LSAT Words: Using A Dictionary

Many words on the LSAT can be quite confusing. I’ve made an LSAT glossary to help you figure things out.

But I highly encourage you to use more than one source. You should truly understand words like “some, most, many, etc.” And there are many words that I didn’t have space to cover.

The LSAT demands precision, and knowing the full and exact definition of certain words can help you get a better score.

So apart from the glossary, what should you do? It turns out that dictionaries are surprisingly helpful. You’ll want a dictionary that lists multiple definition for each word. Generally, LSAT words use one of out many definitions. “Most”, for example, is normally used to mean “majority” rather than “largest number of”.

Good Dictionaries

Any large, paper dictionary will do. If you don’t have one, or find it cumbersome, several online sources are helpful:

1. Merriam-Webster: This is a good, free dictionary that I know of.

2. Wiktionary: This is like wikipedia, except it’s a dictionary. They’re quite good.

2. Oxford-English Dictionary: The OED will help you to really understand where a word comes from and what it means. Unfortunately, it costs money. Most schools provide access; check with your school library.

Use a paper version if you can’t get online access. It’s worth it.

3. Mac OS X dictionary: If you have a Mac, you’re in luck. The built in dictionary application uses the New Oxford American Dictionary.

To access it, open spotlight (command + space) and type dictionary. Or open spotlight and type the word you’re looking for. The results are at the bottom.

Why You Should Use Dictionaries To Learn LSAT Words

It might sound silly to look up words that “everyone knows”. But from what I’ve seen, many LSAT errors come from something as simple as misunderstanding what “some” means.

So do yourself a favor and spend a bit of time looking up LSAT words in a good dictionary. You may be surprised to find they have more meanings than you thought.

This method is also very good for less familiar words that have logical significance, such as “claim”, “assumption”, “proportional”, etc. Give it a try!

For definitions of words that are specifically tailored to the LSAT, check out my LSAT word glossary.

Update: If you liked this article, I now have a free five part email course with more info about getting a good LSAT score: http://lsathacks.com/email-course/

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