50 Difficult Words with Meanings

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50 Difficult Words with Meaning

50 Difficult Words with Meanings. Really? Is it something that matters in the preparation for competitive exams? Or is it even something you should bother going through? The simple answer is YES. Good vocabulary can take you to places in competitive exams as well as in life. Are you ready to learn new difficult words with meanings? Here is the complete list of 50 difficult words with meanings!

What Makes English Words Difficult to Pronounce and Spell?

As an English learner, you might notice a disconnect between pronunciation and spelling of certain difficult words. However, sometimes how you spell a difficult word has nothing to do with how you pronounce the words or vice versa. Most importantly, linguistically speaking, the graphemes (difficult written words) and phonemes (sounds) do not always coincide in English.

The reason this happens is only because English language uses many borrowed words different languages such as French, Latin, German or Greek. Moreover, it makes the English language more difficult and confusing, as one letter can make a lot of different sounds and the same letters of English language can be pronounced differently in different English words.

Why Improve Your Vocabulary?

Here are some reasons why you must improve your vocabulary:

  1. Study abroad tests such as GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SAT, etc. include vocabulary sections to test your English proficiency. Hence, practising vocabulary daily can help you score well on these tests.
  2. Developing your vocabulary will sharpen your mind.
  3. Knowing the correct word can help you express your thoughts more accurately.
  4. Developing your vocabulary is a great way to improve your communication skills.

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Daily Used English Words
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History of English Literature
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50 Difficult Words with Meanings and Examples

  1. Abnegation /abnɪˈɡeɪʃ(ə)n/: Renouncing a belief or doctrine
    Example: “I believe in the abnegation of political power”
  2. Aggrandize /əˈɡrandʌɪz/: enhance power, wealth or status
    Example: It was an action intended to aggrandize the Frankish dynasty.
  3. Alacrity /əˈlakrɪti/: Eagerness
    Example: He accepted the invitation with alacrity.
  4. Anachronistic /ənakrəˈnɪstɪk/: misplaced chronologically
    Example: He is rebelling against the anachronistic morality of his parents.
  5. Archetypal /ˌɑːkɪˈtʌɪp(ə)l/: quintessential of a certain kind
    Example: She is the archetypal country doctor.
  6. Ascetic /əˈsɛtɪk/: one who practices self-denial as part of spiritual discipline
    Example: She has adopted an ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and manual labour.
  7. Beguile /bɪˈɡʌɪl/: influence someone in a deceptive way
    Example: He beguiled the voters with his good looks.
  8. Blandishment /ˈblandɪʃm(ə)nt/: intentional flattery for persuasion
    Example: The blandishments of the travel brochure.
  9. Cajole /kəˈdʒəʊl/: persuade by flattery or coaxing
    Example: He hoped to cajole her into selling the house.
  10. Callous (/ˈkaləs/: disregard for others
    Example: Her callous comments about the murder made me shiver.
  11. Camaraderie /kaməˈrɑːd(ə)ri/: a sense of solidarity arising out of familiarity and sociability
    Example: I like the enforced camaraderie of office life.
  12. Circumlocution /ˌsəːkəmləˈkjuːʃ(ə)n/: expressing someone in an indirect way
    Example: His admission came after years of circumlocution.
  13. Clamour/ˈklamə/: proclaim something noisily
    Example: The questions rose to a clamour in the meeting.
  14. Cognizant /ˈkɒ(ɡ)nɪz(ə)nt/: awareness or realization
    Example: Politicians must be cognizant of the political boundaries within which they work.
  15. Construe /kənˈstruː/: interpret or assign meaning
    Example: His words could hardly be construed as an apology.
  16. Convivial /kənˈvɪvɪəl/: enjoyable atmosphere or jovial company
    Example: It is a convivial cocktail party.
  17. Demagogue /ˈdɛməɡɒɡ/: a political leader who uses rhetoric to appeal to prejudices and desires of ordinary citizens
    Example: The minister is a gifted demagogue with particular skill in manipulating the press.
  18. Denigrate /ˈdɛnɪɡreɪt/: belittle someone
    Example: Many doom and gloom merchants denigrate their own country.
  19. Didactic /dɪˈdaktɪk/: instructive with a moral intent
    Example: It is a didactic novel that set out to expose social injustice.
  20. Disparate /ˈdɪsp(ə)rət/: of a distinct kind
    Example: They inhabit disparate worlds of thought.

Time to take a breather! You’re almost there! Let’s quickly finish up our list of 50 difficult words with meanings!

