By: Contributor On: December 13, 2017 In: Holidays, Testing Comments: 1

This post originally appeared on the Magoosh ACT blog.

The holiday season has officially begun. Let’s study while we celebrate!

Since we’re in a festive spirit, we pulled eight common ACT vocabulary words and gave them a holiday spin. Learn these words today, start scoring higher on ACT English, and then unleash them on your relatives at your holiday dinner. They’ll be really impressed.

(By the way – impressing your family with your new ACT vocab is all the studying you should be doing this holiday season. Think of all the things you have to be thankful for, enjoy a nice food coma, and save your ACT Math equations for after the holidays. You deserve it!)

Let’s get started.


Verb: Make more attractive by adding ornament, color. etc.; to make more beautiful

My sister is a horrible cook, so it’s her holiday duty to embellish the table with nice napkins, candles, and winter decorations.


Noun: Lack of agreement or harmony

There was discord in the dining room as people debated their favorite and least favorite foods. (Best = holiday ham, Worst = stuffing).


Adjective: Having an unpleasant smell

We waited impatiently for the turkey, but when the malodorous bird finally emerged from the deep fryer, we thought it best to stick with the side dishes.


Verb: Laugh boisterously

My uncle guffawed at his own Santa puns.


Noun: A state of chaos, noise, and confusion

The kitchen was in a tumult as five different people all tried to cook their specialty dishes at the same time.


Adjective: Highly unconventional or unusual (usually describes a person)

At about 9pm, eccentric Uncle Marvin strolled into dinner with a parrot on his shoulder, polka dot bow-tie askew, and western shotgun in tow — it would make for a very interesting evening, I was sure. And an interesting anecdote for my ACT essay!


Adjective: Worthy of high praise

Aunt Gayle outdid herself this year — the cranberry soufflé she prepared was commendable in all regards! Anne was feeling pretty good as well, having reached her dream ACT reading score!


Verb: To figure out the feature, attribute, or trait that makes something different

Though my grandmother and my aunt always compete to see who can bake the best pumpkin pie, it’s actually quite difficult to differentiate the two recipes.

That’s all for now! Let us know if you have the opportunity to practice any of these words. And again – happy holidays!

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5 months ago

Thank you for the article, I want to try to stick to your advice