Study With It - TOEFL 500

This list, compiled by John Healy, represents must-know academic vocabulary. If you are preparing for the TOEFL, start here.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. abandon
    forsake; leave behind
  2. abstract
    existing only in the mind
  3. academy
    a learned establishment for the advancement of knowledge
  4. access
    the right to enter
  5. accommodate
    have room for; hold without crowding
  6. accompany
    go or travel along with
  7. accumulate
    get or gather together
  8. accurate
    characterized by perfect conformity to fact or truth
  9. acknowledge
    declare to be true or admit the existence or reality of
  10. acquire
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  11. adapt
    make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose
  12. adequate
    having the requisite qualities or resources to meet a task
  13. adjacent
    having a common boundary or edge
  14. adjust
    alter or regulate so as to conform to a standard
  15. administrate
    supervise or be in charge of
  16. advocate
    a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea
  17. aggregate
    a sum total of many heterogeneous things taken together
  18. aid
    the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need
  19. allocate
    distribute according to a plan or set apart for a purpose
  20. alter
    cause to change; make different
  21. alternative
    one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen
  22. ambiguous
    having more than one possible meaning
  23. amend
    make revisions to
  24. analogy
    drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity
  25. analyse
    break down into components or essential features
  26. anticipate
    regard something as probable or likely
  27. apparent
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
  28. append
    fix to; attach
  29. appreciate
    be fully aware of; realize fully
  30. approach
    move towards
  31. appropriate
    suitable for a particular person, place, or situation
  32. approximate
    not quite exact or correct
  33. arbitrary
    based on or subject to individual discretion or preference
  34. aspect
    a characteristic to be considered
  35. assemble
    create by putting components or members together
  36. assess
    estimate the nature, quality, ability or significance of
  37. assign
    select something or someone for a specific purpose
  38. assume
    take to be the case or to be true
  39. assure
    inform positively and with certainty and confidence
  40. attain
    gain with effort
  41. attitude
    a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings
  42. attribute
    a quality belonging to or characteristic of an entity
  43. authority
    the power or right to give orders or make decisions
  44. automate
    operate or make run by machines rather than human action
  45. behalf
    as the agent of or on someone's part
  46. benefit
    something that aids or promotes well-being
  47. bias
    a partiality preventing objective consideration of an issue
  48. bond
    a connection that fastens things together
  49. brief
    of short duration or distance
  50. bulk
    the property possessed by a large mass
  51. capable
    having ability
  52. capacity
    capability to perform or produce
  53. category
    a general concept that marks divisions or coordinations
  54. cease
    put an end to a state or an activity
  55. channel
    a deep and relatively narrow body of water
  56. chart
    a visual display of information
  57. chemical
    produced by reactions involving atomic or molecular changes
  58. circumstance
    the set of facts that surround a situation or event
  59. cite
    make reference to
  60. civil
    of or occurring between or among citizens of the state
  61. clarify
    make clear by removing impurities or solids, as by heating
  62. clause
    a separate section of a legal document
  63. coherent
    marked by an orderly and consistent relation of parts
  64. coincide
    happen simultaneously
  65. collapse
    break down, literally or metaphorically
  66. colleague
    an associate that one works with
  67. commence
    set in motion, cause to start
  68. comment
    a statement that expresses a personal opinion
  69. commission
    the act of granting authority to undertake certain functions
  70. commit
    engage in or perform
  71. commodity
    articles of commerce
  72. communicate
    transfer to another
  73. community
    a group of people living in a particular local area
  74. compatible
    able to exist and perform in harmonious combination
  75. compensate
    make amends for
  76. compile
    get or gather together
  77. compliment
    a remark expressing praise and admiration
  78. component
    one of the individual parts making up a larger entity
  79. compound
    a whole formed by a union of two or more elements or parts
  80. comprehensive
    including all or everything
  81. comprise
    be made of
  82. conceive
    have the idea for
  83. concept
    an abstract or general idea inferred from specific instances
  84. conclude
    bring to a close
  85. concurrent
    occurring or operating at the same time
  86. conduct
    the way a person behaves toward other people
  87. confer
    present
  88. confine
    place limits on
  89. conflict
    an open clash between two opposing groups
  90. conform
    be similar, be in line with
  91. consent
    give an affirmative reply to; respond favorably to
  92. consequent
    following or accompanying as a result
  93. considerable
    large in number, amount, extent, or degree
  94. consist
    have its essential character
  95. constant
    uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
  96. constitute
    form or compose
  97. constrain
    hold back
  98. construct
