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Essential Academic Vocabulary for High School Students: List 1

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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Full list of words from this list:

  1. abundant
    present in great quantity
    Sea lions are now so abundant they are pushing into new territory to forage, disrupting efforts to save other species from extinction.
  2. ambiguous
    open to two or more interpretations
    The charity said more needed to be done to protect consumers, claiming current rules were " ambiguous".
  3. correlate
    bear a reciprocal or mutual relation
    However, diets using artificial sweeteners still correlate with health issues such as an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. differentiate
    mark as distinct
    Forecasters said they were able to differentiate between birds and bats on radar due to the pattern of movement and the timing.
  5. anomaly
    deviation from the normal or common order, form, or rule
    Indeed, Norway’s case was something of an anomaly: a rare example of reality intruding.
  6. meticulous
    marked by precise accordance with details
    The Clean Air Act dictates a meticulous process for considering a new standard; each review usually takes at least five years, Goldman said.
  7. discrepancy
    a difference between conflicting facts or claims or opinions
    In some cases, says Moult, it was not clear whether the discrepancy between AlphaFold’s predictions and the experimental result was a prediction error or an artefact of the experiment.
  8. fleeting
    lasting for a markedly brief time
    The problem, according to Buddhism, is that our feelings are no more than fleeting vibrations, changing every moment, like the ocean waves.
  9. spontaneous
    said or done without having been planned in advance
    In a spontaneous way, without any preparation, he told everything to his brother.
  10. antagonize
    provoke the hostility of
    While the new version included some needed modernization, it antagonized allies and left months of uncertainty over the future of the $1.2 trillion trade bloc.
  11. incremental
    increasing gradually by regular degrees or additions
    Can incremental reforms transform the U.S. into a just, prosperous society, or are more drastic measures required?
  12. feign
    make believe with the intent to deceive
    Sometimes the job calls for displaying the right emotion, as when a funeral parlor attendant feigns sorrow and performs what I call “surface acting.”
  13. apprehensive
    in fear or dread of possible evil or harm
    He was apprehensive about a storm system forecast to hit the area starting Sunday night, but fortunately, the weather system proved mild.
  14. relegate
    assign to a lower position
    The match will decide which of the two teams is relegated to the second tier.
  15. profound
    showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth
    I’m waiting for her to say something profound—I always am, even though it’ll never happen.
  16. proliferate
    grow rapidly
    When water's pH is too high, the disinfecting power of chlorine diminishes, allowing germs to proliferate.
  17. relevant
    having a bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
    A year ago, my daily reading was largely determined by what curators considered to be important and relevant, catalogue essays and scholarly articles related to upcoming exhibitions.
  18. assessment
    the act of judging a person or situation or event
    But even the epidemiologists didn’t all agree on their assessment of risk.
  19. skeptical
    marked by or given to doubt
    He looked to me and added, “Your highly skeptical friend may not believe me at all. That notwithstanding, it is true.”
  20. astute
    marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
    Here we find the words Homer applies to Ulysses, the same descriptions applied to the hero of the Odyssey: sagacious, cunning, astute, shrewd, artful, crafty, deceitful, tricky.
  21. attribute
    explain or regard as resulting from a particular cause
    Scientists attribute the significantly larger population in the Americas to a relatively disease-free society whose use of herbal medicine, surgery, dentistry, and hygienic and ritual bathing kept disease at bay.
  22. befall
    happen or be the case in the course of events or by chance
    On the ground in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, residents said they were definitely concerned, but that the virus was an entirely different threat from the natural disasters that routinely befall the city.
  23. nonchalant
    marked by casual unconcern or indifference
    “It appeared nonchalant and not too concerned about me.”
  24. bolster
    support and strengthen
    She was just trying to bolster my mood and keep my spirits up—and maybe my courage, too.
  25. coherent
    marked by an orderly and consistent relation of parts
    The division of the liberal arts is not accidental; it articulates a coherent system of thought.
Created on December 8, 2020 (updated January 12, 2021)

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