Tag Archives: GRE

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

More vocabulary. Woo! So many big words begin with the letter “i.”

There once was a gregarious shepherd boy sitting imperiously in a field. It could have been a lovely pastoral idyll, but the boy was lonely as he sat on a hallowed hillside watching the village sheep. Unfortunately, this boy had to watch the sheep because he was impecunious. He also had an idolatrous love of trickery. Instead of gamboling about the field, enjoying the halcyon hills, he took a great breath and sang out with guile, “Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!” What a gauche thing to do. His outcry was not at all germane.

The villagers who came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away were not imperturbable. They could not gainsay his call for help from the bottom of the hill. But when they arrived, they found no wolf. The boy, harrowed them, laughing in his hubris at the sight of their angry faces.

“This is ignominious. Don’t cry ‘wolf’, shepherd boy,” the villagers harangued him, “When there’s no wolf! It is heretical.” They went grumbling back down the hill. This upset them so much because it took them away from their hedonism for a moment.

Later, in an impetuous moment, the boy sang out again, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!” To his naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf away.

When the inert villagers, in their indefatigable patience, saw no wolf, they realized this was an incipient problem, and they sternly said, “Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Stop being such an iconoclast. There is no wolf!” they importuned him.

But the boy just grinned impassively and watched the garrulous and indolent villagers go grumbling down the hill once more.

Later, he saw a real wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed at this imbroglio, and aware of his ineptitude, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!”

But by now they knew his gratuitous cries were glib, and so he could not garner any backup. Loss of the sheep was immanent.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn’t returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the inherently ingenuous boy. They found him weeping in iniquity at the infelicity of his final outcry. They graciously responded, granting him impunity in his inchoate maturity.

“There really was an inimical wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, “Wolf!” Why didn’t you come?” The boy still didn’t realize his repetitive cries had been a harbinger for misfortune.

An indifferent old man, who’d had no sheep in the field, tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.

“This isn’t completely implacable. We’ll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning,” he said, putting his arm around the youth for a very brief homily, speaking with grandiloquence, “It is an immutable reality: they’d have to be heterodox to believe a one who impugns himself—even when he is telling the truth! Language is not gossamer, my boy.”

Never again would he be so insular; he now thought his insipid jokes innocuous. Lying was insensible and could make honest words inscrutable. Unless is was an emergency he’d leave the people insouciant.

After that day, the intractable, intransigent villagers could exercise hegemony over the shepherd boy once again. To bad they couldn’t just hermetically seal the sheep, so the wolves couldn’t smell them.


Because This Kind of Studying is Fun. And Who Doesn’t Love The Three Little Pigs?

I am beginning to wonder if this whole test thing some sort of cabal to make me value vocabulary, even if these words are enough to make me sense that those ETS writers are cachinnating in their seats right now. Bah! What a cacophony. They don’t have to cajole me into studying, though. Here I am. Actually, I am beginning to think that someone with a sense of humor chose this canon of words specifically because they would be perfect to caluminate the test itself, providing the necessary words for an intelligent epithet against it. That’s quite a calumny.

Now I should really use my eclectic new vocabulary to tell a story or something so I don’t have to continue on in this captious rant.

The Three Little Pigs (As you know, this story is deriviative, but I have made some eccentric GRE-friendly tweaks. These pigs are a bit more eloquent—or florid—than the ones you may be used to and the original author has provided an extended plot):

Once upon a time there was a dogmatic old sow with three fun and capricious little pigs who lacked decorum. To castigate them for their perpetually poor behavior, which often caused a debacle in social situations, she departed from convention, sending them out with a dearth of resources, hoping that it would catalyze their progression into adulthood, causing them to leave their childish ways in desuetude. Despite their contrite response, they were unable to exonerate themselves. She made it clear in a lengthy detraction that she would cosset them no longer. The caustic and didactic nature of this diatribe caused the little pigs to flee from their mother with celerity.

The three pigs had very disparate experiences out in the world.

The first that went off was not very chary. He met a man with a bundle of desiccated straw, and after a cursory look around for better materials, said to him in a daunting tone, “Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house.” The diffident man did with no small about of derision. While the little pig built a house, the now-strawless man sang a mournful dirge.

Presently came along the wolf, a chauvinist to his nature, who knocked at the door and said, “Little pig, little pig, I am only a chimera, a figment of your imagination to keep you company. Do let me come in.”

