Academic Vocabulary Toolkit Complete

The Academic Vocabulary Toolkit focuses on words used across different subject areas and careers in spoken and written communication. Learn these lists to help you succeed in school and work: Words 1-10, Words 11-20, Words 21-30, Words 31-40, Words 41-50, Words 51-60, Words 61-70, Words 71-80, Words 81-90, Words 91-100

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. accurate
    conforming exactly or almost exactly to a standard
    Can I be sure the rankings are fully accurate and reliable?Newsweek
  2. adequate
    having the requisite qualities or resources to meet a task
    What use is a law without adequate resources to enforce it?Time (May 29, 2014)
    Synonyms for "adequate" that start with "a" are: average, acceptable, all right. But to truly get an A in life, you should aim to be amazing.
  3. advantage
    benefit resulting from some event or action
    The drive to left field gave the A’s a 5-4 advantage.Washington Times (Jun 5, 2014)
  4. analysis
    an investigation of the component parts of a whole
    Analysis of data from England and Wales shows air pollution is particularly harmful in the elderly.BBC (Jun 4, 2014)
  5. analyze
    break down into components or essential features
    A baseball coach raved about using his iPad to help his players analyze and improve their swing.Forbes (Jun 2, 2014)
  6. appropriate
    suitable for a particular person, place, or situation
    He appointed the experts to evaluate whether patients are getting appropriate treatment.Washington Times (Jun 4, 2014)
    When pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, "appropriate" is an adjective. When pronounced with the accent on the last syllable, "appropriate" is a verb that describes an inappropriate action: take possession of by force, as after an invasion.
  7. argue
    present reasons to support one's views
    She has argued that the jury reached the correct verdict in the case.Washington Post
  8. argument
    an assertion offered as evidence that something is true
    The argument is that a global climate policy will speed the development of renewables.New York Times (Jun 2, 2014)
    Both the definitions and example sentences for "argue" and "argument" are for reasonable ways of talking and thinking. But both the verb and noun can also refer to disagreements and fights that can get loud and ugly.
  9. assume
    take to be the case or to be true
    “I assume they are at home, sleeping. It is four in the morning, after all,” Mama said.Number the Stars
  10. assumption
    a statement that is held to be true
    Lorenz’s work reminds us exactly why, in today’s unsettled economy, it can be difficult to make assumptions about what will happen next.Forbes (May 29, 2014)
  11. aware
    having or showing knowledge or understanding or realization
    Perhaps there is a story between the two that I wasn’t aware of?Forbes (Jun 10, 2014)
  12. beneficial
    promoting or enhancing well-being
    “It will be interesting to see how beneficial this rainfall has been in the short term.”Washington Times (Jun 8, 2014)
  13. benefit
    something that aids or promotes well-being
    And how do you compare the benefits of vegetables versus fruits?Washington Post
    "Benefit" and "advantage" are synonyms (see list for Words 1-10). Both are used as nouns in the example sentences here and in your workbook, but they can also both be verbs that mean "to be helpful or useful to."
  14. cause
    a justification for something existing or happening
    Winning the World Cup would be cause for the world’s biggest street party.Time (Jun 9, 2014)
    A cause can also be a goal that people support and work toward. A soccer goal is too small to be considered a cause. But the goal of winning the World Cup and bringing honor to one's country could be considered a worthy cause. If that happens, then that would be a reasonable cause to have a really big party.
  15. cause
    make act in a specified manner
    A couple of problems caused the Jabulani to fly every which way but straight.Washington Post
  16. challenge
    a demanding or stimulating situation
    Sometimes that can pose the most difficult challenge because you can only advance to a level that your mind perceives is possible.Forbes (Jun 10, 2014)
    Note the letters of the word "call" are also in "challenge"--this might be helpful for remembering that you can challenge someone by calling the person out for a contest or fight. Or you can challenge an idea by calling attention to it and demanding an explanation. Both "call" and "challenge" can be used as nouns or verbs.
  17. challenging
    requiring full use of your abilities or resources
    “It’s challenging, but for a championship you don’t want it easy.”Washington Times (Jun 7, 2014)
  18. character
    an imaginary person represented in a work of fiction
    Players create their own character and try to save a city in which an addictive energy drink has turned everyone into mutants.Time (Jun 10, 2014)
    What you're reading right now are characters (written symbols) on the screen. On a larger scale, you might meet characters (people) in real life, video games, or fictional works. On getting to know them, you might discover their characters (personal features that make them unique) that would help you figure out how they would act or how you might act towards them.