    make by combining materials and parts
  99. consult
    seek information from
  100. consume
    take in as food
  101. contact
    the act of touching physically
  102. contemporary
    occurring in the same period of time
  103. context
    the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation
  104. contradict
    prove negative; show to be false
  105. contrary
    exact opposition
  106. contrast
    the opposition or dissimilarity of things that are compared
  107. contribute
    provide
  108. controversy
    a dispute where there is strong disagreement
  109. convene
    meet formally
  110. gnaw
    bite or chew on with the teeth
  111. converse
    carry on a discussion
  112. convert
    change the nature, purpose, or function of something
  113. convince
    make realize the truth or validity of something
  114. cooperate
    work together on a common enterprise of project
  115. coordinate
    of equal importance, rank, or degree
  116. core
    the center of an object
  117. corporate
    of or belonging to a business firm
  118. correspond
    take the place of or be parallel or equivalent to
  119. credit
    an estimate of ability to fulfill financial commitments
  120. criterion
    the ideal in terms of which something can be judged
  121. crucial
    of extreme importance; vital to the resolution of a crisis
  122. culture
    all the knowledge and values shared by a society
  123. currency
    the metal or paper medium of exchange that is presently used
  124. cycle
    a periodically repeated sequence of events
  125. data
    a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn
  126. debate
    a discussion with reasons for and against some proposal
  127. decade
    a period of 10 years
  128. decline
    grow worse
  129. deduce
    reason from the general to the particular
  130. define
    show the form or outline of
  131. definite
    precise; explicit and clearly defined
  132. demonstrate
    give an exhibition of to an interested audience
  133. denote
    have as a meaning
  134. deny
    declare untrue; contradict
  135. depress
    push down
  136. derive
    come from
  137. despite
    contemptuous disregard
  138. detect
    discover or determine the existence, presence, or fact of
  139. deviate
    turn aside; turn away from
  140. device
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  141. devote
    dedicate
  142. differentiate
    acquire a distinct character
  143. dimension
    a construct distinguishing objects or individuals
  144. diminish
    decrease in size, extent, or range
  145. discrete
    constituting a separate entity or part
  146. discriminate
    marked by the ability to see or make fine distinctions
  147. displace
    cause to move, usually with force or pressure
  148. display
    something intended to communicate a particular impression
  149. dispose
    give, sell, or transfer to another
  150. distinct
    constituting a separate entity or part
  151. distort
    twist and press out of shape
  152. diverse
    distinctly dissimilar or unlike
  153. domain
    a particular environment or walk of life
  154. domestic
    of or relating to the home
  155. dominate
    be in control
  156. draft
    a current of air
  157. duration
    the period of time during which something continues
  158. dynamic
    characterized by action or forcefulness of personality
  159. economy
    the system of production and distribution and consumption
  160. edit
    prepare for publication or presentation by revising
  161. element
    a substance that cannot be separated into simpler substances
  162. eliminate
    end, take out, or do away with
  163. emerge
    come out into view, as from concealment
  164. emphasis
    intensity or forcefulness of expression
  165. empirical
    derived from experiment and observation rather than theory
  166. enable
    provide the means to perform some task
  167. encounter
    come together
  168. enforce
    compel to behave in a certain way
  169. enhance
    increase
  170. enormous
    extraordinarily large in size or extent or degree
  171. ensure
    make certain of
  172. entity
    that which is perceived to have its own distinct existence
  173. environment
    the totality of surrounding conditions
  174. equate
    consider or describe as similar or analogous
  175. equip
    provide with, usually for a specific purpose
  176. equivalent
    being essentially equal to something
  177. erode
    remove soil or rock
  178. establish
    set up or found
  179. estate
    extensive landed property retained by the owner
  180. estimate
    judge tentatively
  181. ethic
    the principles of right and wrong for an individual or group
  182. ethnic
    distinctive of the ways of living of a group of people
  183. evaluate
    estimate the nature, quality, ability or significance of
  184. eventual
    expected to follow in the indefinite future
  185. evident
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
  186. evolve
    undergo development
  187. exceed
    be or do something to a greater degree
  188. exclude
    prevent from entering; shut out
  189. exhibit
    show; make visible or apparent
  190. expand
    extend in one or more directions
  191. explicit
    precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable
  192. exploit
    use or manipulate to one's advantage
  193. export
    sell or transfer abroad
  194. expose
    show; make visible or apparent
  195. external
    happening or arising outside some limits or surface
  196. extract
    remove, usually with some force or effort
  197. facilitate
    make easier
  198. factor
    anything that contributes causally to a result
  199. feature
    a prominent attribute or aspect of something
  200. federal
    of a government with central and regional authorities
  201. finance
