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Question Type VIII — Definition of a Term

You will be asked to define a word or phrase used in the passage. Rely on the context because the author’s use of a word or phrase may or may not coincide with the way it is normally used in everyday speech. However, it is just as likely that a question will ask you for a definition of a common word or phrase used in an unusual way.

Context clues will help you decipher the meanings of words.

How to identify ‘Definition of a Term’ questions: Look for questions asking about specific terms or phrases in the passage.

  • What does the author mean by “negative pressure” (highlighted text)?
  • What is the meaning of an “invisible icon” as used in the passage?
  • Which of the following is an example of “creative destruction” as the author describes it in paragraph 2?

How to tackle them: Most of the time, an unusual phrase will be defined somewhere near its use. Read the sentences before and after the word or phrase in question to get context and use that information to come up with an approximate definition of the word.

Video Courtesy of Kaplan SAT prep.

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