, so "delicate" is the correct answer. "Incessant" means non-stop; "inferior" means worse in quality than something else; "contrite" means feeling guilty; and "exuberant" means enthusiastic and energetic.

Example Question #36 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

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

SWAMP

Possible Answers:

Overwhelm

Irritate

Amphibious

Outback

Sticky

Correct answer:

Overwhelm

Explanation:

The word "swamp" can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun, it indicates a boggy, marshy area of wet land. As a verb, it means to overwhelm or to drench. Thus, it could indicate being "swamped" with water, but it also can be used to describe someone who is overwhelmed with work. Thus, we could say, "After a week of vacation, Kimberly was swamped with work left in her office during her time away." None of the noun options are adequate synonyms. Only "overwhelm" works to match the verb meaning of the word "swamp."

Example Question #37 : Identifying Synonyms When Words Have Multiple Meanings

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

OFFENSIVE

Possible Answers:

Surprising

Astonishing

Fault

Brandish

Assault

Correct answer:

Assault

Explanation:

The word "offensive" is most often used as an adjective to describe something that is unpleasant or hurtful—e.g. "offensive remarks" or "an offensive smell." None of the options provided really indicate this sort of meaning. There is another option, though. The word "offensive" can also be used as a noun to describe a kind of military activity.  An army can undertake and "offensive" against a foe, meaning that they attack or assault their enemy. Thus, the best option among those provided here is "assault", which matches this last meaning for "offensive."

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