ASVAB Word Knowledge

The Word Knowledge subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a vocabulary test comprised of definition and sentence-definition questions (question types that Vocabulary.com uses as well). Here are some words from the ASVAB study guide published by Accepted, Inc. After learning this list of words, continue playing the adaptive Vocabulary.com Challenge to brush up on these words and to continue learning more words that may show up on the ASVAB.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. gouge
    make a groove in
    The bite marks could have been chiselled out, so deep are they cut into the metal, with whole chunks gouged from the frame.The Guardian (Jun 3, 2016)
  2. refractory
    stubbornly resistant to authority or control
    In process of time, Parliament and public opinion brought these refractory landlords to their senses.Stanton, Henry B.
  3. supersede
    take the place or move into the position of
    VCRs were introduced in the 1970s but were superseded by DVD technology.BBC (Jul 21, 2016)
  4. stolid
    having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
    The child’s perfection was not just physical either — he also had a steady mind: "on the whole stolid and unemotional."The Verge (May 20, 2015)
  5. placate
    cause to be more favorably inclined
    “We are all working very hard to get you to a safe place,” Gabriel says, desperately attempting to placate Martha.Los Angeles Times (Apr 21, 2016)
  6. inadvertently
    without knowledge or intention
    Before reading each story, some students first read a paragraph that appeared to inadvertently spoil the outcome of the story.Salon (Jul 30, 2016)
  7. apprise
    make aware of
    Nicole kept the other sisters apprised of what was going on by phone.Washington Post (Jun 27, 2016)
  8. efficacy
    capacity or power to produce a desired effect
    That vaccine had an efficacy of 31%, which was too low to license it for general use.Economist (Jul 21, 2016)
  9. diffidence
    lack of self-assurance
    He wears baggy white overalls that drown his frame and a shy smile that speaks of his diffidence.Slate (Jun 26, 2015)
  10. tractable
    readily reacting to suggestions and influences
    The diversity of the two parties made their disagreements more tractable.The Verge (Aug 20, 2014)
  11. lethargic
    deficient in alertness or activity
    Their speech was slurred and their movements were lethargic.The Guardian (May 27, 2016)
  12. pragmatic
    concerned with practical matters
    The argument against it is as much pragmatic as moral: If we can use it on them, they can use it on us.Los Angeles Times (Jul 8, 2016)
  13. ambiguous
    having more than one possible meaning
    “Funk is a feeling. It’s rhythmic, it’s movement, it’s tone color. Everybody thinks they know what it is, but I like to leave it ambiguous.”Washington Post (Jun 24, 2016)
  14. impurity
    the condition of having extraneous elements
    New methods could scrub impurities from recycled steel to make products for the aerospace and car industries, he said.BBC (Apr 15, 2016)
  15. discredit
    reject as false; refuse to accept
    The allegations were later discredited and convictions overturned, but the actions damaged morale and fueled resentment.Reuters (Jul 17, 2016)
  16. hardship
    something hard to endure
    But after the hardships they endured early in life, this challenge isn’t that scary.Seattle Times (Jul 29, 2016)
  17. grudging
    petty or reluctant in giving or spending
    While change is coming, it is grudging and slow.New York Times (Jul 5, 2016)
  18. mar
    render imperfect
    Pacific Coast Highway remained open Wednesday, but its signature views were marred by a dark haze.Seattle Times (Jul 28, 2016)
  19. scabbard
    a sheath for a sword or dagger or bayonet
    The strange horseman drew an enormous, curved sword from a scabbard mounted on his saddle.The Alchemist
  20. upbraid
    express criticism towards
    Some letters upbraid us, some update and some amuse.Nature (Dec 16, 2015)
  21. warble
    sing or play with trills
    And maybe doing just a little bit of wistful warbling, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down . . . “Seattle Times (Jun 1, 2016)
  22. minute
    infinitely or immeasurably small
    Corkin knew Henry intimately, spending decades gathering the most minute details of his strengths and his deficits.New York Times (Aug 3, 2016)
  23. accord
    a written agreement between two states or sovereigns
    International monitors have recently raised the alarm about both sides violating peace accords by using heavy weaponry that was supposed to have been withdrawn.Seattle Times (Aug 3, 2016)
  24. evident
