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4000 IELTS Academic Word List (17)

ugly: Read
offensive to the sight; contrary to beauty; disagreeable aspect; unsightly

ultimate: Read
a. Syn. final; fundamental; extreme
final; being the last or concluding; fundamental; elemental; extreme

ultimately: Read
as final consequence; at last; in the end

ultrasonic: Read
a. Syn. supersonic
supersonic; higher in frequency than the range of sound perceptible to the human ear

ultraviolet: Read
wave lengths shorter than light but longer than X rays

unanimous: Read
a. Syn. uniform; agreed
uniform; in complete agreement

unbearable: Read
a. Syn. unendurable; intolerable
unendurable; so unpleasant, distasteful, or painful as to be intolerable

unconscious: Read
lacking awareness; senseless; unaware

uncover: Read
v. Syn. reveal; expose; disclose
remove the cover from; expose; disclose

underestimate: Read
v. Syn. undervalue
make too low an estimate of the quantity; undervalue

undergo: Read
v. Syn. experience; suffer
experience; suffer; pass through

undergraduate: Read
university student who has not yet received a first degree

underground: Read
a. Syn. subterranean; buried
under the level of the ground; buried

underline: Read
mark a line below, as words; underscore.

underlying: Read
a. Syn. fundamental; implicit
lying under or beneath something; basic; implicit; taking precedence; prior

undermine: Read
v. Syn. weaken
weaken by wearing away base or foundation; injure or impair; dig a mine or tunnel beneath

underneath: Read
under or below an object or a surface; lower down on the page

undertake: Read
v. Syn. embark; assume
take on; embark on; assume

undertaking: Read
n. Syn. task; project; career
task or assignment undertaken; career

undo: Read
v. Syn. release
release; cause the ruin or downfall of; cancel or reverse an action

undoubtedly: Read
ad. Syn. unquestionably; indubitably
unquestionably; without doubt; certainly

undue: Read
not due; not yet owing; not just, proper, or legal; ; excessive

uneasy: Read
not easy; difficult; restless; disturbed by pain, anxiety

unfair: Read
a. Syn. unjust; biased
unjust; contrary to laws or conventions, especially in commerce

unfold: Read
extend or stretch out to a greater or the full length; happen

unfortunately: Read
ad. Syn. unluckily
unluckily; by bad luck

uniform: Read
consistent; standardized; clothing of a particular group

unique: Read
a. Syn. alone; single; sole
without an equal; being the only one of its kind

unity: Read
n. Syn. cohesion; harmony
cohesion; harmony; quality of being united into one

universal: Read
a. Syn. comprehensive; general; worldwide
affecting all; general; present everywhere; relating to the entire world or all within the world; worldwide

universe: Read
n. Syn. cosmos
cosmos; everything that exists anywhere

unlikely: Read
a. Syn. improbable
improbable; has little chance of being the case or coming about

unload: Read
take something off a container

unprecedented: Read
a. Syn. novel; unparalleled
having no previous example; novel; unparalleled

unsatisfactory: Read
a. Syn. inadequate
not giving satisfaction; inadequate

unstable: Read
a. Syn. inconstant; volatile
inconstant; variable; lacking control of one's emotions; constantly changing

unwarranted: Read
a. Syn. unjustified; groundless; undeserved
having no justification; groundless; not guaranteed to be good, sound, or of a certain quality

uphold: Read
v. Syn. support; preserve; maintain
support; preserve; hold aloft; raise

upright: Read
in an erect position or posture; perpendicular; vertical, or nearly vertical; pointing upward

upset: Read
a. Syn. worried; disturb; overturn
concerned by anxious uneasiness or trouble or grief

urban: Read
a. Syn. municipal
metropolitan; of, relating to, or located in a city

urge: Read
v. Syn. entreat; advocate
force in an indicated direction; stimulate; excite

urgent: Read
a. Syn. pressing; compelling; immediate
pressing; compelling immediate action or attention

utensil: Read
instrument, implement, or container for practical use, especially in kitchen or laboratory

utility: Read
something useful; public service

utilization: Read
state of having been made use of; the act of using

utilize: Read
v. Syn. harness
put into service; take advantage of

utmost: Read
farthest point or extremity; most distant; extreme

utter: Read
v. Syn. speak; express
speak; express; send forth with the voice

utterance: Read
n. Syn. speech
vocal expression; power of speaking; last or utmost extremity

vacancy: Read
n. Syn. absence; emptiness
absence; emptiness

vacant: Read
a. Syn. empty; uninhabited
void of thought or knowledge; without an occupant or incumbent

vacation: Read
leisure time away from work; act of making something legally void

vaccinate: Read
perform or produce immunity

vacuum: Read
empty area or space; electrical home appliance that cleans by suction

vague: Read
a. Syn. imprecise; obscure; indistinct
imprecise; indistinct; not clearly expressed; inexplicit

