Vocabulary and the ACT

Back to main page
The ACT doesn't directly test your vocabulary by giving you a word and asking you to choose the correct meaning. Instead, it asks you to pick the best word to replace the one it targets in a passage.  No one knows what words will be featured in "best word" questions on the ACT.  They change from test to test.

This list of words is one I found on the Internet, and while it doesn't tell us the words on the ACT necessarily, it does show the degree of difficulty you will encounter.  If you read much or even just some, 95+% of these words should already be in your vocabulary.  These are a few rungs down the difficulty ladder from the really tough words seldom seen in print and used as trivia questions. I present them here to end the fear factor.  Below the list, you will find links to more lists.

 abbreviate     shorten, abridge
 abstinence     act of refraining from
 adulation     high praise
 adversity     misfortune
 aesthetic     pertaining to beauty
 amicable     agreeable
 anachronistic     out-of-date
 anecdote     short account of event
 anonymous     nameless
 antagonist     opponent
 arid     extremely dry
 assiduous     hard-working
 asylum     sanctuary
 benevolent     friendly, helpful
 camaraderie     trust among friends
 censure     to criticize harshly
 circuitous     indirect, roundabout
 clairvoyant     able to see the future
 collaborate     to work together
 compassion     sympathy, mercy
 compromise     to settle differences
 condescending     patronizing
 conditional     provisional, contingent
 conformist     follower of customs
 congregation     crowd of people
 convergence     joining of parts
 deleterious     harmful
 demagogue     rabble-rousing leader
 digression     straying from main point
 diligent     hard-working
 discredit     dishonor, disgrace
 disdain     to regard with scorn
 divergent     variant, moving apart
 empathy     sharing of feelings
 emulate     follow an example
 enervating     tiring, weakening
 enhance     improve, augment
 ephemeral     momentary, fleeting
 evanescent     short-lived, as an image
 exasperation     irritation, frustration
 exemplary     outstanding
 extenuating     guilt diminishing
 florid     flushed, ornate
 fortuitous     lucky
 frugal     thrifty
 hackneyed     overused, cliched
 haughty     arrogant, condescending
 hedonist     pleasure seeker
 hypothesis     theory requiring proof
 impetuous     rash, impulsive
 impute     to attribute to someone
 incompatible     unable to work together
 inconsequential     trivial
 inevitable     unavoidable, certain
 integrity     honesty, decency
 intrepid     fearless, adventurous
 intuitive     instinctive, untaught
 jubilation     joy, exultation
 lobbyist     persuader of legislators
 longevity     long life
 mundane     ordinary, common
 nonchalant     calm, casual
 novice     beginner
 opulent     wealthy
 orator     speaker
 ostentatious     displaying wealth
 parched     dried up
 perfidious     disloyal
 precocious     talented beyond one's age
 pretentious     pompous, self-important
 procrastinate     to delay unnecessarily
 prosaic     run-of-the-mill
 prosperity     wealth, success
 provocative     inflammatory
 prudent     wise, careful, cautious
 querulous     irritable
 rancorous     hateful
 reclusive     withdrawn, hermit-like
 reconciliation     agreement after a quarrel
 renovation     state of being renewed
 resilient     quick to recover
 restrained     controlled, restricted
 reverence     profound respect
 sagacity     wisdom
 scrutinize     to observe carefully
 spontaneity     impulsive action
 spurious     phony, false
 submissive     meek
 substantiate     to verify, confirm
 subtle     elusive, sly, ambiguous
 superficial     lacking in depth
 superfluous     more than enough
 suppress     to end an activity
 surreptitious     secret, stealthy
 tactful     diplomatic, polite
 tenacious     persistent, resolute
 transient     temporary, fleeting
 venerable     respectable due to age
 vindicate     to clear from blame
 wary     watchful, alert

Here are other lists:
More Commonly Tested Words
Scholastic.com's List
A $4 Kindle Option from Amazon.com