“The coxswain plays a hortatory role; his job is to keep the rowers coordinated and keep the crew on course.”

According to what’s shown above, what is the best definition of hortatory?

Check your answer!

Choice A - Protective and nurturing in nature
Choice B - Caustic and belligerent in nature
Choice C - Tending to be loud and boisterous; often yelling
Choice D - Guiding or urging towards a specific direction


Hortatory (adjective) – aiming to strongly encourage or urge someone towards a specific course of action

GRE pro tips:

Hortatory comes from the the “exhort,” which means to strongly encourage or urge. In fact, hortatory has the same meaning as “exhorting,” which means aiming to urge or strongly encourage someone to do something. Hortatory is usually used in a positive sense to describe someone or something that is offering helpful advice or guidance. However, it can also be used in a negative sense, referring to something that is over-advising or preachy.

In ancient Roman times, the “hortator” on a boat was responsible for training, guiding, and maintaining the morale of the boat’s crew, as well as coordinating rowing. Similarly, on modern crew teams, a coxswain is the (usually small) person who sits at the front of the boat and shouts orders to help guide and coordinate the rowers – thus acting as the boat’s hortator.

Example sentences:

“The coach gave the players a hortatory speech on the importance of maintaining a strong defense.”

“Although they are both hortatory writings, one is more argumentative and the other is more prophetic.”