Vocabulary for MBA Entrance Exams: Preparing for the Verbal Ability section of the MBA exams might come naturally to some, while for other it might seem like an uphill battle because many aspirants do not have a great command over English language, grammar and vocabulary. On the whole, this section also gets ignored quite frequently due to other time-consuming sections which take away from time and attention of the aspirant.

Vocabulary for MBA Entrance Exams

Given below are some approaches you can use to strengthen vocabulary for MBA entrance exams. We are also providing a Wordlist which you can go through to brush up vocabulary while you are on the go and which is less-time consuming.

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5 Ways to Improve Vocabulary

Ever wondered why are top management entrance exams like CAT, XAT, SNAP, NMAT etc testing the candidate’s vocabulary in the first place? One aspect is obviously to identify candidates who speak good English because it is a global language and the core medium of instruction in both schools and colleges alike.

However, beyond anything else, a person possessing a good command over words is viewed as well read and confident. Being a well-read person has numerous advantages; they are confident in building and putting forth arguments, in discourses and can articulate effectively. The vaster your vocabulary is, the wider your knowledge base would be considered. You don’t need to pull off a Shashi Tharoor wherever you are, but working upon your existing vocabulary doesn’t hurt anyway because it will help you in the long run.

1. Going Upclose and Personal

No, you are not going to interview a celebrity, this is just one effective method to build on vocabulary. Associating a word with a relevant picture, an event/incident or even a real person makes it easier for your brain to grasp the word as well as its meaning.

Therefore, the next time you come across a new word like sumptuous and delectable, think of food (food = life) think of your strict dad and his scoldings when you pronounce the word ‘martinet’.

2. The ‘Roots’ will take you there

Etymology is of paramount importance when it comes to learning new words and remembering them. Etymology may be defined as the study of history of words. By extension, the term etymology means the origin of the particular word and for names of places, we have the specific term, ‘toponymy.’

Root words, especially of other languages tell us about the evolution of languages, how they are related to other languages and what historical influences are behind their change. Roots words are also referred to as primary lexical units and cannot be subdivided. A group of words created by adding to a root word is called a Word Family.

So, coming back to how to remember words, you must do it by studying its root. Studying a root word will also help you in understanding its historical, social and cultural significance and also let you make informed guesses. Like the word ‘phon,’ which means sound. Now, when you come across words like euphony (pleasing sound), cacophony (harsh sound) etc – you will be able to guess their meaning. Knowing one root would essentially help you in knowing multiple words!

3. Mind Mapping

A solid way to remember words is to make Mind Maps. This technique is highly useful when learning synonyms of a word with multiple connotations. Mind Maps are generally used to learn vocabulary words and connections by making connections in a non-linear way. For example, the mind map for the word ‘walk’ can be – falter, clump, toddle, bounce, limp, lumber, hike, lurch and more. For the root word ‘vehicles,’ you can have a mind map with myriad names of different vehicles – plane, helicopter, bike, car, train, ship, scooter, bicycle and so on and so forth.

4. Use a Journal

You can maintain your very own ‘Vocabulary Journal,’ to maintain a record of all the new words you can come across while reading and have memorised them. This way you get to weave the words you have learnt in your everyday vocabulary and serves as a motivation to add more and newer words to your vocab journal.

5. Last but not least, read all you can!

Reading helps build vocabulary like no other! The logic behind it is pretty on-point – the more you read the, more words you will be exposed to. You will subsequently look them up in the dictionary, memorise them and add them to your journal. Understanding the meaning of word through its contextual usage is the most natural way to learn new words, which is why this kind of learning is the most effective kind.

There are other methods which might work for others like Visual Vocabulary where you associate the word with a picture, learning 5 words everyday, taking an Online Verbal Coaching which also covers the vocabulary part extensively, referring to Mnemonic devices and books like Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis and Six Weeks to Words of Power by Wilfred Funk to further sharpen their preparation.

Click here to know tips to crack the verbal ability section of the NMAT exam.

Commonly used Vocabulary words asked in MBA Entrance Exams

1. Factotum

Pronunciation: fak-toh-tuh m

Meaning: An employee or official who has various different responsibilities to handle

Synonyms: Retainer, Servant, workaholic, odd-job person

Usage: She might appear as the perfect factotum; and indeed she was.

2.  Nostrum

Pronunciation: nos-truh m

Meaning: Patent medicine whose efficacy is questionable.

Synonyms: catholicon, elixir, medicine, remedy, treatment, cure, drug

Usage: Riyah gave her sister a nostrum to allay her allergy towards the pollen grains.

3. Brook

Pronunciation: brook

Meaning: A natural stream of water smaller than a river

Synonyms: beck, creek, streamlet, branch, river, watercourse, spring

Usage: This brook dried up every year in the summer

4. Liturgy

Pronunciation: lit-er-jee

Meaning: A form of public worship; ritual.

