Table of Contents
- Benefits of improving your vocabulary
- Why should I care about your list of 50 difficult words with meaning?
- 50 difficult words with meanings and sentences
- Some bonus words for you
- I can’t remember difficult English words with meanings
- How to remember difficult English words?
- What are some of the most misspelled words?
- Some confusing words you should know about
- Difficult words to pronounce in English
- Where can I find more such words?
- How can I improve my vocabulary?
- Key takeaways
Have you ever come across a word and deciphered its meaning only to know at the end that it meant something different? If this sounds familiar, this blog on 50 difficult words with meaning is for you.
You must be wondering about the importance of learning difficult words in English. Well, these words can help you sail through competitive exams, enhance your communication skills, and many such things. Read ahead to learn about more such benefits of learning difficult words.
Benefits of improving your vocabulary
1. It will help you tackle aptitude tests
Popular study abroad tests like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SAT, etc. all have vocabulary sections and are very important when you’re applying to a university or looking for a job after graduation.
2. It will make it easier for you to interact with your peers abroad
You don’t wanna feel lost when they drop one of these words in your conversation. Because you may not believe it, they use these words way more often than we do.
3. It will sharpen your mind
That’s right, learning new words and languages hones the critical side of your brain! Which, as I’ve already said, is super important to nail your aptitude tests.
4. It will help you express yourself better
Have you ever felt like you can’t express yourself through words? The more you expand your vocabulary, the more opportunity you have to express your thoughts and emotions accurately.
5. It will help you succeed in your career
The more effective your communication skills are higher the chance you have of climbing the ladder of success! When you communicate smartly, you can influence and inspire people all around.
Case in point, let’s take a look at these 50 difficult words with meaning and expand our knowledge! But wait-
Why should I care about your list of 50 difficult words with meaning?
The first thing you should do while preparing for your GMAT or GRE is take a mock test. This will give you an idea of what your current aptitude levels are.
So what does that have to do with learning difficult words?
When you take the mock tests, you may find it difficult to understand the questions.
Not because the questions are difficult in themselves, but because they are written using words that are difficult to understand.
What’s more, the options given for the answer are even tougher to comprehend!
For example, here’s a Sentence Completion question from the Verbal Section of GRE–
Colleagues describe Padgett as both forthright and reticent, humble and (i)………….., good-natured and (ii) …………. . And in her behavior as a businesswoman, Padgett herself does little to (iii) …………. these contradictions. She says she is pro-employee but is avowedly anti-union. She calls herself a pro customer but acknowledges that she runs a store with higher profit margins and prices than almost any other grocer.
(i) – a) diffident b) eccentric c) arrogant
(ii) – a) pricky b) solicitous c) phlegmatic
(iii) – a) dispel b) fulfill c) accentuate
Do you see what I’m trying to say?
GRE has 3 sections, with Verbal being one of the toughest ones.
The GMAT has 4 sections, namely, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Reasoning, Integrated Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. You need a strong vocabulary to score well in 3 of these sections in the exam.
This is where our list of 50 difficult words with meanings comes in.
50 difficult words with meanings and sentences
Without further ado-
- Belie – To give a false representation to; misrepresent
Example – The smile on his lips belies the pain he’s been feeling
- Arrant – Complete and wholly
Example – You are an arrant fool
- Untoward – Inconvenient
Example – I find attending lectures on Zoom untoward as it does not make me feel included in the class
- Byzantine – Complex and intricate
Example – You can’t just end a marriage like that, you have to complete the byzantine procedures of filing a divorce case in the courts
- Conciliate – To make peace with
Example – All attempts at conciliation have failed and civil war seems inevitable
- Equivocate – To speak vaguely, with the intention of misleading someone
Example – Politicians often say that they will work on the issue of climate change, but they are just equivocating to get the votes
- Truculent – Have a fierce, savage nature
Example – The truculent attitude of farmers to cheaper imports is inspiring
- Diatribe – A verbal attack against a person
Example – Because Sheila was unhappy with the administration, she launched a lengthy diatribe against the board during lunch.