    the commercial activity of providing funds and capital
  202. finite
    bounded in magnitude or spatial or temporal extent
  203. flexible
    able to bend easily
  204. fluctuate
    move or sway in a rising and falling or wavelike pattern
  205. format
    the general appearance of a publication
  206. formula
    a group of symbols that make a mathematical statement
  207. forthcoming
    at ease in talking to others
  208. foundation
    the basis on which something is grounded
  209. found
    food and lodging provided in addition to money
  210. framework
    the underlying structure
  211. function
    what something is used for
  212. fund
    a reserve of money set aside for some purpose
  213. fundamental
    serving as an essential component
  214. furthermore
    in addition
  215. gender
    the biological or cultural traits associated with one sex
  216. generation
    group of genetically related organisms in a line of descent
  217. grant
    let have
  218. guarantee
    an unconditional commitment that something will happen
  219. guideline
    a rule that provides direction for appropriate behavior
  220. hence
    from that fact or reason or as a result
  221. hierarchy
    a series of ordered groupings within a system
  222. highlight
    an area of lightness in a picture
  223. hypothesis
    a tentative insight that is not yet verified or tested
  224. ideology
    an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group
  225. ignorance
    the lack of knowledge or education
  226. illustrate
    depict with a visual representation
  227. image
    a visual representation produced on a surface
  228. immigrate
    come into a new country and change residency
  229. impact
    the striking of one body against another
  230. implement
    a piece of equipment or a tool used for a specific purpose
  231. implicate
    bring into intimate and incriminating connection
  232. implicit
    suggested though not directly expressed
  233. imply
    express or state indirectly
  234. impose
    charge and collect payment
  235. incentive
    a positive motivational influence
  236. incidence
    the relative frequency of occurrence of something
  237. incline
    lower or bend, as in a nod or bow
  238. income
    the financial gain accruing over a given period of time
  239. incorporate
    make into a whole or make part of a whole
  240. index
    alphabetical listing of names and topics with page numbers
  241. indicate
    designate a place, direction, person, or thing
  242. individual
    being or characteristic of a single thing or person
  243. induce
    cause to act in a specified manner
  244. inevitable
    incapable of being avoided or prevented
  245. infer
    conclude by reasoning
  246. infrastructure
    the basic features of a system or organization
  247. inherent
    existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
  248. inhibit
    limit the range or extent of
  249. initial
    occurring at the beginning
  250. initiate
    set in motion, start an event or prepare the way for
  251. injure
    cause bodily harm to
  252. innovate
    bring something new to an environment
  253. input
    signal going into an electronic system
  254. insert
    introduce
  255. insight
    clear or deep perception of a situation
  256. inspect
    look over carefully
  257. instance
    an item of information that is typical of a class or group
  258. institute
    set up or lay the groundwork for
  259. instruct
    impart skills or knowledge to
  260. integral
    existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
  261. integrate
    make into a whole or make part of a whole
  262. integrity
    an undivided or unbroken completeness with nothing wanting
  263. intelligence
    the ability to comprehend
  264. intense
    possessing a distinctive feature to a heightened degree
  265. interact
    do something together or with others
  266. intermediate
    lying between two extremes in time, space, or state
  267. internal
    located inward
  268. interpret
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
  269. interval
    the distance between things
  270. intervene
    be placed or located between other things
  271. intrinsic
    belonging to a thing by its very nature
  272. invest
    lay out money or resources in an enterprise
  273. invoke
    request earnestly; ask for aid or protection
  274. involve
    contain as a part
  275. isolate
    place or set apart
  276. item
    a distinct part that can be specified separately in a group
  277. journal
    a daily written record of experiences and observations
  278. justify
    show to be right by providing proof
  279. label
    a brief description given for purposes of identification
  280. labour
    productive work (especially physical work done for wages)
  281. layer
    a single thickness of some substance or material
  282. legislate
    make laws or bills
  283. levy
    impose and collect
  284. liberal
    showing or characterized by broad-mindedness
  285. license
    a legal document giving official permission to do something
  286. likewise
    in like or similar manner
  287. locate
    determine the place of by searching or examining
  288. logic
    the branch of philosophy that analyzes inference
  289. maintain
    keep in a certain state, position, or activity
  290. manipulate
    influence or control shrewdly or deviously
  291. manual
    of or relating to the hands
  292. margin
    the boundary line or area immediately inside the boundary
  293. mature
    having reached full natural growth or development
  294. maximise
    make as big or large as possible
  295. mechanism
    device consisting of a piece of machinery
  296. mediate
    act between parties with a view to reconciling differences
  297. medical