vain: Read
having no real substance, value, or importance; empty; void; worthless; unsatisfying

valid: Read
a. Syn. sound; true
logically convincing; sound; legally acceptable; well grounded

validity: Read
quality of having legal force or effectiveness

valley: Read
space between ranges of mountains; area drained or irrigated by a river system; internal angle formed by intersection

valve: Read
device or structure for controlling the flow of a fluid

vanish: Read
v. Syn. disappear
disappear; pass out of sight, especially quickly; die out

vanity: Read
quality or state of being vain; emptiness; feelings of excessive pride; conceit

vapor: Read
n. Syn. gas; steam
gas; steam; barely visible or cloudy diffused matter, such as mist or smoke

variable: Read
n. Syn. factor
factor; something that is likely to vary; changeable; inconstant

variance: Read
an event that departs from expectations; the expected value of the square of the deviations of a random variable from its mean value

variant: Read
varying in from, character, or the like; variable; different; diverse.

variation: Read
n. Syn. change; selection; deviation
act of changing or altering

varied: Read
a. Syn. differed; diversified; various
differed; diversified; various

variety: Read
n. Syn. diversity; assortment; selection
diversity; quality or condition of being various or varied

various: Read
a. Syn. diverse; assorted; different
different; diverse; several; manifold; changeable; uncertain

varnish: Read
deceptively attractive external appearance; paint to coat a surface with a hard, glossy, transparent film

vary: Read
change aspect of; alter in form, appearance, substance, position; make different by a partial change; modify

vast: Read
a. Syn. large; broad; extensive
large; broad; extensive; very great in size, number, amount, or quantity

vault: Read
arched brick or stone ceiling or roof; burial chamber usually underground

vegetable: Read
any of numerous herbaceous plants to eat in meal

vehicle: Read
n. Syn. automobile; instrument
automobile; means of conveying; medium

veil: Read
n. Syn. cover; hide
a length of cloth worn by women over the head, shoulders, and often the face; cover; hide

vein: Read
blood vessel that carries blood

velocity: Read
n. Syn. speed
rapidity or speed of motion; swiftness

vengeance: Read
n. Syn. retribution; revenge
punishment inflicted in return for an injury or an offense; retribution

ventilate: Read
v. Syn. freshen; aerate
freshen; circulate through and freshen

ventilation: Read
act of supplying fresh air and getting rid of foul air

venture: Read
v. Syn. adventure
put at risk; adventure

verbal: Read
a. Syn. oral
expressed in spoken rather than written words; consisting of words alone without action

verge: Read
n. Syn. border; edge
extreme edge or margin; border; enclosing boundary; space enclosed by such a boundary

verify: Read
v. Syn. confirm; prove
confirm; prove the truth of by presentation of evidence or testimony

versatile: Read
a. Syn. flexible; pliable
having many talents; capable of working in many fields

verse: Read
n. Syn. poetry
a piece of poetry

version: Read
n. Syn. edition
written work in a new form; edition; interpretation of a particular viewpoint

vertical: Read
a. Syn. upright; perpendicular
upright in position or posture; oriented vertically

vessel: Read
n. Syn. craft; ship
craft; ship; container for liquids

veteran: Read
someone who has given long service

veto: Read
n. Syn. rejection; prohibition
rejection; vote that blocks a decision; deny; prohibit; command against

vex: Read
v. Syn. annoy; distress
annoy; disturb, especially by minor irritations; be a mystery or bewildering to

via: Read
by the way of

vibrate: Read
shake, quiver; move or swing from side to side regularly

vibration: Read
n. Syn. oscillation; shaking
act of vibrating; a shaky motion

vice: Read
n. Syn. defect; fault; error
moral fault or failing; evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit; physical defect or weakness

vicinity: Read
state of being near in space or relationship; proximity

vicious: Read
a. Syn. defective; imperfect
by vice or defects; defective; imperfect; having the nature of vice; evil, immoral, or depraved

victorious: Read
a. Syn. successful; triumphant
successful; being the winner in a contest or struggle

victory: Read
successful ending of struggle or contest; defeat of an enemy or opponent

vigor: Read
n. Syn. strength; energy
active strength of body or mind; imaginative lively style, especially style of writing; exertion of force

vigorous: Read
a. Syn. robust; strong; energetic
robust; strong; energetic, and active in mind or body

vine: Read
weak-stemmed plant that derives support from climbing

violate: Read
treat in a violent manner; abuse; do violence to; disturb; interrupt

violence: Read
n. Syn. force
physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing

violent: Read
a. Syn. turbulent
turbulent; intensely vivid or loud; by violence or bloodshed

violin: Read
small instrument with four strings, played with a bow; a fiddle

virtual: Read
existing or resulting in essence or effect though not in actual fact; existing in mind, especially as a product of imagination

