As if the English words on the MAT weren’t challenging enough, the Miller Analogies Test also includes some foreign words. Keep in mind that the foreign words on the MAT are words that are so commonly used in English that they’ve become part of the English lexicon and are defined in most English dictionaries.

The following list includes some common foreign words that may be tested on the MAT.

  • A priori: Based on deduction, not fact

  • Ad hoc: For a definite purpose

  • Ad nauseum: Continuing to a disgusting degree

  • Alfresco: Outdoors

  • Alter ego: An alternate identity

  • Bête noire: Something disliked

  • Bona fide: The real thing

  • Carpe diem: Seize the day

  • Carte blanche: Blank check, freedom; having discretion and authority

  • Casus belli: Justification for war

  • Caveat emptor: Buyer beware

  • Comme il faut: Like it should be

  • Corpus delicti: Evidence of a crime

  • Coup de grace: A deathblow

  • De facto: Actual reality

  • De jure: Truth by technicality

  • Déjà vu: A feeling that a new experience has happened before

  • Deus ex machina: Implausible answer to a problem

  • Doppelgänger: The ghostly or physical double of a person

  • Enfant terrible: Misbehaving child

  • Ex cathedra: Absolute authority

  • Fait accompli: Completed deed

  • Faux pas: Mistake made socially

  • Fiasco: A ludicrous failure

  • Idée fixe: An idea one obsesses on

  • In extremis: Near death

  • In loco parentis: Acting in a parent’s stead

  • In vino veritas: Truth is found in wine

  • Ipso facto: In and of itself

  • Joie de vivre: Joy of living

  • Mea culpa: My fault

  • Modus operandi: Way of working

  • Noblesse oblige: The way nobility must behave

  • Nolo contendere: No contest

  • Nom de plume: A pen name; an alias

  • Non sequitur: Doesn’t follow logically

  • Per se: By or in itself

  • Persona non grata: Someone disliked

  • Prima facie: At first look

  • Pro bono: Work done without payment

  • Pro forma: Done as a formality

  • Quid pro quo: An exchange

  • Raison d’être: Reason for being

  • Rara avis: Rare example

  • Sangfroid: Cool under pressure

  • Schadenfreude: Satisfaction from another’s misery

  • Sine qua non: Very important

  • Status quo: The existing condition

  • Sui generis: Unique

  • Tête-à-tête: A private conversation

  • Veni, vidi, vici: I came, I saw, I conquered

  • Verboten: Forbidden

  • Vis-à-vis: In relation to

  • Weltschmerz: Sadness because of the world’s evils

  • Zeitgeist: Popular opinion of the time

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Vince Kotchian is a full-time standardized test tutor specializing in the MAT, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. He teaches a GRE prep course at the University of California, San Diego, and has an extensive understanding of analogies and the MAT.

Edwin Kotchian is a MAT tutor and freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of test-prep material.

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