SAT Prep Vocabulary
and Latin Roots

If you need to build SAT prep vocabulary, there is no better way to do it than through the power of Latin roots. Just one Latin root word per week can help students learn a dozen or more English derivatives.

Latin Word of the Week (1/6/08)


to lead, conduct, draw, or bring forward

First we can create a short list of easy derivatives by adding prefixes to the root of this Latin verb. Often these words are appropriate for elementary vocabulary lists. For older students, these words serve to clarify the basic meaning of the Latin root, setting the foundation for learning more advanced SAT prep vocabulary.

Elementary Vocabulary:

abduct (v): to lead away, to steal. Think child abduction, alien abduction.

conduct (v/n): to lead together. So a conductor leads the orchestra in playing a song, a boy conducts himself well in school, and water conducts electricity. See more words starting with the prefix con-.

deduct (v): to lead down from. If you deduct 5 from 7, you get 2.

introduce (v): to lead in or into. A famous man needs no introduction, as everyone already knows him.

produce (v/n): to lead forward, bring forth. A factory might produce clothing, baseball gloves, or chocolate candy. But at the grocery store, the produce section has foods brought forth from the earth: apples, lettuce, potatoes, et cetera.

reduce (v): to lead back. Your doctor may advise you to reduce your fat consumption, i.e. eat less pizza and more produce.

Intermediate Vocabulary:

duct (n): any tube, canal, or pipe through which a substance is carried. An air conditioning system uses ducts to carry cool air throughout a building.

aqueduct (n): a structure which leads or carries water for public use. From the Latin aquae ductus. Romans built marvelous gravity-driven aqueducts to provide water to there cities and towns.

induct (v): to bring or lead in as a member. Pete Rose has never been inducted into Baseball’s hall of fame.

induce (v): to lead into, i.e. to persuade or cause. Advertising induces people to buy things; some medicines may induce sleep.

reducible (adj): able to be reduced. We hope oil consumption is reducible, and that we can help save our environment. The fraction ¾ is not reducible.

reproduce (v): to lead forth again, to produce again. The reproduction of cells or rabbits.

SAT Prep Vocabulary:

duc (n): French for duke, i.e. a leader. E.g. the duc d’orleans.

conducive (adj): tending to produce, favorable, helpful. The library is conducive to study; the gym is conducive to exercise; Latin is conducive to building English vocabulary.

ductile (adj): able to be molded, shaped, drawn out, or lead. Gold is a ductile metal; clay is ductile material.

inductile (adj): not able to be molded, shaped, drawn out, or lead. Platinum is not as ductile as gold, in fact it is inductile; after baking, clay is inductile.

subduction (n): the act of leading or drawing under. In geology, the subduction of one crustal plate beneath another can cause volcanic or seismic activity.

deduction (n): the logical process of drawing conclusions from known facts. Sherlock Holmes used deductive reasoning to solve cases.

inductive (adj): leading in, producing, or bringing about. In reasoning, this is the opposite of deductive. Therefore, a process whereby the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the known facts. The grammar was taught inductively, by volume of readings and examples rather than by strict rules.

reducent (adj/n): tending to reduce; a reducing agent.

traduce (v): to speak badly or maliciously of, to slander. This derivative is a contraction of the Latin word transducere, meaning to draw over, but also meaning to dishonor or disgrace, especially in public. She traduced her enemies; he traduced his ex-wife after she left him.

Take a quiz using these SAT prep vocabulary words.

Useful Latin Phrases:

reductio ad absurdum: a reduction to absurdity. This phrase describes the attempt to discredit an argument by extending it to an absurd but seemingly logical conclusion. Yes, Latin phrases can help you build SAT prep vocabulary.

dux femina facti: a woman as leader of the deed. This phrase can be found on some British coins, in reference to the Queen as leader of the Royal navy. Originally it was used by Virgil in the Aeneid to describe Dido as the leader of her people as they built the city Carthage in North Africa.

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