This is the final installation of the TOEFL Blog’s in-depth study of the 49 hardest words on the TOEFL. These are all of the words that are assigned a “hard” difficulty level in the Magoosh TOEFL Vocabulary PDF. Below, we’ll look at the different forms, definitions and uses of hard words 42-49 in that PDF. Note that some word forms are not common on the TOEFL. Those alternate word forms still may be useful to study. Knowing all forms of a word will give you the deepest possible understanding of English vocabulary, on test day and beyond.
Difficult words 25-32: Different suffixes, different word forms
Below is a list of hard words 42-49: “pursue” through “welfare.”
Suffixes that change the form of the words:
Nouns: -ance, -er, -tion, -ing, -ity, -ness
Adjectives: -ant, -tive, -ed, -ing, -ent
Word explanations (meant to go with the definitions from the original PDF)
Pursuemeans to follow or chase something or to try to achieve a goal. In the noun forms of the word, pursuance means the act of following something, chasing something, or trying to achieve a goal, while pursuer refers to a person that follows, chases, or works toward a goal. Pursuantly is an adjective that means “done in a way related to pursuance.” So if someone does something pursuantly, they’re doing it in a way that allows them to follow or chase a thing or work toward a goal.
To retain means to keep something contain it, or continue to have it. A retainer is thing that allows something to be kept, contained, or maintained as a possession. Retention is a noun that means the activity of keeping, containing, or maintaining possession of something. A thing is retentive if it maintains a grasp on something, not releasing and not ceasing to hold it.Retained is an adjective that describes a thing that is kept, contained, or maintained as a possession. And thing can be described as retaining if it facilitates retention, the keeping, containing, or maintaining ownership of a thing.
A scheme is a plan or design for something. To scheme means to make plans or designs. A schemer is someone who does a lot of planning or designing, and scheming can be a noun that refers to the activities of planning and designing. Something can be described as schemed if it is planned out or designed in a specific way, and scheming can be used to describe a schemer who is always making plans or designs.
Seek means to look for something or try to find it. A seeker is a person or thing that finds something or tries to find something. Seeking can be an adjective to describe a person or thing that looks and finds. And sought describes a thing that is looked for or a thing that people try to find.
Subsequent is an adjective describing an event that happens immediately after another event. (For example, Tuesday comes subsequent to Monday.) If something happens immediately after another thing, you can say that it happens subsequently in relation to the first event. (As in having a meeting before lunch and subsequently a meeting after lunch.)
An underlying thing is something that forms the basis for something else. (For instance, TOEFL test prep is the underlying reason for all of the content on this blog, even the content that doesn’t relate directly to the TOEFL.) If something is done in a way that creates the basis for a bigger thing, then it is said to be done underlyingly.
If something is valid, it is reasonable, correct, or proven true. An idea or thing has validity if it can be proven correct and true. The validity of a thing is also sometimes called the validness of a thing. If something is done in a way that is reasonable, correct, or true, it is said to be done validly.
In its most common use on the TOEFL, welfare is a noun referring to how healthy or happy a person is. In a broader sense, welfare can mean general wellbeing. Welfare is also a common word in political and economic writing. In this sense it refers to public policies that protect and sometimes provide for the wellbeing of groups of people and individual citizens.
Previous posts in this series:
- TOEFL Vocabulary Study: Hard Words, Part 1
- Magoosh Comics: Hard TOEFL Words, Part 1
- TOEFL Vocabulary Study: Hard Words, Part 2
- Magoosh Comics: Hard TOEFL Words, Part 2
- TOEFL Vocabulary Study: Hard Words, Part 3
- Magoosh Comics: Hard TOEFL Words, Part 3
- TOEFL Vocabulary Study: Hard Words, Part 4
- Magoosh Comics: Hard TOEFL Words, Part 4
- TOEFL Vocabulary Study: Hard Words, Part 5