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U is for Unctuous Usurious Usurper – Whatever happened to the SAT words?

Studying lists of SAT words used to be a rite of passage for the college bound, and though they were not the most useful words for daily conversation, they enriched our writing.

An Unctuous Usurious Usurper would be of course a fawning, exploitative false claimant to power. Or basically an overly flattering and servile person who has taken the throne by force, and who profits by exploiting people financially.

Huh. Truly, not the most useful words in a daily sense - which is why in 2016 the SAT testing service will be switching to a list of more common words, the kind of vocabulary people actually use on the job, in daily life.

But learning arcane words (arcane = obscure, known to very few) is a great way to enrich your writing. Be careful how you use this type of vocabulary - sprinkle in too many, and you’re writing will feel awkward, pretentious. But a good, old-style SAT vocab word here and there can add a little spice.

To learn one good new word each day, try some useful learn-English sites, for example

Meantime, here are a few more Us for you!

Ubiquitous - Everywhere, omnipresent.

Ultramundane - Relating to a world beyond the normal and everyday, to the mystical or supernatural.

Ultramontane - Over or beyond a mountain range; often used with regard to the Alps.

Umbrage - The feeling one has been insulted; a person “takes umbrage” at another.

Unaffected - Lacking artifice; sincere and potentially naïve.

Undulate - To move in a wave-like fashion.

Unisonant - The condition of being utterly in agreement.

Untoward - Unexpected and not suitable or not convenient.

Uproarious - Noisy and, often, very funny; provoking of loud laughter.