Five GRE words for Tu Bishvat

Tu Bishvat, Israel’s “New Year for the Trees,” has just ended. To pay tribute to this often-forgotten holiday – which in addition to celebrating arboreal wonder also recognizes Israelisability to grow, adapt and flourish – we have gathered a list of five GRE words that pertain to trees and plants. Happy Tu Bishvat!

Burgeon: Often used figuratively, the verb “burgeon” means to bloom, developing from an early state (a seed or shoot) to maturity (a tree or bud). This verb has a positive connotation, and can be used to describe a person’s rapid growth and realization of his/her potential.

GRE synonyms: sprout; flourish; proliferate.

Husbandry: In its archaic form, “husband” denotes an agricultural context (as in husbandman, which means farmer). The word “husbandry” means frugality, i.e. the ability to utilize resources in a non-wasteful fashion. For example, if a farmer demonstrates husbandry, he/she uses water efficiently or utilizes natural waste for improving soil potency. In Ancient Israel, Ba’al (which, as you may know, means “husband” in Hebrew) agriculture relied on rain and sun alone, thereby not wasting resources at all.

GRE synonyms: frugality; economy (note the difference between “economical,” which means frugal, and “economic” which relates to economy); thrift.

Indigenous: This is a good opportunity to distinguish among three words that often confuse GRE learners. “Indigenous” means local, as in a tree that is indigenous to the Mediterranean, meaning that it has been growing in the area for a long time. The two other words, which appear similar to “indigenous” but have nothing in common with it, are “indigent,” which means poor/destitute, and “indignant,” which means angry.

GRE synonyms: endemic; native.

Fell: Beware – this is not the past form of the verb “fall,” but a verb in its own right whose past form is “felled.” To “fell” means to cut down or take down. Authors often use the verb in relation to tree-cutting, as in “He felled the tree using a chain-saw.” The verb can also be construed, depending on the context, as describing someone’s defeating something else, as in “Diana felled the gargantuan bull.”

GRE synonyms: mar (usually referring to obliterating the beauty of something); obliterate.

Truncate: This verb got here by virtue of its etymology, which stems from the Latin word truncus, which means trunk. To “truncate” means to shorten or even out. For example, a truncated pyramid is a pyramid whose top is cut horizontally to create a straight surface parallel to its base. The verb is usually used to describe shortening in a more general sense, as in “truncating a long orchestra piece.”

GRE synonyms: abridge; curtail; abbreviate.

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