List Of Vocabulary Words To Use In Essays

  • consider

    deem to be

    At the moment, artemisinin-based therapies are considered the best treatment, but cost about $10 per dose - far too much for impoverished communities.Seattle Times (Feb 16, 2012)

  • minute

    infinitely or immeasurably small

    The minute stain on the document was not visible to the naked eye.

  • accord

    concurrence of opinion

    The committee worked in accord on the bill, and it eventually passed.

  • evident

    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment

    That confidence was certainly evident in the way Smith handled the winning play with 14 seconds left on the clock.

  • practice

    a customary way of operation or behavior

    He directed and acted in plays every season and became known for exploring Elizabethan theatre practices.

  • intend

    have in mind as a purpose

    “Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities,” the agency said on its website.

  • concern

    something that interests you because it is important

    The scandal broke out in October after former chief executive Michael Woodford claimed he was fired for raising concerns about the company's accounting practices.

  • commit

    perform an act, usually with a negative connotation

    In an unprecedented front page article in 2003 The Times reported that Mr. Blair, a young reporter on its staff, had committed journalistic fraud.New York Times (Feb 15, 2012)

  • issue

    some situation or event that is thought about

    As a result, the privacy issues surrounding mobile computing are becoming ever-more complex.

  • approach

    move towards

    Spain’s jobless rate for people ages 16 to 24 is approaching 50 percent.New York Times (Feb 15, 2012)

  • establish

    set up or found

    A small French colony, Port Louis, was established on East Falkland in 1764 and handed to the Spanish three years later.

  • utter

    without qualification

    No one can blame an honest mechanic for holding a wealthy snob in utter contempt.Ingersoll, Robert Green

  • conduct

    direct the course of; manage or control

    Scientists have been conducting studies of individual genes for years.

  • engage

    consume all of one's attention or time

    We had nearly two hundred passengers, who were seated about on the sofas, reading, or playing games, or engaged in conversation.Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn)

  • obtain

    come into possession of

    He delayed making the unclassified report public while awaiting an Army review, but Rolling Stone magazine obtained the report and posted it Friday night.New York Times (Feb 11, 2012)

  • scarce

    deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand

    Meanwhile, heating oil could grow more scarce in the Northeast this winter, the Energy Department warned last month.New York Times (Jan 21, 2012)

  • policy

    a plan of action adopted by an individual or social group

    Inflation has lagged behind the central bank’s 2 percent target, giving policy makers extra scope to cut rates.

  • straight

    successive, without a break

    After three straight losing seasons, Hoosiers fans were just hoping for a winning record.Seattle Times (Feb 15, 2012)

  • stock

    capital raised by a corporation through the issue of shares

    In other words, Apple’s stock is cheap, and you should buy it.Forbes (Feb 16, 2012)

  • apparent

    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment

    But the elderly creak is beginning to become apparent in McCartney’s voice.

  • property

    a basic or essential attribute shared by members of a class

    Owing to these magic properties, it was often planted near dwellings to keep away evil spirits.Parsons, Mary Elizabeth

  • fancy

    imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind

    For a time, indeed, he had fancied that things were changed.Weyman, Stanley J.

  • concept

    an abstract or general idea inferred from specific instances

    As a psychologist, I have always found the concept of speed dating fascinating.Scientific American (Feb 13, 2012)

  • court

    an assembly to conduct judicial business

    When Brown pleaded not guilty to assaulting Rihanna, their violent past came out in court.Slate (Feb 16, 2012)

  • appoint

    assign a duty, responsibility or obligation to

    In 1863 he was appointed by the general assembly professor of oriental languages at New College.Various

  • passage

    a section of text, particularly a section of medium length

    His interpretation of many obscure scriptural passages by means of native manners and customs and traditions is particularly helpful and informing.Sheets, Emily Churchill Thompson

  • vain

    unproductive of success

    An attempt was made to ignore this brilliant and irregular book, but in vain; it was read all over Europe.Various

  • instance

    an occurrence of something

    In many instances large districts or towns would have fewer representatives than smaller ones, or perhaps none at all.Clarke, Helen Archibald

  • coast

    the shore of a sea or ocean

    Martello towers must be built within short distances all round the coast.Wingfield, Lewis

  • project

    a planned undertaking

    The funds are aimed at helping build public projects including mass transit, electricity networks, water utility and ports, it said.