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    “It is not their presence which is troubling but the danger, which is now more evident than before,” he said.New York Times (Jul 25, 2016)
  25. fraught
    marked by distress
    But the conductor generates a sense of calm that permeates the room, no matter how fraught he might be feeling.BBC (Jul 28, 2016)
  26. intend
    have in mind as a purpose
    “Because of its intended use, fenders will get damaged and sometimes do fall off the walls and subsequently are replaced.”New York Times (Jul 30, 2016)
  27. conceit
    an artistic device or effect
    The conceit visually articulates a metaphor: Despite conviction and courage, the play’s characters are foundering for lack of empathy.Washington Post (Jul 13, 2016)
  28. equable
    not varying
    "What happens is, I'm pretty equable and pretty much the same most of the time," he says with a shrug.The Guardian (May 30, 2014)
  29. pastoral
    devoted to raising sheep or cattle
    Increased construction of wind turbines and solar panels and transmission lines will turn pastoral areas into an extended substation.Wall Street Journal (Dec 4, 2015)
  30. disapprobation
    pronouncing as wrong or morally culpable
    The social disapprobation against being rude and demeaning completely enrages them.Salon (Nov 24, 2015)
  31. ellipsis
    omission or suppression of parts of words or sentences
    The ellipsis indicates that something has been omitted.The New Yorker (Dec 16, 2015)
  32. pusillanimous
    lacking in courage and manly strength and resolution
    The “cowardly man” meaning is derived from another source entirely, the Latin pusillanimous.Slate (Aug 28, 2012)
  33. yeoman
    a free man who cultivates his own land
    "His name was Clement," and foreseeing the next question, "he was a yeoman at Easthope."Weyman, Stanley J.
  34. precept
    a doctrine that is taught
    It’s a precept she learned as a girl on her family’s estate in Venezuela.New York Times (May 27, 2016)
  35. nexus
    the means of connection between things linked in series
    “It’s the nexus of things like big data, social networks and mobility, and the next big thing, which is artificial intelligence.”New York Times (Jul 24, 2016)
  36. pork barrel
    appropriations designed to ingratiate constituents
    Lawmakers use pork barrel money to finance projects for their constituencies, aiding their re-election.Reuters (Aug 23, 2013)
  37. ensconce
    fix firmly
    She often seemed at ease, he said, only when she and her husband were ensconced in safe surroundings.Los Angeles Times (Mar 11, 2016)
  38. punctually
    at the proper time
    Arriving punctually for a job, day in and day out, demonstrates an ability to manage your time well.US News (Aug 18, 2014)
  39. vicissitude
    a variation in circumstances or fortune
    As a result, they have little protection against both life's vicissitudes and volatile home prices.US News (Oct 22, 2015)
  40. pendulous
    hanging loosely or bending downward
    Some eggplants are long, lean and pendulous, like smooth-skinned cucumbers.Scientific American (Sep 3, 2013)
  41. bibliophile
    someone who loves and usually collects books
    With a Kindle, the bibliophile in your life will be able to easily carry around their entire library wherever they go.Time (Dec 21, 2015)
  42. nicety
    a subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude
    A good-hearted curmudgeon, he had no social niceties and told it like it was much to my grandmother's embarrassment.BBC (Jun 27, 2016)
  43. privation
    a state of extreme poverty
    Their privation is a result of artificially holding down prices, which creates shortages.Wall Street Journal (May 8, 2016)
  44. superannuated
    old; no longer valid or fashionable
    This artfully staged show brings a fresh vibe to a genre that has come to seem prematurely superannuated.New York Times (Dec 5, 2013)
  45. gainsay
    take exception to
    My evaluation process would be a lot simpler and less anxiety-ridden if I knew I would never be gainsaid by any student.Salon (May 25, 2013)
  46. execrate
    curse or declare to be evil or anathema
    He was found out, and execrated by all--for he had been false to all--he fled for his life.Weyman, Stanley John
  47. conceited
    having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    “She’s not stuck up or conceited or look down on us. I love her. She has a heart of gold.”New York Times (Jul 9, 2015)
  48. caucus
    a closed political meeting
    Their nominating caucuses — which were informal meetings of congressmen — had picked the three previous presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.New York Times (Jul 20, 2016)
  49. stentorian
    very loud or booming
    He had a deep sonority on the baritone, softening the instrument’s stentorian brawn with a smooth, almost velvety tone.New York Times (May 19, 2016)
