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Upper Intermediate Vocabulary – TOEFL Test Practice

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Meaning of Words

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Below is a list of words that often appear on theTOEFL test. The underlined sections of a word provide links to definitions of that word’s respective roots, prefixes and suffixes. Sentences are provided as examples of word usage.

 A B C D E F G H J L M N O P Q R S T U V

A

act, ag

  • react(verb): to act in response to something
    • re + act
    • How did he react when he heard the news?
  • agent(noun): something which acts or acts upon something elseag
        +

    ent

    • The travel agent helped her purchase the tickets.
  • active(adjective): involving movement, moving about
    • act + ive
    • Joan is an active child.
  • agitate(verb): to excite, to disturb, to stir up
    • agit + ate
    • The washing machine agitates the load of laundry.

aud, audit, aur

  • audible( adjective): can be heard
    • aud + ible
    • Your voice is barely audible over the sound of the train whistle.
  • auditorium(noun): a place where one goes to hear something
    • audit+ orium
    • The band played in the school auditorium
  • auricular
    • aur + ic + ul + ar
    • The auricular ability of the cat is well-known.

am, ami

  • amorous(adjective): loving
    • amor + ous
    • The actor played an amorous role.
  • amiable(adjective) friendly, agreeable
    • ami + able
    • He seems to be an amiable man.
  • amicable(adjective): friendly
    • amic + able
    • The two neighbors came to an amicable decision about the fence.

anim

  • animal(noun): a living creature
    • anim + al
    • A dog is an animal.
  • animate(verb): to give spirit or support, to supply movement
    • anim + ate
    • The artist animated the cartoon.
  • animosity(noun): hostility, ill will
    • animos + ity
    • There isn’t any animosity between us.

ann, annu, enni

  • annals (noun): record of events, historical records
    • ann + al + s
    • The annals of the organization are kept in notebooks.
  • annual(adjective): yearly
    • annu + al
    • She is planning on going to the company’s annual meeting.
  • annuity(noun): money payable yearly
    • annu + ity
    • Joan is going to invest her annuity in the stock market.
  • anniversary(noun): the yearly celebration of an event
    • anni + vers + ary
    • John’s parents will celebrate their wedding anniversary in April.
  • perennial(adjective): enduring, persisting for several years
    • per + enn + ial
    • I would like to buy some perennial plants.

auc, aug, aut

  • author (noun): one that originates or creates, a writer
    • auth + or
    • Susan met the author of this book.
  • augment(verb): to increase, to add to
    • aug + ment
    • He had to augment his salary by taking another job.
  • auction(noun): a sale of goods to the highest bidder
    • auct + ion
    • I bought this car at the auction.

B

bene biblio

  • benevolent
  • benign (adjective): harmless, mild, gentle
    • The doctor removed a benign tumor from my neck and I went home the same day.

 brev + ity

  • bibliography

 

  • biology

 

  • brief
  • abbreviate(verb): to shorten
    • How does one abbreviate the word “Minnesota”?
  • brevity(noun): short or concise expression
    • The politician gave short speeches and he became known for his brevity.

C

cad, cap, cas, ceiv, cept, cid

  • deceive (verb): to cause or allow someone to believe something is true when it is actually false; to mislead
    • de + ceive
    • The criminal deceived many people into believing she was honest.
  • capable(adjective): having the ability to do something; having the traits necessary to perform some action
    • cap + able
    • Jose is a very capable lawyer.
  • capacious (adective): containing a great deal
    • capac + ious
    • You have a capacious library with many unusual books.
  • captive (noun, adjective): a person held against his or her own will; held prisoner
    • cap+ tive
    • The captives were taken to the jail.
    • Geoff had a captive audience.
  • accident(noun): an unplanned event
    • ac + cid + ent
    • Don’t get upset about minor accidents and errors.
  • capture (verb): to gain control of, to gain by effort
    • capt + ure
    • In the game of chess, the object is to capture the king.
  • occasion(noun): an opportunity; a happening, instance or celebration
    • oc + cas + ion
    • Did you have an occasion to speak with your professor?
  • receive(verb): to take in, to acquire
    • re + ceive
    • Imelda received many letters in the mail today.
  • concept(noun): an idea
    • con + cept
    • The concept of using computers in the classroom is relatively new.

ceas, cede, ceed, cess

  • predecessor (noun): a person who has previously occupied a position that another has taken over
    • pre + de + cess + or
    • I hope I can live up to my predecessor’s reputation.
  • succeed (verb): to follow after another, to do well
    • suc + ceed
    • To succeed as a student, one must study.
  • recede (verb): to move back, to withdraw
    • re + cede
    • The water receded five days after the flood.
  • concede (verb): to accept as true, to yield, to allow
    • con + cede
    • I conceded to her point of view.
  • exceed (verb): to go beyond a limit, to be greater than
    • ex + ceed
    • The driver exceeded the speed limit by ten miles an hour.
  • recess (noun): an indentation, a temporary break
    • re + cess
    • The children were given a recess from the lessons.
  • deceased (adjective): dead
    • de + ceas + ed
    • The deceased person will be cremated rather than buried.

