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TOEFL Vocabulary Guide

Updated on 05 July, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

toefl vocabulary

Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) assesses the English language skills of candidates with a native language other than English. Applicants wishing to study or work abroad need to furnish their TOEFL scores. It measures a candidate's abilities in listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. 

To ace the TOEFL test, test takers must be well versed with good vocabulary. There are many TOEFL vocabulary exercises that you can check out to practice before the examination. At the same time, here is a handy TOEFL vocabulary list for your perusal. This will stand you in good stead for the TOEFL vocabulary test.

TOEFL vocabulary list with meaning

If you are practicing your vocabulary and grammar for the TOEFL test, here are some category-wise options for your perusal. 

Business & Enterprise

  1. To launch any product/service- It means the beginning of commercial marketing/selling any product/service, and also the start of promotions for the same amongst the targeted audiences. 
  2. Lay-off/Laying-off- This means termination of the employment contract for employees by any company. 
  3. Lifestyle business- This is a business that has been established with the aim of generating adequate income as its primary goal. 
  4. Making a profit- Earning sufficient revenues exceeding business costs. 
  5. Niche Entity/Business- This means any business/company in a small, specific, and particular segment/market/category. 
  6. Raising company profiles- This equates to spreading awareness about a business amongst prospective consumers and the general audience. 
  7. Sales figures- These indicate the amounts generated by any company through selling its products/services. This can also be equated to the revenues of an organization. 
  8. Stiff competition- This means strong competitors in the market for any business in the same segment/business category. 
  9. Taking on/take on employees- This means hiring/recruiting/employing more personnel/staff members/employees. 

Shopping & Retail

  1. Tight budget (on a tight budget) - Having a restricted/limited sum of money to spend on anything. 
  2. Being on commission- Paying a specific sum of money (often a percentage) to someone for selling anything. This is related to the amount sold by the individual or entity. 
  3. Paying in cash- This means paying for something with physical cash or currency/money. 
  4. Bargain- Anything that is a great deal or affordable/cheaper than its regular price in the market. 
  5. Full price- The total amount payable for anything. 
  6. Running up credit card bills- Owing money as debt on credit card purchases, which are also subject to interest. 
  7. Shopping around- Trying out various stores and retailers in order to get the best possible deals/offers. 
  8. Shop assistants- They are the ones who guide customers and serve them at physical stores. 
  9. Shop until you drop- Shopping for things until one is absolutely exhausted! It signifies a massive volume of shopping that is done! 

Books and Movies

  1. Catching a movie- Going to watch a movie or watching a movie. 
  2. Blockbuster- Any movie that has succeeded in commercially earning stellar revenues. 
  3. Classic- Something of the best possible quality, something iconic, and something that is a benchmark in the industry. 
  4. Central character- The main individual or person in any movie or book, around whom the story revolves. 
  5. Highly recommended- Endorsed, supported, and backed by anyone/anything. 
  6. Unputdownable- Anything that is hard to set aside, be it a movie or a book. It is so gripping that one has to watch it fully. 
  7. E-books- Digitally-published books. 
  8. E-readers- Digital reading devices such as Kindle. 
  9. General release- Any release for the general audience or mass/public. 
  10.  Flicking through- Swiftly browsing through/reading through/looking through something. 
  11.  Hardback- Books with hard and rigid covers. 
  12.  Paperback- Books with softer covers. 

These terms will help with your TOEFL reading vocabulary and your TOEFL writing vocabulary.

Recommended Reads:

TOEFL Exam Eligibility CriteriaTOEFL Exam SyllabusTOEFL Exam Dates 2022
TOEFL Exam FormatTOEFL Exam FeesTOEFL Exam Registration

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Other important words

There are many other important words and phrases that will help you improve your TOEFL listening vocabulary or your TOEFL speaking vocabulary. These include the following:




Something present in sufficient or ample quantities


To collect or build up something steadily/gradually


Something that is error-free and correct


Get possession of or purchase something


To support/back something publicly


Combining something 


Putting something aside for any purpose, or giving specific things to specific parties, i.e. allocating duties to people 


Anything that is a deviation or grossly different from convention


Something that takes place yearly


Any decision of a random and sudden nature, often based on a whimsical thought process


