100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know

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100 Words for High School Students

The folks at American Heritage Dictionary have created a list of 100 words every high school student should know. They make it clear on their page that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. I guess that means you should know more than just these hundred. But if you can use these words correctly, “you are likely to have a superior command of the language.”

Check it out. Can you use each word in a sentence? If you are not sure of a word’s definition, click it.

Update: I just finished a quiz to test your knowledge of the 100 words! Click here and see how well you do!

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Leave your comments below! How many of these words did you know?

About the Author

Brian Wasko

Brian WaskoBrian is the founder and president of WriteAtHome.com. One of his passions is to teach young people how to write better.View all posts by Brian Wasko

  1. Jana Curry
    Jana Curry07-28-2014

    Mr. Wasko,

    Your definition of photosynthesis in the quiz is incorrect. It should state that it is the process by which plants convert sunlight into glucose (energy) and oxygen. Plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis they do not produce it.

    http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/photosyn.htm

    Sincerely,
    Jana Curry, MS Biology
    High School Science Teacher

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko07-30-2014

      Thank you Jana. I have corrected the quiz.

      Sincerely,
      Brian Wasko
      Not a Science Teacher

  2. Pamela Diamond
    Pamela Diamond10-15-2013

    Maybe a list every fifth grader should know?

  3. Terri
    Terri03-02-2013

    I might take this as a challenge to use at least one word a day in a post.

  4. stephen
    stephen12-28-2012

    errr. don’t think it’s spelled RIGHT (head desk)

  5. stephen
    stephen12-28-2012

    “Mendacity” is an important word, too. It is on almost every SAT exam. I’ve never needed to know ziggurat (in fact, the dictionary on computers don’t think it’s spelled wrong)

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko12-28-2012

      There are plenty of important words not on the list, Stephen. The folks at the dictionary just felt like these represented a good list of words high school graduates “should know.” There are certainly plenty of words that the average Joe would find more useful.

    • AnWulf
      AnWulf04-14-2013

      I hav seen ziggurat often but then I like history and it’s often seen in texts about pyramids. I don’t recall ever having seen mendacity. Truthfully, neither of those two words would be my list of 100 words that a HS graduate should … For that matter, at least half of this wouldn’t be there. It’s made up mostly of words that are shibboleths but not truly useful.

  6. Lisa Barfield
    Lisa Barfield12-04-2012

    I’m embarrassed— I only know about half these words! It’s time to read another Victorian novel, I suppose. “A Christmas Carol,” anyone?

    One of my favorite vocabulary stories occurred right after high school, when I sneaked into a class I had formerly taken. When one of the students recognized me and said my name, I shushed her. “I’m trying to be surreptitious,” I said.

    My former teacher, from the front of the room, loudly replied, “You can’t be surreptitious using words like surreptitious.”

  7. janderson
    janderson12-01-2012

    Hey Brian,

    I am using your comma rules. Here is 1200 words with pictures that every 4th grader planning to go to Harvard should know. vvl.wikispaces.com Check out the Gold and silver vocabulary.
    My email is janderson@scischina.org

    Jim

  8. janderson
    janderson12-01-2012

    Hey Brian,

    I am using your comma rules. Here is 1200 words with pictures that every 4th grader planning to go to Harvard should know. vvl.wikispaces.com Check out the Gold and silver vocabulary.
    My email is janderson@scischina.org

  9. Joy @ Five J's
    Joy @ Five J's11-29-2012

    I noticed you have only 99 words. You omitted the word “wrought” from the original list of 100.

    • Brian Wasko
      Brian Wasko11-29-2012

      How observant you are, Joy! I’ll fix that immediately. :)

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