chron

  • chronic(adjective): marked by a long period of time, recurrence
    • chron + ic
    • Gabrielle has a chronic back disorder and cannot lift heavy objects.
  • chronicle (noun): a historical account arranged in order of time
    • chron + icle
    • The teacher asked us to read a chronicle on the Revolutionary War.
  • chronological (adjective): arranged in order of time
    • chrono + log + ical
    • The text book listed the presidents in chronological order.

clam, claim

  • acclaim(verb): praise
    • ac + claim
    • The restaurant is acclaimed for its desserts.
  • exclaim (verb): to speak loudly, to cry out in surprise
    • ex + claim
    • The children exclaimed “hurray” when they heard there would be no classes tomorrow.
  • clamor (noun, verb): n. noise, v. to make noise
    • clam + or
    • The children clamored for more ice cream.
  • proclaim (verb): to declare loudly
    • pro + claim
    • The president of the university proclaimed March 21 to be a holiday in honor of the school’s award winning faculty.

cogn, gnos

  • cognizant(adjective): aware
    • cogniz + ant
    • The man was cognizant of the danger of walking through the park at night.
  • diagnose (verb): to recognize (diseases) by symptoms
    • dia + gnose
    • The patient was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease.
  • agnostic (noun): one who believes that any ultimate reality is unknowable
    • ag + gnost + ic
    • John is unsure of the reality of god and considers himself to be an agnostic.
  • recognize (verb): to know, to identify
    • re + cogn + ize
    • I thought I recognized your face from somewhere.

corp

  • corpse (noun): a dead body
    • corpse
    • A corpse was found floating in the river.
  • corpulent (adjective): having a large body
    • corp + ul + ent
    • The corpulent politician jabbed a fat finger in the air.
  • incorporate (verb): to unite into one being
    • in + corp + or + ate
    • The artist incorporated paint, photographs, and fabric into her artwork.
  • corporate (adjective): formed into a body or association, united in one group
    • corp + or + ate
    • The corporate structure allowed many people to work as a group.

cre, cresc, cret

  • crescent(noun, adjective): a narrow curved shape; a quarter moon or smaller
    • cresc + ent
    • The crescent moon could be glimpsed through the clouds.
  • create (verb): to originate, to produce through imagination
    • cre + ate
    • The musician created a new musical arrangement.
  • accretion (verb): growth by gradual addition
    • ac + cret + ion
    • The accretion of dirt on windows is sometimes hard to detect.
  • increase (verb): to grow in size or amount
    • in + crease Alfonse wishes he could find a way to increase his salary.

cred

  • credible(adjective): can be believed, reasonable
    • cred + ible
    • The witness gave a credible account of the accident.
  • credulous (adjective): too ready to believe
    • cred + ul + ous
    • The credulous child believed the story about flying horses.
  • incredible (adjective): unbelievable, amazing
    • in + cred + ible
    • Makiko said she just saw an incredible horror movie.

cour, cur, curr, curs

  • excursion(noun): a trip
    • ex + curs + ion
    • The father planned an excursion to the zoo for his children.
  • discourse (noun, verb): a conversation, to talk
    • dis + course
    • The discourse between the speaker and the audience was informal.
  • courier (noun): a messenger
    • couri + er
    • The courier gave the message to the secretary.
  • course (noun, verb): forward movement, movement from point to point; to run along a path
    • course
    • Blood courses through your veins with every beat of your heart.
  • occur (verb): to happen, to come to mind
    • oc + cur
    • It just occurred to me that tomorrow is your birthday.
  • current (adjective, noun): happening now, up to date; the movement of water
    • curr + ent
    • Is this information current or out of date?

D

dic, dict, dit

  • dictionary (noun): a book of definitions
    • dict + ion + ary
    • Juliana looked up the word in the dictionary.
  • condition (noun): the state of something or someone
    • con + dit + ion
    • Is your car in good condition?
  • indicate (verb): to show, to point out
    • in + dic + ate
    • The gas gauge indicates that we are almost out of gas.
  • dictate (verb): to speak for a person to record, to issue an order
    • dict + ate
    • The lawyer dictated the letter to her secretary.
  • predict (verb): to say what will happen in the future
    • pre + dict
    • Joseph predicts that he will get married in ten years.
  • addict (verb): to be devoted to something in an obsessive manner
    • ad + dict
    • Leslie is addicted to betting on the horse races.

doc, doct

  • doctor(noun): a person who has received the highest degree a university offers, a physician
    • doct + or
    • Andre is going to medical school so that he can be a doctor like his mother.
  • doctrine (noun): something that is taught, dogma
    • doctr + ine
    • We learned about the doctrine of “manifest destiny” in our American history class.
  • docile (adjective): obedient, easily taught
    • doc + ile
    • Mrs. Galindez wants to buy a docile dog for her son.
  • document (noun): an official paper
    • docu + ment
    • The library houses many government documents in its collection.