- Quisling – A traitor
Example – He had the quisling owner of the factory arrested
- Artless – without cunning or deceit
Example – My artless comment was mistaken for rudeness
40 more to go!
- Blinkered – To have a limited perspective
Example – They’ve got a very blinkered view of life
- Maudlin – Overly emotional
Example – You didn’t invite me out here to listen to my maudlin rambling.
- Invective – Abusive language
Example – A woman had hurled racist invective at the family.
- Remonstrate – To make objections while pleading
Example – Whenever I refuse my young daughter anything, she likes to remonstrate by stomping her feet on the floor
- Sartorial – Related to fashion
Example – The wedding party arrived in sartorial splendor.
- Sybarite – A person who indulges in luxury
Example – A Sybarite on an inadequate income, was ever the man of action.
- Inundate – Flooded
Example – Her office was inundated with requests for tickets.
- Curmudgeon – A surly person
Example – Clearly, I only play a curmudgeon in the newspaper.
- Anodyne – Something that soothes or relieves pain
Example – Morphine is the greatest anodyne we possess, and no drug yet discovered equals it in pain-relieving power.
- Gaffe – A socially awkward act
Example – He didn’t realize what a gaffe he’d made.
30 more to go!
- Vie – Compete for something
Example – They are both vying for the same managerial position.
- Decimation – Killing a large part of the population
Example – It is likely the category five hurricane will decimate the small beach town.
- Garrulous – Talking too much
Example – He was so garrulous that he could not keep a secret.
- Hubris – Overbearing pride
Example – Her humble attitude was refreshing in a society to be saturated by hubris.
- Dovetail – To fit together tightly
Example – I’m following up on a few things that might dovetail.
- Impetuous – Characterized by undue haste and lack of thought
Example – In the past, impetuous young men would drop out of college and run off to join the army.
- Circumlocution – Expressing someone in an indirect way
Example – His admission came after years of circumlocution.
- Surreptitious – Taking pains not to be caught or detected
Example – He made a surreptitious recording with a concealed hand-held machine.
- Peripatetic – Traveling by foot
Example – He had a peripatetic career as a salesman.
- Magisterial – Someone who exercises unwarranted power
Example – Their jurisdictions coincide for the most part with the magisterial and fiscal boundaries.
20 more to go!
- Asperity – Harsh in manner
Example – There was a touch of asperity in his tone.
- Decry – Express strong disapproval of
Example – He is impatient with those who decry the scheme.
- Puerile – Displaying a lack of maturity
Example – Since my son is thirty-three years of age, I do not find his puerile behavior amusing.
- Incontrovertible – Impossible to deny
Example – We have incontrovertible evidence of what took place.
- Inviolate – Something that must be kept sacred
Example – The constitution proclaims that public property shall be inviolate.
- Puissant – Powerful
Example – The young man has a puissant body.
- Cosset – Excessive indulgence
Example – He cosseted her with flowers and champagne.
- Eclectic – Deriving the best ideas and styles from a diverse range of sources
Example – My universities offer an eclectic mix of courses.
- Iconoclast – Someone who criticizes or attacks cherished ideas and beliefs
Example – His son Gegnesius 722 was taken to Constantinople, where he won over to his opinions the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Isaurian.
- Anachronism – Something that is inappropriate for the given time period
Example – In today’s computer world, a floppy disk is an anachronism.
10 more to go!
- Enormity – An act of extreme wickedness
Example – She stared at the fire, shocked by the enormity of what she had done.
- Dolorous – Showing sorrow
Example – Sally stopped. Then she uttered a dolorous phrase that we could all understand. My dog is dead, she said, as tears filled her eyes.
- Solicitous – Showing hovering attentiveness
Example – I appreciated his solicitous inquiry about my health.
- Impugn – Attack as false or wrong
Example – Her motives have been scrutinized and impugned.
- Despot – A cruel and oppressive dictator
Example – The despot claimed to be the chosen instrument of divine providence.
- Splenetic – Very irritable
Example – Next in line for the splenetic outburst of a disaffected supporter: Martin Chuffing Edwards.
- Abrogate – To revoke
Example – The Supreme Court can abrogate laws deemed unconstitutional.
- Inveterate – Habitual
Example – She is an inveterate gambler.
