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SAT vocabulary: iniquitous

Continuing our Halloween-related vocabulary: What does iniquitous mean?

Quick Vocab Quiz for the word iniquitous

First, before you read the explanation, definition, and discussion of the word iniquitous, try this quick vocab quiz:

iniquitous most nearly means

(A) empty (B) extra (C) eerie (D) evil (E) elephantine

(Answer is below.)

Part of Speech: ADJECTIVE

Pronunciations: IPA: /ɪ.ˈnɪ.kwɪ.təs/ Glossary-style: [ih-NIH-kwih-tuhs]

Definition: evil, sinful, or wicked. extremely unjust or unfair.

Example: There is little that is more iniquitous than the recruiting of young people to join crime circles to increase profits of criminals.

Discussion: iniquitous is a pretty fancy-sounding word, isn’t it? But it’s also an easy word to understand (if a bit hard to pronounce) and has a rather humble etymology, if I may say so.

iniquitous simply means evil or grossly unfair or unjust. And today, in modern English, it has a fairly strong connotation, likely due in part to its comparative rarity in usage.

But would you believe that iniquitous essentially means unequal? If you look closely at the word, you’ll see the similarities in word parts.

So, originally iniquitous referred to a “miscarriage of justice” (a common phrase, by the way), but it has evolved to mean evil. Not a great stretch of the imagination, right?

Answer to the quick quiz above:

Answer Click Here to Show the Answer!

By Erin Billy

Founder of TestMagic, Inc. in San Francisco, USA.

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