dog, dox

  • orthodox (adjective): holding conventional beliefs
    • ortho + dox
    • I don’t know if my interpretation of that book is orthodox or not.
  • dogma (noun): an established opinion
    • dog + ma
    • Some people find the dogma associated with that organization disturbing.
  • paradox (noun): a statement that seems to contradict itself but contains some truth
    • para + dox
    • The paradox of the matter is that I want to see the opera but I also want to stay home.

dec, dign

  • decorate(verb): to make something look attractive or suitable
    • dec + or + ate
    • Linda decorated her apartment with paintings and plants.
  • decent (adjective): conforming to standards, good, kind
    • dec + ent
    • This magazine contains a decent article on home improvement.
  • dignity (noun): quality of being worthy, noble, honored
    • dign + ity
    • I haven’t yet had the dignity and honor of being grand marshall of the parade.

duc, duct

  • conduct (verb, noun): v. to lead or guide, n. a person’s behavior
    • con + duct
    • Jared was conducted into the doctor’s office by the nurse.
    • Arnelle’s conduct was inexcusable and she should apologize to the class.
  • educate(verb): to train, to provide schooling for
    • e + duc + ate
    • The school tries to educate its students to be productive members of society.
  • induct (verb): to install in office or to enroll in military service
    • in + duct
    • Mindy was inducted into the army last month.
  • deduct (verb): to subtract
    • de + duct
    • The salesperson deducted five dollars off the purchase price of the radio.
  • deduce (verb): to make a decision or draw a conclusion by reasoning
    • de + duce
    • I deduced from the trail of crumbs and the empty milk carton that the children were home.
  • produce (verb, noun): to bring forward, to make to bear or yield; something made or grown
    • pro + duce
    • The lawyer produced new evidence at the trial.
    • The produce from the farm will go to the market next week.
  • seduce(verb): to persuade (especially into doing something wrong), to tempt
    • se + duce
    • Money and power have been known to seduce many honest people.
  • induce(verb): to persuade, cause, or bring about by artificial means.
    • in + duce
    • If a child swallows poison, it is suggested that vomiting should be induced.

E

ev, et

  • eternal(adjective): not effected by time, without beginning or end, ceaseless
    • etern + al
    • The lecture seemed eternal and many in the audience had fallen asleep.
  • medieval (adjective): relating to the Middle Ages (500 – 1500 AD)
    • med + ieval
    • There are many styles to medieval architecture and a building built in 500 AD looks different from one built in 1000 AD.

F

fict, feign, fain

  • faint(adjective, verb): indistinct, not clearly perceived, weak; to lose consciousness from lack of blood to the brain
    • faint
    • There is a faint odor of apples in this room.
    • Some people faint at the sight of blood.
  • feign (verb): to pretend
    • feign
    • The child feigned illness in an attempt to avoid the test.
  • fiction (noun): something produce from imagination, an invented story
    • fict + ion
    • The excuse Marvin just gave for not doing his homework is pure fiction.

fig

  • effigy (noun): a figure representing a disliked person.
    • e f + fig + y
    • The children made an effigy of their nasty neighbor.
  • figure (noun): shape, pattern, drawing
    • fig + ure
    • The figure Louise drew on the paper looks nothing like an apple.
  • figment (noun): a thing that does not exist, something made up
    • fig + ment
    • Ghosts and monsters are figments of an active imagination.

fac, fact, fec, fic, fas, fea

  • fashion(noun, verb): the form of something, style; to give shape or form to
    • fash + ion
    • The current fashion is hair worn short.
  • feasible(adjective): capable of being done
    • feas + ible
    • The engineer thought that building the bridge across the river was a feasible project.
  • feature(noun, verb): the appearance or form of a person or object; to picture or portray
    • feat + ure
    • Lisette’s best feature is her eyes.
  • factory(noun): a place where things are made or built
    • fact + ory
    • There is a boat factory near the river.
  • difficult (adjective): hard to do, troublesome, hard to understand
    • di + fic + ult
    • The test was difficult and I answered only eight of the ten questions.
  • fact (noun): something known to be true
    • fact
    • It’s a fact that the world is round.
  • effect (noun): a change caused by something, a result, influence
    • e + fect
    • The sun’s effect on human skin is known to be harmful.

fer

  • fertile(adjective): productive, bearing or capable of bearing fruit in large quantities
    • fert + ile
    • The land by the river is quite fertile and many crops are grown there.
  • refer (verb): to classify within a general category, to send or direct to another source
    • re + fer
    • The patient was referred to a physical therapist for additional treatment.
  • infer (verb): to come to a conclusion from facts or ideas, to guess
    • in + fer
    • Sometimes a reader has to infer from the facts presented in an article what the main idea is about.

fid

  • diffident (adjective): hesitant in acting, shy
    • dif + fid + ent
    • The diffident student would not speak in front of the class.
  • fidelity (noun): the quality of being faithful, accuracy
    • fid + el + ity
    • The fidelity of this video reproduction is quite good.
  • confide (verb): to trust, to trust another person with a secret
    • con + fide
    • Joan confided in her friend and told her a secret.

