I had a GRE question that needed me to select the best 2 options that complete the text:

The doctor’s real mistake, from the perspective of his _____ professional friends who quickly jilted him, was not that his choice of treatment was inappropriate, but rather that it was viscerally objectionable to the medical establishment.

a) squeamish
b) fickle
c) staunch
d) inconstant
e) orthodox
f) stodgy

My answer with the reasoning:

As his professional friends were saying that his answer was correct but they object it primarily because it was objectionable to medical establishment. So it gives the impression that they are clinging to old established beliefs rather than looking whether it is actually apt here. So I chose options f) stodgy and e) orthodox because both of there refers to people who are very obsessed with old traditional ways of doing things.

Is my reasoning correct?

My class were divided when we were discussing this question. The chosen options were b) fickle and d) inconstant.


"viscerally objectionable" means they weren't acting rationally but from "feelings". So orthodox is probably not the right choice: they weren't giving an orthodox "best practices" rationale, but were reacting emotionally

Stodgy suggests an unemotional state, more or less opposite of "visceral". So we eliminate it too.

His friends are fickle for abandoning him.

His friends are inconstant for abandoning him.

If we had to decide between those two, which mean much the same, I'd say that "jilted" is sort of a jaunty way of describing the professional situation, and "fickle" fits that tone better than "inconstant".

  • I saw jilted in dictionary and it says just about leaving a lover so got confused . so does it mean anything done capriciously or whimsical ?merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jilt – Learner Dec 27 '14 at 18:31
  • Note : select two options ... sorry .. i will update question now – Learner Dec 27 '14 at 18:33
  • I'll revise my answer in light your edit. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 27 '14 at 18:38
  • This would be a figurative use of 'jilt'. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 27 '14 at 18:40
  • google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 12 '15 at 18:12

Viscerally objectionable means literally that the doctors' objections to the proposed treatment arose in their viscera, in their guts—suggesting that the phrase is a a mock-medical euphemism for "made them sick to their stomachs".

The only adjective that seems to fit that reading is squeamish, for which the first definition given by Collins is:

  1. easily sickened or nauseated, as by the sight of blood

I key on the words viscerally objectionable.

So to me,

b) fickle

is the best match. Based on a definition of fickle:

changeable or unstable in affection, interest, loyalty, etc.; capricious

I would consider this the most dangerous in a medical environment.

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