Synonyms: observance, rite, sacrament, celebration, ceremonial

Usage: People’s faith is being choked out by the thorns of fabricated liturgy (Source: Church Militant)

5. Larceny

Pronunciation: lahr-suh-nee

Meaning: The act of taking something from someone unlawfully

Synonyms: burglary, Crime, stealing, touch, stealing, pilfering

Antonyms: return, pay, reimbursement, compensation

Usage: The larceny is appalling at Kennedy International

6. Quixotic

Pronunciation: kwik-sot-ik

Meaning: Not sensible about practical matters; idealistic and unrealistic

Synonyms: dreamy, foolish, impractical, impulsive, unrealistic

Antonyms: hardheaded, hard-nosed, tough-minded, unsentimental; practical, pragmatic

Usage: Our quixotic prime minister may need Labour to save him in Europe.

7. Quash

Pronunciation: kwosh

Meaning: to put down or suppress completely; quell; subdue

Synonyms: crush, pull down, quell, repress, beat, overcome

Antonyms: abet, aid, assist, back, help, prop up, support; foment, incite

Usage: The Punjab and Haryana High Court today refused to quash an FIR registered against two youngsters in a criminal intimidation case. 

8. Skullduggery


Meaning: an instance of dishonest or deceitful behavior; trick.

Synonyms: crafty; trickery; chicanery; duplicity; guile; perfidy; falsehood

Antonyms: truthfulness; loyalty; trustworthiness; truthfulness; honesty

Usage: The tax is high on years of expediency and governmental skullduggery in arming and feeding and giving harbour to such factions.

9. Ludicrous

Pronunciation: loo-di-kruh s

Meaning: Broadly or extravagantly humorous; resembling farce

Synonyms: foolish, comical, outlandish, silly, laughable, crazy, funnys

Antonyms: grave, tragic, sensible, logical, reasonable

Usage: Meet the epically ludicrous instrument that uses 2,000 steel marbles to make music.

10. Lachrymose

Pronunciation: lak-ruh-mohs

Meaning: Showing sorrow;

Synonyms: sad, teary, weeping, weepy, melancholy, blue, dejected, gloomy

Antonyms: beaming, chuckling, giggling, grinning, laughing, smilings

Usage: While presidents, being also human, may be allowed some display of emotion, they cannot be lachrymose all the time. 

11. Admonish

Pronunciation: ad-mon-ish

Meaning: Warn strongly; put on guard, to caution, advise, or counsel against something.

Synonyms: berate, censure, chide, rebuke, reprimand, scold, warn, hoists

Antonyms: approve, endorse, sanction; applaud, extol, hail, laud, praise, salute, tout

Usage: The two acts of mercy being focused on this March in the Archdiocese of Portland will be to forgive offenses and to admonish sinners.

12. Tirade

Pronunciation: tahy-reyd or tahy-reyd

Meaning: A speech of violent denunciation

Synonyms: harangue, ranting, screed, sermon, anger, censure, dispute

Antonyms: peace, harmony, agreement, calm, praise, accord, unperturbed

Usage: Australian movie star Rebel Wilson has launched a vitriolic Twitter tirade at a journalist who allegedly “harassed” her sick grandmother.

13. Labyrinthine

Pronunciation: lab-uh-rin-thin, -theen

Meaning: Resembling a labyrinth in form or complexity

Synonyms: intricate, meandering, serpentine, twisting, winding, complex, mazy

Antonyms: simple, straight, blunt, candid, apparent, clear, definite, even, explicit

Usage: The sentences that once sang became so labyrinthine in complexity that the reader got lost in the maze.

14. Alacrity

Pronunciation: uh-lak-ri-tee

Meaning: Liveliness and eagerness

Synonyms: alertness, avidity, briskness, cheerfulness, sprightliness, willingnesss

Antonyms: apathy, aversion, slowness, dullness, delay, amble, lethargy

Usage: The Prime Minister asked the party to embrace technology with greater alacrity and enthusiasm.

15. Laconic

Pronunciation: luh-kon-ik

Meaning: luh-kon-ik

Synonyms: terse, pithy, brief, compact, crisp, curt, succinct

Antonyms: circuitous, circumlocutory, diffuse, long-winded, prolix, rambling, verbose, windy, wordy

Usage: Greater difficulty exists to enforce the laconic safeguards of the Aadhaar Act.

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Vocabulary makes the root of everything which involves the use of language, like as writing, advertising, publishing and daily communication. We are, inadvertently, forced to receive, learn and use vocabulary every day, therefore it’s necessary for us to master vocabulary. Therefore, we hope these approaches to strengthen Vocabulary for MBA Entrance Exams are helpful to you. Words have the power to evoke emotions, influence and tell stories – remember, ideas and words can change the world!

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