Essential Academic Vocabulary for High School Students, List 2

Whether you're preparing for a standardized test, hoping to improve your comprehension of reading assignments, or simply looking to increase your word knowledge, our lists of essential, high-frequency words will put you on the path to vocabulary success.

Here are links to our lists in this collection: List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4
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definitions & notes only words
  1. potent
    having great influence
    Our memories of our youth are potent and remain so throughout our lives.
  2. precede
    be earlier in time
    The meeting of OPEC, which precedes a gathering of the wider OPEC+ alliance, started at 1320 GMT.
  3. consecutive
    one after the other
    Several years ago Pete Rose set a National League record by hitting safely in forty-four consecutive games.
  4. critical
    characterized by careful evaluation and judgment
    Over the 14 years she taught at Cardozo and the 22 years she taught at Wilson, she cultivated critical thought in her students.
  5. trivial
    of little substance or significance
    “It may be trivial as a work of art but it’s hugely important, even moving, as a record of the man himself.”
  6. cumbersome
    difficult to handle or use because of size or weight
    Weighted vests are cumbersome and unattractive, and some of the volunteers complained of back pain and other aches while wearing them.
  7. deficit
    the property of being less than expected or required
    The Huskies trailed just once all game: 2-0, a deficit that lasted all of 29 seconds.
  8. stringent
    demanding strict attention to rules and procedures
    They aren’t being made any stricter, as the current limits are already “among the most stringent in the world.”
  9. deplore
    express strong disapproval of
    They write books and articles deploring it, fire off letters to the editor, and call in to radio talk shows with their criticisms and complaints.
  10. digress
    turn aside from the main subject of attention
    Allow me to quickly digress before addressing your question directly, as your email brings up a rather helpful point.
  11. inconceivable
    totally unlikely
    “Things that were inconceivable a few years ago are now being discussed,” she said.
  12. dynamic
    characterized by action or forcefulness of personality
    Every art book Mrs. Richardson consulted described her in glowing terms: a self-taught genius, a feminist photographic pioneer, a dynamic and generous intellect.
  13. eclipse
    be greater in significance than
    A stint in the Army followed, whereupon Harvard allowed him to re-enroll, but Gabler says the infraction “would hound him throughout his life and nearly eclipse his accomplishments.”
  14. imminent
    close in time; about to occur
    The port, you see, is in imminent danger of attack by Allied planes.
  15. eminent
    standing above others in quality or position
    When he outstripped the teaching abilities of his early mentors, his mother and former San Francisco Symphony music director Alfred Hertz decided he should study with the eminent pianist Artur Schnabel.
  16. superficial
    only concerned with what is apparent or obvious
    Even when they use the correct terminology, the coverage is largely superficial and avoids serious discussion of the dire implications.
  17. enigmatic
    not clear to the understanding
    Both poets used enigmatic, allusive imagery and are considered part of the Symbolist movement, influencing artists from Debussy to Picasso to Bob Dylan.
  18. tenuous
    lacking substance or significance
    When Hoover met with White, his grip on power remained tenuous, and he was suddenly confronting the one thing that he’d done everything to avoid since becoming director: a scandal.
  19. ethereal
    characterized by lightness and insubstantiality
    The steam was so thick that the players were vague, ethereal forms in the mist.
  20. perpetual
    uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing
    “In L.A., you’re in a perpetual state of warm weather, so you seem to hang in some sort of purgatorial state.”
  21. ponder
    reflect deeply on a subject
    Odin brooded and he pondered and he thought.
  22. exacerbate
    make worse
    Last year’s blazes were exacerbated by a mild El Nino weather pattern, which prolonged the dry season.
  23. adhere
    be compatible or in accordance with
    The fashions of Victorian Britain saw the firm prosper, with widows and other female relatives adhering to a strict code of clothing and etiquette when in mourning.
  24. aloof
    distant, cold, or detached in manner
    The owner is somewhat brusque and aloof, so most interactions with staff fall to me.
  25. compensate
    make payment to
    Allotment ended in 1934, but the land taken was never restored and Indigenous peoples were never compensated for their losses.
Created on December 8, 2020 (updated January 12, 2021)

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