Jim Burke's Academic Vocabulary List

February 14, 2014
A thorough survey of various textbooks, assignments, content area standards, and examinations yields the following list of words compiled by Jim Burke. You cannot expect to succeed on assignments if you do not understand the directions.
Our genetic information is encoded by the nucleotides thymine, cytosine, guanine, and adenosine, abbreviated as T, C, G, and A, respectively.
The chosen definition for this word is an adjective meaning. As a noun, "abstract" means "a sketchy summary of the main points of an argument."
And rather than stating something as an abstract principle, he’d give it flesh and bones and heart by situating it in a story.
Up to 35 percent of food products contain meat glue, including tofu, milk, yogurt and even cereal according to industry accounts.
OMG The first recorded appearance of this breathless acronym for “Oh, my God!” comes, surprisingly, in a letter to Winston Churchill.
As a verb, "address" also means "deliver a formal spoken communication to an audience"--this could describe how Obama addresses the leaders as he addresses the issues.
Obama is due to meet with the leaders of all four nations, and plans to address diplomatic, economic and security issues, the White House said.
Don't confuse "affect" with "effect"--in most cases, "affect" is used as verb while "effect" is used as a noun. As suggested by the example sentence, stormy weather affects a lot of people and services; it can have physical, emotional, and cognitive effects.
Thousands of properties are without power, schools are closed and trains have been cancelled--how is the stormy weather affecting you?
In Rome, the Canadian postulants gave me a present--a book that altered my life utterly.
“The world is full of giants,” she begins, “they have always been here. We had to learn how to overcome them.”
Actually, the word “recipe” points us toward a useful analogy: think of a quantum field theory as a culinary recipe.
Literary analysis investigates the structure of a text and may also include exploring the underlying motives of characters. As a branch of mathematics, "analysis" involves calculus and limits.
Indeed, Pew’s own analysis of its data makes it clear that Facebook has a golden opportunity in those countries:
The babies in the study wore vests equipped with devices that record and analyze the conversations and background noises near the baby over 16 hours.
Genius, which allows users to annotate music lyrics, has thousands of songs whose explanations are continually updated and improved by its community of members.
“Just as they anticipate fashion trends, they now have to anticipate changes in consumer behavior.”
The example sentence's use of "application" could also mean "a program that gives a computer instructions" but it would not connect to this definition: "a verbal or written request for assistance or admission."
Its application also allows users to search for points of interest such as restaurants and cinemas.
"Apply" also means 1) ask for something; 2) employ for a particular purpose; 3) ensure observance of laws and rules; and 4) commit oneself to--although the chosen definition is the best fit for the example sentence, these can also apply, since the contractors first had to apply (1) for the job, before they could apply (2) the skills of their workers, while applying (3) the stricter measures, and applying (4) themselves to creating safe work conditions.
On Tuesday, Qatari World Cup organizers produced a 50-page document outlining stricter measures that would apply to contractors involved in building work for the tournament.
So we have two approaches to eating and sex in zoos--both created by people who care deeply about the animals in their care.
“Also unsure of whether #Unapologetic is appropriate for a child’s toy.”
For years, psychologists have known that human infants are born with an " approximate number sense," called ANS, or the ability to estimate amounts without counting.
I could argue that nerds, being more technical, also have more vision and relevance in a more technical world.
"Argument" can also refer to what takes place before the assertion: "a methodical process of logical reasoning" or "a discussion for and against some proposition or proposal." In reference to a literary work, an argument is "a summary of the subject or plot" and in reference to a logical or mathematical expression, it is a variable.
An oft-quoted argument for investing in emerging markets is their superior economic growth.
The sophistication comes with choosing the right texts and arranging them in an effective sequence that motivates and encourages the patient without alienating him.
He was deeply committed to the principle of free markets, and articulated four “Internet freedoms” reminiscent of Richard M. Stallman’s four software freedoms.
In referring to people, "aspect" is "a characteristic to be considered" or "the feelings expressed on a face." In grammar, the aspect of a verb is the duration or completion of the action (which should not be confused with the tenses, which also connect to the time of an action, but does not include how the time of the action is viewed).
Another aspect to consider is that people who file claims have an incentive to exaggerate their symptoms to receive more compensation for longer.
Sweating in green army fatigues, he praised the plan, noting its imported, prefabricated design that allowed walls to be assembled quickly, like puzzle pieces.
Mr. Chermayeff gives dogs their due, depicting one holding a city flag and asserting: “I have thousands of friends and all their owners vote.”
Other cars are covered with rubble, making it tough to assess the damage or estimate the cost of repairs, Doran said.
"As a visual icon the ukulele is instantly associated with Hawaii, which is why it's used so frequently in advertising."
