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GRE VOCABULARY - Words from Proper Names

1.Jingoist One who boasts about his patriotism and favors a warlike foreign policy. In 1877, British Prime Minister Disraeli sent the fleet to Gallipoli to slow up the Russians. A singer wrote a ditty called By Jingo in honor of that action.
2.Lothario rake; seducer; lover. Lothario was an amorous character in an eighteenth-century play. The Fair Penitent.
3.Maverick one who acts independently. Samuel Maverick was a Texas rancher who refused to brand his cattle as others were doing.
4.Nemesis Agent of retribution; just punishment. In Greek mythology, the goddess Nemesis punished pretentiousness with her swords and avenging wings.
5.Philanderer one who makes love insincerely; one who engages in passing love affairs. The word comes from the Greek philandros (man loving) but gained its current usage because many English playwrights gave the name to their romantic leads.
6.Philippic Bitter verbal attack. Philip II of Macedon wanted to make Greece into a monarchy. He was opposed by the great orator, Demosthenes, who denounced Philip in devastating speeches that came to be known as philippics.
7.Procrustean designed to secure conformity; drastic. An ancient Greek robber named Procrustes tied his victims to a bed and then, to make them fit the bed, stretched the short ones and hacked off the limbs of the taller ones.
8.Pyrrhic victory a victory that is exceptionally costly. Pyrrhus defeated the Romans in 279 B.C. but his losses were terribly heavy.
9.Quixotic romantically idealistic; impractical. The Spanish novelist, Cervantes, brought this word into our language when he wrote Don Quixote. His hero went forth foolishly to tilt against windmills and help the downtrodden.
10.Protean changeable; taking on different forms. In Greek mythology, Proteus was a sea god who could change his appearance at will.
11.Saturnine sluggish; gloomy; grave. The planet Saturn is so far form the sun that it was thought to be cold and dismal.
12.Solecism substandard use of words; violation of good manners. This word derives form the Greek inhabitants of the colony of Soloi who used a slangy dialect.
13.Sybarite one who is fond of luxury and soft living. Sybaris was a fabulously wealthy Italian city, symbolic of the good life.
14.Spoonerism an unintentional exchange of sounds. Reverend Spooner of New College, Oxford occasionally twisted his words around when he got excited so that “conquering kings: came out as “kinkering congs”
15.Tawdry cheap; gaudy; showy. This word can be terraced to St. Audrey. Scarves called St. Audrey"s laces were sold in England where the local people changed the pronunciation to tawdry. The quality of the scarves, which at first was good, deteriorated, when they were mass produced for the peasant trade.
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