The vocabulary below is meant to help you with the more difficult words. If the word isn’t on the list then you are either supposed to know it or it is too specific to be worth learning and you don’t have to know it to answer the question. Symbols in brackets mean part of speech (see bottom of the list). Sentences in italics give examples of usage for some more complex words and phrases.
And remember — you are not given a vocabulary list (or a dictionary) at your real exam.
Obsession (n) — an idea that you can’t stop thinking about. His obsession with women is going to end badly sooner or later.
Impairment (n) — weakening, loss of ability.
Whip out (phr v) — to produce something quickly, to take something out. He whipped out his phone and dialled emergency service number.
Rely on (phr v) — to be dependent on something, to trust something.
Thus (adv) — in this manner, therefore.
Snatch (v) — to seize, catch something suddenly. The burglar snatch the handbag out of her hands.
Merely (adv) — nothing more than, only. It was merely a friendly talk, nothing serious.
Steer (v) — to control (e.g. using a steering wheel).
Factual (adj) — relating to or based on facts. Do you have any factual information on this topic?
Confront (v) — to face someone or something, usually to fight, criticise or accuse.
Complement (v) — to add to, to make complete. Your shoes really complement your dress.
Overestimate (v) — to estimate or value too highly, to think too much of something or somebody. You overestimated him — he didn’t even pass the entrance exams.
Hail from (phr v) — to be from somewhere, to originate from. That artist hails from Boston.
Conduct (v) — to do, to carry out. The police conducted a search in his apartment.
Resign (v) — to give up, to quit. He resigned from police ten years ago.
Rant and rave (v) — to be in rage, furious. She ranted and raved about the way people mistreat her.
Avoid (v) — to evade, to keep away from. You should avoid starting your sentence with a conjunction.
Perceive (v) — to see as, to recognise or observe.
Mock (v) — to ridicule or imitate someone.
Amateur (adj) — not professional. His amateur attempts at photography weren’t very impressive.
Dated (adj) — short for outdated.Unfashionable, obsolete. Cars designed in late nineties look rather dated now.
Transition (n) — change from one state to another. The country’s transition from socialism to capitalism went smoother than many had expected.
Ubiquitous (adj) — being everywhere, omnipresent. Now that I have bought this cellphone it seems like it’s ubiquitous — everyone has one!
Makeover (v) — to renovate, change or rebuild.
Reference (n) — the act of referring to something previous. This movie has many references to the previous part.
Knick-knacks (n) — ornaments or decorations.
Littered with (phr v) — full of something. After the celebration, the streets were littered with empty cans and bottles.
Imply (v) — to say indirectly, to suggest. She implied that she rather liked John.
Advent (n) — coming.
Unruly (adj) — disobedient, not behaving properly. Doctor told us to use force against unruly patients.
Entrenched (adj) — established after many years, culturally accepted.
Dissent (n) — disagreement, refusal to conform. Two leading political parties have been in dissent for several years now.
Foible (n) — minor weakness. Maurice is a great guy but even he has his own foibles.
Quirky (adj) — strange, queer.
Irrevocable (adj) — unable to be changed, unalterable. The damage caused by the flood is irrevocable.
Parable (n) — a short story, esp. those told by J. Christ.
Scatter (v) — to throw in all directions, to spread unevenly. The largest malls are scattered all over town.
Diverse (adj) — having variety. The community in Toronto is one of the most diverse in Canada.
Contend with (phr v) — to have a rivalry, to argue. This lecturer really likes to contend with unruly students during his classes.
Leave in doubt (phr v) — keep someone in uncertainty about something.
Probing (adj) — thorough. The search conducted was very probing and therefore successful.
Justify (v) — to be valid, to have reasons. I can’t justify firing this employee — he has done nothing wrong!
Sweeping statement (n) — generalised statement.
Overwhelming (adj) — overpowering, extremely strong. The effect of his speech was overwhelming — the ovation went on for several minutes.
Bewildering (adj) — confusing or puzzling.
Portrayal (adj) — representation. The portrayal of his contribution to our society isn’t accurate.
Vague (adj) — not clear or certain.
Contentious (adj) — subject to doubt or discussion. Their contentious claim shocked everyone.
Delegate (v) — give or transfer your duties to other person.
Get to grips with (phr v) — to deal with, to be done with.
Lay person (n) — person without any specialised knowledge in the subject, non-professional. To a lay person, this formula doesn’t make any sense.
Man (v) — to control (a boat, a vehicle). She manned the ship and set sail to the shore.
Freighter (n) — a big cargo ship.
Dreadful (adj) — horrible, scary, terrifying.
Footnote (n) — a note printed at the bottom of the page, referring to a word with a number like this2.
Battered (adj) — worn out. The car that he was driving was old and battered.
Rusty (adj) — influenced by rust — oxidised metal that becomes red and crumbles.
Reek (v) — to give strong unpleasant smell. The place reeked of spoiled milk.
Estuary (n) — the wide part of a river that nears the sea.
Midst (n) — in the middle of.
Livid (adj) — Angry; pale, without colour.
Lash down (phr v) — to tie or fasten. The cargo had to be lashed down to prevent it from moving around the ship.
Squarely (adv) — in a direct, straight way.
Lull (v) — soothe someone into sleep.
Weld (v) — unite or bring metal parts together by means of high temperatures.
Hinder (v) — to slow down. Our progress was hindered by poor weather conditions.
Defiance (v) — open and bold resistance to authority. His sudden defiance towards the dean of our university came as a surprise.
Vulnerability (n) — weakness.
Obscure (adj) — strange, difficult to understand. Dim. We could never understand his obscure references.
Quixotic (adj) — unrealistically optimistic. Relating to Don Quixote.
Wistful (adj) — sad and deep in thought about something.
Deaf (adj) — unable to hear.
Acquire (v) — to get or grain something, usually permanently.
Ad hoc (adj, latin) — made for a particular purpose. We are going to have an ad hoc meeting about company’s new policy in five minutes.
Insight (n) — ability to see and understand something clearly and quickly. Her political insight is was helped her to climb the career ladder so swiftly.
From scratch (phr v) — from the ground up, from nothing.
Gesture (n) — a hand motion indicating something. The meaning of that gesture is ‘victory’.
Cognitive (adj) — relating to mind and thinking.
Decompose (v) — to break down into smaller parts.
Map onto (phr v) — to fit to or correspond with.
Derive from (v) — take from source or origin. These examples are derived from Shakespeare’s Othello.
Rudimentary (adj) — basic or fundamental.
Utterance (n) — a statement.
Raw (adj) — unfinished. (Relating to food) not cooked. Raw meat is the main source of nutrients for most big carnivores.
Innate (adj) — existing in person from birth. His innate talents are praised by all of his teachers.
Uphold (v) — to defend or maintain.
Primed (adj) — prepared for.
Impose (v) to force something. They imposed big fines upon major companies.
Cumbersome (adj) — heavy and big in size, awkward.