  • commission

    a special group delegated to consider some matter

    The developers are now seeking approval from the landmarks commission.New York Times (Feb 16, 2012)

  • constant

    a quantity that does not vary

    In 1929, Hubble independently put forward and confirmed the same idea, and the parameter later became known as the Hubble constant.Nature (Nov 15, 2011)

  • circumstances

    one's overall condition in life

    The circumstances leading up to the shootings was not immediately available.

  • constitute

    to compose or represent

    Oil and natural gas constituted almost 50 percent of Russian government revenue last year.

  • level

    a relative position or degree of value in a graded group

    Only last month did the men’s and women’s unemployment rates reach the same level.New York Times (Feb 19, 2012)

  • affect

    have an influence upon

    The central bank will start distributing low-interest loans in early March to individuals and small- and medium-sized companies affected by the flooding.

  • institute

    set up or lay the groundwork for

    Corporations have to be more and more focused on instituting higher labor standards.Washington Post (Feb 7, 2012)

  • render

    give an interpretation of

    But authorities had rendered the weapon and the explosive device inoperable, officials said.Chicago Tribune (Feb 17, 2012)

  • appeal

    be attractive to

    To get traditional women’s accessories to appeal to men, some designers are giving them manly names and styles.New York Times (Feb 19, 2012)

  • generate

    bring into existence

    Qualities such as these are not generated under bad working practices of any sort.Hungerford, Edward

  • theory

    a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the world

    Testing that theory begins Saturday night, as the Capitals take on Tampa Bay in another important contest.Washington Post (Feb 18, 2012)

  • range

    a variety of different things or activities

    Like American community colleges, admission at an open university is not competitive, but the schools offer a range of programs, including doctoral degrees.

  • campaign

    a race between candidates for elective office

    At the same point in 2004 — as an incumbent facing re-election — Mr. Bush had taken in about $145.6 million for his campaign.New York Times (Feb 18, 2012)

  • league

    an association of sports teams that organizes matches

    "When I broke into the big leagues until a month ago, Gary kept in touch," Mets third baseman David Wright said.Seattle Times (Feb 17, 2012)

  • labor

    any piece of work that is undertaken or attempted

    More labor is entailed, more time is required, greater delay is occasioned in cleaning up, and the amount of water used is much greater.Hoskin, Arthur J.

  • confer

    have a meeting in order to talk something over

    Ms. Stewart said Mrs. Bachmann conferred with her family and a few aides after her disappointing showing on Tuesday evening.New York Times (Jan 4, 2012)

  • grant

    allow to have

    He had been granted entry into the White House only for the daily briefing, later that afternoon.New York Times (Feb 17, 2012)

  • dwell

    think moodily or anxiously about something

    But it is hardly necessary to dwell on so normal an event.Vinogradoff, Paul

  • entertain

    provide amusement for

    The first Super Bowl in 1967 featured college marching bands entertaining the crowds at halftime.

  • contract

    a binding agreement that is enforceable by law

    Contracts with utilities will be signed starting next month, he said.

  • earnest

    characterized by a firm, humorless belief in one's opinions

    Too much praise cannot be given to the earnest and efficient missionaries who founded and have maintained this mission.Miller, George A.

  • yield

    give or supply

    It is a very important honey plant, as it yields an exceptionally pure nectar and remains in bloom a long time.Parsons, Mary Elizabeth

  • wander

    move or cause to move in a sinuous or circular course

    While each animal wandered through the maze, its brain was working furiously.New York Times (Feb 16, 2012)

  • insist

    be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge

    Interior Department officials insisted that they had conducted an extensive scientific inquiry before moving ahead with the spill response plan.New York Times (Feb 17, 2012)

  • knight

    a person of noble birth trained to arms and chivalry

    The knight was gallant not only in war, but in love also.Crothers, Samuel McChord

  • convince

    make realize the truth or validity of something

    But though he listened he was not convinced.Reade, Charles

  • inspire

    serve as the inciting cause of

    His surprising performance inspired an outpouring of fan adoration that has been dubbed "Linsanity."Chicago Tribune (Feb 19, 2012)

  • convention

    a large formal assembly

    Last year, the industry’s main trade convention, the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, organized workshops in Las Vegas focusing on lien laws and auction sales.New York Times (Feb 17, 2012)

  • skill

    an ability that has been acquired by training

    He says many new drivers are terrified of motorway driving because they do not have the skills or confidence needed.