virtually: Read
ad. Syn. almost completely; practically; essentially
almost completely; practically; essentially

virtue: Read
n. Syn. merit; goodness
goodness, moral excellence; good quality

virus: Read
disease communicator; something that poisons one's soul or mind; program for unwanted actions in computer

viscous: Read
a. Syn. sticky; gluey
sticky; gluey; having high resistance to flow

visible: Read
being often in public eye; obvious to the eye

vision: Read
n. Syn. sight
ability to see; sight; vivid mental image

visual: Read
a. Syn. visible; optical
seen or able to be seen by the eye; visible; optical

vital: Read
a. Syn. critical; animated
full of life; animated; necessary to continued existence; living or breathing

vivid: Read
a. Syn. bright; lively
bright; lively; graphic; having striking color

vocation: Read
n. Syn. career; profession
career; profession

vogue: Read
popular fashion; current state or style of general acceptance and use

void: Read
n. Syn. emptiness; space
emptiness; containing nothing; clear or empty a place

volcano: Read
fissure in the earth's crust through which molten lava and gases erupt

volley: Read
flight of missiles; round of gunshots; tennis return made by hitting the ball before it bounces

voltage: Read
difference in electrical charge between two points

volume: Read
n. Syn. capacity; bulk; amount
capacity; amount of space occupied by an object

voluntary: Read
a. Syn. willing; unforced
done or undertaken of one's own free will; unforced

volunteer: Read
person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily

vote: Read
formal expression of preference for a candidate; number of cast in election; result of election or referendum

voter: Read
a citizen who has a legal right to vote

voucher: Read
a piece of substantiating evidence; proof; written authorization or certificate

vow: Read
n. Syn. promise
solemn promise made to God; promise of fidelity; pledge of love or affection

vowel: Read
speech sound made with the vocal tract open

voyage: Read
n. Syn. journey; aviation
long journey to a foreign or distant place, especially by sea; aviation

vulgar: Read
common and coarse; relating to the common people with less cultivated or educated; lacking cultivation or refinement

vulnerable: Read
a. Syn. defenseless; susceptible
susceptible to wounds; capable of being wounded or hurt

wade: Read
v. Syn. paddle
paddle; walk through relatively shallow water

wag: Read
move one way and the other with quick turns; shake to and fro; move in vibrating; cause to vibrate

wage: Read
hazard on the event of a contest; stake; engage in, as a contest; adventure, or lay out, for hire or reward; hire; employ

wagon: Read
any of various kinds of wheeled vehicles drawn by a horse or tractor

waist: Read
narrowing of the body between the ribs and hips

waive: Read
v. Syn. yield; relinquish
give up temporarily; yield; give up voluntarily; defer

wake: Read
n. Syn. track; course
trail of ship or other object through water; path of something that has gone before

walnut: Read
tree with 10 - 40 meters tall; hard, dark brown wood of any of these trees

wander: Read
move about without a definite destination or purpose; range about; stroll; go away; depart

ward: Read
guard; defender; protector; state under guard; division of a county; division of a hospital

wardrobe: Read
tall cabinet, closet, or small room built to hold clothes

ware: Read
articles of merchandise; style or class of manufactures; especially, in the plural, goods; commodities; merchandise

warehouse: Read
n. Syn. depot; storehouse
depot; storehouse for goods and merchandise

warfare: Read
military service; military life; contest carried on by enemies

warrant: Read
n. Syn. guarantee
guarantee; assurance by seller; authorization or certification

warrior: Read
n. Syn. fighter; combatant
fighter; combatant; one who is engaged in or experienced in battle

waterproof: Read
a. Syn. tight
tight; unaffected by water; made of or covered with material that doesn't allow water in

waver: Read
play or move to and fro; move one way and the other; swing; be unsettled in opinion

wax: Read
v. Syn. increase; grow
increase gradually in size, number, strength, or intensity; show a progressively larger illuminated area

weapon: Read
n. Syn. arms

weary: Read
a. Syn. tired; exhausted; fatigued
tired; exhausted; physically or mentally fatigued

weather: Read
endure the effects of weather or other forces; come through safely; survive

weave: Read
n. Syn. swing
pattern or structure by weaving ; knit; interlace

weaver: Read
craftsman who weaves cloth

web: Read
textile fabric; complex, interconnected structure or arrangement; the World Wide Web; radio or television network

wedding: Read
marriage ceremony; act of marrying; anniversary of a marriage

wedge: Read
a piece of metal, or other hard material, thick at one end, and tapering to a thin edge at the other, used in splitting wood, rocks

weed: Read
undesirable or troublesome plant, especially growing where it is not wanted as in a garden.

