Vocabulary Words Hard to Learn
The number of vocabulary words in the English language is said to be about 800,000 – and counting! Fortunately, when it comes to learning English as a second language, linguists and scholars seem to agree that about 2,000 words is enough to get you understood by native English speakers! Having got to a point where you can converse with native speakers and you know how the language works, you will probably find it easier and easier to learn new words.
Vocabulary words that are hard to learn but useful to know
Although you don’t need thousands of words in English to attain a basic level of fluency, there are some vocabulary words that are difficult to learn but because they can be used appropriately in our daily conversations, it is worth focusing on some of them.
- Apprehension (noun): fear or anxiety about something
- Subtle (adjective): barely noticeable – a subtle change as opposed to a sudden change
- Fuming (verb): to be very angry
- Hypocritical (adjective): to say one thing is the correct way and behave in the opposite way
- Relegate (verb): to place in a lower position
- Inquisitive (adjective): curious and eager for knowledge
- Stroll (verb): to walk in a leisurely way, wander
- Contempt (noun): lack of respect accompanied by intense dislike
- Grovel (verb): to behave in a submissive and apologetic way
- Deem (verb): to believe or consider something in a specific way
- Impetuous (adjective): hasty, to act without thought of consequences
- Dossier (noun): a collection of documents about a person, event or subject.
- Scrumptious (adjective): extremely appetizing or delicious, very attractive
- Ceaseless (adjective): constant, unending
- Ebullient (adjective): cheerful, full of energy
- Poseur (noun): a person who behaves affectedly in order to impress others.
- Fickle (adjective): changing frequently especially regarding one’s loyalties or affections, unreliable
- Humdrum (adjective): boringly monotonous, lacking variety
- Aspirant (noun): someone who wants to achieve
- Wheedle (verb): to try persuading someone to do something
- Uncanny (adjective): strange or mysterious, difficult or impossible to explain
- Construe (verb): to interpret in a specific way
- Coercive (adjective): relating to or using force or threats
- Baffle (verb): to confuse, puzzled, difficult to understand or explain
- Fawning (adjective) : displaying exaggerated flattery or affection
- Pre-eminent (adjective): outstanding, superior, more important or powerful
- Insipid (adjective): lacking flavor, dull
- Palatable (adjective): pleasant, satisfactory or acceptable to taste
- Reverent (adjective): showing great respect and admiration
- Swindle (verb): to use deception to deprive (someone) of money or possessions.
- Dauntless (adjective): showing fearlessness and determination
- Maverick (noun): a person who thinks and acts in an independent way often behaving differently from the expected or usual way
- Nefarious (adjective): extremely wicked or villainous
- Dabble (verb): to immerse (one’s hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently. Take part in an activity in a casual or non-serious way.
- Feisty (adjective): (of a person, typically one who is relatively small) lively, determined, and courageous.
- Vandalize (verb): to deliberately destroy or damage (public or private property)
- Impede (verb): to delay or prevent (someone or something) by obstructing them; hinder.
- Adept (adjective): very skilled or proficient at something
- Deplore (verb): to feel or express strong condemnation of something
- Indulgent (adjective): having or indicating a readiness or over-readiness to be generous to or lenient with someone.
- Abstain (verb): to restrain oneself from doing or enjoying something.
If you are learning English as a second language and have been a student for some time here in the USA, these words will be familiar to you. Either because of the way they are spelled, or that they are difficult to pronounce, you probably would have had some difficulty learning them. But it’s worth it to have some of these words in your vocabulary as they will not only come in handy, but they will demonstrate that you have achieved an impressive level of fluency!!