  • harry

    annoy continually or chronically

    There’s something uplifting about hearing a string instrument when I’m feeling ragged or harried.New York Times (Feb 9, 2012)

  • financial

    involving fiscal matters

    Meanwhile, universities have raised tuition every year, putting many students in a financial bind.New York Times (Feb 20, 2012)

  • reflect

    show an image of

    Teens ranting over chores and whatnot can often reflect deeper feelings of alienation or perceived uncaring on the part of parents.

  • novel

    an extended fictional work in prose

    Before Robert Barr publishes a novel he spends years in thinking the thing out.Anonymous

  • furnish

    provide with objects or articles that make a room usable

    Instead, according to court documents, the money went toward furnishing mansions, flying in private jets, and retaining a $120,000-a-year personal hairstylist.BusinessWeek (Feb 1, 2012)

  • compel

    force somebody to do something

    But the flames grew too large, compelling firefighters to call off the rescue.New York Times (Feb 18, 2012)

  • venture

    proceed somewhere despite the risk of possible dangers

    Clearly he would not venture to descend while his enemy moved.Strang, Herbert

  • territory

    the geographical area under the jurisdiction of a state

    On Friday, West Africa regional group Ecowas condemned the rebels, urging them to end hostilities and surrender all occupied territory.

  • temper

    a characteristic state of feeling

    Oscar Wilde, to do him justice, bore this sort of rebuff with astonishing good temper and sweetness.Anonymous

  • bent

    fixed in your purpose

    The business-oriented constituency of the Republican Party, Jacobs said, has been weakened by a faction bent on lowering taxes and cutting spending.

  • intimate

    marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity

    The female spider can choose when to cut off intimate relations by eating her partner, or kicking him out.Scientific American (Jan 31, 2012)

  • undertake

    enter upon an activity or enterprise

    An autopsy has reportedly been undertaken but the results are not expected for several weeks.

  • majority

    more than half of the votes in an election

    Republicans need just four seats in the Senate to take control as the majority party.

  • assert

    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true

    In your talk you asserted the pill's risks of blood clotting, lung artery blockage, heart attack and stroke are minimal.

  • crew

    the men and women who man a vehicle

    Several pilots and crew members would have to escape at once, while safety divers watched, ready to rescue anyone who became stuck.New York Times (Feb 6, 2012)

  • chamber

    a natural or artificial enclosed space

    "Today," said the old man, "you must push through with me into my most solitary chamber, that we may not be disturbed."Carlyle, Thomas

  • humble

    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful

    “Challenging yourself, playing up against stronger, tougher, and overall better competition will keep you humble.”Washington Post (Jan 17, 2012)

  • scheme

    an elaborate and systematic plan of action

    Some companies in the Globe District of Arizona have started extensive underground schemes for mining large tonnages very cheaply by "caving" methods.Hoskin, Arthur J.

  • keen

    demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions

    Not one of his movements escaped her keen observation; she drank in every shiver.Wingfield, Lewis

  • liberal

    having political views favoring reform and progress

    Romney’s actually done well in open primaries where fiscally conservative yet socially liberal independents have backed him over his opponents.

  • despair

    a state in which all hope is lost or absent

    There were wounded love, and wounded pride, and despair, and coming madness, all in that piteous cry.Reade, Charles

  • tide

    the periodic rise and fall of the sea level

    In the case of mobile connectivity, a rising tide does not lift all boats.Slate (Feb 9, 2012)

  • attitude

    a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings

    "Behaviours have changed and attitudes have changed," Mr Taylor said.

  • justify

    show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for

    He felt sure that if the circumstances justified it, the necessary proceedings could be taken.”Anonymous

  • flag

    a rectangular piece of cloth of distinctive design

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared three days of mourning and ordered flags flown at half staff.New York Times (Feb 16, 2012)

  • merit

    any admirable or beneficial attribute

    Thus far in our inquiry extraordinary merits have been offset by extraordinary defects.Ayres, Harry Morgan

  • manifest

    reveal its presence or make an appearance

    A too rapid transformation of existing conditions might very easily lead to an economic crisis, symptoms of which are already beginning to manifest themselves.Vay, P?ter

  • notion

    a general inclusive concept

    Does that old notion that defense wins championships still hold up these days?Seattle Times (Jan 13, 2012)

  • scale

    relative magnitude

    And there might not be much money, so fashion shows are done on a much smaller scale.Seattle Times (Feb 17, 2012)

  • formal

    characteristic of or befitting a person in authority

    A formal decision to call off the search is likely on Wednesday, rescue officials said.New York Times (Jan 31, 2012)

  • resource

    a new or reserve supply that can be drawn upon when needed

    “Economists assume that, under normal conditions, markets will allocate resources efficiently,” he added.

