The Dictionary of Difficult Words: A Fun Way to Study SAT Vocab

The Dictionary of Difficult Words is a children's book that's actually useful for all ages, especially students studying for the SAT. Unwind and review your vocab at the same time with this unconventional test prep book!

Dictionary of Difficult WordsStandardized tests have been known to cause students some serious stress. As you prepare to take the SAT for the first (or second or third) time, you need to find the right balance between studying for each section of the exam and taking necessary study breaks

At CollegeXpress, we’re all about time management and ways to make studying more fun…and with The Dictionary of Difficult Words, you can unwind and study your SAT vocab at the same time. 

This book isn’t a traditional test prep resource: The Dictionary of Difficult Words is technically a children’s book, written by Jane Solomon—a lexicographer who writes definitions for—with illustrations by Louise Lockhart. It’s full of fun fonts, whimsical artwork, and—most importantly—really hard, unfamiliar words with proper pronunciation and simplified definitions. It’s the perfect book to browse during a quick study break that will entertain you but keep your mind sharp. 

The Dictionary of Difficult Words features common SAT vocabulary like:


[es-thet-ik] ~ noun

When someone uses the word aesthetic, they are talking about what makes something beautiful to them. People often use this word when they’re talking about art.


[em-yuh-leyt] ~ verb

If you emulate someone, you try to be just like them because you think they’re great. 


[fahr-too-i-tuhs] ~ adjective

Something that is fortuitous is a good and lucky thing that happens unexpectedly.  

Dictionary of Difficult Words  Dictionary of Difficult Words

Plus words that make you sound extra smart, such as:  


[neb-yuh-luhs] ~ adjective

If an idea is nebulous, it’s hard to describe because it’s not completely clear what the idea is.


[on-uh-mah-tuh-pee-uh~ noun

An onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like a noise when you say it aloud. 


[uhm-brif-er-uhs] ~ adjective

If a tree is umbriferous, there is shade underneath it. 


And words that sound totally fictional, like:


[spuh-get-uh-fi-key-shuhn] ~ noun

Spaghettification is the idea that objects get long and skinny like spaghetti when they’re sucked into black holes. 


[hur-dee-gur-dee] ~ noun

A hurdy-gurdy is a type of musical instrument with strings, a keyboard, and a crank. 


[frab-juhs] ~ adjective

Something that is frabjous is wonderful, joyous, and amazing. This word was actually made up by Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland.

(Excerpts used with permission from The Quarto Group)

You can learn more about the book here. Want another fun way to study your vocabulary? Check out our SAT Word Game

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