SAT Word #4: deleterious


Answer this question before checking the definition below. You’ll find the answer in the first comment.

If a computer technician says that a particular program is deleterious, he means it might...

A) erase files     B) harm the computer   C) be very useful     D) be difficult to use

By the way, the word is pronounced del-uh-TEER-ee-us. Of course, you don’t need to pronounce it on the SAT!

deleterious: causing or capable of causing harm

Sample sentence: “Dropping jellybeans into the gas tank proved deleterious to the car’s engine.”

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

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

2. Antonyms: What might be an antonym for deleterious? (An antonym is a word with the opposite meaning.)

3. Make it real: List at least ten things that are deleterious.

4. Get Artsy: Record a 15 to 30-second video that creatively illustrates the word deleterious.

5. Use It: Take the use-it-or-lose-it challenge: Find a way to consciously use the word deleterious at least three times in conversation today. For example, tell your brother that continuing to bother you will be deleterious to his health.

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

  1. Jeff

    1. Eating an egg every morning for breakfast could be deleterious to your heart.
    2. harmless
    3. Radioactivity, Tsunami, US Federal Debt, Pollution, a virus, a bee sting, smoking, speeding, termites, crab grass

  2. Merri

    I’ve now officially added the word “deleterious” to my children’s SAT vocabulary list. Curiously, I found this word in random readings this morning. Oddly, this sort of thing happens often. Real life making connections, I suppose.

  3. Brian Wasko
    Brian Wasko03-24-2011

    The correct answer is B.

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