  • persist

    continue to exist

    Old ideas, long after the conditions under which they were produced have passed away, often persist in surviving.Ingersoll, Robert Green

  • contempt

    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike

    And with his backhanded contempt for all things ordinary, Blake is making some of the catchiest, most difficult music in recent memory.

  • tour

    a route all the way around a particular place or area

    He typed in “South Park” and took senior executives on a tour of Web sites offering pirated episodes.New York Times (Feb 8, 2012)

  • plead

    enter a defendant's answer

    Aria pleaded not guilty, but he acknowledged that he had violated some laws.New York Times (Feb 18, 2012)

  • weigh

    be oppressive or burdensome

    So far, the political turmoil has not appeared to have discouraged visitors, but prolonged strife could weigh on tourism.New York Times (Feb 11, 2012)

  • mode

    how something is done or how it happens

    Speaking of science, he says, in language far in advance of his times: ‘There are two modes of knowing—by argument and by experiment.Adams, W. H. Davenport (William Henry Davenport)

  • distinction

    a discrimination between things as different

    But such a distinction is quite external; at heart the men may be very much alike.Anonymous

  • inclined

    at an angle to the horizontal or vertical position

    Such an inclined passage following a seam of coal is known as a slope.Hoskin, Arthur J.

  • attribute

    a quality belonging to or characteristic of an entity

    The authors found that when the available prospects varied more in attributes such as age, height, occupation and educational background, people made fewer dating proposals.Scientific American (Feb 13, 2012)

  • exert

    make a great effort at a mental or physical task

    School boards may come to exert even greater influence over what students read.Forbes (Jan 23, 2012)

  • oppress

    come down on or keep down by unjust use of one's authority

    Those who managed to survive were later oppressed by Poland's post-war communist authorities.

  • contend

    compete for something

    But eight men, however bold and stout-hearted, could not long contend with an enemy at least four times their number.Strang, Herbert

  • stake

    a strong wooden or metal post driven into the ground

    His remains were buried in Cannon Street, and a stake was driven through the body.Andrews, William

  • toil

    work hard

    He toiled in the sweat of his brow, tilling the stubborn ground, taking out stones, building fences.Adler, Felix

  • perish

    pass from physical life

    Simon Wiesenthal's parents are long since deceased, with his father dying in World War I and his mother perishing in the Holocaust.

  • disposition

    your usual mood

    Melancholia — the state of mind — can hide behind seemingly sunny dispositions.Seattle Times (Dec 28, 2011)

  • rail

    complain bitterly

    Mr. Gray railed against lengthy stage directions, saying he crossed them out in scripts before he would begin rehearsals with his actors.New York Times (Feb 7, 2012)

  • cardinal

    one of a group of prominent bishops in the Sacred College

    Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism's future by choosing men who share his views.Chicago Tribune (Feb 18, 2012)

  • boast

    talk about oneself with excessive pride or self-regard

    Mr. Estes was also well connected politically, boasting that the president of the United States took his calls.New York Times (Dec 10, 2011)

  • advocate

    a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea

    Well, safety advocates, consumers and the government dragged the automobile industry toward including seat belts, air bags, more visible taillights and other safety features.New York Times (Feb 19, 2012)

  • bestow


    He bestowed public buildings and river improvements in return for votes.Gilbert, Clinton W. (Clinton Wallace)

  • allege

    report or maintain

    It is being fired into enclosed areas and homes, the human rights group alleges.

