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Vocabulary Lists

Test Prep

100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know

American Heritage Dictionaries normally feature about 70,000 entries. From that multitude, the editors have chosen 100 words that are neither obscure nor outlandish that could give middle schoolers...
adversary, aplomb, apprehensive, aptitude, attentive, banish, barricade, more...
100 words


"Middlesex," Vocabulary from Book One

For the first-person narrator created by Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex is both a geographical neighborhood "designed for a new type of human being, who would inhabit a new world" and a physical...
liturgy, neglect, recessive, hubris, diaspora, nonchalance, obstreperous, more...
30 words

Morphology & Roots

More English Words that Derive from Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Here are 15 more common English words whose roots come from indigenous languages of the Americas. The fate of the people who spoke these languages varies greatly, from tribes lost to history that we...
ipecac, cashew, cayenne, pirana, cougar, Petunia, pecan, more...
15 words

Historical Documents

"While the World Watched," Vocabulary from the Introduction-Chapter 5

While the world watched, September 15, 1963 became a traumatic day that fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull (now also McKinstry) struggled to live past and understand. Read "While the World Watched: A...
inhumane, segregated, castrate, confrontation, ingrained, mandatory, racist, more...
35 words


Bush's Address on 9/11

On September 11, 2001, the US witnessed the tragic loss of life brought about by acts of terrorism in New York and Washington DC. That evening, President George W. Bush addressed the nation.
evil, despicable, unyielding, foundation, implemented, priority, precaution, more...
15 words

Just for Fun

Don't call it a comeback!

Whether in sports or everyday life, everyone loves a comeback story. Tales of successfully conquering the odds and returning to glory provide us with the energy to keep battling against whatever we...
resurgence, rebound, rejuvenate, invigorate, restoration, rally, muster, more...
15 words


"Class Matters," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-5

Originally a series in The New York Times, these 14 articles compiled and edited by Bill Keller give glimpses into the lives of people across America to prove that, despite our image of being the land...
integrated, mobility, elusive, impoverished, adversity, gender, heterogeneous, more...
40 words
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Vocabulary.com Blog
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, whose "Colbert Report" ends tomorrow after nine years on the air, Ben Zimmer gets the inside scoop on truthiness, Colbert's ultimate "silly word that would feel wrong in your mouth." Continue reading...
We have all seen this tired loop of "instruction": distribute word list, have students look up words, ask students to use the words in original sentences. While encouraging usage is never a bad idea, it's not realistic to expect students to pivot from definition to usage without guidance. We suggest ditching (or at least delaying) the idea of originality and instead asking students to model their sentences on usage examples written by those people who are especially skilled with using words: professional writers. Continue reading...
For my latest appearance on the Slate podcast Lexicon Valley, I take a look at a word with an origin story that seems too good to be true: grog, an alcoholic concoction, typically of rum and water, that has been making sailors groggy since the 18th century. Continue reading...
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