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SAT vocabulary: misanthrope

Illustration of the vocabular word "misanthrope" using Ebenezer Scrooge
Cheer up, you miserly misanthrope. You have a happy ending.

misanthrope

What does “misanthrope” mean?

Part of Speech: NOUN

Pronunciations: IPA: /ˈmɪs.ən.θroup/ Glossary-style: [MIHS-uhn-throap]

Definition: someone who does not like or does not trust people in general (Ex: After years in prison, the criminal became a misanthrope.).

Example: Vochestra joked that she’d become a misanthrope if she continued to work at the call center for much longer; after talking to upwards of a hundred angry people a day, she found that she had started to develop a knee-jerk response to anybody who tried to strike up a conversation with her. So she quit.

Discussion: Of course we think of the root “anthro”, which means man, when we hear this word, as it’s a fairly common word root (anthropology, anthropomorphize, and philanthropy, to name a few).

A misanthrope, also called a misanthropist, is someone who dislikes or avoids people, whether because he just does not like others or because he mistrusts other people.

I honestly don’t believe that there are any true (sane) misanthropes. As my students have asked after learning the word, “If misanthropes don’t like people, does that mean they don’t like themselves?”

When we think of a misanthrope, we think of someone who’s in a bad mood a lot, or grumpy and unfriendly, and spends time alone.

One of the most famous misanthropes in English literature is Ebenezer Scrooge, the character from Charles Dickens’s 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol. Scrooge treated others with disdain and was very reluctant to help others.

By Erin Billy

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

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