SAT Vocab—Altruistic

Altruism

Acts of charity are often considered altruistic.

This Week’s Word: Altruistic adj.

[al-troo-is-tik]   /ˌæl truˈɪs tɪk/

Altruistic can either describe someone who is unselfishly concerned for the welfare of others or a behavior that exhibits this quality. The noun form, altruism, is also an SAT favorite.

Synonyms: Selfless/selflessness, charitable

Antonyms: egotistic/egoism, self-centered

Origin: While the connection may not be immediately apparent, altruism and altruistic share a root with “alter” and “alternate.” All of these words come from the same Latin root, alter, meaning “the other (of two).” Altruism came into English in the latter half of the 19th century from the French altruisme, which was coined by 19th century philosopher Auguste Comte. Comte borrowed the term either from the French phrase l’autrui or the Italian altrui, meaning “others.”

Sample 1: Ms. Barrett praised Raj for his altruism, finding it refreshing to see a kindergartener so eager to share his school supplies.

Sample 2: In spite of his previous egoism, Tripp’s motives for funding the project appear to be completely altruistic; after all, there will certainly be little if any return on his investment.

Miss the last vocabulary word? Click here to find out what puerile means. Or study up on other Test Masters vocab.

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