flu, fluct, flux

  • fluent (adjective): capable of moving with ease, able to speak another language
    • flu + ent
    • The dancer had a fluent body.
    • Juanita is fluent in several languages.
  • superfluous (adjective): extra, more than is needed
    • super + flu + ous
    • Three cherries on my piece of cake is superfluous; I only needed one.
  • influence (verb, noun): to have an effect on something; the ability to affect something indirectly
    • in + flu + ence
    • It was John’s success as a musician that influenced my decision to take guitar lessons.
  • fluid (adjective): capable of flowing, a smooth style, liquid
    • flu + id
    • The ink my new pen is quite fluid and flows evenly across the page.
  • fluctuate (verb): to shift back and forth, to move erratically
    • fluctu + ate
    • My body temperature has been fluctuating all day — sometimes I’m hot and sometimes I’m cold.

form fract, frag, frai

  • format
  • formulate (verb): to prepare from a set of steps (formula), to devise
    • The chemist formulated a new way of making dish detergent.

 

  • fracture (verb, noun): to break, to crack; a broken bone
    • fract + ure Miguel fractured his arm while skiing.
  • fragment (noun): a piece broken off, a part of something
    • frag + ment
    • It bothers me that I can remember only a fragment of the poem rather than the whole piece.
  • frail (adjective): easily broken, not strong
    • frail
    • Be careful! That chair is frail

G

gen, gin

  • generally(adverb): in a general manner, usually, with regard to the whole not specifics
    • gen + er + al + ly
    • Generally, Lance leaves work at 5:00 p.m.
  • gingerly (adverb, adjective): careful
    • gin + ger + ly
    • Paulette picked up the antique vase gingerly and placed it on the shelf.
  • indigenous (adjective): native, having been born in a specific area or environment
    • in + di + gen + ous
    • The tomato plant is indigenous to South America.

ge de + gree

  • geography

 

  • categorize

 

  • grade (noun): a stage in a process, a mark indicating quality
    • Ali hopes to receive a passing grade on his midterm exam.
  • progress (verb, noun): to move forward; forward movement
    • Mina progressed to the next level in her French language program.
    • There hasn’t been much progress made in getting the house built — only the frame is up.
  • degree (noun): a step or stage in a process, a rank, a level of intensity
    • There is a high degree of stress associated with being a police officer.

graph, graf H

  • graphic
  • graffitti (noun): drawings or writing on a wall
    • Many people find the graffitti on the subway trains disturbing.

 

her, hes

  • adhere (verb): to stick
    • ad + here
    • Paper often adheres to wet surfaces.
  • hesitate (verb): to hold back a decision, to waver
    • hesit + ate
    • Don’t hesitate to call me if you need help.

J

jac, ject, jet re + ject

  • adjacent
  • jettison (verb): to throw away, to cast off
    • The captain of the sinking ship jettisoned the cargo.
  • reject(verb): to throw out, unwilling to accept
    • David was rejected by two schools before he found a school that accepted him.

jug, junct, just

  • adjust(verb): to change or adapt to fit or match something
    • ad + just
    • Jared has to adjust to his new work schedule.
  • conjugal (adjective): of marriage, marital relationship
    • con + jug + al
    • One should think seriously before entering a conjugal relationship.
  • junction (noun): the place at which two things join
    • junct + ion
    • Deborah’s house is at the junction of Hill and Maple streets.

L

lex, leg

    •  
      • col + lege
      • Yolanda is going to college to become a lawyer.

 (noun): a school for higher learning, a group of people having a common purpose

    • college

 

  • legal (adjective, noun): based on law; conforms to law
    • leg + al
    • Jared is working as a legal secretary for two lawyers in New York
    • Is it legal to own fireworks in Massachusetts or is there a law against them?
  • league(noun): a group of people, an association
    • leag + ue
    • There are fifty people participating in the bowling league.

lect

    •  
      • col + lect
      • The little girl collected wildflowers for her mother.

(verb): to gather, to bring together

    • collect

 

  • legible(noun): readible, clear enough to read
    • leg + ible
    • His handwriting is quite legible.
  • eligible (adjective): qualified, worthy to be chosen
    • e + lig + ible
    • Now that Geoffrey is eighteen he is eligible to vote.

loc

    •  
      • loc + al + ly
      • The vegetables are grown locally.

 (adverb): nearby, relative to a certain area

    • locally

 

log

    •  
      • log + ic
      • Simone is taking a class in logic and she is learning about how to reason.

 (noun): the study of reason

    • logic

 

luc

    •  
      • trans + luc + ent
      • The sheet of paper is translucent when held close to a lightbulb.

(adjective): allowing some light to shine through

    • translucent

 

  • illuminate(verb): to provide with light, to make lighter, to make clear
    • il + lum + in + ate
    • The lamp illuminates the room.
  • illustrate(verb): to explain by using pictorial examples, to show by using visual examples
    • il + lustr + ate
    • Christopher illustrated his idea on piece of paper for everyone to see.