To augment something means making it bigger, or increasing it


Possessing knowledge of something or being aware of anything


Fusion, unity, joining together


The act of agreeing with something/someone 


Sufficient or abundant, usually used to denote quantities


This means reducing or considerably lowering something


It means anything delivered anywhere or to anyone. Alternatively, it may also mean a sum of money that is kept with the bank or any other financial institution


Any value or figure that is an approximation or assumed


Anything restricted to specific groups/categories/people/other conditions, while not admitting the majority


To grow or enhance in size

ExtensionIncreasing the tenure of something or making it longer, i.e., an extension of his contract as Chairman

Something with a limit or end


Any structure, mechanism, or system for something


Anything that is the basic, primary, or core concept, idea, or aspect


A theory/idea which attempts at proving something, although it has not been proven yet


Anything which induces someone to do something, an attraction, or bonus, as it were


To scale up in terms of size or increase, i.e., He realized that he was paying an inflated value in rentals


To stay behind or fall behind


Something legal. 


To increase or enhance something


The dimensions, size, and intricacies of something


The lowest/smallest measure of something


Changing anything or revamping anything or even tweaking anything


The source of something or its starting point or even roots


The best and highest point of something.


Change or measure that brings about positive improvements


Examine or analyze something with great care and attention


To reduce in size or become smaller


To form an opinion, conclusion, judgment, idea, or theory, without any evidence


A blueprint or guideline for arriving at an objective


Evolution or change across positions/conditions/ideas/philosophies/actions


Any decision, judgment or conclusion given by an authority


These are some technical and financial terms, while there are some other words. They will help you prepare better for the examination. There are many other types of words that you can look up. These are only a few examples.

Read More:

Documents Required for TOEFLHow to Prepare for TOEFLTOEFL Tips


TOEFL Vocabulary Exercise

Question Type

Select the right word for the definitions given below- 

Question 1

To approve of, overlook, accept, or excuse any behavior which is otherwise taken as wrongful or unacceptable. 


  1. To forgive
  2. To be generous
  3. To be merciful
  4. To be kind
  5. To condone 

Question 2

Trying very hard to accomplish anything. 


  1. Venturing into something. 
  2. Beginning something. 
  3. Striving to achieve something. 
  4. Pursuing something. 

Question 3

Anything showcasing the dates and holidays for the year. 


  1. Journal
  2. Notebook
  3. Calendar
  4. Diary 

Question 4

Being fully visible, crystal clear, and honest. 


  1. Transparent
  2. Reflective
  3. Concealed
  4. Outward 

5. Something like an activity or any process with a step-wise approach, one after the other.


  1. In a sequence. 
  2. In disparate forms. 
  3. In a cocoon. 
  4. In direct relation to one another. 

Question Type

Select the right word from the given list, the best possible/most suitable option for the highlighted phrase/word (in bold). 

Question 6

  1. They tried very hard to stalk and trap it. 
  2. Chase
  3. Poach
  4. Hunt 

Question 7

The children were taught to obey their teachers. 

  1. Listen to. 
  2. Ignore. 
  3. Rebuke. 
  4. Oppose. 

Question 8

He was riding a costly motorcycle that was considered flashy for the times. 

  1. Stylish. 
  2. Ugly. 
  3. Displeasing. 
  4. Expensive. 

Question 9

 She was more inclined towards periodic fits of anger these days. 

  1. Occasional. 
  2. Regular. 
  3. Rare. 
  4. Frequent. 

Question 10 

How on earth did you get tangled up in this mess? 

  1. Mixed. 
  2. Choked. 
  3. Twisted.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for TOEFL vocabulary?

Try and read as much as possible, including everything from books and journals to newspapers and online content. Watch English news broadcasts, movies, talk shows, and television channels. Build categories to help you remember words better, including business, politics, finance, and so on. You should also practice speaking in English as much as you can.

Does TOEFL have vocabulary?

Building up a good vocabulary is highly essential for TOEFL. Several questions will either ask about the word meanings or necessitate knowledge of specific words/phrases in order to give the correct answers to questions.

Can you drink water during TOEFL exam?

Food and beverages are not allowed at the time of the examination. Hence, you should keep yourself sufficiently hydrated beforehand.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.