weld: Read
unite closely or intimately; join together by heating

welfare: Read
n. Syn. benefit
benefit; something that aids health or happiness

whereas: Read
while on the contrary; while at the same time

whereby: Read
by which; by what; how

whilst: Read
while; at the same time

whip: Read
overlay with other cords going round and round it; take or move by a sudden motion; clean completely

whirl: Read
act of rotating or revolving rapidly; state of confusion; tumult

whisper: Read
speaking in a quiet voice; soft speech produced without full voice; secretly expressed belief, rumor, or hint

whistle: Read
make a kind of musical sound by lips; emit a similar sound from mouth as birds

wholesale: Read
selling or related to selling goods in large quantities; large-scale; on a large scale without careful discrimination

wholesaler: Read
someone who buys large quantities of goods and resells to merchants

wholesome: Read
a. Syn. healthful; beneficial
conducive to sound health or well-being; beneficial

wicked: Read
a. Syn. sinful; immoral; profligate
evil in principle or practice; contrary to moral or divine law; addicted to vice or sin

widespread: Read
spread or scattered over a considerable extent; occurring or accepted widely

width: Read
measurement of the extent of something from side to side

wield: Read
v. Syn. rule; manage; handle
handle with skill; exercise effectively; have power over; rule or manage

wilderness: Read
a tract of land or region, uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings, whether a forest or a wide, barren plain; wild or desert

willow: Read
trees having usually narrow leaves

winding: Read
twisting or turning; spiral

wisdom: Read
n. Syn. discretion; sagacity
quality of being wise; knowledge ; results of wise judgments

wit: Read
n. Syn. intellect; cleverness
intellect; mental ability; natural ability to perceive and understand

withdraw: Read
v. Syn. retreat; depart
remove from; pull back; break from gathering; retreat; depart

withdrawal: Read
n. Syn. secession
secession; retreat or retirement

wither: Read
v. Syn. shrivel; decay
shrivel; decay; lose freshness, vigor, or vitality; loss of moisture

withhold: Read
v. Syn. keep; restrain
refuse to give; refrain from giving, granting, or permitting; deduct from employee's salary

withstand: Read
v. Syn. oppose
stand up against; successfully resist; oppose with force or resolution

witness: Read
n. Syn. observe; watch
someone who sees an event and reports what happened; observe; watch

woe: Read
n. Syn. affliction; regret
deep, inconsolable grief; affliction; suffering; deep distress or misery, as from grief

woods: Read
n. Syn. forest; woodland
small forest; woodland; dense collection of trees covering a relatively small area

wool: Read
dense, soft, often curly hair forming the coat of sheep and certain other mammals

wording: Read
act or style of expressing in words; expression, or power of expression

worldwide: Read
global; universal; throughout the world

worst: Read
v. Syn. defeat
be better than; defeat; gain the advantage over

worthwhile: Read
sufficiently valuable; important to be worth one's time, effort, or interest

wrap: Read
v. Syn. enclose
enclose; arrange or fold as a cover or protection

wrath: Read
n. Syn. anger; fury
forceful, often vindictive anger; fury; just punishment of an offense or crime

wreck: Read
n. Syn. destruction; ruins
destruction; destroy; smash or break forcefully

wrench: Read
v. Syn. pull; strain; twist; jerk
twist or turn suddenly and forcibly; move, extract, or force free by pulling violently

wrestle: Read
contend by grappling with, and striving to trip or throw down an opponent; struggle or strive earnestly

wretched: Read
very miserable; sunk in, or accompanied by deep affliction or distress; calamitous; woeful; worthless

wring: Read
v. Syn. twist; squeeze
twist; squeeze; compress, especially so as to extract liquid

wrinkle: Read
n. Syn. furrow; crease
a minor difficulty; a slight depression in the smoothness of a surface

wrist: Read
joint between the hand and the forearm

yacht: Read
light ship used for private pleasure trips

yard: Read
rod; stick; branch; long piece of timber; measure of length, equaling three feet

yawn: Read
open the mouth wide with a deep inhalation, usually involuntarily from drowsiness, fatigue, or boredom

yearn: Read
pain; grieve; vex; be pained or distressed; feel deep pity, sympathy, or tenderness

yeast: Read
foam, or troth, or the sediment, of beer or other in fermentation

yield: Read
v. Syn. surrender; concede
give in; surrender; give forth a natural product; be productive

yoke: Read
v. Syn. join; bind
join together, unite; harness a draft animal to; join securely; force into heavy labor

yolk: Read
nutritive material; greasy substance found in unprocessed sheep's wool; yellow part of an egg

zeal: Read
n. Syn. fever; ardor
intense interest; eagerness to accomplish some object

zealous: Read
a. Syn. enthusiastic; fervent
enthusiastic; filled with or motivated by zeal

zone: Read
n. Syn. region; district
region; portion of the surface of a sphere;

zoology: Read
part of biology which relates to the animal kingdom