M

man

    •  
      • man + age + ment
      • This store is under new management.

(noun): the act of handling or running something, usually a business.

    • management

 

mem

    •  
      • com + mem + or + ate
      • The American Revolution is commemorated every Fourth of July.

(verb): to remember an important event through ceremony or observation

    • commemorate

 

  • memory(noun): the ability to recall past events
    • mem + or + y
    • Geanine has an excellent memory and she can recall things that happened years ago.

ment

  • mental(adjective): related to the mind
    • ment + al
    • Lauren’s mental abilities must be quite good if she achieved a perfect score without even studying.
  • mention(verb): to cite, to speak about, to refer to
    • ment + ion
    • The instructor forgot to mention that the class was cancelled.

min

  • minor(adjective): lesser, less important
    • min + or
    • The knife slipped and Marcelle received a minor cut.
  • minute(adjective, noun): tiny, very small; sixty seconds
    • min + ute
    • Even though the speck of dirt on the camera lens was minute, it ruined the photograph.
    • Terry will be finished in one minute.
  • minuscule(adjective): very small
    • minusc + ule
    • The minuscule gem was very hard to see without magnifying glasses.

mit, miss

    •  
      • ad + mit
      • I must admit that even though you didn’t like the movie I did.

(verb): to accept, to confess, to allow entry

    • admit

 

  • missive (noun): a letter to be sent
    • miss + ive
    • Missives were more common one hundred years ago. Today, people use the telephone.

mob, mov, mot

    •  
      • re + move
      • The waiter removed the dirty dishes from the table.

(verb): to take off or to take away

    • remove

 

  • mobile(adjective): able to move
    • mob + ile
    • Many people drive their mobile homes from North to South, following the warm weather.
  • motion(noun): act of moving, action
    • mot + ion
    • Many people find the motion of a rocking chair soothing.

N

nasc, nat, gnant, nai

    •  
      • nat +ive
      • Turkeys are native to North America.

(adjective): belonging to a place by birth, indigenous

    • native

 

  • nascent (adjective): just born
    • nasc + ent
    • The nascent kittens curled up with their mother.
  • pregnant (adjective): having a child developing in the womb, “with child”
    • pre + gn +ent
    • Linda’s dog is pregnant and it will have its puppies in November.
  • naive (adjective): lack of experience, not knowledgeable of the world
    • nai + ve
    • When Olivia went to New York ten year’s ago she was naive, but now she is a well-seasoned traveler.

nom

    •  
      • nomin + ate
      • Vittorio nominated Mary for class president.

(verb): to name for office

    • nominate

 

  • synonym (noun): a word with a similar meaning to another word in the same language
    • syn + onym
    • The word “fair” is a synonym for the word “just.”

nov

    •  
      • novel + ty
      • After six months the novelty of Pierre’s new car is starting to wear off.

(noun): something new

    • novelty

 

  • novice (noun): a newcomer, a beginner, someone new to something
    • nov + ice
    • Bjorn is a novice when it comes to playing poker or other card games.

O

oper

    •  
      • oper + ate
      • People are advised not to operate heavy machinery after drinking alcohol.

(verb): to work, to perform

    • operate

 

  • opus (noun): a musical composition
    • opus
    • Vivaldi’s opus number three is not as well known as is other compositions.

P

pat

    •  
      • pati + ent
      • Josiah was patient as he waited in line for concert tickets.
      • Amelia has been a patient of Dr. Gustaf’s for ten years.

(adjective, noun): calm, bearing pain without complaint; a person under medical care

    • patient

 

  • passion (noun): a strong feeling or emotion
    • pass + ion
    • Barbara has a passion for motorcycle racing.
  • sympathy (noun): sharing another person’s feelings, the ability to feel for another person’s suffering
    • sym + path + y
    • Ching-wei expressed his deepest sympathy when hearing of Mrs. Martin’s death.
  • pathology (noun): the study of diseases
    • patho + log + y
    • Blaise is studying pathology because he wants to learn about diseases.

ped

    •  
      • im + pede
      • The shackles and chains impeded the prisoner’s escape.

(verb): to hinder, to slow down

    • impede

 

  • pedestal (noun): a support for a column or other structure, a base for something
    • pedest + al
    • Johannes put the vase on a pedestal.
  • pedestrian (noun): a person walking
    • pedestr + ian
    • As soon as the cars stopped, the pedestrians crossed the street.

pod

  • podium (noun): a platform, an area raised above the surrounding ground, a place at which to speak in front of an audience
    • pod + ium
    • The professor walked up to the podium and spoke into the microphone.

pel

    •  
      • re + pel
      • Does Margo’s new jacket repel water?