  19. characteristic
    a distinguishing quality
    “Well,” it was explained, “we have to match your eye color and characteristics.”New York Times (Jun 10, 2014)
    "Characteristic" is used as a noun here. But it has the suffix -ic which is characteristic of adjectives. As an adjective, it means "typical or distinctive." Eye color is a physical characteristic; members of the same family might share a characteristic trait of violet eyes.
  20. compare
    examine and note the similarities or differences of
    The researchers said comparing Neanderthals to modern man is like comparing apples and oranges.Washington Post
  21. comparison
    relation based on similarities and differences
    Hockey ratings suffer in comparison to basketball and especially football.Los Angeles Times (Jun 9, 2014)
  22. conclude
    come to a close
    It was still empty even after the ceremony started and concluded.Absalom, Absalom!
  23. conclusion
    a position or opinion reached after consideration
    Some have challenged Professor Whitehouse’s conclusions, pointing out that teenagers are made to read and pass tests far too often.The Guardian (Jun 9, 2014)
    Compare with "assumption" in the list for Words 1-10. Sometimes, the two words are used as synonyms. But keep in mind the given definition of "conclude" as a verb. This might be helpful in remembering that a conclusion usually comes at the end of a lot of thinking. A conclusion can also agree or disagree with an assumption that had been made earlier.
  24. consequence
    the outcome of an event
    But just like on Halloween, overdoing it has predictable consequences: a huge tummy ache.Time (Jun 3, 2014)
  25. consequently
    as a result
    But, of course, he had never felt old and, consequently, had never looked it.The New Yorker (Feb 3, 2014)
  26. consider
    think about carefully; weigh
    Consider what you’re comfortable doing and then take one step beyond that.Forbes (Jun 9, 2014)
    Consider this: a person who is considerate would always think carefully before having and sharing an opinion about something or someone.
  27. contrast
    be different; display differences when compared
    U.S. policy on Vietnam contrasts with the U.S. position on the Philippines.Forbes (May 17, 2014)
  28. contribute
    “We had so many people contribute in so many different ways,” Gillaspie said.Washington Times (Jun 10, 2014)
    People can contribute in so many different ways: money, resources, thoughts, or actions. The contributions can be made to so many different things: charities, classroom discussions, baseball games, fields of knowledge...
  29. contribution
    a voluntary gift made to some worthwhile cause
    In just five years, your $10 contribution to your future self is worth $39,000 at a market rate of return.Forbes (Jun 6, 2014)
  30. convince
    make realize the truth or validity of something
    You want to try to convince them that it’s all going to be okay.Time (Jun 10, 2014)
  31. convincing
    causing one to believe the truth of something
    Lovato explains that she saw a “really convincing documentary” about mermaids.Salon (Jun 5, 2014)
  32. define
    determine the nature of
    "This will not define us. While it is a temporary challenge, this will not break us. We will recover and we will be stronger."The Guardian (Jun 5, 2014)
    The definition in your workbook focuses on explaining the meanings of words or ideas. This is usually a fine thing to do. But in Latin, "finis" means "end, limit" (seen in "final" and "finish"). This is why people do not want to be defined.
  33. demonstrate
    show the validity of something, as by example or explanation
    "Study after study demonstrates that when you put money into the pockets of consumers, they spend it," Munoz said.Reuters (May 28, 2014)
  34. demonstration
    a visual presentation showing how something works
    During a demonstration on stage, developers showed off the new abilities of the game’s protagonist, Sackboy, including flying and wall-jumping.Time (Jun 9, 2014)
    In Latin, "monstrare" means "to show"--this is the most important part of the verb "demonstrate" and the noun "demonstration." A demonstration can show that something is true, show how something works, show how a group feels, or show military force.
  35. describe
    give a statement representing something
    When asked to describe Chrome’s morning workout, Delgado said he “was like a monster.”Time (Jun 8, 2014)
  36. description
    a statement that represents something in words
    Based on her description, the police were able to come up with a sketch.New York Times (Jun 5, 2014)
  37. develop
    gain through experience
    Envision yourself a leader and seek opportunities to develop leadership skills.US News (Jun 10, 2014)
    The definition given here is similar to the one in your workbook about changing and growing. Almost everything that already exists can develop; this includes the changing and growing of people, animals, countries, situations, or ideas. But you could also develop something completely new, such as technology or an essay. The most important thing to remember about development is that it is a process that takes time and energy.