  • notwithstanding

    despite anything to the contrary

    He seems to have taken things easily enough, notwithstanding the sorrow and suffering that surrounded him on every side.Adams, W. H. Davenport (William Henry Davenport)

  • lofty

    of imposing height; especially standing out above others

    He found himself in an enormous hall with a lofty ceiling.Blasco Ib??ez, Vicente

  • multitude

    a large indefinite number

    Department store chains in general have been strained in recent years as a " multitude" of alternatives has emerged, all competing for customers.Chicago Tribune (Dec 28, 2011)

  • steep

    having a sharp inclination

    It was narrow and very steep, and had precipices in all parts, so that they could not mount upward except one at a time.Various

  • heed

    pay close attention to

    But Cain was already too far gone to heed the warning voice.Adler, Felix

  • modest

    not large but sufficient in size or amount

    A healthy person living in an unfashionable city with no student loans to pay off can get by on a fairly modest income.Slate (Feb 17, 2012)

  • partial

    being or affecting only a segment

    Generalizations of this sweeping order are apt to contain only partial truth.Clarke, Helen Archibald

  • apt

    naturally disposed toward

    Another reason to display beds at an electronics show: consumers are apt to use high-tech devices while tucked in.New York Times (Jan 9, 2012)

  • esteem

    the condition of being honored

    Despite being held in the highest esteem by his fellow poets, Redgrove never quite achieved the critical reception or readership he deserved.

  • credible

    appearing to merit belief or acceptance

    Mike Mullen, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has acknowledged receiving the memo but said he ignored it as not credible.New York Times (Dec 19, 2011)

  • provoke

    provide the needed stimulus for

    It provoked a bigger reaction than we could ever have anticipated.

  • tread

    a step in walking or running

    The farmer went down, his clumsy boots making no sound on the uncarpeted stairway, so careful was his tread.Woolson, Constance Fenimore

  • ascertain

    learn or discover with confidence

    Health care providers and manufacturers can ascertain alternative treatment more effectively by tackling predicted drug shortage incidences early in the process.Forbes (Feb 13, 2012)

  • fare

    proceed, get along, or succeed

    A recent study breaks down how graduates with various college degrees are faring in today’s difficult job market.Washington Post (Feb 17, 2012)

  • cede

    relinquish possession or control over

    Some militia chiefs say they will only cede command of their fighters once an organized military and security apparatus is in place.

  • perpetual

    continuing forever or indefinitely

    The river is a perpetual enjoyment, always something going on.Waddington, Mary King

  • decree

    a legally binding command or decision

    While the decree takes effect immediately, it requires Parliament’s approval within 60 days to remain in force.

  • contrive

    make or work out a plan for; devise

    The wily Roc, never taken much by surprise, contrived to escape, but old Tributor and his men were all captured.Thornbury, Walter

  • derived

    formed or developed from something else; not original

    Modern kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kohlrabi are all members of the same species, derived from a single prehistoric plant variety.Slate (Feb 21, 2012)

  • elaborate

    marked by complexity and richness of detail

    But the tobacco industry and owners of other convenience stores say tribal cigarette manufacturing is just an elaborate form of tax evasion.New York Times (Feb 22, 2012)

  • substantial

    real; having a material or factual existence

    Defence lawyers said the large number of forensic tests which had been carried out had failed to find any substantial evidence linked to the accused.

  • frontier

    a wilderness at the edge of a settled area of a country

    Adding to the precarious security situation, tribesmen kidnapped 18 Egyptian border guards along the frontier with Israel in Sinai Peninsula.New York Times (Feb 9, 2012)

  • facile

    arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth

    As one teacher remarks about a troubled student, “There is no facile solution.”New York Times (Oct 11, 2011)

  • cite

    make reference to

    The Federal Reserve has pledged low interest rates until late 2014, citing in part the weakness of the job market.

  • warrant

    show to be reasonable or provide adequate ground for

    In the United Kingdom and Europe the devices are not used unless the need is warranted by the patient's medical condition.

  • sob

    weep convulsively

    He cried and trembled, sobbing, while they spoke, like the child he was.Weyman, Stanley J.

  • rider

    a traveler who actively sits and travels on an animal

    In horseback riding, a rider will give commands by squeezing or lengthening the reins and altering the position of his legs.

  • dense

    permitting little if any light to pass through

    Dense black smoke rose in the distance as demonstrators burned tires in Shiite villages.

  • afflict

    cause physical pain or suffering in

    Melanoma globally afflicts nearly 160,000 new people each year.

