ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Synonyms

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

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #6 : Using Prefixes, Suffixes, And Roots To Identify Synonyms

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

PREDICT

Possible Answers:

Invoke

Foretell

Remark

Announce

Love

Correct answer:

Foretell

Explanation:

The word “predict” is very familiar, but let us be careful not to associate it with incorrect meanings (such as “announce” or even “invoke”).

The word is clearly composed of two parts—“pre-” and “-dict.” The former means before (in the temporal sense). The latter means to speak or say. It is related to many English words like “diction,” “dictation,” “valedictorian,” and “edict.”

To "predict" something is to state that something will happen in the future, often as the consequence of something else. To make a pop cultural reference, think of how many people “predict the outcome of the football game.” This means that they try to declare who will be the winner—before the competition even takes place. The word “foretell” merely comes from different roots—clearly meaning to tell before.

Example Question #8 : Synonyms: Roots

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

ACQUIT

Possible Answers:

Sentence

Imprision

Ignore

Judge

Exonerate

Correct answer:

Exonerate

Explanation:

When someone is “acquitted” of an action, he or she is “forgiven” or set free from any sort of charges of that action. For instance, someone “acquitted of murder” is judged to be innocent of the crime. The word “exonerate” best matches this usage. It means to remove blame officially. Literally, it is derived from the Latin meaning to lift the burden from someone. The “-onerate” portion of the word means “burden,” while (as you likely know) “ex-” means out of or away from. The word is related to “onerous,” meaning burdensome or difficult.

Example Question #1 : Using Prefixes, Suffixes, And Roots To Identify Synonyms

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

DEPOSE

Possible Answers:

inquire

overthrow

toss

hate

contemn

Correct answer:

overthrow

Explanation:

When someone is “deposed,” he or she is removed from a position or office in a forceful manner. For instance, one could say, “The insurgents deposed the sitting government and replaced it with their own officers.” The word comes from the prefix “de-,” meaning down from, and “-pose,” meaning to place (as related to “position”). Therefore, "depose" literally means to place down (from its original place). Think of “tearing someone down” from his or her throne. Of all the options, the word “overthrow” matches most closely. Note that a “deposition” might also mean the giving of evidence in court.

Example Question #11 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

Divert most closely means __________.

Possible Answers:

redirect

obstruct

dam

barricade

overcome

Correct answer:

redirect

Explanation:

The word “divert” comes from two root words that you may know. The “di-” prefix can often mean away from. The “-vert” is found in words like “convert,” “versatile,” “advertise” (as well as many other words). It comes from the Latin for to turn. To “divert” something means to turn something away from its course. Thus, one could think of it meaning something like to deflect or to redirect. For instance, one could say, “The city decided to divert the course of the stream in order to have it flow several miles to the west of the borders of the town.” A “diversion” is something that is meant to take someone’s attention away from another thing or event. For example, in a crime, someone might play the role of “setting up a diversion” in order to allow the robber to do his illegal act without getting caught.

Example Question #12 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

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

EFFACE

Possible Answers:

vandalize

capable

potential

erase

disfigure

Correct answer:

erase

Explanation:

Several of the answers appear to be acceptable, given the presence of “face” in the word. The word “efface” is derived from root words related to “face,” but it is necessary to be very careful in considering the word’s roots. The “ef-” prefix is the same as the “ex-” prefix that means out of or away from. To “efface” is “to take the face away” from something. What this means is to remove something, as when one erases it. This is the best option among the answers. One also is said to be "self-effacing" when he or she acts in a way so as to hide his or her worth—as though that person were “erasing” his or her own abilities.

Example Question #13 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

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

EVACUATE

Possible Answers:

endanger

fret

desert

panic

fear

Correct answer:

desert

Explanation:

The word “evacuate” literally means to empty, sometimes used in the language of medicine to describe the emptying of the bowels. Of course, you likely have heard the term used to describe the process of fleeing from an undesirable area. For instance, one could say, “The citizens evacuated the town out of fear that the nuclear power plant would soon explode.” The word “desert,” meaning to abandon, most closely matches this sense. Note that the word “evacuate” contains within it the same root word as “vacuum,” meaning empty space.

Example Question #14 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

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

DISTEND

Possible Answers:

Lengthen

Spread

Dispatch

Extend

Swell

Correct answer:

Swell

Explanation:

The “-tend” found in the word “distend” is related to the same root found in “extend.” It generally means to stretch or (more broadly) to reach. When one “extends” his or her arm, he or she reaches or stretches it out toward something. When something becomes “distended,” it becomes stretched in the sense of being swollen—as in “a distended stomach” because of disease or gaseous buildup.

Example Question #15 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

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

CONVALESCE

Possible Answers:

Sickening

Aging

Merge

Unite

Recover

Correct answer:

Recover

Explanation:

The word “convalescence” shouldn’t be confused with “coalesce,” which means to merge together. “Convalescence” comes from the Latin “con-,” meaning together, with, or all together, and “valesco,” which means to become healthy. The word would be used in a sentence like, “When Carol contracted pneumonia, she had to spend several weeks in the hospital convalescing before she was strong enough to return home.”

Example Question #16 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

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

COALESCE

Possible Answers:

Recover

Unite

Heal

Uncover

Fossilize

Correct answer:

Unite

Explanation:

Among these options, “heal” and “recover” are attempting to get you to confuse this word with “convalesce,” which means to recover or to regain strength. The word “coalesce” comes from the prefix “co-,” meaning together or with, and “-alesce,” which is derived from the Latin for to nourish or to grow up. When things “coalesce,” they come together, forming a larger whole. For instance, one could say, “All of the ingredients cooked down and coalesced into a single, homogeneous stew.” The word “adolescence” means a stage of growing to maturity, and is related to the word “coalesce.”

Example Question #17 : Synonyms: Prefixes From Latin

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

EXHUME

Possible Answers:

Unearth

Sepulcher

Bury

Enliven

Replace

Correct answer:

Unearth

Explanation:

The word “exhume” literally means to take out of the earth. The “-hume” portion of the word is the same as that which is found in “humility.” It comes from the Latin for ground or dirt. “Humility” is a disposition that makes one feel “lowly.” When combined with the prefix “ex-”, this root word makes the expression out of the earth.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors