Let's test your smarts and see if you have what it takes to earn a Ph.D. We've put together a quiz to test your brain and see if you're capable of recognizing and defining 35 words that all Ph.D. students should know. Let's get started to see if you have what it takes.
Do you easily recognize words and their definitions? Do you remember the long days of studying your vocabulary words for the dreaded (yet inevitable) tests that lay ahead? Some students choose to take education a step further and pursue a graduate degree such as a Ph.D. These students are faced with words that are more difficult than some of us can imagine.
For example, most of us have heard someone say they have a conundrum, but do you actually understand the meaning of the word? A conundrum is defined as a confusing and difficult dilemma to which there is no simple answer. Ph.D. students are expected to know the definition of this word and a myriad of others. Do you know the definition of myriad? Myriad means countless or extremely large in number. These definitions and many others lie ahead for those who feel confident enough to answer them.
So take the quiz, and let's see how you rank against Ph.D. students!
To be palpable means to be readily or plainly seen, heard or perceived. In medical speak, palpable means something is detectable simply by touch. Palpable also stems from the same origin as palpitation.
To scrutinize is to examine carefully for accuracy. This is often done with great attention to detail. In modern day England, a scrutineer is someone whose job it is to tally votes.
When one abdicates, they formally and voluntarily give up their rights to a throne. King Edward VIII famously abdicated the crown of England in 1936. Remember the 2010 film "The King's Speech"?
When a decision is made unilaterally, this means it only affects or benefits one side, person or group. Generally, this decision is made without the prior agreement of other parties.
A knoll is a heightened bank or ridge in the earth. Also known as a mound, a knoll is a natural occurrence and is not created by humans. Our modern word for knoll stems from Old Norse and Old English.
To galvanize is to stimulate and startle into an abrupt and sudden activity. In some cases, medical doctors use galvanization to stimulate muscles to react. The word stems from the surname of Italian scientist Luigi Galvani.
When someone says to you they are parched, this means they are feeling very thirsty and maybe even slightly dehydrated. Foods can also be parched in order to remove hydration prior to serving.
A conundrum is a situation or problem that is extremely puzzling. It may be difficult or impossible to solve. Ironically, the origin of the word is also a bit of a puzzle and remains uncertain to this day.
Obsidian is the dark, hard rock that is formed by lava. This occurs when lava is cooled very quickly. The word's etymology credits Obsius as the individual who discovered obsidian.
When someone is wary, they're nervous or cautious that dangers or problems are around. These individuals are generally on the lookout and alert. Remember, it's always good to be wary behind the wheel.
This word had a darker and more violent meaning when it was first introduced to the English in the 1600s. Today, when someone runs amok, they're typically out of control and behaving erratically.
To be reclusive is to avoid interactions with others and prefer to live alone. Some people actually enjoy living a life of seclusion. People famous for being reclusive include author J.D. Salinger and Hollywood mogul Howard Hughes.
While it can be both a noun or an adjective, myriad means countless or extremely large in number. When someone says "a myriad of options," they generally mean the options are innumerable and are unable to be counted.
A pariah is a person who is excluded because they are disliked and avoided. Pariahs are typically outcasts and black sheep. In southern parts of India, a pariah is an individual living in a low caste.
To be tactful is to be diplomatic and sensitive when faced with difficulties. A tactful person has a good sense of what is appropriate and avoids discrimination. You could also say that a person showed a great deal of tact.
When someone says "I digress," they mean they've strayed from the main topic of conversation. This may occur when someone has gone off on a tangent, chased a rabbit trail or changed the subject.
With origins in Old French, a melee is a confused fight, skirmish or scuffle. It occurs among several people. One could also describe a melee as a brawl or fracas; however, a barroom melee doesn't seem to pack the same punch.
Inconsequential means something is illogical or not important. To discuss inconsequential matters means to talk about things of no importance. In other words, there are bigger fish to fry.
Being pragmatic means you deal with things sensibly. A pragmatic person is capable of being no-nonsense and very practical. If one deals mostly with the facts and the details, they are a prime example of a pragmatic person.
Get ready to get loud. When one expresses jubilation, they are showing how happy and ecstatic they are. Very similar to a jubilee, a jubilation is often a joyful showing of celebration.
A formidable enemy or opponent is one that is horrendous, frightening and concerning. This generally occurs because of the size and strength of the person, which causes one to feel dread or alarm.
A boisterous crowd is one that is rough and noisy. This occurs because of rambunctious excitement. At the same time, an individual from Great Britain might refer to the same rowdy scene as a rumbustious crowd.
Something that is impregnable cannot be broken into. It is strong and secure and able to withstand attacks from opposing forces. Did you know? The origin of this English word can be traced to Middle French.
Someone is accused of nepotism when they give preferential treatment to someone just because they are a friend or family member. Nepotism is not typically viewed as a good thing in any field.
When someone says they are clairvoyant, they mean they are capable of seeing things that have happened in the past or things that will happen in the future. Other words for this are psychic and telepathic.
When something is exemplary, it's the best of its kind. It is considered the ideal model. Similar words include example or exemplify, but they all descend from the Latin word "exemplum."
To vindicate means to exonerate or clear someone from blame. In court, this typically happens when someone is acquitted or found innocent of a crime. Interestingly, words that share an origin with vindicate include revenge and vendetta.
Eclectic means getting ideas or tastes from an extensive and wide range of sources. When someone says they have an eclectic taste in music, this means they enjoy music from many different genres.
A zealot is viewed as a fanatic who is often extreme in pursuing his or her ideals. This can be religious, political or militant in nature. In antiquity, the original Zealots fought against Roman rule in Palestine.
Something that is viewed as ethereal is seen as light and perfect. Graceful, dainty and exquisite are also words used to describe something that is ethereal (or belonging to the ether).
When one reneges, they go back on something they've agreed to do. This is sometimes seen as breaking a promise. People familiar with the card game euchre are used to hearing this term on game night.
Someone who is frugal is cautious when it comes to spending money or wasting food. These individuals like to be thrifty and economical. Frugal has a more positive connotation than other words like cheap or penny-pinching.
A novice is someone who is new to a field or type of work. These people are beginners. The Ancient Romans as well as Catholic and Buddhist monasteries all make use of some variant of this word to describe newcomers.
To evolve means to advance or develop. When something evolves, it goes from a simpler form to a form that is more complex. Conversely, when something is thought to degenerate, it devolves.
A common term in law enforcement and finance, warrant means to authorize and sanction. When something is warranted, this means it is justified. The word warrant also has ties to the word guarantee.