- Officious – Intrusive in a meddling or offensive manner
Example – ‘I’ll see,’ the nurse said, with an officious toss of her head.
- Pillory – Ridicule or expose to public scorn
Example – The offensive thing is that he has been so widely pilloried for doing so.
Some bonus words for you
1. Abject- without any hope
Example- He lives in abject poverty.
2. Candor- Honest
Example- She treated the matter with great candor.
3. Cogent- Persuasive
Example- He had a cogent argument to make.
4. Dearth- Shortage/scarcity
Example- The team has no dearth of good players.
5. Evanescent- Short-lived
Example- The photographer perfectly captured that evanescent moment.
Example- He is cognizant of the ongoing issue.
7. Fatuous- Lack of intelligence
Example- I was shocked by his fatuous remark.
8. Mendacious- Lying
Example- Do not give them another mendacious story. It’s time you tell the truth.
9. Disparate- Distinct
Example- We are trying to put all disparate ideas to execute this plan.
10. Ubiquitous– Present everywhere
Example- He is one of the most ubiquitous media personalities today.
I can’t remember difficult English words with meanings
I know! I’ve been there. This is why I’m going to share an amazing trick that Memory Athletes use to remember difficult words.
Sure, you’ll find a lot of resources both online and offline (we’re gonna cover that soon). Some of them will tell you to speak out loud and memorize the words every day until the day of your exam. Others will ask you to look at examples and use these words in your everyday life.
But they can only help you remember these words for maybe a week or two.
The method used by Memory Athletes, on the other hand, helped me so much I can remember the meanings of these words even today!
How to remember difficult English words?
We have ten amazing tips that will blow your mind!
- Read the word and try to relate it to something you already know.
- Break it into two words if that makes things easier for you.
For example – for the word Inundated – I broke it into 3 words – ‘in’ ‘a’ and ‘date’
- Create a mental image of these words in your mind
I imagined myself being on a date with a guy
- Relate this image to the actual meaning of the word!
- Have fun while learning. Play word puzzles and quiz yourself when you want to relax.
- Be more observant of what you read. Instead of glancing over unknown words, look up the meaning and note them down.
- Learn with a friend. Sometimes learning words can become mundane, so take the help of your friends and build your knowledge.
- Learn a few words at a time and don’t overburden yourself. Learn around 8-10 words a day.
- Use these new words in your day-to-day life to retain them better.
- Revise what you have learned a day later and then a week later.
How? Let’s see-
Inundated means Flooded
So I imagined that the restaurant I was in started to flood!
I know what you’re thinking – it’s crazy.
But it works, doesn’t it?
Now, you’ll never forget what inundated means.
Try out this trick with the words on this list and have fun while memorizing them. You’re welcome!
What are some of the most misspelled words?
When it comes to acing the English section, only learning the words is not enough. You need to learn to spell them the right way. So, here are some of the most misspelled words that you need to get right!
Some confusing words you should know about
Besides misspelling certain words, you might get confused with the usage of some words. So, here are some of the most commonly misused words.
- Accept and Except
Accept refers to accepting something, whereas except means to exclude something.
- Illicit and Elicit
Illicit is the other name for being unlawful. On the other hand, elicit means to evoke.
- Effect and Affect
While effect means an outcome, affect means influence.
- Their, There, and They’re
While ‘their’ is a possessive word, there means a location, and ‘they’re’ is the contraction of ‘they are.’
Difficult words to pronounce in English
Now that we have learned more than 50 new words with meaning, it’s time to pronounce some difficult words. Here you go!
Where can I find more such words?
You’ll find online articles giving you multiple suggestions, including books like Six Weeks to Words of Power, Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder, and 1100 Words You Need to Know.
But instead of being swamped with so many books to read, I suggest you use only these 2 resources-
1. Word Power by Norman Lewis
This book is a delightful read!
In it, you will have to learn only 10 words a day.
But the teaching method (breaking down the word etymology) of the author is so phenomenal that you’ll end up understanding the meanings behind a thousand words by the end of this book.
What’s more, it has several exercises in the middle, that help you improve your grammatical and syntactic skills. This is perfect for those attempting tests like SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.