(verb): to drive away or push back

    • repel

 

  • pulse (noun): the regular action of blood through arteries
    • pulse
    • The nurse felt for the patient’s pulse in his neck.

pend, pond

  • suspend(noun): to hang from, to interrupt, to stop
    • sus + pend
    • The light was turned on by a string suspended from the light fixture.
  • ponder(verb): to think about, to weigh in one’s mind
    • pond + er
    • Levi pondered the possibility of going to medical school.

phan, fan

    •  
      • phan + tom
      • The children told horror stories about phantoms and ghosts.

(noun): something seen but having no physical existence, a ghost.

    • phantom

 

  • fantasy(noun): a creation of the imagination that cannot be real, a daydream
    • fantas + y
    • When Miguel was a child he had a fantasy about being a doctor on the planet Jupiter.

phil

    •  
      • philo+ soph + er
      • Plato wrote about the Greek philosopher Socrates.

 (noun): a person who seeks (loves) wisdom

    • philosopher

 

phon

    •  
      • phonet + ic
      • The phonetic alphabet is useful when studying languages or linguistics.

(adjective) relating to speech sounds

    • phonetic

 

pict

    •  
      • de + pict
      • In the movie the character was depicted as evil.

 (verb): to portray, to represent

    • depict

 

port

    •  
      • im + port
      • Fyodor imports caviar and other products from Russia.

 (verb): to bring in from a foreign country

    • import

 

  • portage (noun) the labor of carrying boats across land
    • port + age
    • Bill said that he had a five mile portage on his last canoe trip.

pli, ply

    •  
      • re + ply
      • Did Marco reply to Emily’s invitation?
      • Lynn received a negative reply from her parents and she will not be going to the party.

(verb, noun): to respond, to answer; a response

    • reply

 

  • implicate (verb): to involve, to incriminate
    • im + plic + ate
    • The thief was implicated in three burglaries.
  • ply (noun): a layer
    • ply
    • Two ply tissue paper is stronger than one ply.

pon, pos

    •  
      • posit + ion
      • What position does Ian hold at his mother’s company?

(noun): a place occupied by something

    • position

 

  • postpone (verb): to put off to a later time
    • post + pone
    • The baseball game was postponed because of the storm.
  • posture (noun) the position of a body
    • post + ure
    • Denise has terrific posture — her back is straight and strong.

psych

    •  
      • psycho + log + y
      • Lynette studies psychology because she is interested in how people think and feel.

(noun): study of how the mind works

    • psychology

 

Q

quir

    •  
      • in + quire
      • Debbie inquired about employment opportunities at the factory.

(verb): to ask about

    • inquire

 

  • exquisite (adjective): carefully selected, marked by beauty
    • ex + quis + ite
    • Everyone noticed the exquisite diamond Toni was wearing.
  • quest (noun): a search, the act of seeking
    • quest
    • At four in the morning Quincy went out on a quest for ice cream.
  • query (verb, noun): to ask questions, a question
    • query
    • The lawyer queried the witness.
    • I have a query about the origins of the English language.

R

rupt

    •  
      • cor + rupt
      • The politician was corrupted by power and money.
      • The corrupt judge was arrested for accepting a bribe.

(verb, adjective): to change from good to bad

    • corrupt

 

  • rupture (verb): to break or burst
    • rupt + ure
    • The water bed ruptured and the water flowed onto the floor.
  • interrupt (verb): to stop, to break in (usually with questions)
    • inter + rupt
    • It’s impolite to interrupt someone while they are speaking.

S

sci

    •  
      • con + sci + ous
      • Gerturde was conscious of everything even though she appeared asleep.

(adjective): aware, having knowledge of oneself

    • conscious

 

  • science (noun): a system of knowledge
    • sci + ence
    • Claire enjoys science, especially biology.

scrib, scrip

  • scribble (verb): to write quickly or carelessly
    • scribb + le
    • He scribbled a note in his notebook.
  • script(noun): handwriting, something written
    • script
    • Sometimes her script is hard to read.
  • describe(verb): to say what something is like
    • de + scribe
    • The scientist described his experiment to the class.

sent, sens

  • sensation(noun): ability to feel due to stimulation
    • sens + at + ion
    • Jamal felt a tingling sensation in his arm after he hit his elbow on the table.
  • sentimental(adjective): marked by feeling or emotion
    • senti + ment +al
    • Lauren has a sentimental attachment to that quilt because her great grandmother made it.

sequ

    •  
      • sequ + ence
      • The sequence of events were as follows: first we had dinner, then we went to the movies, and then we went fo ice cream.

