Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Manly, reckless, fearless, immature or fearful?

What a dandy quintet of words in the SAT Question of the Day below! They certainly beg for some mnemonic ways to remember what they all mean.

"Virile" comes from the Latin "vir" or man, which became "wer" in Old English, which we know only from "werewolf," or man-wolf. It means manly, strong, energetic.

"Heedless" describes someone who won't take heed--- that is, pay attention or observe caution.

"Dauntless" refers to someone who is fearless, whose courage will not be tamed--a "daunting" challenge is one that provokes fear or dismay.

"Callow" comes from the Greek word for bald (kalo), and refers to a bird that hasn't yet grown its feathers. Of course we always think of the "callow youth" of The Red Badge of Courage. It means immature.

"Timorous," sounds like what it is. Like "timid," it comes from the Latin "timor" meaning fear and means fearful.

SAT Question of the Day

Because he was ------- in the face of danger, the explorer won the government’s highest award for conspicuous bravery.

a) virile
b) heedless
c) dauntless
d) callow
e) timorous

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