STRU / STRUCT Build
Misconstrue (v) – to misunderstand; to interpret incorrectly
Synonyms: Misinterpret, Misapprehend, Misread, Misconceive
Antonyms: Grasp, Comprehend, Apprehend, Perceive
Helpful Hints: People misconstrue the meaning of something or take it the wrong way. The prefix “mis” means “bad, wrong,” and “con” means “together, with,” so misconstrue means to build together wrongly, or to misunderstand.
Sample Sentence: In To Kill a Mockingbird, Mayella Ewell misconstrues Tom Robinson’s advances, taking kindness for physical attraction.
Obstruct (v) – 1. To block (an opening, roadway, etc.) by placing an obstacle in the way 2. To slow down or block the progress or movement of someone or something; hinder 3. To block something from sight
Synonyms: 1. Block, Jam, Plug up 2. Hinder, Hamper Impede, Interfere with 3. Block
Antonyms: 1. Clear, Unblock, Unplug 2. Help, Assist, Facilitate 3. Clear, Unblock
Helpful Hints: All three definitions deal with blocking something or someone. You may have heard the expression “obstructing justice” or getting in the way of it. Also, when someone is choking, it is referred to as an airway obstruction.
You May Remember: The prefix “ob” means “against.” To obstruct someone is literally to build up against him or her.
Sample Sentence 1: The police officer waved us around the orange cones that obstructed the road.
Sample Sentence 2: The electrician could have finished the work much sooner if the town had not obstructed his progress by demanding multiple inspections.
Sample Sentence 3: The pole at the Boston Garden obstructed my view of the Celtic’s game.
DOM / DOMIN Dominate, Master
Indomitable (adj) – Unconquerable; Cannot be overcome
Synonyms: Invincible, Unbeatable
Antonyms: Yielding, Vulnerable
You May Remember: “im- / in- / il- / ir-” mean not. Someone indomitable cannot be dominated.
Sample Sentence: During the reign of Caesar the Roman Empire seemed to be an indomitable force, stretching around the globe.
Domineering (adj) – overbearing; tending to arrogantly boss others around
Synonyms: Bossy, Dictatorial, Despotic, Tyrannical
Sample Sentence: Phillip asked the teacher if he could complete the project on his own because he couldn’t stand his domineering partner who made him do all the grunt work.
DUR Hard, Lasting
Obdurate (adj) – Stubbornly unwilling to change an opinion; Unwilling to listen to reason
Synonyms: Obstinate, Pig-Headed
Antonyms: Open-Minded, Reasonable
Sample Sentence: In most cases, Steve was a good listener, but when it came to gun rights, he was obdurately opposed to firearms altogether.
Endurance (n) – 1. The ability to deal with pain, suffering, or other hardship for a long time 2. The ability of something to last despite difficult conditions 3. long-lasting existence
Synonyms: 1.Tolerance, Sufferance 2. Stamina, Staying Power 3. Continuance, Duration
Antonyms: 3. End, Termination
Sample Sentence 1: The screaming child pushed me to the limit of my mental endurance.
Sample Sentence 2: Proper training and endurance are essential to winning a triathlon.
Sample Sentence 3: The endurance of Shakespeare’s ideas can be seen in modern retellings of his works.
ERR- / ERRAT- Wander, Stray (Deviate)
Erroneous (adj) – Incorrect; Containing mistakes
Antonyms: Correct, Accurate
Sample Sentence: I was unsure if I should correct my teacher’s erroneous statement because I didn’t know how he would react to a student pointing out his mistake.
Erratic (adj) – changing, behaving, or moving in an unusual or unexpected way; irregular
Synonyms: Random, Unpredictable, Haphazard, Slapdash
Antonyms: Organized, Orderly, Methodical, Systematic
Helpful Hints: Erratic can describe the unusual behavior of a friend; however, it can also describe an irregular pattern, as in, his erratic attendance hurt his reputation at work.
Sample Sentence: One warning sign of drug use is erratic mood swings.
LEV Light, Of little weight
Levity (n) – Lack of seriousness; Humor
Synonyms: Frivolity, Silliness
Helpful Hints: Levity and Levitate have the same root, both suggesting a lightness of a sort.
You May Remember: Alleviate means to lesson or to relieve.
Sample Sentence: Alli cracked a joke to bring some levity to the serious nature of the conversation.
Irrelevant (adj) -unimportant or unrelated to something; beside the point
Synonyms: Unconnected, Inconsequential, Extraneous, Immaterial
Antonyms: Relevant, Applicable, Pertinent, Germane
You May Remember: “im- / in- / il- / ir-” mean not. Anything irrelevant is not pertinent to the point.
Sample Sentence: Doug’s irrelevant points lost him the debate.
GRAV- / GRAVI- Heavy, Weighty
Aggravate (v) – 1. To worsen 2. To annoy
Synonyms: 1. Exacerbate, Inflame 2. Bother, Irritate, Exasperate, Antagonize
Antonyms: 1. Relieve, Alleviate 2. Calm, Soothe, Appease, Pacify
Sample Sentence 1: Playing soccer aggravated my old knee injury.
Sample Sentence 2: My little sister knows all the right buttons to push to aggravate me.
Gravity (n) – 1. the seriousness of a situation 2. a dignified or serious manner
Synonyms: 1. Importance, Significance, Weight, Magnitude 2. Somberness, Sobriety, Solemnity
Antonyms: 1. Insignificance, Triviality 2. Lightheartedness, Levity, Frivolity
Helpful Hints: You already know that gravity is also the force that cause objects to fall towards the earth’s center.
Sample Sentence 1: Clark didn’t recognize the gravity of his mother’s cancer until she was placed on a feeding tube.
Sample Sentence 2: Susanna’s face lost its gravity as she smirked at Gina’s ridiculous comment meant to lighten the mood.
FLAGR Fire, Burn
Flagrant (adj) – Shockingly noticeable; Obviously bad, Glaring
Synonyms: Disgraceful, Egregious
Helpful Hints: Remember – something flagrant is horribly bad. Claiming that you missed school because of a death in the family, when no such tragedy occurred, is a flagrant lie.
Sample Sentence: The crowd could not believe that the referee did not make the call for the flagrant foul against the Bruins.
Conflagration (n) – A huge, destructive fire
Synonyms: Fire, Blaze, Inferno, Holocaust
Sample Sentence: The conflagration jumped rapidly from house to house, quickly reducing the neighborhood to ashes.
FERV- Burning, Boiling, Bubbling
Effervescent (adj) – 1. bubbling as gas escapes 2. Lively and enthusiastic
Synonyms: 1. Bubbly, Sparkling, Carbonated 2. Bubbly, High-spirited, Vivacious
Antonyms: 1. Flat, Still 2. Spiritless, Unenthusiastic, Lackluster
Helpful Hints: Each definition means “bubbly” in a different way. A soda can be effervescent, as can a peppy cheerleader.
Sample Sentence 1: Effervescent water can calm an irritated stomach.
Sample Sentence 2: The goalie’s effervescent attitude was contagious and helped her team find the energy to win the game.
Fervent (adj) – 1. Burning 1. Showing intense feelings
Synonyms: 1. Hot, Fiery, Scalding, Searing 2. Passionate, Emotional, Ardant, Zealous
Antonyms: 1. Cold, Frozen, Frigid, Arctic 2. Cool, Dispassionate, Unemotional
Helpful Hints: The usage of fervent you most likely have heard is the second definition (and the one more likely to show up on the SATs). Fervent feelings show a sincere passion for something.
Sample Sentence 1: The fervent Florida weather drove us inside all day to the comfort of our air conditioner.
Sample Sentence 2: Obama’s fervent speech about the future of America’s Youth brought tears to my eyes.