GRE words through Etymology: Time

One of the biggest challenges that you may face during prep is building GRE vocabulary. These are high complexity GRE words that refer to abstract concepts. Learning them, therefore is quite challenging if not done right. As a rule of thumb GRE words must be build contextually and in a way that ensures that you learn the underlying concepts that the word intends to express. One of the easiest ways to do this, is through the use of etymology.


To learn what etymology is and how you must get started with your prep to build GRE words, read this article: HOW TO BUILD GRE VOCABULARY


Let’s discuss, in this article, some words that relate to the word root -CHRON- which means “time”.

GRE words through Etymology: Chron – Time

The root CHRON- is derived from Khronos, as in Cronus the titan from greek mythology. He was the father of Zeus and the other primary gods and he was the embodiment of literal time. Words that use chron– symbolise time in a variety of aspects. 

1. chronic (adj)

A chronic disease for instance describes a disease that is persistent and long lasting. It might be considered a severe disease but that is only because it is persistent. Something that is chronic persists for a long time, it’s usually something undesirable. 

“Schools in Virginia and throughout the country are bedeviled by old and deteriorating buildings and a chronic lack of funding to renovate or rebuild.”

Related forms: chronically (adv), chronicity (n).

2. chronology (n)

This combines chron– and –logy and refers to the practice of arranging events in sequence of when they happened. It is essentially a timeline of a sequence of events. 

“The county fire department disputes this chronology, insisting the strike teams arrived hours earlier than the records indicate, and that the arrival time that’s reflected in the records was a data entry error.”

Related forms: chronological (adj), chronologically (adv), chronologist (n).

3. to chronicle (v)

To chronicle something involves keeping a record of things over a period of time, as they happen. If you are keeping a food journal that documents what you ate at 10am, and then what you ate at 1pm etc… then you are chronicling your food habits. 

“The 49-year-old businesswoman is the star if VH1’s reality TV series “Basketball Wives,” which chronicles the lives of women married to professional athletes.”

4. a chronicle (n)

The noun form of the word chronicle refers to the document itself. This could either be a video, audio, a journal or any other written record of things that happened over a period of time. Remember the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia”? That essentially refers to the ‘history’ that the three children create when they visit Narnia. It’s a book, document or any sort of record detailing events that happen over a period of time. 

Brodesser-Akner is not the first author to split a book about marriage into two parts, or to explore the unknowability of one’s spouse, or to subvert a man’s chronicle by means of a woman’s.

Related forms: chronicling (v), chronicler (n).

5. synchronous (adj) & asynchronous (adj)

As mentioned before the suffix –ous indicates that something is ‘full of’ something else. The root syn– means ‘together’. When something is synchronous it occurs together or at the same time as something else. The word ‘sync’ is a short form of synchronise. For example, when videos are recorded a camera synchronises the audio input and the video input to ensure that the video is output smoothly. 

Asynchronous, on the other hand, suggests that something is not in synch. Two or more things do not act ‘at the same time’ or together with something else. 

“The show included spectacular low passes and synchronous manoeuvres showing off the jets’ high thrust and manoeuvrability.”

“There are plenty of social tools that enable real communication through the web, albeit asynchronous.”

Related forms: synchronously (adv), synchronize (v), synchronization (n), asynchronously (adv), nonsynchronous (adj), unsynchronised (v), unsynchronous (adj).

6. chronometry (n) and chronograph (n)

The roots -metry means measurement and -graph means to measure. In context, a chronograph is a tool that can measure time very precisely. This is why some sports watches have the word “Chronograph” written on them: to show that they can measure time to a split second. Chronometry, on the other hand, is the science of measuring time very accurately. 

Related forms: chonographer (n), chronometrist (n), chronography (n).

7. anachronism (n)

The prefix ana– as used here means ‘not belonging to the right place or time’. When something is an anachronism it doesn’t fit its time period. Remember the whole controversy over the Starbucks cups in Game of Thrones? That’s a classic case of anachronism. 

“HBO confirmed on Tuesday that the rogue anachronism was digitally removed from the sprawling fantasy drama, putting an end to the so-called “Starkbucks” drama that went viral on Monday.”

Related forms: anachronous (adj), anachronistic (adj). 

8. isochronous (adj) 

The prefix iso– means ‘uniform’ or ‘equal’. When something is isochronous, it is uniform and unchanging over time. 

“The watch is not isochronous if there is both a gain and a loss in the rate, even though the time be perfect at the expiration of twenty-four hours.”


Recap of GRE words with the root chron-

1. chronic – something that occurs over a long period of time.
2. chronology –  a sequence of events. 
3. to chronicle – to record a sequence of events. 
4. a chronicle – a chronological record of events over time. 
5. synchronous – in sync.
6. asynchronous – not in sync. 
7. chronometry – the science of measuring time accurately.
8. chronograph – an accurate timer for recording time.
9. anachronism – something that doesn’t fit its time period.
10. isochronous – uniform in time, of equal time.


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