  • flourish

    grow vigorously

    His business had been all along steadily flourishing, his patrons had been of high social position, some most illustrious, others actually royal.Petherick, Horace William

  • ordain

    invest with ministerial or priestly authority

    One of the present bishops was consecrated when quite a young boy, and deacons are often ordained at sixteen, and even much earlier.Bird, Isabella L. (Isabella Lucy)

  • pious

    having or showing or expressing reverence for a deity

    Mother, you see, is a very pious woman, and she attributes it all to Providence, saying that it was the Divine interference in her behalf.Various

  • vex

    disturb, especially by minor irritations

    There are vexing problems slowing the growth and the practical implementation of big data technologies.Forbes (Oct 21, 2011)

  • gravity

    the force of attraction between all masses in the universe

    Once captured, the combined object will have a new center of gravity and may be spinning in an uncontrolled way.

  • suspended

    supported or kept from sinking or falling by buoyancy

    Frustrating enough at ground level, but can you imagine the agony about a stranded, ever-soggier Oreo being suspended 11 feet above the ground?Washington Post (Feb 21, 2012)

  • conspicuous

    obvious to the eye or mind

    Its bright scarlet fruits are conspicuous in late autumn.Anonymous

  • retort

    a quick reply to a question or remark

    Having put him in ill humour with this retort, she fled away rejoicing.Coster, Charles Th?odore Henri de

  • jet

    an airplane powered by gas turbines

    Typhoon fighter jets, helicopters, two warships and bomb disposal experts will also be on duty to guard against security threats.Seattle Times (Feb 20, 2012)

  • bolt

    run away

    The blare of bugles was heard, and a few seconds afterwards Jackson, still facing the enemy, shouted: "By Jupiter, they're bolting, sir."Strang, Herbert

  • assent

    to agree or express agreement

    His two companions readily assented, and the promise was mutually given and received.Keightley, Thomas

  • purse

    a sum spoken of as the contents of a money container

    She watched over her husband, kept his accounts, held the family purse, managed all his affairs. Shorter, Clement K.

  • plus

    the arithmetic operation of summing

    The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.

  • sanction

    give authority or permission to

    The Securities and Exchange Commission said last year it had sanctioned 39 senior officers for conduct related to the housing market meltdown.

  • proceeding

    a sequence of steps by which legal judgments are invoked

    Chu attended the special court-martial proceeding on Monday in Hawaii, Hill said.

  • exalt

    praise, glorify, or honor

    Some exalt themselves by anonymously posting their own laudatory reviews.New York Times (Jan 26, 2012)

  • siege

    an action of an armed force that surrounds a fortified place

    Rebellion broke out, and finally the aged Caliph, after enduring a siege of several weeks, was murdered in his own house.Nicholson, Reynold

  • malice

    feeling a need to see others suffer

    He viewed the moths with malice, their fluttering wings fanning his resentment.Lyman, Olin L.

  • extravagant

    recklessly wasteful

    Advisers say new millionaires are prone to mistakes, like making extravagant purchases or risky deals with friends.

  • wax

    increase in phase

    Carols had existed for centuries, though their popularity waxed and waned as different governments and religious movements periodically declared them sinful.

  • throng

    press tightly together or cram

    Deafening cheers rent the air as he landed; hundreds thronged around him to clasp his hand.Strang, Herbert

  • venerate

    regard with feelings of respect and reverence

    He venerated me like a being descended from an upper world.Blasco Ib??ez, Vicente

  • assail

    attack someone physically or emotionally

    His campaign even issued a press release assailing other rivals for, in Mr. Paul’s view, taking Mr. Romney’s quote about firing people out of context.New York Times (Feb 16, 2012)

  • sublime

    of high moral or intellectual value

    He was uneven, disproportioned, saying ordinary things on great occasions, and now and then, without the slightest provocation, uttering the sublimest and most beautiful thoughts.Ingersoll, Robert Green

  • exploit

    draw from; make good use of

    As humans increasingly exploit the deep seas for fish, oil and mining, understanding how species are dispersed is crucial, Copley said.Scientific American (Jan 3, 2012)

  • exertion

    use of physical or mental energy; hard work

    One day overcome by exertion, she fainted in the street.Ingersoll, Robert Green

  • kindle

    catch fire

    Then a match was kindled and fire applied.Warner, Susan

  • endow

    furnish with a capital fund

    The grammar school here, founded in 1533, is liberally endowed, with scholarships and exhibitions.Various

  • imposed

    set forth authoritatively as obligatory

    The Arab League has already suspended Syria and imposed economic sanctions.