  38. development
    a process in which something passes to a different stage
    The balance work benefits kids’ brain and muscle development, Birnes said, and helps with coordination.Washington Post
  39. elaborate
    add details, as to an account or idea
    He told her to be more polite and not to elaborate on questions that could be answered with one word.Washington Post
    When the last syllable "ate" is pronounced with a long "a" sound, "elaborate" is a verb. When the last syllable is pronounced to sound like "it" then "elaborate" is an adjective. An elaborate idea or thing has been carefully developed with lots of rich and complex details.
  40. emphasis
    special importance or significance
    There will be international film, for instance, but the emphasis will be domestic, perhaps leaning toward Los Angeles.New York Times (Jun 9, 2014)
  41. emphasize
    stress or single out as important
    I cannot emphasize enough how important having connections is.Forbes (May 31, 2014)
  42. essential
    of the greatest importance
    For some styles of cheese, wood is an essential part of the process.New York Times (Jun 10, 2014)
  43. evidence
    means by which an alleged matter is established or disproved
    Follow the evidence, and always remember: You could be wrong--and there's nothing wrong with that, unless you refuse to admit you were wrong.Los Angeles Times (Jun 9, 2014)
  44. expert
    a person with special knowledge who performs skillfully
    Experts generally agree that the first two years of a cat's life are equal to 25 human years.BBC (Jun 11, 2014)
  45. expertise
    skillfulness by virtue of possessing special knowledge
    "They all have a broad knowledge but also particular expertise of a different genre of music."The Guardian (May 25, 2014)
  46. explain
    make plain and comprehensible
    Even most people who claim to understand it can’t clearly explain it, and you can forgive a certain amount of confusion.Slate (Jun 9, 2014)
    Compare with "define" and "elaborate" in the list for Words 31-40. All three words have similar meanings, but each needs a different amount of details. Explaining something usually needs more details than defining it. Someone who is explaining should stop once something is clear, while someone who is elaborating would go on to add extra details to make the point prettier or more powerful.
  47. explanation
    making something plain or intelligible
    A simple explanation of the rules would work wonders.Forbes (Jun 6, 2014)
  48. factor
    anything that contributes causally to a result
    The cause of the crash is under investigation, but authorities say speed may have been a factor.Washington Times (Jun 5, 2014)
    Compare with "cause" in the list for Words 11-20. As this example sentence shows, the two words are synonyms. They are used as nouns here, but they can also both be verbs. As a verb, "factor" is used with the preposition "in" or "into" (for example: speed factored into the crash).
  49. identify
    recognize as being
    “It’s easy to identify the country as the U.S.”Washington Times (Jun 11, 2014)
  50. identity
    the characteristics by which a thing or person is known
    "In the movies, people who are threatened undergo plastic surgery, change their identities, leave the country."The Guardian (Jun 8, 2014)
  51. impact
    a forceful consequence; a strong effect
    "So his loss is going to have a huge impact on his friends, his classmates, the staff and the wider school family."BBC (Jun 9, 2014)
    Compare with "consequence" in the list for Words 21-30. As the definitions here and in your workbook show, the presence of force or strength is important for an impact. An impact can happen immediately and last a second or millions of years. A consequence must come after something else (note its connection to sequence).
  52. include
    have as a part; be made up out of
    Other states in the group include Arizona, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.Forbes (Jun 11, 2014)
  53. include
    have as a part; be made up out of
    All the kids in the program, including my sisters and me, giggled.One Crazy Summer
    See the definition for "including" in your workbook. I am not including the other definitions for the word. But as you can guess, the same word can both have different definitions and be used as different parts of speech.
  54. indicate
    give evidence of
    Records indicate at least three 911 calls were made from the building.Washington Times (Jun 8, 2014)
    Compare with the synonym "demonstrate." As the definitions in your workbook indicate, the act of showing is important to both verbs. But note the adverb "probably" in the second definition for "indicate." This suggests that you should choose the word "demonstrate" when you want to make a stronger point.
  55. indication
    something that serves to suggest
    Even now, in the dark, there were indications of a spirit world.The Things They Carried
  56. introduce
    bring something new to an environment
    What if researchers introduced human nerve cells into a mouse?Slate (Jun 10, 2014)
  57. introduction
    formally making a person known to another or to the public
    “This is Hazel Grace,” he said, by way of introduction.The Fault in Our Stars
  58. issue
    some situation or event that is thought about
    Werrell acknowledged that the immigration issue "was big and drove a lot of people."Los Angeles Times (Jun 11, 2014)
    The given definition of "issue" is the one most people think and talk about. But "issue" has many definitions both as a noun and verb, and most connect to an idea of going out. An issue of a newspaper goes out to the readers; the issue of a person can be children or other creations that go out into the world. You can issue a noise or smell that goes out to other people's ears and noses; the government can issue supplies that go out to the army or the country.