    relating to the study or practice of medicine
  298. mental
    involving the mind or an intellectual process
  299. method
    a way of doing something, especially a systematic way
  300. migrate
    move from one country or region to another and settle there
  301. military
    the armed forces of a nation
  302. minimal
    the least possible
  303. minimise
    make small or insignificant
  304. minimum
    the smallest possible quantity
  305. ministry
    the work of a person authorized to conduct religious worship
  306. minor
    inferior in number or size or amount
  307. mode
    how something is done or how it happens
  308. modify
    cause to change; make different
  309. monitor
    someone who observes to ensure fairness or prevent mistakes
  310. motive
    the reason that arouses action toward a desired goal
  311. mutual
    common to or shared by two or more parties
  312. negate
    make ineffective by counterbalancing the effect of
  313. network
    an open fabric woven together at regular intervals
  314. neutral
    having no personal preference
  315. nevertheless
    despite anything to the contrary
  316. nonetheless
    despite anything to the contrary
  317. norm
    a standard or model or pattern regarded as typical
  318. notion
    a general inclusive concept
  319. notwithstanding
    despite anything to the contrary
  320. nuclear
    constituting the core or central part
  321. objective
    the goal intended to be attained
  322. obtain
    come into possession of
  323. obvious
    easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind
  324. occupy
    live in (a certain place)
  325. occur
    come to pass
  326. offset
    a compensating equivalent
  327. ongoing
    currently happening
  328. orient
    the eastern hemisphere
  329. outcome
    something that results
  330. output
    production of a certain amount
  331. overall
    involving only main features
  332. overlap
    extend over and cover a part of
  333. overseas
    beyond or across the ocean
  334. panel
    sheet that forms a distinct section of something
  335. paradigm
    a standard or typical example
  336. paragraph
    one of several distinct subdivisions of a text
  337. parallel
    being everywhere equidistant and not intersecting
  338. parameter
    a constant in the equation of a curve that can be varied
  339. participate
    be involved in
  340. partner
    a person who is a member of a cooperative relationship
  341. passive
    lacking in energy or will
  342. perceive
    become aware of through the senses
  343. percent
    a proportion in relation to a whole
  344. period
    an amount of time
  345. persist
    refuse to stop
  346. perspective
    a way of regarding situations or topics
  347. phase
    any distinct time period in a sequence of events
  348. phenomenon
    any state or process known through the senses
  349. philosophy
    the rational investigation of existence and knowledge
  350. physical
    involving the body as distinguished from the mind or spirit
  351. plus
    on the positive side or higher end of a scale
  352. policy
    a plan of action adopted by an individual or social group
  353. portion
    something determined in relation to a thing that includes it
  354. pose
    assume a bearing as for artistic purposes
  355. positive
    characterized by or displaying affirmation or acceptance
  356. potential
    existing in possibility
  357. practitioner
    someone who carries out a learned profession
  358. precede
    be earlier in time
  359. precise
    sharply exact or accurate or delimited
  360. predominant
    having superior power and influence
  361. preliminary
    preceding or in preparation for something more important
  362. presume
    take to be the case or to be true
  363. previous
    just preceding something else in time or order
  364. primary
    of first rank or importance or value
  365. prior
    earlier in time
  366. priority
    status established in order of importance or urgency
  367. proceed
    move ahead; travel onward in time or space
  368. prohibit
    command against
  369. promote
    assign to a higher position
  370. proportion
    relation with respect to comparative quantity or magnitude
  371. prospect
    the possibility of future success
  372. protocol
    forms of ceremony and etiquette observed by officials
  373. psychology
    the science of mental life
  374. publish
    prepare and issue for public distribution or sale
  375. purchase
    acquire by means of a financial transaction
  376. pursue
    follow in an effort to capture
  377. qualitative
    involving distinguishing attributes
  378. radical
    far beyond the norm
  379. random
    lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
  380. range
    a variety of different things or activities
  381. ratio
    relation with respect to comparative quantity or magnitude
  382. rational
    consistent with or based on or using reason
  383. react
    show a response to something
  384. recover
    regain or make up for
  385. refine
    reduce to a pure state
  386. regime
    the governing authority of a political unit
  387. region
    the extended spatial location of something
  388. register
    an official written record of names or events
  389. regulate
    bring into conformity with rules or principles or usage
  390. reinforce
    strengthen and support with rewards
  391. reject
    refuse to accept or acknowledge
  392. relax
    make less taut
  393. release
    grant freedom to; free from confinement
  394. relevant
    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
  395. reluctance
    a certain degree of unwillingness
  396. rely
    have confidence or faith in
  397. remove
    take something away as by lifting, pushing, or taking off
  398. require
    have need of
