IELTS Vocabulary List

Your choice of words can raise or lower your IELTS score. You might have good writing skills, but if your essay is full of simple words that even primary school students understand, you are unlikely to get a good band score. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make a conscious effort to fill your writing with obscure words that nobody understands. So how do you strike a balance between these two extremes? Well, the key is using precise vocabulary. By using words that demonstrate your range of vocabulary, you can not only make your essay interesting, but also impress the examiner. Here is a list of adjectives that you need to know.


When you are afraid, you are frightened. Note the use of ‘of’ with afraid.

  • She is afraid of her own shadow.
  • What are you afraid of?
  • Are you afraid of the dark?

Afraid can also be followed by a to-infinitive.

  • She is afraid to offend him.
  • He was afraid to touch the dog.
  • She was afraid to decline the offer.

When you are afraid for somebody, you believe that they are in danger.

  • We are afraid for her children. (= We believe that her children are in danger.)


When you are amused, you are entertained or interested by something.

  • There was an amused expression on her face.
  • She looked amused by his antics.


When you are annoyed you are slightly angry or impatient.

  • She looked annoyed.


An arrogant person thinks that he or she is better or more important than others.

  • What annoyed me was his arrogant disregard for other people’s opinions.


Awful means very unpleasant or very bad.

  • The fish tasted awful.
  • That awful guy was shouting at everybody.


When you are bitter you feel angry or upset.

  • I’m still bitter about the whole affair.
  • Though they were brothers, they had always been bitter rivals.


Breezy means lively or confident.

  • She walked in sporting a bright breezy smile.

The adjective breezy is also used to refer to a person who is too informal or careless.

  • It was his breezy attitude towards work that ultimately landed him in trouble.


Used to refer to a surface that has a lot of rough or raised parts on it. A bumpy ride is an uncomfortable ride because of bad weather or bad road. This expression can also be used to refer to a situation that involves both successes and failures.


Charming means very attractive and pleasant.

  • He is a very charming guy.
  • Her smile was so charming that it took his breath away.


Chilly means unpleasantly cold. Chilly can also mean unfriendly.

  • The nights are getting chilly.


If you are clumsy, you are more likely to break things or knock against them because you move in a way that is not very careful or graceful.

  • Don’t let her handle your expensive glassware. She is very clumsy. She will break them.

A clumsy object is too large or too heavy.

  • A clumsy wooden cupboard occupied almost half the floor space of the room.


Colossal means extremely great or large

  • That experiment was a colossal failure.


When you are in a combative mood, you are ready to fight or argue with someone.

  • He was both courteous and combative.
  • She was not very popular among her friends because of her combative attitude.


Crazy means not at all sensible or practical.

  • Are you crazy?
  • They offered him crazy amounts of money; still he refused to sell that palatial bungalow he inherited from his dad.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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