This moment had a chastening effect on the pig. Hoping to flout the wolf, he answered, “No, no, this kind of chicanery will not be tolerated.”

“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll desecrate your home,” said the wolf. So he huffed decorously, and he puffed, and he blew. The house responded with complaisance, and the wolf ate the little pig.

The second pig, who was a home building dilettante, met a man with a bundle of furze, and said, “Please, man, give me that furze to build a house”; which the man did, looking a little crestfallen but still making the sacrifice because this story is a classic, and the pig built his house. Unfortunately his and his brother’s houses were not contiguous, so this corrigible pig did have the benefit of bearing witness to the mistake of the first.

Then along came the wolf, creating for the frightened little pig an exigent situation when he said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

“No, no, I demur. For you will surely extirpate me from the hair on my chinny chin chin.”

“Then I’ll puff and I’ll huff, and I’ll denigrate you by blowing down your house, you unwise denizen.” So he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and he huffed (an amount of huffing and puffing that was commensurate with the strength of the house), and at last the house coalesced in a great furze pile. The wolf (a word was expurgated here to make the story suitable for children) ate the second little pig.

The third little pig was a dynamo and a true connoisseur of quality home building materials. This empirical pig had heard the din of collapsing homes about him. Surely he was not so ephemeral as his siblings.

When he met a man with a load of bricks, he knew just what to do to cozen him, and he said, “Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house and eschew wolves.” So the craven man gave the bricks to the cogent pig, and the pig built his house with them.

So the wolf came to the third little pig, as he did to the other little pigs, because he imagined that the fallacy of assuming their safety was endemic to the family, and said, “Little pig, little pig, don’t lie fallow, be a host and let me come in.”

“No, no, you can’t dissemble your true motives. How fatuous do you think I am. I can see the distention of your belly! You’ve eaten my siblings and the hairs on their chinny chin chins. I will not countenance such behavior. Please be more abstemious.”

“Don’t deprecate me. Lay off the cynicism or I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

“I’m not intimidated by your diaphanous doggerel.”

Well, the wolf paused in forbearance to wait for the most auspicious moment, hoping to foment the wind to his aid, and then he huffed and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and he huffed; but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his desultory huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he was discomfited and said discursively, trying not to sound so discordant as before, “Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips.”

“Where?” said the little pig, a true epicure, as if he lacked discretion to distrust the wolf, which or course he did not. He could descry that this comment was far more apposite to the wolf’s nature than it would appear.

Trying to sound disinterested, the wolf replied, “Oh, in churlish Mr. Smith’s home field; and if you will be ready tomorrow morning, I will call for you, and we will go together and get some for dinner.”

“Very well,” said the little pig, trying to sound credulous, “I will be ready. What time do you mean to go?”

“Oh, at six o’clock,” the wolf said, hardly able to contain his ebullience.

Well, the little pig got up at five, fawned to himself over the turnips’ high quality, and was home again before six, hoping to censure the wolf. When the wolf came, he said, “Little pig, are you ready?”

“Very ready!” said the little pig, equivocating, “I have been and come back again, and now I’ve got a nice pot full for dinner. Thank you for divulging the location.”

This infelicity disparaged the feckless wolf, but he thought that he’d abate his losses, so he said, “Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple tree.”

“Where?” asked the pig fervently.

“Down at Merrygarden,” replied the wolf with a weighty tone. “If you will not abjure or forestall me, I will come for you, at five o’clock tomorrow, and we will abrogate our enmity and get some apples together.”

Well, the little pig woke at four the next morning, and bustled up, and went off for the apples, hoping to get back before the wolf came. Just as he was climbing down from a tree, he saw the Wolf coming, which, as you may suppose, frightened him very much, though his demeanor did not evince it.

When the wolf came up he said, “What! You are here before me? Are they nice apples?”

“A little evanescent,” said the little pig, refusing to give the wolf the encomium he’d expected. “Here, eat one before it becomes fetid.” And he threw it so far that while the wolf was gone to pick it up, the unfettered little pig jumped down and ran home.

The next day the wolf came again, and said to the little pig, “Little pig, there is a fair in the town this afternoon: will you go?”

“Oh, yes.”

“At three,” said the wolf.

