ASVAB AFQT Word Knowledge Subtest—Practice with Root Words

By Rod Powers

A root is a word part that serves as the base of a word. If you recognize a root, you can generally get an idea of what the word means, even if you’re not familiar with it.

The Word Knowledge subtest of the ASVAB AFQT will test your knowledge of root words, so if you’re unsure, the following vocabulary exercises will help you find out beforehand whether you should do some extra prep.

Practice exercise

The following chart contains a series of words. It’s your job to find the root of each word, guess what the word means, and look it up in the dictionary (or save some time and just check out the definitions under “Answers and explanations”).

asvab-word-series

Answers and explanations

  1. Hemorrhage is a noun that refers to an escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel. (It’s also a verb that means to bleed profusely.) The root is hemo.

    The root hemo means of or relating to blood. Other words using hemo include hemoglobin, hemophilia, and hemorrhoids.

  2. Magnify is a verb that means to make something appear larger than it is. The root is magn.

    The root magn means great or large. Other words that use magn include magnitude and magnificent.

  3. Alleviate is a verb that means to make suffering or a problem less severe. Its root is lev.

    The root lev means to lift or raise, and you see this root used in the words levitate, levity, and elevate.

  4. Verbalize is a verb that means to express ideas or feelings in words. The root of this word is verb.

    The root verb literally means word. Other words that contain verb include proverb, reverberate, and verbiage.

  5. Dismal is an adjective that means depressing or dreary. Its root is mal.

    The root mal means bad or wretched. It is also part of words such as malevolent, malfunction, and malady.

  6. Marine is an adjective that refers something that’s of, found in, or produced by the sea. (It’s a noun referring to a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, a seascape, and seagoing ships, too.) Its root is mar.

    The root mar means sea, and you find it in words such as marina, maritime, and submarine.

  7. Affirm is a verb that means to state something as a fact. Its root is firm.

    The root firm means firm or strong. You also see firm in confirm, firmament, and firmly.

  8. Admonish is a verb that means to warn or reprimand someone firmly. The root is mon.

    The root mon means warn, and it serves as the root in the words monitor and premonition.