Iconoclast

“A well-known iconoclast, she continually challenged – and often undid – the antiquated practices of the manufacturing world.”

Based on the sentence above, which definition most accurately describes iconoclast?

Check your answer!

Choice A - One who debates with and ridicules all authority figures
Choice B - One who destroys ancient ruins and artifacts
Choice C - One who breaks down prevailing ideologies or institutions
Choice D - One who seeks fame by expressing their opinions loudly

Definition:

Iconoclast (noun) – one who attacks or breaks down prevalent standards, beliefs, or institutions; or, one who destroys idols of worship

Iconoclastic (adjective) – characterized by breaking rules or attacking prevalent standards, beliefs, or institutions

GRE pro tips:

You may have seen the root clast in your high school or college biology class – specifically, when studying osteoclasts, or cells that help to regulate calcium levels in the blood. The root clast comes from the Greek klastos, meaning “broken,” and klao, meaning “to break” or “to destroy.” Therefore, osteoclasts are so named because they break down bone to release calcium into the bloodstream. Likewise, biblioclasts are destroyers of books; and, iconoclasts destroy icons, or help to tear down or undo prevalent beliefs, traditions, or institutions. Iconoclastic individuals are revolutionary thinkers – ones who constantly question and work to combat the status quo.

Example sentences:

“A well-known iconoclast, she continually challenged – and often undid – the antiquated practices of the manufacturing world.”

“The university would benefit from employing more iconoclastic thinkers – those who will challenge current theories.”