Extensive reading is the best way to develop your command of tough vocabulary. But cramming Shakespeare and Milton before the test is not very practical. So, we’ve done a little investigating and have compiled the top 100 vocabulary words of all time.

Use this list to strengthen your vocabulary and prepare for the test day challenge.

  1. abbreviate: (v) to shorten, abridge
  2. abstinence: (n) the act of refraining from pleasurable activity, e.g., eating or drinking
  3. adulation: (n) high praise
  4. adversity: (n) misfortune, an unfavorable turn of events
  5. aesthetic: (adj) pertaining to beauty or the arts
  6. amicable: (adj) friendly, agreeable
  7. anachronistic: (adj) out-of-date, not attributed to the correct historical period
  8. anecdote: (n) short, usually funny account of an event
  9. anonymous: (adj) nameless, without a disclosed identity
  10. antagonist: (n) foe, opponent, adversary
  11. arid: (adj) extremely dry or deathly boring
  12. assiduous: (adj) persistent, hard-working
  13. asylum: (n) sanctuary, shelter, place of refuge
  14. benevolent: (adj) friendly and helpful
  15. camaraderie: (n) trust, sociability amongst friends
  16. censure: (v) to criticize harshly
  17. circuitous: (adj) indirect, taking the longest route
  18. clairvoyant: (adj) exceptionally insightful, able to foresee the future
  19. collaborate: (v) to cooperate, work together
  20. compassion: (n) sympathy, helpfulness or mercy
  21. compromise: (v) to settle a dispute by terms agreeable to both sides
  22. condescending: (adj) possessing an attitude of superiority, patronizing
  23. conditional: (adj) depending on a condition, e.g., in a contract
  24. conformist: (n) person who complies with accepted rules and customs
  25. congregation: (n) a crowd of people, an assembly
  26. convergence: (n) the state of separate elements joining or coming together
  27. deleterious: (adj) harmful, destructive, detrimental
  28. demagogue: (n) leader, rabble-rouser, usually appealing to emotion or prejudice
  29. digression: (n) the act of turning aside, straying from the main point, esp. in a speech or argument
  30. diligent: (adj) careful and hard-working
  31. discredit: (v) to harm the reputation of, dishonor or disgrace
  32. disdain: (v) to regard with scorn or contempt
  33. divergent: (adj) separating, moving in different directions from a particular point
  34. empathy: (n) identification with the feelings of others
  35. emulate: (v) to imitate, follow an example
  36. enervating: (adj) weakening, tiring
  37. enhance: (v) to improve, bring to a greater level of intensity
  38. ephemeral: (adj) momentary, transient, fleeting
  39. evanescent: (adj) quickly fading, short-lived, esp. an image
  40. exasperation: (n) irritation, frustration
  41. exemplary: (adj) outstanding, an example to others
  42. extenuating: (adj) excusing, lessening the seriousness of guilt or crime, e.g., of mitigating factors
  43. florid: (adj) red-colored, flushed; gaudy, ornate
  44. fortuitous: (adj) happening by luck, fortunate
  45. frugal: (adj) thrifty, cheap
  46. hackneyed: (adj) cliched, worn out by overuse
  47. haughty: (adj) arrogant and condescending
  48. hedonist: (n) person who pursues pleasure as a goal
  49. hypothesis: (n) assumption, theory requiring proof
  50. impetuous: (adj) rash, impulsive, acting without thinking
  51. impute: (v) to attribute an action to particular person or group
  52. incompatible: (adj) opposed in nature, not able to live or work together
  53. inconsequential: (adj) unimportant, trivial
  54. inevitable: (adj) certain, unavoidable
  55. integrity: (n) decency, honesty, wholeness
  56. intrepid: (adj) fearless, adventurous
  57. intuitive: (adj) instinctive, untaught
  58. jubilation: (n) joy, celebration, exultation
  59. lobbyist: (n) person who seeks to influence political events
  60. longevity: (n) long life
  61. mundane: (adj) ordinary, commonplace
  62. nonchalant: (adj) calm, casual, seeming unexcited
  63. novice: (n) apprentice, beginner
  64. opulent: (adj) wealthy
  65. orator: (n) lecturer, speaker
  66. ostentatious: (adj) showy, displaying wealth
  67. parched: (adj) dried up, shriveled
  68. perfidious: (adj) faithless, disloyal, untrustworthy
  69. precocious: (adj) unusually advanced or talented at an early age
  70. pretentious: (adj) pretending to be important, intelligent or cultured
  71. procrastinate: (v) to unnecessarily delay, postpone, put off
  72. prosaic: (adj) relating to prose; dull, commonplace
  73. prosperity: (n) wealth or success
  74. provocative: (adj) tending to provoke a response, e.g., anger or disagreement
  75. prudent: (adj) careful, cautious
  76. querulous: (adj) complaining, irritable
  77. rancorous: (adj) bitter, hateful
  78. reclusive: (adj) preferring to live in isolation
  79. reconciliation: (n) the act of agreement after a quarrel, the resolution of a dispute
  80. renovation: (n) repair, making something new again
  81. resilient: (adj) quick to recover, bounce back
  82. restrained: (adj) controlled, repressed, restricted
  83. reverence: (n) worship, profound respect
  84. sagacity: (n) wisdom
  85. scrutinize: (v) to observe carefully
  86. spontaneity: (n) impulsive action, unplanned events
  87. spurious: (adj) lacking authenticity, false
  88. submissive: (adj) tending to meekness, to submit to the will of others
  89. substantiate: (v) to verify, confirm, provide supporting evidence
  90. subtle: (adj) hard to detect or describe; perceptive
  91. superficial: (adj) shallow, lacking in depth
  92. superfluous: (adj) extra, more than enough, redundant
  93. suppress: (v) to end an activity, e.g., to prevent the dissemination of information
  94. surreptitious: (adj) secret, stealthy
  95. tactful: (adj) considerate, skillful in acting to avoid offense to others
  96. tenacious: (adj) determined, keeping a firm grip on
  97. transient: (adj) temporary, short-lived, fleeting
  98. venerable: (adj) respected because of age
  99. vindicate: (v) to clear from blame or suspicion
  100. wary: (adj) careful, cautious