11th Grade SAT Vocabulary List Three 1. Despot n. a ruler with total control; a tyrant; autocrat Terror, our bulldog, sees himself as king of the house, a real despot, with all under his paw. 2. Sycophant n. a brownnoser; one who flatters others; a toady Powerful people must enjoy that servile flattery, or they wouldn’t have so many sycophants. 3. Hedonistic adj. having the belief that pleasure or happiness is the chief good in life In class, we contrasted the hedonistic doctrine of the Greek’s with the spiritual, work-oriented life of the Puritan’s. 4. Revere v. to worship; to honor In America, we have a tendency to revere athletes, actors and musicians, which speaks to the superficiality of our culture. 5. Insurgent n. a rebel; one who rises up in revolt As an editor I need to study newspapers, so I am aware of insurgent forces in other countries. 6. Didactic adj. intended for the purpose of giving instruction In this age of technology, computers have become a didactic learning tool, with many people taking classes on line. 7. Desecrate v. to show disrespect or to deface something sacred The gangsters desecrated the side of the cathedral with their colorful graffiti. 8. Charlatan n. a quack or fraud; a cheat, imposter A slick charlatan, posing as a insurance man, cheated the elderly widow of her life’s savings. 9. Ephemeral adj. short-lived; fleeting When one considers all the centuries gone by, one may conclude that life is quite ephemeral. 10. Prosaic adj. commonplace; uninspired; dull The new housing tract was so prosaic, with every house being painted the same color and done in the same style. 11. Zealot n. a fanatic; someone devoted beyond reason to a cause or belief It was confirmed that a crazed zealot tried to bomb the abortion clinic, but fortunately he failed. 12. Discern v. to distinguish one thing from another The wine connoisseur was unable to discern the hundred-dollar wine from the twenty-dollar wine. 13. Provincial adj. narrow-minded; unsophisticated The dining room was furnished in a provincial style, with roughly, hand-carved tables and chairs. 14. Surreptitious adj. secretive; done stealthily The cheating husband was very surreptitious about his whereabouts when out with his mistress. 15. Ameliorate v. to make or become better; improve The school had big plans to ameliorate the campus, but had to wait for district funds to become available.