50 Difficult Words with Meanings
  1. Eclectic /ɪˈklɛktɪk/: deriving the best ideas and styles from a diverse range of sources
    Example: My university is offering an eclectic mix of courses.
  2. Egregious /ɪˈɡriːdʒəs/: reprehensible or outrageously bad
    Example: It is an egregious abuse of copyright.
  3. Embezzlement /ɛmˈbɛzlm(ə)nt/: misappropriation of funds
    Example: He has charges of fraud and embezzlement.
  4. Enervate /ˈɛnəveɪt/: lacking in vitality or mentally/ morally drained
    Example: The weather has an enervating heat today.
  5. Ephemeral /ɪˈfɛm(ə)r(ə)l/: lasting for a short duration
    Example: Fads are ephemeral: new ones regularly drive out the old.
  6. Equanimity /ˌɛkwəˈnɪmɪti/: maintaining composure in stressful situations
    Example: He accepted both the good and the bad with equanimity.
  7. Fatuous /ˈfatjʊəs/: devoid of intelligence
    Example: It was a fatuous comment.
  8. Gratuitous /ɡrəˈtjuːɪtəs/: uncalled for or unwarranted
    Example: Gratuitous violence was reported.
  9. Iconoclast /ʌɪˈkɒnəklast/: 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. 
  10. Idiosyncratic /ˌɪdɪə(ʊ)sɪŋˈkratɪk/: something peculiar to an individual
    Example: He emerged as one of the great, idiosyncratic talents of the nineties.
  11. Incumbent /ɪnˈkʌmb(ə)nt/: something that is morally binding
    Example: The government realized that it was incumbent on them to act.
  12. Inveterate /ɪnˈvɛt(ə)rət/: habitual
    Example: She is an inveterate gambler.
  13. Libertarian /ˌlɪbəˈtɛːrɪən/: someone who cherishes ideas of free will
    Example: He is studying libertarian philosophy.
  14. Licentious /lʌɪˈsɛnʃəs/: someone who is promiscuous
    Example: The ruler’s tyrannical and licentious behaviour.
  15. Largess /lɑːˈ(d)ʒɛs/: Kindness or Generosity in bestowing gifts or money
    Example: The king can’t bestow these costly jewels with such a largess
  16. Multifarious /ˌmʌltɪˈfɛːrɪəs/: multifaceted or diverse
    Example: The university offers multifarious activities.
  17. Obdurate /ˈɒbdjʊrət/: being stubborn and refusing to change one’s opinion
    Example: I argued this point with him, but he was obdurate.
  18. Ostracism /ˈɒstrəsɪz(ə)m/: excluding a person or certain section from society by majority consent
    Example: “I argued this point with him, but he was obdurate”
  19. Pejorative /pɪˈdʒɒrətɪv/: showing disapproval
    Example: Permissiveness is used almost universally as a pejorative term.
  20. Pertinacious /ˌpəːtɪˈneɪʃəs/: someone who is stubbornly unyielding
    Example: She worked with a pertinacious resistance to interruptions.
  21. Phlegmatic /flɛɡˈmatɪk/: expressing little or no emotion
    Example: He portrays the phlegmatic British character on the show.
  22. Promulgate /ˈprɒm(ə)lɡeɪt/: to broadcast or announce
    Example: These objectives have to be promulgated within the organization.
  23. Quotidian /kwɒˈtɪdɪən/: something that is of daily occurrence
    Example: The car sped noisily off through the quotidian traffic.
  24. Recalcitrant /rɪˈkalsɪtr(ə)nt/: resistant to authority
    Example: A class of recalcitrant fifteen-year-olds raided the store.
  25. Sanctimonious /ˌsaŋ(k)tɪˈməʊnɪəs/: the pretence of being morally pious to exhibit moral superiority
    Example: What happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first?
  26. Solipsism /ˈsɒlɪpsɪz(ə)m/: the philosophical theory that only the self-existence is known and all that exists
    Example: We cannot avoid the popularity of the solipsism mentality.
  27. Travesty /ˈtravɪsti/: distorting facts or imitation
    Example: The absurdly lenient sentence is a travesty of justice.
  28. Ubiquitous /juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/: omnipresent or existing everywhere
    Example: His ubiquitous influence was felt by the family.
  29. Vicissitude /vɪˈsɪsɪtjuːd/: an unwelcome or unpleasant change in circumstances or fortune
    Example: Her husband’s sharp vicissitudes of fortune.
  30. Vociferous /və(ʊ)ˈsɪf(ə)rəs/: something or someone who is offensively/ conspicuously loud.
    Example: He was a vociferous opponent of the takeover.

Good job! How many of these 50 Difficult Words with Meanings do you remember? No, don’t peep. Be honest. It’s okay even if you remember none of these hard words for now. The task of making yourself familiar with the new difficult words, especially those that we don’t use in our everyday conversations can seem impossible and exhaustive, but fret not for a few simple tricks can help you go a long way. 

Must Read: 50 Difficult Phrases with Meaning

How to Learn the Unfamiliar Words with Meaning?

50 Difficult Words with Meanings

Our mind tends to be more active and learn better when we engage in activities that seem more fun, learning difficult words in English can seem boring but you can make this task more fun and exciting. You and your friends can make placards with difficult words and challenge each other with meanings, the fun activity will keep you engaged and help you keep those difficult words in mind.

If group activities don’t seem like the ideal situation for you, you can make lists of the difficult words and revise them before going to bed, our brain tends to revise the things we learn and observe through the day while we sleep so this might help you learn better.

20 Hard Words with Meanings

Have you memorized 50 difficult words? If yes, we have got another set of hard words that will help you ace competitive exams. Here is the list of hard words in English that you must remember:

  1. Abject /ˈabdʒɛkt/: Experienced or present to the maximum degree
    “The result plunged her into abject misery”
  2. Abscond /əbˈskɒnd,abˈskɒnd/: Leave hurriedly and secretly
    “After her secret was revealed she absconded from the party”
  3. Bereft /bɪˈrɛft/: Deprived of or lacking“
    The house bereft of colours and painting”
  4. Calumny /ˈkaləmni/: The making of false and defamatory statements about someone to damage their reputation
    “He doesn’t seem like a person who would spread a calumny of others”
  5. Capitulate /kəˈpɪtjʊleɪt/: Cease to resist an opponent or an unwelcome demand
    “Our forces were prepared to capitulate enemies”
  6. Umbrage /ˈʌmbrɪdʒ/: Annoyance or offence
    “She took umbrage of his rude comment.”
  7. Emollient /ɪˈmɒlɪənt/: Having the quality of softening or soothing the skin
    “I prefer using an emollient shampoo over others”
  8. Dirge /dəːdʒ/: A lament for the dead, especially one forming part of a funeral rite
    “When Rachel sang a dirge for her father, everyone had teary eyes”
  9. Dispel /dɪˈspɛl/: make doubt disappear
    “The calmness of the morning dispel Ross’s disappointment”
  10. Epistolary /ɪˈpɪst(ə)ˌləri/: In the form of letters
    “My grandparent’s college times epistolary collection is very interesting.”
  11. Epistolary /ɪˈpɪst(ə)ˌləri/: In the form of letters or documents
    Example: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a perfect example of Epistolary.
  12. Exacerbate /ɪɡˈzasəbeɪt,ɛkˈsasəbeɪt/: To make a situation, a bad feeling or a problem worse
    Example: According to a survey stress can cause or exacerbate health conditions the humans.
  13. Forbearance /fɔːˈbɛːr(ə)ns/: Self-control, Patience, Tolerance
    Example: Without forbearance, Ray wouldn’t have cleared his house loan.
  14. Gourmand /ˈɡʊəmənd,ˈɡɔːmənd/: A person who likes and enjoys eating food
    Example: If you are a dessert gourmand, then you must try Kentucky Chocolate Pie.
  15. Heterogeneous /ˌhɛt(ə)rə(ʊ)ˈdʒiːnɪəs/: Diverse in content or character
    Example: I gave him heterogeneous ideas for his master’s thesis topics.
  16. Impecunious /ˌɪmpɪˈkjuːnɪəs/: Having less money or no money at all
    Example: After buying a new house, Sam was so impecunious that he couldn’t even afford Christmas cards.
  17. Pellucid /pɪˈl(j)uːsɪd,pɛˈl(j)uːsɪd/: Clear, Easy to understand, comprehensible
    Example: His pellucid explanation of why he wants to leave the job made higher authorities release him without any conditions.
  18. Philanthropic /.fɪlənˈθrɒpɪk/: An organisation or person promoting the welfare of others
    Example: Because of the financial aid received by the philanthropic bodies, Kate managed to complete her higher education.
  19. Protean /ˈprəʊtɪən,prəʊˈtiːən/: Frequently changing, Trending, Versatile
    Example: Vicky Kaushal is a protean actor who is capable of performing any kind of role.
  20. Spurious /ˈspjʊərɪəs/: Illegitimate, False
    Example: They made spurious claims of accidents just to get the insurance funds.

Difficult English Words to Pronounce

Want to know the hardest word? Here are the most difficult words to pronounce in English:

  1. Otorhinolaryngologist: oh-toh-RYE-noh-LAR-ən-GOL-ə-jee
  2. Anemone: uh·neh·muh·nee
  3. Anathema: uh·na·thuh·muh
  4. Worcestershire: vu·stuh·shuh
  5. Balmoral: bal·maw·ruhl
  6. Antidisestablishmentarianism: an·tee·dis·uh·sta·bluhsh·muhnt·euh·ree·uhn·i·zm
  7. Asterisk: a·stuh·ruhsk
  8. Brewery: broo·uh·ree
  9. Defibrillator: duh·fi·bruh·lei·tuh
  10. February: feh·bruh·ree
  11. Rural: roo·ruhl
  12. Floccinaucinihilipilification: Flok-si-no-si-ny-hil-i-pil-i-fi-kay-shuhn
  13. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: Hi-poh-po-toh-mon-stroh-ses-kwee-peh-dah-leejoh-foh-beeja
  14. Colonel: kuh·nuhl
  15. Choir: kvai·uh
  16. Chores: chawz
  17. Isthmus: is·muhs
  18. Library: lai·bruh·ree
  19. Strait: streit
  20. Gibraltar: ji·braal·tuh

[BONUS] 50 Simple Words with Meaning

Here is a collection of simple words with meanings that are commonly used in everyday life, some of which are as follows:

  1. Back: The rear surface of the human body from the shoulders to the hips.
  2. Base: The lowest part or edge of something, especially the part on which it rests or is supported.
  3. Behaviour: How one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.
  4. Belief: An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof.
  5. Birth: The emergence of a baby or other young from the body of its mother; the start of life as a physically separate being.
  6. Answer: A thing that is said, written, or done as a reaction to a question, statement, or situation.
  7. Approval: The belief that someone or something is good or acceptable.
  8. Bread: Food made of flour, water, and yeast mixture and baked.
  9. Breath: An inhalation or exhalation of air from the lungs. 
  10. Brother: A man or boy concerning other sons and daughters of his parents. 
  11. Building: It is a structure with a roof and walls, such as a house or factory. 
  12. Burn: (Of a fire) produces flames and heat while consuming a material such as coal or wood.
  13. Business: It refers to a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade.
  14. Butter: It is a pale yellow edible fatty substance made by churning cream and used as a spread or in cooking. 
  15. Current: Belonging to the present time; happening or being used or done now.
  16. Damage: Physical harm that impairs the value, usefulness, or normal function of something. 
  17. Danger: The possibility of suffering harm or injury. 
  18. Daughter: A girl or woman concerning either or both of her parents. 
  19. Day: Each of the twenty-four-hour periods, reckoned from one midnight to the next, into which a week, month, or year is divided, and corresponding to a rotation of the earth on its axis.
  20. Death: The action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.
  21. Decision: A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.
  22. Detail: An individual fact or item
  23. Development: The process of developing or being developed.
  24. Direction: A course along which someone or something moves.
  25. Comparison: A consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people. 
  26. Competition: The activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others.
  27. Connection: A relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else.  
  28. Cook: To prepare (food, a dish, or a meal) by mixing, combining, and heating the ingredients.
  29. Country: A nation with its government, occupying a particular territory.
  30. Cover: To put something on top of or in front of (something), especially to protect or conceal it. 
  31. Credit: A customer can obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future.
  32. Cry: To shed tears, typically as an expression of distress, pain, or sorrow.
  33. Care: The provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something. 
  34. Cause: A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition. 
  35. Chance: It is the probability of something desirable happening. 
  36. Change: Make (someone or something) different; alter or modify. 
  37. Cloth: A woven or felted fabric made from wool, cotton, or a similar fibre. 
  38. Colour: The property possessed by an object of producing different sensations on the eye as a result of the way it reflects or emits light. 
  39. Comfort: A state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint. 
  40. Company: A commercial business. 
  41. Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
  42. Attack: Take aggressive military action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force.
  43. Attention: When a notice is taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important. 
  44. Blood: The red liquid that circulates in the arteries and veins of humans and other vertebrate animals, carrying oxygen and carbon dioxide from the tissues of the body.
  45. Blow: (Of wind) move creating an air current.
  46. Body: The physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs, of a person or an animal.
  47. Account: A report or description of an event or experience OR a record or statement of financial expenditure and receipts relating to a particular period or purpose. 
  48. Air: The invisible gaseous substance surrounding the earth, a mixture mainly of oxygen and nitrogen.
  49. Amount: A quantity of something, especially the total of a thing or things in number, size, value, or extent.
  50. Animal: A living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and a nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli.

Importance of Difficult Words in Competitive Exams

Some difficult words in English can be a pest for everyone, whether it be a native speaker or a new learner. There are multiple tough words in the language which are troublesome. It becomes impossible to get a hold of these words, especially for those who are preparing for competitive exams. Students, however, invent new techniques to ease the learning process like using music to learn new words or making flashcards with hard words on one side and meaning on the other. Another fascinating method for memorizing difficult words is to associate a story around it as remembering the story is much easier than retaining the meaning of a tough word. 

We know that for all those who wish to pursue an education abroad or even appear for entrances, you must fare well in the verbal ability section of the test, it can seem like a never-ending task-learning new difficult words and their meanings, so we have curated a list of few difficult words that can give you an edge over others while you prepare for your SAT/ACT or GMAT/GRE as well as IELTS/TOEFL/PTE.

This list is also going to help students with English for competitive exams. Even those who enjoy the English language or wish to improve their vocabulary can go through our list and learn 50 Difficult Words with Meanings.

Must Read: Not Just Mandarin, These are the Most Difficult Languages in the World!

Use of English Vocabulary in GMAT

The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) mainly comprises 4 sections: Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing, and Integrated Reasoning. A thorough English vocabulary is a must to score on 3 of these sections of the GMAT syllabus, with only the quantitative section relying more on your mathematical and logical skills. In the various sections of the GMAT exam pattern, students are assessed on their ability to read and understand the written material and apply those to the subsequent questions to conform to standard written English. Moreover, GMAT verbal reasoning questions and critical reasoning problems imperatively evaluate one’s knowledge of English proficiency in terms of reasoning and analytical skills.

Use of English Vocabulary in GRE

The GRE pattern includes 3 sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Analytical Writing. While studying the GRE syllabus, you must master English grammar along with hundreds of hard words to get a good score on two of these three sections excluding the quantitative reasoning section.

Sample Question Under the Category of Sentence Equivalence: Although it does contain pioneering strategies, one would hardly describe the work as ____________. 

  1. Original
  2. Orthodox
  3. Eccentric
  4. Conventional
  5. Innovative
  6. Trifling

The answer is (1) and (5)

Explanation: We first eliminate the words “Orthodox” and “Conventional” because they are very similar in meaning and do not complete the sentence sensibly. The word “Although” and “Hardly” are crucial signposts here. The work contains some pioneering strategies, but apparently, it is not completely a pioneering work.

Best Vocabulary Books 

Why do you want to limit yourself to only 50 difficult words? Become a master of vocabulary with the help of reference books. Here is a list of some best-selling vocabulary books that can help you to ace the word meaning section of any competitive exam: 

Reference BooksLink
1100 Words You Need to Know by Murray Brombert, Melvin Gordon Click Here, to get your copy!
Word Power Made Easy by Norman LewisClick Here, to get your copy!
Verbal Advantage: Ten Easy Steps to a Powerful Vocabulary by Charles Harrington Elster Click Here, to get your copy!
The Vocabulary Builder Workbook by Chris LeleClick Here, to get your copy!
Six Weeks to Words of Power by Wilfred FunkClick Here, to get your copy!
Little Red Book of Word Power by Terry O’Brien Click Here, to get your copy!
Merriam-Webster’s Vocabulary Builder by  Mary Wood CornogClick Here, to get your copy!
Instant Word Power by Norman LewisClick Here, to get your copy!

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Q1. What are some difficult words?

Ans. Here are the 10 most confusing English words: 

1. Literally
2. Ironic
3. Regardless
4. Colonel
5. Colonel
6. Nonplussed
7. Disinterested
8. Enormity
9. Accretion
10. Commensurate

Q2. Which are the difficult words in English?

Ans. Words that are hard to read, write, spell and understand are considered to be difficult words in English.

Q3. Do all words have vowels?

Ans. No, not all words need to have vowels. Here are some examples to show the same – Mythm, Sync, Rhythm, Hymn, etc.

Q4. Which is the best way to remember difficult words for a longer period?

Ans. Students should always read, write, and learn the words before attempting to put them together in sentences.

We hope this list of 50 Difficult Words with Meanings and these tricks will help you engage with new difficult words and help you in your test preparation. If you wish to seek further guidance on your test preparation and your career, you can check out Leverage Edu today and schedule a free consultation session now. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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