  • humiliate

    cause to feel shame

    The letter claims pensioners are too often patronised, humiliated, denied privacy or even medical treatment.

  • suffrage

    a legal right to vote

    There has been a great deal said in this country of late in regard to giving the right of suffrage to women.Ingersoll, Robert Green

  • ensue

    issue or terminate in a specified way

    An uproar ensued months after the approval, when opponents realized the online gambling measure had been slipped in.New York Times (Feb 16, 2012)

  • brook

    a natural stream of water smaller than a river

    He walked across the little bridge over the brook and at once his mood changed.Mason, A. E. W. (Alfred Edward Woodley)

  • gale

    a strong wind moving 45-90 knots

    The gale was accompanied, as usual, by incessant rain and thick weather, and a heavy confused sea kept our decks always flooded.Fitzroy, Robert

  • muse

    reflect deeply on a subject

    Musing about the Big Picture may be a lot more gratifying than focusing on the details of the specific policies that aren’t working.

  • satire

    witty language used to convey insults or scorn

    There’s plenty of humor on Russian television, though not much political satire; Mr. Putin put a stop to that long ago.New York Times (Feb 13, 2012)

  • intrigue

    cause to be interested or curious

    Designing and building models that intrigue and educate without overwhelming has been challenging.Science Magazine (Nov 24, 2011)

  • indication

    something that serves to suggest

    Authorities said an autopsy found no indications of foul play or obvious signs of trauma on Houston.Seattle Times (Feb 15, 2012)

  • dispatch

    send away towards a designated goal

    More than one assassin was dispatched by the Turkish authorities to murder Napoleon.Various

  • cower

    crouch or curl up

    The knaves lowered their weapons and shrank back cowering before him.Weyman, Stanley J.

  • wont

    an established custom

    He made his customary slick feeds to open teammates, but as is their wont, the Nets struggled at times to convert points on his passes.New York Times (Feb 20, 2012)

  • tract

    a system of body parts that serve some particular purpose

    When probiotics flourish in the digestive tract, nutrients are better absorbed and bad bugs are held at bay, research suggests.Seattle Times (Jan 10, 2012)

  • canon

    a collection of books accepted as holy scripture

    For me, all novels of any consequence are literary, and they take their place, high and low, in the canon of English literature.

  • impel

    cause to move forward with force

    Some power beyond his comprehension was impelling him toward the neighboring city.Blasco Ib??ez, Vicente

  • latitude

    freedom from normal restraints in conduct

    Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.

  • vacate

    leave behind empty; move out of

    Their number diminished sharply after Villaraigosa announced last week that he wanted protesters to vacate the grounds by Monday or be forcibly removed.Chicago Tribune (Nov 30, 2011)

  • undertaking

    any piece of work that is attempted

    "Let my epitaph be, Here lies Joseph, who was unsuccessful in all his undertakings."Marvin, Frederic Rowland

  • slay

    kill intentionally and with premeditation

    "It were shame," said Lancelot, "for an armed to slay an unarmed man."Unknown

  • predecessor

    one who precedes you in time

    Heller fills in the blanks about Taft, overshadowed by colorful predecessor Teddy Roosevelt.Seattle Times (Feb 22, 2012)

  • delicacy

    the quality of being exquisitely fine in appearance

    This refinement appears in his works, which are full of artistic grace and dainty delicacy.Drake, Samuel Adams

  • forsake

    leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch

    "I'm surprised," said Philip, cautiously opening fire, "that you were ever allowed to forsake your native land."Hay, Ian

  • beseech

    ask for or request earnestly


    When taking the ACT essay section, students have 45 minutes to write a well-reasoned argumentative essay about a given prompt. The new ACT Essay prompts tend to be about “debate” topics — two sides of an issue are presented, with no obviously “right” side. Oftentimes, these subjects carry implications for broader issues such as freedom or morality. Test-takers are expected to convey some stance on the issue and support their argument with relevant facts and analysis.


    In addition to some of the more obvious categories, like grammar and structure, students’ essays are also evaluated on their mastery of the English language. One way to demonstrate such mastery is through the correct usage of advanced vocabulary words. Below are 50 above-average vocabulary words sorted by the contexts in which they could most easily be worked into an ACT essay.


