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.
Mainstream (adj) — popular, considered good by the majority of population. This channel shows mainstream movies 24 hours a day.
Appropriate (adj) — right, suitable or fitting. You could have worn something more appropriate for the wedding. Tracksuit was hardly the optimal choice.
Urge (n) — strong need or desire to do something. I had an urge to punch that boy in the face, but I kept my cool.
Devalued (adj) — with reduced price, value or quality.
Designate (v) — appoint, indicate or specify. I was designated to lock the office after everyone will have left.
Remotely (adv) — hardly or not at all. We are not even remotely familiar.
Aspiring (adj) — wanting, yearning something great. It is common for young people to be aspiring to greatness. Age tends to change that.
Enhance (v) — to intensify, to increase (in value, strength, size etc).
Commodity (n) — an article of goods, a ware. Bread and sugar are common commodities.
Lucrative (adj) — interesting, tempting, profitable. It would be utterly silly of you to turn down such a lucrative offer!
Former (adj) — relating to past, previous. Her former boyfriends is what I’m worried about, she used to be into athletic types.
Eloquent (adj) — (about language) vivid, expressive and persuasive. An eloquent speechwriter is really hard to come by nowadays.
Rowing (n) — the act of moving a boat by propelling it with two oars (flat wooden planks with handles).
Dispute (v) — to argue or debate something, to quarrel. Me and my father used to dispute for hours on end about football.
Uplifting (adj) — inspiring, invoking enthusiasm. An uplifting tune in the morning is what some people can’t do without.
Commit to (v) — to pledge yourself to a particular cause. I committed to help the library expand and I plan to honour my promise.
Detachment (n) — state of being detached, not participating or doing that without desire or eagerness; indifference. I spend my college years in a state of detachment and aloofness.
Ramification (n) — branching out into several different parts.
Emerge (v) — to come to the surface; to appear. They emerged to years later in a small town.
Hinge upon (v) — to depend on. The idea hinges on people supporting each other in times of need.
Notion (n) — idea, impression or opinion. He has all kinds of strange notions.
Attainment (n) — achievement or accomplishment. Your most prominent attainment is Master’s degree in chemistry.
Mindset (n) — the way a person normally approaches anything. A defeatist mindset is one when person gives up easily.
Premise (n) — a statement that is considered true for a particular argument.
Trump (v) — to defeat, to triumph over someone or something. We will never trump them with this kind of attitude.
Persevere (v) — to attempt something over and over again over a long period of time.
Excel (v) — to show exceptional skill in something. South Koreans excel at math and biology.
Scarcely (adv) — rarely, barely.
Foster (v) — to promote development or growth; to bring up (e.g. a child). The government fosters the ideas of compliance and patriotism.
Appraisal (n) — estimation of worth of something.
Relevant (adj) — having relation to something. The students didn’t ask the professor any relevant question on the topic of astronomy.
Conviction (n) — quality of being convincing, persuasive.
Subsequent (adj) — happening after, following. My first attempt wasn’t too fruitful, but subsequent ones proved more successful.
Vivid (adj) — bright, full of colour, saturation. That summer left many vivid memories for all of us.
Anguish (n) — extreme pain, misery, agony. My best friend’s betrayal left me in anguish.
Proposition (n) — offer, suggestion.
Disgust (n) — distaste aroused by something. He looked away in disgust.
Contempt (n) — lack of respect for something or someone. People that are born into money are sometimes full of contempt for everyone.
Innate (adj) — existing in someone or something from birth, instinct. Nancy’s innate talents included singing and language aptitude.
Flit (v) — to go from one place to another quickly. The cat flitted around the room.
Torment (n) — great pain or suffering.
Concede (v) — to admit something as correct; to surrender. After an hour-long debate she finally conceded and we went to my parents for the weekend.
Reveal (v) — to disclose (a secret or something hidden), to make visible. They didn’t reveal any details of the deal until the very end.
Trigger (v) — to set something off, to activate.
Intent (n) — desire, plan, air or purpose. She conceals her intentions so others couldn’t stop her until she’s done.
Mislead (v) — to give false information, to complicate. Misleading the police could get you in trouble.
Deceive (v) — to delude, to disappoint, to fool.
Grave (adj) — serious, important, crucial; dangerous.
Subtle (adj) — hard to see, not immediately obvious or evident. The subtle details of design make that car look really good.
Deception (n) — the act of deceiving (see above).
Concealed (adj) — hidden, kept as a secret. Criminal often carry a concealed gun with them.
Profess (v) — to announce or acknowledge something.
Unrelated (adj) — having nothing to do with, not connected; not tied by family or marriage. This girl and me are unrelated.
Demeanour (n) — behaviour, appearance or stature. Nancy is famous for her outlandish behaviour.
Gaze (n) — a fixed look, a stare. Her foggy gazed made me wonder whether she’s under the influence.
Sincere (adj) — pure, genuine, not hypocrite. Her sincere apologies melted the old lady’s heart.
Spouse (n) — a person’s partner in marriage (so either a wife or a husband).
Aggrieved (adj) — upset because of feeling treated unjust.
Merit (n) — one’s worth; state of deserving something. People in our company aren’t judged by their professional merit but rather their ability to communicate with their superiors.
Escapism (n) — practice of escaping from the harsh reality of life by books, movies or substances.
Winsome (adj) — charming, winning, pleasant. A winsome young man rushed to us from across the hall, took our bags and asked for our names.
Yarn (n) — (here) a long and detailed story, usually a made-up one.
Distinguish (v) — to make or recognise differences between two objects or people. I am not sure how mothers manage to distinguish twins.
Crank up (phr v) — to increase; to set in motion.
Novelty (n) — something new such as an experience, event or thing. This young teacher that came to our town is a real novelty!
Flock (v) — (here)come together, gather. The children flocked around me for another story of my adventures in Africa.
Sneer at (v) — to express scorn or contempt for someone. One of the students sneered at me for not getting the question correctly.
Auteur (n) — film director.
Innermost (adj) — most intimate, private or hidden. My innermost desire was to find my craft and live on a remote island away from people and their passions.
Glib (adj) — fluent and east, often insincere. The glib salesman cajoled us into buying this outrageously expensive washing machine, the devil!
Yearn (v) — want something very much, badly. I yearn for a mug of good beer right now.
Hobo (n) — a homeless person, a tramp. Hobos gathered around the fire to discuss the events of the day.
Drudgery (n) — hard and monotonous work. Caught in the office drudgery, Gerald kept losing hope to find a work he’d love doing.
Con (n) — short for convict, a criminal that lives inside prison.
CGI (abbr) — Computer-Generated Imagery, special effects, characters or even whole movies or cartoons made with the help of computer graphics.
Lithely (adv) — in a lithe manner — flexibly, subtly.
Aftermath (n) — result or consequence of something. The aftermath of the recent earth quake was disastrous — the town’s infrastructure was in ruins.
Invigorating (v) — giving strength, fresh power. A gulp of water can be really invigorating after a night-long dancing session in the club.
Austerity (n) — state of being austere — strict, stern or severe.
Reckless (n) — without concern for safety or reason. Reckless driving should be severely punished.
Click to download this CAE Reading and Use of English worksheet in PDF