  50. defensive
    intended or appropriate for deterring aggression or attack
    Most of the public discussion has been about defensive measures, such as how to protect networks of the government and the private sector from attack.Washington Post (Aug 1, 2016)
  51. tenacious
    stubbornly unyielding
    Still, Mann is known as a tenacious sort, one who doesn't back down even in the face of long odds.Los Angeles Times (Jan 6, 2016)
  52. complacent
    contented to a fault with oneself or one's actions
    Surely he wasn’t complacent enough to put aside his teacher’s instinct just because of a test score.Ungifted
  53. fidelity
    accuracy with which a system reproduces its input signal
    This promised to be a lot better than my cheapo earplugs, with a bonus of better fidelity to the actual sounds I’d hear.The Verge (May 10, 2016)
  54. succinct
    briefly giving the gist of something
    I promised to be succinct, so let's not belabor this further.US News (Apr 12, 2016)
  55. venerate
    regard with feelings of respect and reverence
    It is one of the most venerated names in high-end sports cars, having drawn the affection of car aficionados for decades.New York Times (Oct 20, 2015)
  56. pivotal
    being of crucial importance
    He said the role would be " pivotal" and the chair would play an important part in deciding who else would be on the board.BBC (Aug 1, 2016)
  57. amicable
    characterized by friendship and good will
    The exchange came to an amicable end, as each party leader wished the other an enjoyable holiday.BBC (Jul 21, 2016)
  58. feign
    give a false appearance of
    I could no longer feign being outdoorsy, so I made the only contribution I could: I became an Amazonian homemaker.New York Times (Jul 22, 2016)
  59. reign
    rule or have supreme power
    Here she is with Gabby Douglas, the reigning all-around champion from 2012.Time (Aug 2, 2016)
  60. coup
    a sudden and decisive change of government by force
    “We have such a strong economy that we overcome this coup with small scratches,” Mr. Yildirim said.New York Times (Aug 2, 2016)
  61. abate
    become less in amount or intensity
    If the wind didn’t abate—and soon—the summit would be out of the question for all of us.Into Thin Air
  62. vain
    characteristic of false pride
    “He’s kind of vain . . . he thinks he’s this dashing, romantic, swashbuckling adventurer . . . but he’s flawed.”Washington Post (Jul 21, 2016)
  63. yield
    the income or profit arising from a transaction
    The U.S. stock market has remained largely resilient as investors have favored equities in the face of low yields from other investments.Wall Street Journal (Aug 2, 2016)
  64. compel
    force somebody to do something
    With those simple words, her brother was gone — and she felt compelled to take control in the ensuing chaos.Washington Post (Aug 1, 2016)
  65. advocate
    a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea
    That cumbersome process has drawn criticism from healthy food advocates who want ingredients derived from biotech crops flagged as explicitly as possible.Wall Street Journal (Aug 3, 2016)
  66. alleged
    declared but not proved
    The police are already looking into " alleged financial irregularities" surrounding the loan, because the cash has gone missing.BBC (Jul 27, 2016)
  67. cede
    relinquish possession or control over
    Self-driving cars can be ranked on how much control they cede to the vehicle.Seattle Times (Jul 9, 2016)
  68. afflict
    cause physical pain or suffering in
    I have a message for all of you: The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end.New York Times (Jul 22, 2016)
  69. conspicuous
    obvious to the eye or mind
    You want to be visible, but you don’t want to be conspicuous.Slate (Jun 28, 2016)
  70. insurgent
    a member of an irregular force that fights a stronger force
    Party stalwarts insisted that the insurgents won’t win their fight.Washington Times (Jul 14, 2016)
  71. austere
    severely simple
    With its granite and cream tiles and bare walls, the room exuded an austere aesthetic.New York Times (Apr 1, 2016)
  72. admonish
    scold or reprimand; take to task
    The Hippocratic Oath admonishes doctors to keep secret what they “see or hear” from patients.Washington Post (Jul 28, 2016)
  73. deference
    a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
    Most clerics kept quiet out of deference to the king.New York Times (Jul 10, 2016)
  74. neglected
    disregarded
    "We have been neglected and ignored by all the powers in the region."US News (Aug 3, 2016)
  75. insinuate
    suggest in an indirect or covert way; give to understand
    It also insinuates that you must remain cheerful and uncomplaining in the face of unimaginable pain and fatigue.New York Times (Jul 31, 2016)
