Essential Academic Vocabulary for High School Students, List 4

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. paradox
    a statement that contradicts itself
    The need to nurture living things, I believe, flows from our own innate knowledge that life is laden with paradox: It is both robust and fragile, enduring and fleeting, commonplace and yet so precious.
  2. pensive
    deeply or seriously thoughtful
    "So far, he's pensive and cautious. Very alert, bright-eyed," she said.
  3. precipitate
    bring about abruptly
    Their allures set world exploration in motion, fueled sailing expeditions around the Cape of Good Hope, precipitated the establishment of colonies.
  4. contract
    become smaller or draw together
    “My scale of vision seemed to contract, and I looked less for the grand sweep than for the telling detail,” she wrote in “Conundrum.”
  5. preclude
    keep from happening or arising
    An examination was quietly begun by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency off the bank premises to preclude local panic.
  6. complement
    make perfect or supply what is wanting
    Banchan are one of the great joys of Korean cuisine, complementing the entree, such as a grilled meat or a bubbling stew, but treasured in their own right.
  7. proficient
    having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude
    She and her classmates are expected to be proficient readers in third grade, when they will start taking high-stakes standardized exams.
  8. disposition
    your usual mood
    Despite his cheery disposition, I knew my dad hated what he did for a living.
  9. pungent
    strong and sharp to the sense of taste or smell
    I used shallots instead of garlic and added a little oil to turn it into a sweet, pungent dressing.
  10. redundant
    more than is needed, desired, or required
    In this zone, infrared sensors checked for movement, with strands of taut wire and electromagnetic green wire providing redundant protection.
  11. corollary
    an inference following from the proof of another proposition
    A corollary of this truth is that the best way to project power is not to do wrong secretly but to do good openly.
  12. relinquish
    turn away from; give up
    Gove said EU demands on fishing were “not fair,” but EU nations such as France are reluctant to relinquish their access to British waters.
  13. burgeon
    grow and flourish
    She was the little girl whose vocabulary burgeoned as she devoured book after book, and the student who earned a degree and went back for one more.
  14. revitalize
    give new life or vigor to
    Huelva is in a period of transformation, with an energized band of community leaders, educators, artists and environmentalists dedicated to revitalizing the city.
  15. impervious
    not admitting of passage or capable of being affected
    The virus produced by the mink mutation, on the other hand, seems impervious to antibodies produced in response to the dominant strain of the virus.
  16. rudimentary
    being in the earliest stages of development
    One theory goes that Neanderthals developed their rudimentary culture only after early modern humans arrived in Europe some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.
  17. sensory
    relating to or concerned in sensation
    If it’s the former, try to stay tuned in to the sensory aspects of your food as you’re eating — the taste, texture, temperature and aroma — as well as signs that you are getting full.
  18. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    When we later saw a copy of the photograph, most of the faces were solemn and severe.
  19. condescending
    characteristic of those who treat others with arrogance
    Jack didn’t say this in a mocking or condescending tone.
  20. static
    not in physical motion
    He films mainly in static, fixed-focus shots, in which two characters are together, talking deliberately, weighing their words with the gravity of the life-and-death situations that they’re confronting.
  21. sustainable
    capable of being prolonged
    “Our more focused business model is paying off and we see a substantial part of our revenue growth as sustainable,” Sewing said in a statement accompanying the earnings release on Wednesday.
  22. tentative
    hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
    “Everyone’s a little tentative when they walk into buildings now. One of the things that will immediately put people at ease is when they see cleaning happening.”
  23. engross
    devote fully to
    But she is engrossed in her internship with a U.S. congressional candidate’s campaign and aims to find a job in politics or lobbying in Washington, D.C., after graduating next spring.
  24. transient
    lasting a very short time
    If they're transient, that means they only last a short while.
  25. superfluous
    more than is needed, desired, or required
    And though nonlawyers might assume that the language of contracts, such as the party of the first part, must serve some legal purpose, most of it is superfluous.
Created on December 9, 2020 (updated January 12, 2021)

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