  59. justify
    defend, explain, or make excuses for by reasoning
    I have seen kids solve problems I never would have thought to ask, then explain their thinking and justify their answers with pride.Washington Post
  60. locate
    determine the place of by searching or examining
    The map shows the location of each site on Google Maps, along with GPS coordinates to help people locate them.Washington Times (Jun 11, 2014)
  61. logical
    capable of correct and valid reasoning
    It was a decade or more later that I realized that my logical mind and communication skills gave me great advantages in programming.New York Times (May 31, 2014)
  62. maximum
    the largest possible quantity
    In the future, we’ll even tell you how to choose your buddy for maximum benefit to you.US News (Jun 9, 2014)
  63. minimum
    the smallest possible quantity
    Seattle is the first city to move swiftly toward a $15 minimum wage, but not the last.Seattle Times (May 30, 2014)
  64. objective
    expressing things perceived without distortion of feelings
    When you communicate, do people believe that you are telling them the objective truth?Forbes (Jun 10, 2014)
    A possible answer to the question is: That depends on my objective (here, "objective" is used as a noun to mean "goal"). If my objective in communicating is to entertain, then I don't need to convince an audience that my stories are objective truths. If my objective in communicating is to report a crime, then I do need to convince the police that my descriptions are objective truths.
  65. objectively
    in a manner not influenced by emotion
    You tend to be happier if you think you're good looking, rather than if you actually, objectively speaking, are.BBC (Jun 29, 2013)
  66. opinion
    a personal belief or judgment
    He becomes in every obvious way the worst student, a dummy mouthing the opinions of others.Hunger of Memory
  67. perspective
    a way of regarding situations or topics
    “It’s so important to see immigrant workers through the perspective of an immigrant family member.”Washington Times (Jun 10, 2014)
  68. persuade
    cause somebody to adopt a certain position or belief
    The sellers are parents, trying everything to persuade their children to eat their vegetables.New York Times (Jun 7, 2014)
    Compare with "convince" in the list for Words 21-30. In your workbook, the definitions for both words are the same, except that each word is used as a synonym to explain the other. But the definitions here show that there used to be a difference between the verbs: you can convince someone that something is true, but you need to persuade someone to do something.
  69. persuasion
    communication intended to induce belief or action
    In order for persuasion to occur, you must touch a person’s heart before reaching their head.Forbes (Feb 25, 2014)
  70. precede
    come before
    It always meant victory when a trumpet call preceded the news.1984
  71. predict
    tell in advance
    That means that, at least in part, learning another language does predict brain health in old age, Bak said.Washington Post
  72. prediction
    a statement made about the future
    Remember the prediction that one day your oven would be connected to the Internet and have the ability to talk to your car?New York Times (May 14, 2014)
  73. previous
    just preceding something else in time or order
    Their only previous encounter, a decade ago, had ended with a thrown punch and a broken nose.New York Times (Jun 3, 2014)
  74. previously
    at an earlier time or formerly
    The internet, previously not super-duper excited when it came to men's fashion, went crazy.The Guardian (Jun 10, 2014)
  75. prioritize
    assign a status in order of importance or urgency
    Not everyone will choose to prioritize work over family.Forbes (May 12, 2014)
  76. priority
    status established in order of importance or urgency
    The inclusion of more black and Latino composers, and those from a broader swath of the globe, should be a priority.New York Times (Jun 8, 2014)
  77. produce
    cause to happen, occur or exist
    "It is necessary to train farmers to produce quality and not only quantity."Reuters (Jun 9, 2014)
    Compare the definition here to the one in your workbook: they mean the same thing, except this shows that you can produce events or effects as well as physical things. For example, farmers can produce produce (the second "produce" is pronounced with the accent on the first syllable and is a noun that refers to fruits and vegetables). If farmers produce quality produce, then they can produce a healthy change in people's diets.
  78. product
    an artifact that has been created by someone or some process
    “Everybody thought people would never buy products online,” he recalls.Time (Jun 12, 2014)
    Except for farmers, whose products are called "produce," everything created by everyone else are products. A product can be a consequence of something you did or something that you create for yourself. But most of the time, a product is some kind of creation that can be offered to others for sale or use.