    Context 1: Factual Support For ACT Essay

    These words can easily be used when stating facts and describing examples to support one’s argument. On ACT essays, common examples are trends or patterns of human behavior, current or past events, and large-scale laws or regulations.


    • Antecedent – a precursor, or preceding event for something – N
    • Bastion – an institution/place/person that strongly maintains particular principles, attitudes, or activities – N
    • Bellwether – something that indicates a trend – N
    • Burgeon – to begin to grow or increase rapidly – V
    • Catalyst – an agent that provokes or triggers change – N
    • Defunct – no longer in existence or functioning – Adj.
    • Entrenched – characterized by something that is firmly established and difficult to change – Adj.
    • Foster – to encourage the development of something – V
    • Galvanize – to shock or excite someone into taking action – V
    • Impetus – something that makes a process or activity happen or happen faster – N
    • Inadvertent – accidental or unintentional – Adj.
    • Incessant – never ending; continuing without pause – Adj.
    • Inflame – to provoke or intensify strong feelings in someone – V
    • Instill – to gradually but firmly establish an idea or attitude into a person’s mind – V
    • Lucrative – having a large reward, monetary or otherwise – Adj.
    • Myriad – countless or extremely large in number – Adj.
    • Precipitate – to cause something to happen suddenly or unexpectedly – V
    • Proponent – a person who advocates for something – N
    • Resurgence – an increase or revival after a period of limited activity – N
    • Revitalize – to give something new life and vitality – V
    • Ubiquitous – characterized by being everywhere; widespread – Adj.
    • Watershed – an event or period that marks a turning point – N

    Context 2: Analysis

    These words can often be used when describing common patterns between examples or casting some form of opinion or judgement.


    • Anomaly – deviation from the norm – N
    • Automaton – a mindless follower; someone who acts in a mechanical fashion – N
    • Belie – to fail to give a true impression of something – V
    • Cupidity – excessive greed – Adj.
    • Debacle – a powerful failure; a fiasco – N
    • Demagogue – a political leader or person who looks for support by appealing to prejudices instead of using rational arguments – N
    • Deter – to discourage someone from doing something by making them doubt or fear the consequences – V
    • Discredit – to harm the reputation or respect for someone – V
    • Draconian – characterized by strict laws, rules and punishments – Adj.
    • Duplicitous – deliberately deceitful in speech/behavior – Adj.
    • Egregious – conspicuously bad; extremely evil; monstrous and outrageous – Adj.
    • Exacerbate – to make a situation worse – V
    • Ignominious – deserving or causing public disgrace or shame – Adj.
    • Insidious – proceeding in a subtle way but with harmful effects – Adj.
    • Myopic – short-sighted; not considering the long run – Adj.
    • Pernicious – dangerous and harmful – Adj.
    • Renegade – a person who betrays an organization, country, or set of principles – N
    • Stigmatize – to describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or disapproval – V
    • Superfluous – unnecessary – Adj.
    • Venal – corrupt; susceptible to bribery – Adj.
    • Virulent – extremely severe or harmful in its effects – Adj.
    • Zealot – a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals – N


    Context 3: Thesis and Argument

    These words are appropriate for taking a stance on controversial topics, placing greater weight on one or the other end of the spectrum, usually touching on abstract concepts, and/or related to human nature or societal issues.


    • Autonomy – independence or self governance; the right to make decisions for oneself – N
    • Conundrum – a difficult problem with no easy solution – N
    • Dichotomy – a division or contrast between two things that are presented as opposites or entirely different – N
    • Disparity – a great difference between things – N
    • Divisive – causing disagreement or hostility between people – Adj.
    • Egalitarian – favoring social equality and equal rights – Adj.


    Although it’s true that vocabulary is one of the lesser criteria by which students’ ACT essays are graded, the small boost it may give to a student’s score could be the difference between a good score and a great score. For those who are already confident in their ability to create and support a well-reasoned argument but still want to go the extra mile, having a few general-purpose, impressive-sounding vocabulary words up one’s sleeve is a great way to tack on even more points.


    To learn more about the ACT test, check out these CollegeVine posts:


    Angela Yang

    Angela is a student at Cornell College of Engineering. At CollegeVine, she works primarily as ACT Verbal Division Manager. She enjoys teaching a variety of subjects and helping students realize their dreams.

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