So the little pig went off before the appointed time, as usual, and got to the fair, and bought a golden filigree butter churn with a kind of frieze around the top (depicting the triumph of pigs over wolves), and was on his way home with it when he saw the wolf coming. He nearly foundered, but to avoid a fracas with the fractious wolf, he got into the churn to hide, and in doing so, turned it around, and it began to roll. The errant churn rolled down the hill with the pig inside, which enervated the wolf so much that he left without going to the fair. He went to the furtive little pig’s house, and told him how frightened he had been from his fear of a great round thing that had come down the hill past him.

Then the little pig excoriated him, saying, “Ha! You don’t know anything. I had been to the fair and bought a butter churn, and when I saw you, I lacked the proper means of egress, so I got into it, and rolled down the hill.”

The wolf responded very curmudgeonly to this deposition, and, sick of his own dilatory tactics declared he would eat up the little pig, and that he would get down the chimney after him (an idea that had apparently lain dormant until pig’s calm and dulcet tone exacerbated his rage).

The wolf’s villainous filibuster allowed the pig a moment to think. When the little pig saw this denouement, he hung a pot full of water in the fireplace, and made up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover of the pot, and in fell the wolf.

“Ha! You should have foresworn pigs while you had the chance,” he said victoriously, knowing that the results were, in part, merely fortuitous. The little pig put on the cover again, boiled him until the flesh was emollient, and ate him for supper despite the effluvia that emerged when he removed the lid. It was comical the way that the wolf had engendered his own demise.

Coda: And the estimable third little pig, our wise little exemplar, lived to become an erudite and big little pig, living effusively happily ever after, skipping about in the fields, knowing that the dross of the family had been eliminated by natural selection and nothing could exculpate it. Elegy would be useless. He was the epitome of equanimity. He saw the experience as merely edifying and ignored its enormity. For the sake of discerning the moral of this story, and to ward off ennui (since the wolf could no longer make his episodic visits), the pig began to do an esoteric exegesis of the enigmatic events that had transpired, in hopes that his children would know better than his brothers.

Because Studying Is Boring

In my hand I hold a collection of apocryphal, arcane, and archaic words, which no one really uses, that seem made for the sole purpose of attenuating my prose (though their hope is that it will be aggrandized). But because I am so assiduous, this is my alternative mode of studying. I hope it will assuage my conscience and serve as an augury of my future success on the GRE.

I apologize again for how aberrant I must sound, but I deserve an accolade for trying and refusing to become acerbic. My acumen for writing will probably help me very little on this test created to admonish the one who thinks too much. Only the adroit test taker will succeed, so I must learn to turn off my brain and take on a feeling of adulation for the behemoth that is the standardized test.

I hate to adulterate my blog with this, as it is contrary to my aesthetic. Of course the assumption is that the one who does not know all of these words is artless.

I am actually shocked at the alacrity with which I am now learning. I am not enough of an ascetic to keep this up all day, though.

Alchemy was not a successful science, but to mock these words is a sort of alchemy. It makes them fun—even when they’re terrible—to amalgamate them all in one post. If you have to study this is an amenable way to do so.

The GRE is anathema, but I have to take it to burnish my application to graduate school (where I will study creative writing and never use these words). A standardized test after all I’ve done in undergrad seems a bit anachronistic. You want me to do geometry again? What an anomaly. Surely in the four years since I’ve done any math that part of my mind has atrophied.

To pose an antithetical argument, despite my antipathy, focusing for so long is a good discipline.

The apogee of my test-taking career will hopefully be in a little over a week when I take the test. Then I will no longer be an apostate in my compliance with such a test.

To apprise you, I am the apotheosis of a smart student who sucks at these tests. Dear universities, you wish to assay me, but I deserve your approbation and acceptance regardless of my GRE score. It is nothing but an aspersion guaranteed to belie me. Please do not be too astringent in this area.

Now, I realize that my use of some of these words might be a bit audacious but under the auspices of the Princeton Review flashcards, I am doing my best to use them properly. For your own studying, be sure to aver my usage.

The road to a big vocabulary is a baleful one, but it has been beatified by ETS over the years to beleaguer innocent students like myself.

Thank you for bearing with my bombast, all my bellicose rambling against the GRE. I don’t mean to be boorish. But to find a way to use all of these words I must be a bit boisterous, saying every crazy thing that comes to mind to bolster my vocabulary, which is now burgeoning. Somehow I’ll get through another byzantine application process.

On a side note. There are two types of arabesques. This one. And this one. How do I use that in a relevant sentence?