  79. react
    show a response to something
    I think I do some of my best acting when I don't have to talk, I just react.Los Angeles Times (May 29, 2014)
  80. reaction
    a response that reveals a person's feelings or attitude
    "The usual reaction is 'Actually, this tastes better than I expected.'"Los Angeles Times (Jun 9, 2014)
    Looking over the sentences on page 160 of your workbook, you might notice that most of them describe reactions that are negative. Look closely at the word, and you can see that a reaction is a response to an action--this could make the reaction seem opposite and negative.
  81. relevance
    the relation of something to the matter at hand
    He says it wasn’t a big issue to them--being blind has no relevance to reading.Washington Times (Jun 11, 2014)
  82. relevant
    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
    Students deserve a relevant, modern, customized education that helps them acquire 21st century skills.Forbes (May 23, 2014)
    Compare with "appropriate" in the list for Words 1-10. The two adjectives can be synonyms. But "appropriate" has a more negative tone often used by others who think they know what is good for you. "Relevant" has a more positive tone that connects something directly to you, and it is often used to describe something that wants to remain connected throughout time.
  83. require
    make someone do something
    The downside of this is that it requires me to wake up very early, which is something I am bad at.Slate (Jun 12, 2014)
  84. requirement
    something that is needed in advance
    Now lawmakers are set to make the ID requirement official.MSNBC (Jun 6, 2014)
  85. respond
    show a reaction to something
    We were screening the movie and it was testing really well and the audience was responding really well to it.Washington Times (Jun 11, 2014)
    Compare with "react" and "reaction" in the list for Words 71-80. As you can see from the definitions, the words are synonyms. But unlike the negative tone that a reaction might have, a response is often a positive thing that people look forward to receiving.
  86. response
    a statement that is made to reply to a question or request
    Rather, the presence of “favorite” in a question triggers the generic response “It’s hard to decide.”Slate (Jun 10, 2014)
  87. review
    look at again; examine again
    The research is still being reviewed by other scientists.Seattle Times (Jun 9, 2014)
    As a noun, "review" can refer to the act of looking at something again, or it can refer to the document that is created afterwards. For examples, scientists can review another scientist's research and then write a review about it; or a critic can view a movie and then write a review about it.
  88. revise
    reorganize, especially for the purpose of improving
    It is seldom easy to revise one’s assumptions and change course.US News (May 27, 2014)
    "Revise" and "review" can both be traced back to Latin roots that can be broken down like this: re (again) + videre (to see). Both actions require a second look, but revising usually comes after a review has pointed out that something can be better.
  89. select
    pick out or choose from a number of alternatives
    Many students select an internship by who was the nicest or friendliest in the interview.US News (Jun 5, 2014)
  90. selection
    an assortment of things from which a choice can be made
    The gift shop has a huge selection of stuffed toy owls, owl postcards, owl purses, even owl oven mitts.Washington Post
  91. significance
    the quality of being important
    Table tennis is a serious sport in China, with deep political significance.Time (Mar 21, 2014)
  92. significant
    important in effect or meaning
    There is a significant amount of research into the relationship between the words we chose and the personalities we possess.New York Times (Jun 11, 2014)
    The second definition in your workbook is for a noun but "significant" can only be used as an adjective. Sometimes, being large can make something seem significant. But often, you need to look past size to figure out how important something actually is. For example, the significant amount of research done on word choice and personalities does not guarantee that the research would have any significant impact on the way people communicate.
  93. similar
    having the same or nearly the same characteristics
    We can often tell that two people are related because they have several similar physical traits, such as facial features or hair color.Scientific American (Jun 12, 2014)
  94. similarity
    the quality of being alike
    Lesson: Similarities breed liking and liking leads to a desire to help.Forbes (May 26, 2014)
  95. subjective
    taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias
    What makes the best sweet onion is largely subjective.New York Times (Apr 8, 2014)
  96. tradition
    a specific practice of long standing
    The Arabic poetic tradition is among the world's oldest.The Guardian (Jun 11, 2014)
  97. unique
    the single one of its kind
    Fingerprints are used to identify people because each person's fingerprints are unique, but people can have similar fingerprint patterns.Scientific American (Jun 12, 2014)
  98. valid
    well grounded in logic or truth or having legal force
    The saying “never go to bed angry” is valid advice.Time (May 2, 2014)
  99. variety
    a collection containing an assortment of things
    Part of the problem is the variety of meanings the one word can carry.Time (Jun 11, 2014)
  100. vary
    be subject to change
    There are other holidays during the school year and the length of the school day can vary.BBC (Jun 10, 2014)

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