  76. explicate
    make plain and comprehensible
    Then, there's the tone of exposition, of a story explicated rather than told.Los Angeles Times (Feb 27, 2015)
  77. decorum
    propriety in manners and conduct
    He allowed that he had been taken aback by how disrespectfully they had greeted him, and by the lack of “ decorum” and “civilized debate.”The New Yorker (Jun 23, 2016)
  78. chagrined
    feeling or caused to feel uneasy and self-conscious
    We are duly mortified, chagrined and abashed and apologize to our readers.Washington Post
  79. audacious
    disposed to venture or take risks
    An exploded bubble could very well mean that those “totally audacious” bets will go unfunded entirely.New York Times (May 10, 2016)
  80. intrepid
    invulnerable to fear or intimidation
    Despite such warnings, one intrepid fan who did make the journey was impressed.The Guardian (Jun 3, 2016)
  81. surreptitious
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    But with the ubiquity of camera phones, surreptitious photography is harder to spot, Ms. Worth said.New York Times (Mar 6, 2016)
  82. required
    necessary by rule
    The students are required to wear jackets and ties to school.Washington Post (Aug 2, 2016)
  83. stalwart
    dependable
    Without the involvement of these stalwarts, the spirit of party unity was hard to manifest.US News (Aug 2, 2016)
  84. brusque
    marked by rude or peremptory shortness
    “He was passionate, opinionated, and sometimes brusque and rude,” she writes.Washington Post (May 10, 2015)
  85. subordinate
    lower in rank or importance
    Executive service appointees, on the other hand, are agency heads who are subordinate to the mayor and serve at her pleasure.Washington Post (Jul 1, 2016)
  86. apprehensive
    in fear or dread of possible evil or harm
    He didn’t know what to expect from the job and felt a bit apprehensive.Los Angeles Times (Jun 17, 2016)
  87. proscribe
    command against
    The alleged offences include murder, directing terrorism, membership of a proscribed organisation and robbery.BBC (Feb 14, 2015)
  88. infallible
    incapable of failure or error
    Furthermore, journal peer review is not infallible: poor science routinely slips through the net.Economist (Mar 17, 2016)
  89. meticulous
    marked by precise accordance with details
    She is a meticulous thinker who almost never leaps before looking.Washington Post (Jul 24, 2016)
  90. deferential
    showing courteous regard for people's feelings
    Throughout the season, Porzingis has been unfailingly deferential to Anthony — an approach that Anthony clearly appreciates.New York Times (Jan 17, 2016)
  91. comply
    act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes
    On its website, Niantic says users must comply with age restrictions and applicable laws to play its games.Reuters (Aug 1, 2016)
  92. deploy
    to distribute systematically or strategically
    If deployed in the field, the new tool could help medical professionals detect infected patients more quickly.The Verge (Aug 1, 2016)
  93. inept
    revealing lack of perceptiveness or judgment or finesse
    The defense lawyer was either inept or trying, actively, to throw the case.The New Yorker (Jun 8, 2016)
  94. conscientious
    characterized by extreme care and great effort
    “It’s almost a lost art. He’s very conscientious about his work. He’ll stick with it until it’s done right.”Washington Times (May 23, 2016)
  95. malevolent
    wishing or appearing to wish evil to others
    Some speculate on the arrival of malevolent robots that through conscious volition harm the human race.Forbes (Feb 24, 2015)
  96. treacherous
    dangerously unstable and unpredictable
    During the most treacherous part of Juno’s journey to Jupiter, orbit insertion, the camera and all of the craft’s instruments were turned off.National Geographic
  97. irate
    feeling or showing extreme anger
    Irate students circulated petitions, wrote editorials and posted social-media tirades.Wall Street Journal (Jun 3, 2016)
  98. antecedent
    a preceding occurrence or cause or event
    Chomsky has dismissed efforts to teach apes like Koko how to sign as revealing nothing about the antecedents of human language.The Guardian (Apr 20, 2016)
  99. lucidity
    freedom from obscurity of expression; comprehensibility
    But at several moments, he produces lines of epigrammatic clarity that echo the lucidity of his photographs.New York Times (Jun 28, 2016)
  100. corporeal
    having material or physical form or substance
    Maybe it’s unfair to compare a corporeal creature with a cartoon caricature, but today, that’s what I'm doing.The Verge (Mar 6, 2016)

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