  399. research
    a seeking for knowledge
  400. reside
    live in
  401. resolve
    find a solution or answer
  402. resource
    aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed
  403. respond
    show a reaction to something
  404. restore
    bring back into original existence, function, or position
  405. restrain
    hold back
  406. restrict
    limit access to
  407. retain
    secure and keep for possible future use or application
  408. reveal
    make visible
  409. revenue
    the entire amount of income before any deductions are made
  410. reverse
    change to the contrary
  411. revise
    make changes to
  412. revolution
    a single complete turn
  413. rigid
    incapable of or resistant to bending
  414. role
    the actions and activities assigned to a person or group
  415. route
    an established line of travel or access
  416. scenario
    a postulated sequence of possible events
  417. schedule
    a list of times at which things are planned to occur
  418. scheme
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
  419. secure
    free from danger or risk
  420. seek
    try to locate, discover, or establish the existence of
  421. select
    pick out or choose from a number of alternatives
  422. sequence
    a following of one thing after another in time
  423. series
    similar things placed in order or one after another
  424. shift
    move very slightly
  425. significant
    rich in implication
  426. similar
    having the same or nearly the same characteristics
  427. scope
    the state of the environment in which a situation exists
  428. section
    one of several parts or pieces that fit with others
  429. sector
    a particular aspect of life or activity
  430. sequence
    a following of one thing after another in time
  431. shift
    move very slightly
  432. significant
    rich in implication
  433. simulate
    reproduce someone's behavior or looks
  434. so-called
    doubtful or suspect
  435. sole
    the underside of the foot
  436. somewhat
    to a small degree or extent
  437. specific
    stated explicitly or in detail
  438. specify
    be particular about
  439. sphere
    a round three-dimensional closed surface
  440. stable
    resistant to change of position or condition
  441. status
    the condition or someone or something at a particular time
  442. straightforward
    pointed directly ahead
  443. strategy
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
  444. structure
    a complex entity made of many parts
  445. subordinate
    an assistant subject to the authority or control of another
  446. subsequent
    following in time or order
  447. subsidy
    a grant paid by a government to an enterprise
  448. substitute
    a person or thing that can take the place of another
  449. successor
    a person who follows next in order
  450. sufficient
    of a quantity that can fulfill a need or requirement
  451. summary
    a brief statement that presents the main points
  452. supplement
    an additional component that improves capability
  453. survey
    consider in a comprehensive way
  454. survive
    continue in existence after
  455. suspend
    bar temporarily
  456. sustain
    lengthen or extend in duration or space
  457. symbol
    something visible that represents something invisible
  458. target
    a reference point to shoot at
  459. technique
    a practical method or art applied to some particular task
  460. technology
    the practical application of science to commerce or industry
  461. temporary
    not permanent; not lasting
  462. tense
    taut or rigid; stretched tight
  463. terminate
    bring to an end or halt
  464. text
    the words of something written
  465. theme
    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  466. theory
    a belief that can guide behavior
  467. thereby
    by that means or because of that
  468. thesis
    an unproved statement advanced as a premise in an argument
  469. topic
    the subject matter of a conversation or discussion
  470. trace
    an indication that something has been present
  471. transfer
    move from one place to another
  472. transform
    change or alter in appearance or nature
  473. transit
    a journey
  474. transmit
    send from one person or place to another
  475. transport
    move something or somebody around
  476. trend
    a general tendency to change, as of opinion
  477. trigger
    lever that activates the firing mechanism of a gun
  478. ultimate
    furthest or highest in degree or order; utmost or extreme
  479. undergo
    pass through
  480. underlie
    be underneath
  481. undertake
    enter upon an activity or enterprise
  482. uniform
    clothing of distinctive design worn by members of a group
  483. unify
    join or combine
  484. unique
    the single one of its kind
  485. utilise
    put into service
  486. valid
    well grounded in logic or truth or having legal force
  487. vary
    become different in some particular way
  488. vehicle
    a conveyance that transports people or objects
  489. version
    something a little different from others of the same type
  490. vivacious
    vigorous and animated
  491. violate
    fail to agree with; go against
  492. virtual
    being actually such in almost every respect
  493. visible
    capable of being seen or open to easy view
  494. visual
    relating to or using sight
  495. volume
    the property of something that is great in magnitude
  496. voluntary
    of your own free will or design
  497. welfare
    something that aids or promotes well-being
  498. wobbly
    inclined to shake as from weakness or defect
  499. contradiction
    opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas
  500. xenophobia
    a fear of foreigners or strangers

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