(noun): a continuous series

    • sequence

 

  • consecutive (adjective): following in an unbroken order
    • con + secut + ive
    • Terri was elected team captain three consecutive years in a row.
  • ensue (verb): to happen afterward
    • en + sue
    • After a disagreement in the restaurant, a fight ensued in the parking lot.

soci solv, solu

  • society

 

  • solitary
  • isolate (verb): to separate from others, to place something by itself
    • i +
    • The sick cat was isolated from the other animals.

 sol + uble

  • solve
  • absolute (adjective): complete, unrestricted, perfect
    • The babysitter has absolute authority over the children while their parents are away.
  • soluble (adjective): able to disperse in liquid
    • Sugar is soluble in water.

spec, spi spicic + ious

  • spectator
  • despise (verb): to hate, tolook down on
    • Marguerite despises people who are cruel to animals.
  • auspicicious (adjective): favorable
    • au +
    • The thousand dollar donation made for an auspicious beginning.
  • espionage (noun): using spies or observers
    • e + spion + age
    • Espionage is often depicted in mystery movies and novels.

spir stab, stat

  • respiration
  • inspire (verb): to stimulate, to fill with a feeling or desire
    • Students are often inspired by their teachers.

 sta + nce

  • stature
  • establish (verb): to found, to start, to make firm
    • e +
    • Southampton College was established in 1963.
  • stance (noun): a way of standing, a position, an attitude
    • A person’s stance is very important in the games of golf and baseball.

strain, strict string + ent

  • restrain
  • constrict (verb): to squeeze, to make narrow
    • Marvin felt constricted by the suit and tie he wore to the meeting.
  • stringent (adjective): strict, tight, severe
    • There are stringent rules and regulations one must follow when operating a child care center.
  • prestige (noun): respect for a person or a thing
    • pre + stige
    • There is a lot of prestige associated with occupying a political position.

stru, stroy ob + struct

  • destroy
  • misconstrue (verb): to interpret, analyse, or understand something incorrectly; misunderstand
    • Do not misconstrue his actions to mean he likes you — being pleasant to customers is part of his job.
  • obstruct (verb): to block, prevent, hinder
    • The fallen tree obstructed the roadway and blocked traffic for hours.

T

tact, tang con + tig + uous

  • tactilely
  • tangible (adjective): able to be perceived by touch, physically real
    • Many people want tangible proof of something before they believe it to be true.
  • contiguous (adjective): touching, next in a sequence
    • The United States has forty-eight contiguous states.
  • contingent (adjective): possible, dependent on something else
    • con + ting + ent
    • Armand’s move to a new apartment is contingent on his getting a raise.

tend, tens tain, ten

  • extensive
  • contend (verb): to strive or reach for, to argue
    • The two fighters contended for the heavy-weight championship title.

 con + tent

  • retain
  • continue (verb): to keep going, to remain
    • The movie is scheduled to continue until midnight.
  • content (noun, adjective): something contained, held; satisfied
    • I can’t tell what the content of this can is until I open it.
  • tenacious (adjective): holding or sticking to something
    • ten + ac + ious
    • Kareem is tenacious and he will stick with a subject until he understands it.

term terr

  • exterminate
  • terminal (adjective): relating to an end
    • Margot has been diagnosed with a terminal disease and has been given only six months to live.

 test

  • territory
  • terrain (noun): the physical features of an area
    • There is some very rough terrain in the White Mountain area of New Hampshire.

therm

  • attest
  • testify (verb): to make a statement based on personal knowledge
    • The witness testified at the trial.

tor

  • thermometer
  • thermal (adjective): relating to the presence of heat
    • Lisa bought some thermal underwear to take with her when she goes skiing.

con + tort

  • torment
  • torsion (noun): twisting of a body or an organ by an external force along an axis
    • The torsion of the bolt will help release the wheel.
  • contort (verb): to twist into an abnormal shape
    • The actor contorted her face into an evil grin and scared the audience.

tract, trai treat + y

  • attract
  • train (verb): to teach or to cause to do something
    • Yvette trained her dog to perform tricks.
  • treaty (noun): a formal agreement
    • The rebels and the new government signed a treaty calling for peace.

U

uni V

  • unite
  • unison (noun): at the same time, at the same pitch
    • The two singers sang in unison.

 

vac ven, vent

  • vacant
  • vacuum (noun): empty space, isolation from outside influence
    • Some people seem to live in a vacuum and they have no knowledge of current events.

pre + vent

  • convene
  • invent (verb): to create through thought or imagination
    • Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and other devices.
  • prevent (verb): to act ahead of, to keep from happening
    • Lamont prevented a disastrous fire by calling the fire department the moment he smelled smoke.

ver verb, verv

  • verify
  • veracity (noun): truthfulness, accuracy
    • Daphne is known for her veracity and honesty.

vers, vert:

  • verbalize
  • verve (noun): enthusiasm
    • The cheerleaders showed verve and school spirit at the football game.

vid, vis

  • versatile
  • revert(verb): to go back, to return (to an original state)
    • The land slowly reverted to a wild state after it was abandoned.

vis + ible

  • video
  • review (verb): to look at again, to re-examine
    • Marsha reviewed for the test by re-reading her class notes.
  • visible (adjective): able to be seen
    • Sometimes the moon is visible during the day.
  • indivisible(adjective, noun): cannot be separated
    • in + di + vis + ible
    • The Pledge of Allegiance mentions that the United States is an indivisible nation.

vit, viv voc, voke

  • vital
  • revive (verb): to return to life
    • After spending a day in the sun, I was revived by a glass of water.

volv, vol

  • vocal
  • revoke (verb): to call back, to withdraw
    • Karl’s license was revoked because he was caught driving 20 miles over the speed limit.

e + vol + ut + ion

  • revolve
  • revolt (verb): to rebel, to turn against, to feel disgust
    • It was the peasants who revolted during the French Revolution.
    • Cooked carrots revolt some people.
  • evolution (noun): the process by which something develops
    • Darwin and other natural scientists have developed theories of evolution.

