back to top

15 GRE Words That Look Like They Mean Something Else

Because sincere human communication wasn't hard enough already.

Posted on

1. Bugbear

What it means:

(noun) 1. any source, real or imaginary, of needless fright or fear.

2. a persistent problem or source of annoyance.

Example: 'I'm sure the measles outbreak is just a bugbear' say people who are real bugbears.

What it looks like:

(noun) 1. A breed of bear that resembles a bug.

Example: What part of God's plan is the Bugbear?

2. Cabotage

What it means:

(noun) 1. Navigation or trade along the coast.

2. Aviation. The legal restriction to domestic carriers of air transport between points within a country's borders.

Example: I'm sorry but cabotage regulations specifically prohibit freighter ships from parking on the beach.


I'm sorry but cabotage regulations specifically prohibit airplanes from making a pit stop in Cancun. We're in Madrid, Christ, that's like a ten hour flight.

What it looks like:

(verb) 1. A verbal amalgamation of "cab" and "sabotage" used in reference to the unforgivable act of stealing somebody else's taxi.

Example: When I get my hands on the guy who cabotaged me in Times Square there won't be enough of his family to kidnap.

3. Crapulous

What it means:

(adjective) 1. Given to or characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating.

2. Suffering from or due to such excess

Example: The crapulous evening at Cookout resulted in a crapulous time in the bathroom.

What it looks like:

(adjective) 1. Given to or characterized by crapiness or shittiness.

2. Suffering from or due to such shittiness.

Example: The crapulous set design of Sarte's "No Exit" resulted in everyone's deaths. Which also made the title unintentionally meta given the doors were on fire.

4. Christmastide

What it means:

(noun) 1. The festival season from Christmas to after New Year's Day.

2. The period from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, especially in England.

Example: I don't really remember Christmastide. I'm usually drunk by that point.

What it looks like:

(noun) 1. The wave of tourism that accompanies the holiday season in any major city.

Example: Christmastide is here/
Get your riot gear. 

5. Gleed

What it means:

(noun) 1. Archaic. A glowing coal.


What it looks like:

(adjective) 1. Having endured a prolonged or inordinate exposure to the television show, "Glee"

Example: I'm sorry, hon, I'm just all Gleed out. Can't we watch 'Galavant'?

6. Indubitable

What it means:

(adjective) 1. That cannot be doubted; patently evident or certain; unquestionable.

Example: It's indubitable, Watson, that you were checking me out.

What it looks like:

(adjective) 1. That cannot be dubstepped.

Example: I have yet to encounter anything that is indubitable.

7. Interrobang

What it means:

(noun) 1. a printed punctuation mark available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark and the exclamation point, indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.

Example: The interrobang is pointless given we can just put lots of question marks and exclamation points at the end of sentences.

What it looks like:

(verb) 1. The act of extracting information from a suspect by seducing them.

Example: The guy wasn't talking so we had Carl go in and interrobang him and now he won't leave.

8. Lipogram

What it means:

(noun) 1. a written work composed of words chosen so as to avoid the use of one or more specific alphabetic characters.

Example: Whoever decided to publish this lipogram of "Finnegan's Wake" without any "a"s really has a boiling hatred of humanity.

What it looks like:

(noun) 1. A presentable certificate for a liposuction.

Example: I received your lipogram. If there's something you want to say to me say it to my face, bitch.

9. Matrifocal

What it means:

(adjective) 1. Of, relating to, or designating a family unit or structure headed by the mother.

2. Focused or centered on the mother.

Example: With more matrifocal families, there'd probably be substantially fewer cases of dickishness in developing children.

What it looks like:

(noun) 1. The inexplicably large/thick glasses worn by some older mothers.

Example: No, I love your mom, it's just her matrifocals make her look like she's staring into my soul.

10. Mythomane

What it means:

(noun) 1. a person with a strong or irresistible propensity for fantasizing, lying, or exaggerating.

(adjective) 2. of, relating to, or characteristic of a mythomane.

Example: Brian Williams

What it looks like:

(noun) 1. A particularly mythic, remarkable or memorable hairstyle

Example: Brian Williams

11. Pot-valiant

What it means:

(adjective) 1. Brave only as a result of being drunk.

Example: No, Jimmy's just pot-valiant. You can't actually break a pong table with your face.

What it looks like:

(adjective) 1. Brave only as a result of being high.

Example: Bong Jousting is truly a sport for the pot-valiant.

12. Sobersided

What it means:

(adjective) 1. solemn or grave in disposition, attitude, character, etc.; serious-minded.

Example: Batman is usually very sobersided. Unlike his parents, who are dead.

What it looks like:

(adjective) 1. Partially or sectionally sober, especially in regards to groups of people or packed vehicles.

Example: Ladies and gentleman, this flight is currently sobersided on the left. However, the middle and right sections of the plane are white girl wasted.

13. Tarantism

What it means:

(noun) 1. a mania characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to dance, especially as prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, popularly attributed to the bite of the tarantula.

Example: Tarantism is probably poisonous, but we'll worry about that after we go clubbing.

What it looks like:

(noun) 1. The quality of being reminiscent, in homage to, or in the style of Quentin Tarantino.

Example: The Tarantism of this adaptation of Hamlet is evident in Samuel L. Jackson's verbal abuse of the rest of the cast.

14. Withershins

What it means:

(adverb) 1. in a direction contrary to the natural one, especially contrary to the apparent course of the sun or counterclockwise; considered as unlucky or causing disaster.

Example: I think you're driving a bit withershins to the road, dear. There's a shark outside my window.

What it looks like:

(adverb) 1. Done through the use of the side of a woman's foot.

Example: After kneeing him in the dick, Margaret broke the catcaller's nose withershins.

15. Hemidemisemiquaver

What it means:

(noun) 1. a sixty-fourth note.

What it looks like:

They're just fucking with us

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!