Solving an analogy on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is hard, so you should approach tough analogies with a plan. One way in which you can decipher a confusing MAT analogy is by considering all the meanings of the terms, even the less common ones.

Similarly to MAT analogies that use different parts of speech, some analogies are tough because they use secondary, less common definitions of words — the kind of definitions that are buried most of the way down the word’s dictionary entry.

If you’re watching out for alternate meanings of words on harder questions, you’ll be more likely to catch them. For instance, here’s an analogy that uses a secondary definition of a word.

  1. DISCRIMINATE : DISTINGUISH :: _________________ : DISPARAGE

    1. (A)prejudice

    2. (B)belittle

    3. (C)jest

    4. (D)downplay

Most people think of prejudice and unfair treatment when they see the word discriminate. You may mistakenly think this is a 1:3,2:4 analogy and build a sentence like “Discriminate means to prejudice.” Hopefully, you’d notice that distinguish does not mean “to disparage” and catch your mistake.

If you considered the secondary definition of discriminate — to judge between subtle differences — you could correctly identify the analogy as 1:2,3:4 and build a sentence like “Discriminate means to distinguish.” Then, you could match it to Choice (B) and the fourth term: “To belittle means to disparage.”

Look for alternate meanings to appear more often on questions later in the MAT, than on the earlier questions, which are often easier to solve.