 (verb): to turn around

  • re + volve
  • The earth revolves around the sun.

 (adjective): uttered by the voice, producing sound

  • voc + al
  • Parrots are known to be very vocal birds.

 (adjective): necessary for life

  • vit + al
  • The cancer had not yet spread to her vital organs and she was given an excellent chance for a full recovery.

 (noun): television or recorded movies

  • vid + eo
  • Patricia rented a video and watched it on her television.

(adjective): capable of changing or adapting, useful

  • vers + at + ile
  • When used correctly, a computer can be a versatile tool.

 (verb): to express in words, to put into words

  • verb + al + ize
  • Sometimes it is difficult to verbalize one’s feelings.

 (verb): to confirm that something is true

  • ver + ify
  • The police officer verified Arthur’s identity by asking for his driver’s license.

 (verb): to assemble, to come together

  • con + vene
  • The meeting convened at 2:00 p.m. and lasted until 5:00 p.m.

 (adjective): empty, not occupied, free

  • vac + ant
  • The hotel has only one vacant room left.

 (verb) to make one, to join together

  • unite
  • The two small companies united and became one large business.

(verb): to draw toward, to arouse interest

  • at + tract
  • The spilled sugar attracted flies and ants.

 (noun, verb): agony, pain; to cause recurring pain

  • tor + ment
  • The torment Jean’s nightmares caused made him seek professional help.
  • The guards tormented the prisoners.

 (noun) a device for measuring heat

  • thermo + meter
  • I took my temperature with a thermometer.

(verb): to provide proof, to say something is true

  • at + test
  • Malcolm can attest to Shiela’s honesty since he has known her for ten years.

 (noun): area of land

  • territ + ory
  • This area is considered to be Canadian territory.

 (verb): to kill off, to get rid of

  • ex + term + in + ate
  • The Schaeffer’s hired a company to exterminate the cockroaches living in their house.

 (verb): to keep, to hold in place

  • re + tain
  • Blanche retained her Alaskan residence since she will return there when she is finished with school.

 (adjective): large in area, wide

  • ex + tens + ive
  • There are extensive farm fields located in the plain states.

 (adverb): related to the sense of touch

  • tact + ile + + ly
  • Some people are tactilely oriented while others are visually oriented.

 (verb): to ruin, to pull down

  • de + stroy
  • The house was destroyed by the fire.

 (verb): to hold back, to prevent from doing

  • re + strain
  • The dog was restrained by the trainer’s grip on its leash.

 (noun): height of a body, importance of position

  • stat + ure
  • I’m reluctant to say she was short, but she was of rather small stature.

 (noun): breathing

  • re + spir + at + ion
  • Respiration becomes increasingly difficult the higher one climbs.

 (noun): a person who watches or observes

  • spect + at + or
  • There were over a thousand spectators at the local baseball game.

(verb): to find an answer

  • solve
  • The professor asked the student to solve the problem and show her answer on the board.

(adjective): being alone

  • solit + ary
  • There was a solitary bather on the beach.

(noun): community, the relationship among individuals living or working in a common area, companionship

  • societ + y
  • Sometimes what is best for a society is not always good for an individual living in that society.

(adjective): to lie next to

  • ad + jac + ent
  • You won’t have a long walk between classes because the engineering building is adjacent to the chemistry laboratories.

(adjective): written, drawn, vividly shown

  • graph + ic
  • Dominic is planning to study graphic art.

grade (verb): to place things in classes or sets, to classify

  • cate + gor + ize
  • The professor asked her students to categorize the plants they found.

(noun): a science that describes the earth’s surface

  • geo + graph + y
  • The geography of New York varies from the sandy shores to rocky mountains.

(noun): the shape and size of something, the arrangement of something

  • form + at
  • The format of this class will be half lecture and half class participation.

(adjective): short

  • brief
  • Anand gave a brief lecture on the rain forest.

(noun): the study of life

  • bio + log + y
  • In biology class the students learned about how the human body works.

(noun): a list of written works

  • biblio + graph + y
  • Olaf listed a brief bibliography at the end of his paper.

(adjective): marked by goodwill

  • bene + vol + ent
  • The “Salvation Army” is known as a benevolent society for its acts of charity.

re + volt re + voke re + vive re + view re + vert verve ver + ac + ity in + vent vacu + um uni + son train tors + ion therm + al test ify terr + ain term + in + al con + tin + ue con + tend tang + ible mis + con + strue con + strict stabl + ish in + spire de + spise ab + sol + ute sol + ate soljett + ison graph + itti pro + gress grad, gress, gree gor form + ul + ate ab + brevi + ate brevbio, biben + ign

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