Essential Words For TOEFL


adj. of unclear meaning; something that can be understood
in more than one way
adv. ambiguously
syn. vague
n. ambiguity

  • The men received an ambiguous message from their boss.
  • Her letter was full of ambiguities.


adj. an action or decision made with little thought, order, or reason
adv. arbitrarily
syn. haphazard
n. arbitrariness

  • Her choice of clothing seemed arbitrary.
  • The teacher arbitrarily decided to give the class a test.


v. to express or defend oneself strongly; to state positively
adv. assertively
n. assertiveness
n. assertion
adj. assertive

  • The government asserted its control over the banking system.
  • The company president is an assertive individual.


adj. very surprising
v. astound
syn. astonishing
adv. astoundingly

  • The scientists made an astounding discovery.
  • The fans were astounded by their team’s success.


adj. very intelligent, smart, clever
adj. astutely
syn. perceptive
n. astuteness

  • He was an astute worker, finishing in half the time it took the others to finish.
  • They astutely determined that there would be no chance to finish on time.


v. to have the same opinion or draw the same
n. concurrence
syn. agree

  • The director concurred with the conclusions of the committee’s report.
  • Do you concur with the details of the business plan?


adv. making something appear true or good when it is false or bad
adj. deceptive
syn. misleadingly
v. deceive
n. deception

  • The magician deceptively made the rabbit disappear.
  • Richard deceived Joe about the cost of the coat.


v. to specify, name, or select to do a task; to indicate
n. designation
syn. assign
n. designator

  • The president designated the vice president to represent him at the meeting.
  • The designated driver drove every one home after the party.


adj. strong in one’s opinion, firm in conviction, to find out
n. determination
syn. resolute
v. determine

  • They were determined to go to graduate school.
  • The judge determined that the man was lying.


v. to get the facts or draw out the truth
n. elicitation
syn. extract

  • A lawyer will elicit all the facts necessary to prove her case.
  • Elicitation of the truth can be difficult at times.


v. to be a good example of a concept or idea
n. embodiment
syn. exemplify

  • The constitution is an embodiment of American ideals.
  • Charlotte embodies all of the qualities of a good leader.


v. to cause a conflict or argument
n. instigator
syn. initiate
adj. instigative
adv. instigatively

  • No one knew who had instigated the demonstration.
  • Dissatisfaction with government policies instigated the revolution.


adj. common or routine
adv. mundanely
syn. ordinary
n. mundaneness
n. mundanity

  • The student’s mundane summer job frustrated her.
  • His mother asked him to do all the mundane household chores.


v. to make a request
n. petition
syn. appeal

  • Canada petitioned the United Nations to consider its case.
  • The student’s petition was denied.


v. to give up control
n. relinquishment
syn. abdicate

  • The troubled executive relinquished her control of the company.
  • The relinquishment of his claim to the building will allow the building to be sold.


adj. strong enough to recover from difficulty or disease
adv. resiliently
syn. tenacious
n. resilience

  • She has a resilient personality and will soon feel better.
  • The doctor was surprised by his patient’s resilience.


adj. not moving or developing
n. stagnation
syn. still
v. stagnate

  • The stagnant water was a perfect home for frogs.
  • Some say that television causes the mind to stagnate.