Updated Feb. 19, 2019


Return to Index of Vocabulary Lists


Note that if you incorrectly or inappropriately use what you think is an example of "high level" vocabulary, you might actually lose points for vocabulary rather than gain points. This is mostly because communication can be damaged, or even broken, by such errors. In other words, using a simple word or repeating the same word is often better than using an "impressive" word incorrectly. Clear communication is the Number 1 priority in the IELTS test!


30. Time Management

31. Adventurous People

32. Relaxing

33. Tradition

34. Change

35. Non-Electrical Equipment in the Home

37. Bags

38. Types of Cards

39. Types of Vehicles

40. Humour

41. Politeness

42. Toys (Now on Page 4)


30. Time Management




to plan ahead

on time

on schedule

a deadline


a "rush job"

at short notice

to be behind time

to delay

to put off doing s’thing

to leave s’thing till the last moment


to procrastinate

to postpone


the due time

the due date

prompt, promptly

to fall behind

to be behind

to rush

to hurry


to cram (for an exam)

to be pressed for time


a crash study program

a timetable

a schedule

to fritter away one’s time

a short-term goal

a long-term goal


a priority

high priority

low priority

efficient, inefficient





31. Adventurous People

The following words could be used when describing people who participate in extreme sports or other examples of adventurous people. Use a good dictionary (not just an electronic dictionary) to see the full meaning, with examples, and usage of these words.





a daredevil


a “showoff















32. Relaxing

The following words might be useful when talking about the topic of relaxation.

(The words in the three columns, "Nouns", "Verbs" and "Phrases & Expressions" are not always connected to the word in the first column, "Adjectives". For example, "to sleep", "a massage" and the phrase, "for enjoyment" are not connected to the word, "leisurely". