IELTS vocabulary words: The ultimate list

Last updated: Jan 19, 20238 min read
IELTS vocabulary words: The ultimate list

When it comes to preparing for the IELTS, one of the most important things you need to focus on is your vocabulary. Having a wide range of words and phrases at your disposal will help you to express yourself clearly and accurately in the writing and speaking sections of the test.

In this guide, we have listed the most commonly used vocabulary words, synonyms, antonyms, and idioms to help you build a strong vocabulary.

Vocabulary is an integral part of the IELTS exam, and having a solid grasp of the English language can make all the difference in gaining a high IELTS score. Therefore, when preparing for this exam, it’s essential to focus on increasing your vocabulary knowledge to succeed.

50 commonly used vocabulary words

Knowing and understanding the commonly used vocabulary words can help you get a higher score in the listening, reading, and writing sections. To assist with your preparation, here is a list of 50 vocabulary words with meanings that are often seen in IELTS exams:

  1. Accessible: easy to obtain or use;
  2. Adequate: enough in quantity or quality;
  3. Aggravate: make worse;
  4. Appropriate: suitable or proper in the circumstances;
  5. Assumption: something taken as true without proof;
  6. Attribute: a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic of someone or something;
  7. Compelling: very convincing;
  8. Compromise: settle a dispute by mutual concession;
  9. Constraint: limitation in freedom of action;
  10. Decisive: settling an issue or producing a result;
  11. Deficiency: lack of something needed or usual;
  12. Deviate: depart from an established course or norm;
  13. Disregard: show no concern for; ignore deliberately;
  14. Duration: the length of time something lasts for;
  15. Elevate: raise to a higher level or position in status, rank, etc
  16. Eliminate: remove completely;
  17. Enhance: make better or more attractive;
  18. Equivalent: same in value, amount, function or meaning;
  19. Exclusive: not including or admitting others;
  20. Facilitate: to make easier;
  21. Fluctuate: move or change erratically and rapidly between two extremes;
  22. Hinder: prevent the progress of; obstruct;
  23. Identify: recognize as being a particular person or thing;
  24. Imminent: about to happen at any moment;
  25. Implication: something suggested but not expressed directly;
  26. Inhibit: restrain, limit, restrict freedom of action;
  27. Insight: deep understanding, perception or discernment;
  28. Integrate: combine to form a whole;
  29. Intricate: complex and detailed in structure or arrangement;
  30. Moderate: not excessive in degree, intensity, amount, etc
  31. Needless: unnecessary;
  32. Neglect: pay no attention to; ignore through carelessness;
  33. Objective: not influenced by emotions or personal prejudices;
  34. Paradoxical: seemingly contradictory but with an underlying truth;
  35. Potentiality: possibility of becoming actual or realizable;
  36. Prerequisite: something that is necessary before something else can happen or be done;
  37. Relevant: pertinent or bearing upon the matter in hand;
  38. Repercussion: an effect, especially a bad one, caused by a particular action or event;
  39. Rigorous: demanding strict attention to rules and procedures;
  40. Substantive: having substance or essential nature;
  41. Thoroughly: completely and carefully;
  42. Transactions: any business deals between people or organizations;
  43. Transient: lasting for only a short time;
  44. Valuable: of great worth because of its qualities, origin, etc
  45. Variant: different from others of the same kind in behavior, form or degree;
  46. Virtually: almost; in effect or affect;
  47. Vulnerable: open to danger, attack or damage;
  48. Warrant: provide a reason for believing something is true;
  49. Widespread: existing in many places or among many people;
  50. Yield: produce a result, outcome or profit

Also read: IELTS Speaking Exam Tips

50 commonly used synonyms

Learning a list of common synonyms is a great place to start whether you’re preparing for the IELTS exam or just want to improve your English vocabulary. Here are 50 commonly used synonyms in the IELTS test that can help you get an edge on the exam:

  1. Arrive - Come
  2. Begin - Start
  3. Believe - Think
  4. Claim - Assert
  5. Demand - Require
  6. Discuss - Talk about
  7. Estimate - Guess
  8. Examine - Inspect
  9. Explain - Describe
  10. Follow - Pursue
  11. Guide - Lead
  12. Ignore - Disregard
  13. Imply - Suggest
  14. Increase - Rise
  15. Interest - Fascinate
  16. Involve - Engage
  17. Limit - Restrict
  18. Link - Connect
  19. Maintain - Keep
  20. Observe - Notice
  21. Obtain - Acquire
  22. Oppose - Resist
  23. Optimistic - Positive
  24. Organize - Arrange
  25. Participate - Join in
  26. Perceive - Sense
  27. Persist- Insist
  28. Predict- Forecast
  29. Reject - Refuse
  30. Represent- Stand for
  31. Reveal - Expose
  32. Seek - Search
  33. Select- Choose
  34. Separate- Divide
  35. Share - Divide
  36. Shout - Yell
  37. Show - Display
  38. Suggest - Propose
  39. Support - Back up
  40. Supply - Provide
  41. Survive - Endure
  42. Take on - Undertake
  43. Tend to - usually do
  44. Understand - Comprehend
  45. Unite - Join together
  46. Urge - Encourage
  47. Use - Utilize
  48. Vary - Differ
  49. Visit - Go to
  50. Wait for - Expect

Achieve your highest IELTS score!

Signup for your free IELTS masterclass with Edvoy.

Learn from the best of the best teacher with over 17 years of experience.

Sign up now!

50 commonly used antonyms

Knowing antonyms - words that are opposite in meaning - is essential for achieving a high score on the IELTS exam. To help you prepare, we have compiled a list of 50 commonly used antonyms on the IELTS exam:

  1. Abundant - Scarce
  2. Acceptable - Unacceptable
  3. Accurate - Inaccurate
  4. Advantageous - Disadvantageous
  5. Ample - Insufficient
  6. Apparent - Unclear
  7. Awful - Wonderful
  8. Bad - Good
  9. Begin - End
  10. Before - After
  11. Certain - Uncertain
  12. Cheerful - Gloomy
  13. Clear - Confusing
  14. Complicated - Simple
  15. Correct - Incorrect
  16. Deceive - Reveal
  17. Defeat - Triumph
  18. Destroy - Construct
  19. Difficult - Easy
  20. Disappear - Emerge
  21. Disagreeable - Agreeable
  22. Disastrous - Fortunate
  23. Discuss- Be Silent
  24. Doubtful- Certain
  25. Eliminate- Introduce
  26. Empty- Full
  27. Exclude - Include
  28. Fail - Succeed
  29. False- True
  30. Far - Near
  31. Finish - Start
  32. Hide - Show
  33. Hasten - Delay
  34. High - Low
  35. Hinder- Assist
  36. Impair - Enhance
  37. Improve - Worsen
  38. Increase - Decrease
  39. Inferior - Superior
  40. Innocent - Guilty
  41. Late - Early
  42. Little - Much
  43. Neglect - Care
  44. Negative - Positive
  45. Novel - Common
  46. Old- Young
  47. Poor - Rich
  48. Preceding- Following
  49. Rough - Smooth
  50. Unimportant - Important

30 commonly used idioms

Idioms are a great way to spice up your IELTS essay and demonstrate your mastery of the English language. Below is a list of 30 idioms commonly used in the IELTS exam:

  • A blessing in disguise - something that seems bad at first, but turns out to be good
  • Barking up the wrong tree - wasting energy looking in the wrong direction for something desired
  • Beat around the bush - avoid saying what you mean; not get to the point
  • Bite off more than one can chew - take on a task that is too difficult for one's abilities
  • Break the ice - start a conversation or do something to make people feel more relaxed and comfortable with each other
  • Cross roads - decide between two alternatives; make a choice
  • Cry over spilt milk - worry or complain uselessly about something that has already happened and cannot be changed
  • Cut corners - do things too quickly or cheaply, usually with poor results
  • Down to earth - practical; realistic; not idealistic or overly ambitious
  • Face the music - accept unpleasant consequences for one's own actions
  • Get cold feet - become scared of doing something; lose one's nerve at the last minute
  • Go off the deep end - become very angry or upset suddenly; go crazy with rage; lose control of oneself completely due to strong emotion
  • Hit the nail on the head - accurately describe a situation or find the correct solution to a problem
  • Jump the gun - do something too soon; act before it is time and not wait as planned
  • Keep one's chin up - remain brave and confident in spite of difficulties or disappointment
  • Let the cat out of the bag - reveal a secret carelessly or by mistake
  • Make hay while the sun shines - take advantage of opportunity; use available resources for best results while they are still available
  • Miss the boat - fail to take advantage of an opportunity because one was too slow or indecisive
  • Off the hook - no longer have to worry about facing unpleasant consequences for one's own actions
  • Pull strings - use influence and connections to get something done
  • Rain on someone's parade - spoil someone else's fun or success; criticize without good reason
  • Reach for the sky - strive for the highest goals; aim high in life
  • Ride roughshod over - treat people or rules without respect or consideration; act with total disregard for other people's feelings or opinions
  • See eye to eye - agree completely; have the same opinion about something as someone else does
  • Speak of the devil - an expression used when the person you are talking about appears unexpectedly; an exclamation of surprise at coincidental timing of events that were just being discussed
  • Take the bull by the horns - face a difficult or dangerous situation boldly and directly; tackle a problem head-on with courage
  • Throw caution to the wind - act without any regard for consequences; take risks without considering potential dangers
  • Turn a deaf ear - ignore what someone is saying; deliberately refuse to listen or pay attention to advice or requests
  • Under the weather - feeling sick or ill; not in good health; slightly unwell
  • Up in arms - very angry, indignant, and ready to fight against something unjust or wrong.

Also read: Best Books for IELTS Preparation in 2023

Tips to improve your vocabulary

A good understanding of a wide range of vocabulary is key to doing well on tests. Here are some tips to help you improve your vocabulary when preparing for IELTS exams:

  1. Read A Lot: Reading regularly will expose you to new words and phrases that can help expand your vocabulary. Try reading books that are written in language that’s slightly more difficult than what you normally use so you can pick up new words and phrases.
  2. Use Flashcards: Create flashcards with new words and phrases you learn while studying for the exam, and then test yourself frequently to help commit them to memory. Try creating digital cards as well so you can review them on the go whenever you have a few minutes of free time.
  3. Take Notes: When reading books or other material related to the IELTS exam, take notes of any new words or phrases that stand out to you. This is another great way to track your progress and remember what words are important for the test.
  4. Get Creative: Being creative can help you find more effective ways of learning vocabulary for the IELTS exam. Try playing word association games with yourself or create visual cues associated with individual words.
  5. Memorize Roots and Affixes: Learning the roots and affixes of words can help you understand their meaning more easily. This will also make it easier to recognize similar words with the same root or affixes, even if they’re not exactly the same.


Boosting your vocabulary is essential for success on the IELTS exam. Through reading, memorization techniques, and learning about idioms and collocations, you can make sure you have an adequate understanding of the English language skills necessary to achieve a high score.

Achieve your highest IELTS score!

Signup for your free IELTS masterclass with Edvoy.

Learn from the best of the best teacher with over 17 years of experience.

Sign up now!

author avatar
Written By

Stay tuned with us for more updates on studying abroad.

Comments Disabled