SAT Word #1: aberration


This is the first of a regular feature on the WriteAtHome blog: the SAT Word post. It is designed, of course, to help students prepare for the SAT, but it will help anyone interested in expanding his vocabulary.

I won’t be just posting an impressive word and its definition. There are scores of websites where you can get that. I’d like to present a word that commonly appears on the SAT and then provide some exercises that will help you to incorporate the word into your working vocabulary. Memorizing lists of words is only minimally helpful, after all, and only for the short term. With vocabulary words, the old expression applies: Use it or lose it.

So, today’s word is:

aberration n. Deviation from a right, customary, or prescribed state or course.

Sample sentence: Irving’s D-minus on the mid-term was an aberration; he is normaly an excellent student.

The adjective form of the word aberration is aberrant, as in: “The new kid’s aberrant behavior did not help him fit in.”

Exercises: Do as many of the following as you like. The more you do, the better the chance this word will stick.

1. Put it in writing:  Use aberration in at least one original sentence. Write it in a comment (extra points if it makes me laugh).

2. Synonyms: The definition above suggests that deviation is one synonym for aberration. Can you think of another?  You can look up a synonym, but only if you have to.

3. Antonyms: What might be an antonym for aberration?

4. Get Artsy: It helps to connect words to images. Draw a picture of something aberrant. Here’s my example, which proves that no actual artistic ability is necessary.

(The reason I used ants, by the way, is because it helps me remember the adjective form of the word: aberrANT–get it?)

5. Use It: Take the use-it-or-lose-it challenge: Find a way to consciously use the word aberrant at least three times in conversation today. Work it in. If you get funny looks from the people you are talking to, all the better!

About the Author

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

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