“I didn’t want to assume she was into me and then for it to go wrong. That would have been very, very embarrassing,” he says.
As most people know, even the most objective of these ranking lists are loaded with all kinds of hidden biases, assumptions and subjective decisions.
They’ll continue to try to find new features that appeal to their audiences, which means more instances of tech deja vu in the future.
“We wanted to make it look authentic, like your Lego play set was truly coming to life.”
Information that is essential to understanding a situation could include "the state of the environment in which a situation exists." Information that is essential to understanding people could include their "social heritage or previous experience and training." Information that is essential to understanding a play could include "scenery hung at the back of a stage."
The background: She and her husband purchased her stepson’s home at foreclosure so that he and his family wouldn’t become homeless.
The system could be a) an individual 3-dimensional object that has mass and that is distinguishable from other objects; b) a group of persons associated by some common tie or occupation and regarded as an entity; c) a group of things regarded as a whole. In the example sentence, "body" is used to mean (c) but is also punning on (a). In reference to a literary work, the body is the main part (minus the introduction, conclusion, and additional materials).
Although these behavioural changes make the drugs useful, a growing body of evidence suggests that the benefits mainly stop there.
The Vatican announced Tuesday it would host a workshop early in the new year to brainstorm peaceful solutions to the ongoing civil war in Syria.
The given definition is for the word as an adjective (which the title of Hawking's book puns on since "brief" also means "of short duration or distance"). As a noun, "brief" means "a condensed written summary or abstract" or "a document stating the points of law of a client's case." As a verb, "brief" means "give essential information to someone."
Hawking’s popular reputation was created through his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time, and the accompanying video program.
"Calculate" also means "judge to be probable" or "predict in advance"--all three definitions fit the example sentence, since it is an argument for why IQ tests are used: because humans by themselves cannot correctly compute, judge, and predict a person's capabilities, standardized tests have been created as a tool to support decisions that need to be made about class placements, learning services, etc.
Unaided human reason is typically very bad at calculating relevant probabilities.
"Caption" can also be used as a verb; any type of image, including photographs, can be captioned. Usually, the descriptions are brief explanations or humorous observations. But if seen at the bottom of a screen for a show, the captions are either a translation of the dialogue for foreign viewers or a transcription of the dialogue for hearing-impaired viewers.
The photo generated captions such as: "I had fun once...it was awful."
The example sentence describes recognition given by the British Academy Games Awards--this connects "category" to the given definition. But "action and adventure" can also be a category ("a collection of things sharing a common attribute") in a section of a game store.
The Playstation 3 title is recognised in categories including action & adventure, artistic achievement, best game and game design.
"Cause" can also mean "a justification for something existing or happening"--the example sentence does not argue for the cause of bullying; rather, it points out that, in the case of the football player Jonathan Martin, his depression might have caused ("make act in a specific manner") his teammates to bully him, which then caused ("give rise to") more mental health struggles.
They see the two-way street, the way in which mental-health struggles can be a partial cause as well as an effect of bullying.
The example sentence uses "character" to connect only to the given definition, but it implies that even imaginary people in a fictional work should show the additional meanings of "character": "a property that defines the individual nature of something" and "attributes that determine one's moral and ethical actions."
And House of Cards would be a greater show if it had characters who were people more than game pieces.
"Characteristic" can be either a noun or adjective ("typical or distinctive"). Although the example sentence focuses on the unique characteristics of geometric objects, the article in which it appears compares the process of proving a geometric theorem to the development of characters and their story lines. This parallel is characteristic of The Simpsons, whose creative team over the years has included members with degrees in math and computer science.
All geometric objects must remain true to their unique characteristics, and each step in the proof must follow the strict rules of logical deduction.
Rosacea is a skin condition characterized by red cheeks, chin, nose or forehead, often with small bumps that resemble pimples.
The example sentence uses "chart" as a noun, but it could also be a verb: as a meteorologist, Mr. Bateman was asked to chart ("represent by means of a graph") every possible weather pattern at specific times in New York and New Jersey, so that the National Football League could chart ("plan in detail") the first Superbowl held outdoors in a cold winter environment.
Mr. Bateman said he was told to prepare “whiz bang” charts that detail everything from wind speeds to temperature trends.
He uses a timeline stretching all the way round the classroom, running from 1066 to the present day, to reinforce the notion of chronology.
And what’s more important: tweet-ability or the traditional citation from the scientific community?
But in fairness to Aesop, no one has ever cited his works as justification for irrational hatred and violence.
Although "claim" comes from the Latin verb "clamare" which means "to call" it can also be used as a noun in English to mean an assertion that something is true or that something rightfully belongs to you.
Mr. Ban added, “We cannot claim to care about mass atrocity crimes and then shrink from what it means to actually prevent them.”
Moreover, because these supernovae are used as cosmic measuring sticks, understanding them better may help clarify the shape of the Universe.
In biology, "class" is a category ranking below a phylum and above an order. This idea of ranking can also be seen when people are classed into groups. The example sentence suggests that, despite being created in an attempt to save the Postal Service, the new class of "City Carrier Assistants" would rank lower than the regular postal carriers, and with their lower ranking comes lower pay and less desirable working hours.
Metro Post employees, and those who deliver packages on Sunday for Amazon, are part of a new class of postal workers called City Carrier Assistants.
It may also give us clues to a second antimatter mystery: Why is there more matter than antimatter in the universe?

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Comments from our users:

Friday March 28th 2014, 9:13 PM
Comment by: troy A.
It is great ,smart ,and very useful .
Sunday March 30th 2014, 6:29 AM
Comment by: Meeran L. (Iraq)
thanks for helping me to improve my VOCAB.
Thursday April 3rd 2014, 4:07 PM
Comment by: Mrs. Will (FL)
kudos to you. good job! I'm using for a Jeopardy game I have planned.
Tuesday April 8th 2014, 2:49 PM
Comment by: sefik T.
very useful
Sunday April 13th 2014, 3:41 AM
Comment by: Peyman J. (Iran (Islamic Republic of))
tnx. it was truly useful.
Sunday April 13th 2014, 9:52 PM
Comment by: Mikayla B. (MI)
When it does the spelling for pace, it sounds like the person is saying pache or patched instead of pace. Besides that, it's good.
Tuesday April 15th 2014, 8:06 PM
Comment by: Chad C. (MI)
next time please make it shorter.
Friday April 18th 2014, 5:39 PM
Comment by: David K. (AK)
The words are relatively easy, but the length is ambitious and, at times, overwhelming.
Thursday May 1st 2014, 2:06 PM
Comment by: Isaac A. (Canada)
you sir are a genius for creating this useful list
Thursday May 15th 2014, 6:21 AM
Comment by: Helen C. (Switzerland)
It is an excellent list, but it would be more useful if it was grouped by subject.
Saturday June 7th 2014, 2:13 PM
Comment by: Asanka (Sri Lanka)
Good list.Very useful!
Wednesday June 11th 2014, 1:31 PM
Comment by: Tanapuch T. (Thailand)
I thought I knew most words on the list. But there are alternative definitions that had I myself befuddled with. Thank you for the list.
Saturday June 28th 2014, 4:39 PM
Comment by: Muhammad S. (VA)
I love it.
My only suggestion is to reduce the number of words but make the new words harder.
Monday September 8th 2014, 2:35 AM
Comment by: Olivera P. (Serbia)
Phew, finally finished the whole list.
Friday September 26th 2014, 8:03 AM
Comment by: Jens N. (Germany)
good list, but change the pronunciation for "pace"!
Monday October 20th 2014, 2:49 PM
Comment by: DJ Khaled (OH)
aggreed its easy but catches you off guard
Friday January 9th 2015, 9:07 AM
Comment by: I.Stardust (TX)
really great help!!helped me win the 2014 School Spelling Bee!!
Tuesday March 31st 2015, 5:47 PM
Comment by: Shabi Khan (India)
thanks for providing us these vocabs.
Saturday October 17th 2015, 7:38 PM
Comment by: sachi85 (Colombia)
Excellent list. Pretty useful for academic and common life affairs.
Friday October 23rd 2015, 8:43 AM
Comment by: Paley R. (FL)
it helps but the answers are confusing at times may you please change them
Sunday November 15th 2015, 4:55 AM
Comment by: yalibayev (Kazakhstan)
good one, thank you !
Thursday November 26th 2015, 11:52 PM
Comment by: Nhật Nghi L. (Viet Nam)
I find it very useful in order to improve the number of academic vocabularies that I need for the IELTS exam.
Thank you!
Tuesday April 12th 2016, 10:58 AM
Comment by: Kate A. (LA)
Tuesday April 12th 2016, 7:54 PM
Comment by: Ethan W. (LA)
In the lead
Wednesday June 8th 2016, 10:25 PM
Comment by: Deniz A. (CA)
Not good
Thursday June 23rd 2016, 6:06 PM
Comment by: Param (India)
Simple words. They are mostly known to many.
Monday November 14th 2016, 9:35 PM
Comment by: Paula P. (Mendota, IL)
I'm an academic copy editor, proofreader, and indexer. Familiar words, these. Visual Thesaurus has rescued me many a time. When the work uses the same word over and over, it's nice to find spot-on alternatives!

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