2. The GRE Vocabulary Flashcards on Magoosh
This app has hundreds of flashcards you can read from.
Go through a few flashcards every day, over and over again. Read the meanings, use the trick I gave above to remember these words, and look at the examples.
Then do it all over again. Because when it comes to remembering vocabulary words with meaning, practice will make you perfect!
3. 500 Absolutely Essential Words
This is for people who want to build a foundation for strong English. The book has over 500 frequently used words with meanings and sample sentences, short reading passages, exercises, etc. This makes it quite helpful for students preparing for English proficiency exams.
4. English Vocabulary in Use Series
This series by Cambridge University Press can be used by students of all levels to improve their vocabulary. If you are preparing for TOEFL or IELTS, grab this series to score well in your exam. Each of these books is designed per various skill levels and gets more technical. It includes the following books-
- Elementary Vocabulary
- Basic Vocabulary in Use
- Pre-intermediate and Intermediate Vocabulary
- Upper-Intermediate Vocabulary
- Advanced Vocabulary
5. Oxford Learner’s Pocket Word Skills
This book by Oxford has 32 modules, each covering various areas of different topics. It has over 180 topics with 3500 keywords and phrases presented in context. It also covers essay writing and spoken English sections. You can also test your knowledge with its ‘Cover and Check’ cards. This book is ideal for students preparing for Cambridge exams and IELTS.
How can I improve my vocabulary?
Here are a few ways you can learn more words and expand your vocabulary –
- Build a habit of reading. You must read all kinds of texts – fiction, academic papers, articles, and interviews – to build a solid vocabulary and improve comprehension.
- Keep a thesaurus and a dictionary handy, and learn to use the new words in the right context.
- If you want to memorize words faster, you can try making flashcards for reference.
- Write. You can write about any topic that interests you, like laughter, your favorite movie, or a superhero. If you can’t come up with a topic, look for prompts online!
- Listening to music and watching movies in any language is a great way to build and strengthen your vocabulary.
- Moreover, making it a habit to converse in that language regularly can help you use the new words you learn effectively.
- Vocabulary is an important aspect of various competitive exams, including IELTS, TOEFL, GMAT, SAT, GRE, etc. It is essential for you to enhance your vocabulary to ace these exams.
- To begin with, you can go through these difficult words with meanings and try to use these words in your everyday life.
- You can also use these words to enhance your English speech to grab people’s attention.
- Besides learning more than 50 difficult words with meaning, you can also read books, journals, listen to music, etc., to enhance your vocabulary.
- So, grab your notebook and prepare well by revising these words!
There you have it – 50 (well, 60) difficult words with meaning, resources to find more, and tips to remember these oh-so-new words.
If you think we should add something more to our blog about ’50 difficult words with meaning,’ reach out to us.
Or…drop a comment!
Liked this blog? Read next: Top 9 motivational speeches students should listen to
Q1. What are the 10 difficult words?
Answer – Here are 10 difficult words you should look at-
Q2. What is the hardest word to say?
Answer – Worcestershire is one of the hardest words to get right in English.
Q3. What is the most used word?
Answer – The most used word in English is ‘the.’
Q4. What is the oldest word?
Answer- Some of the words that researchers believe date back 15000 years include-
Q5. Is vocabulary important for GRE?
Answer- Yes, having a strong vocabulary is crucial for you to score well on GRE. The Verbal Reasoning section is all about testing your vocabulary by asking questions on antonyms, analogies, sentence completion, etc. It is also one of the toughest sections of the exam. Therefore, go through the difficult words with meaning to ace this section.
Q6. What is contextual vocabulary?
Answer- Contextual vocabulary includes guessing the meaning of words by understanding the sentence without depending on a dictionary.
Q7. What is the best way to retain difficult words for a longer period of time?
Answer- You can start by reading the words and jotting them down with the meaning. Then, try to use those difficult words in sentences to memorize them.
Q8. What is a very long word?
Answer- Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is one of the longest difficult words in the English dictionary.
See what others are saying
What a wonderful read! Thanks Ankita!
I just like to learn more and keep in my mind forfuture