ASVAB Word Knowledge Subtest Sample Questions

By Rod Powers

Hopefully, you’re ready to pit your skills against the Word Knowledge section of the ASVAB. Try these sample questions to see how you do. They’re similar to what you’ll see on the ASVAB.

Sample Questions

  1. Bestial most nearly means:

    • (A)playful

    • (B)animal-like

    • (C)tantalizing

    • (D)pregnant

  2. The enemy was relentless with negotiations.

    • (A)overwhelmed

    • (B)happy

    • (C)strict

    • (D)peaceful

  3. Malignant most nearly means:

    • (A)tumor

    • (B)angry

    • (C)kind

    • (D)evil

  4. Bernard wanted to ask a lawyer whether his friend@’s investment idea was licit.

    • (A)legal

    • (B)profitable

    • (C)illegal

    • (D)sensible

  5. Achromatic most nearly means:

    • (A)automatic

    • (B)tasty

    • (C)colorless

    • (D)manual

  6. The legal team was impressed with her dynamic ideas.

    • (A)offensive

    • (B)fun

    • (C)powerful

    • (D)cowering

  7. Wry most nearly means:

    • (A)smile

    • (B)distorted

    • (C)angry

    • (D)happy

  8. Melissa was justifiably proud of her recent abstinence.

    • (A)grades

    • (B)sobriety

    • (C)trustworthiness

    • (D)awards

  9. Tolerate most nearly means:

    • (A)accept

    • (B)conserve

    • (C)annoy

    • (D)rush

  10. Lyle’s landlord instructed him to vacate the apartment.

    • (A)paint

    • (B)leave

    • (C)clean

    • (D)sell

Answers and Explanations

Use this answer key to score the practice Word Knowledge questions.

  1. B. Bestial is an adjective that means having animal characteristics. Noting the similarity between the words bestial and beast can lead you in the right direction with this question.

  2. C. Used as an adjective, relentless means unyieldingly severe, strict, or harsh. The other words don’t fit the context of the sentence.

  3. D. Malignant is an adjective that means evil or harmful. You may have been tempted to select Choice (A) because you may have heard of a malignant tumor, but tumor and malignant don’t mean the same thing.

  4. A. Licit is an adjective that means lawful. Although you may not have been familiar with the word licit, chances are good that you’ve come across the opposite-meaning word, illicit, and you probably know that it means illegal. So, you can deduce that licit means the opposite of illegal, or legal.

  5. C. Achromatic is an adjective that means having no color. If you knew that the word root chrom refers to color and that the prefix a- means without, you could figure out that achromatic means without color.

  6. C. Used as an adjective, dynamic means having a powerful personality with ambition and new ideas. You can use clues in the sentence to rule out Choices (A) and (D) because if the legal team is impressed, she’s probably not offensive or cowering. Although dynamic can mean fun, the word closest in meaning is powerful.

  7. B. Wry is an adjective that means crooked or twisted.

  8. B. Abstinence is a noun that means the willful avoidance of something — for example, a substance such as alcohol or drugs.

  9. A. Tolerate is a verb meaning to allow or accept without hindrance.

  10. B. Vacate is a verb that means to give up occupancy of a location. Word roots are key here. A vacation involves leaving your normal place of residence. When people evacuate an area, they leave that area. A vacuum is created when matter leaves a given area.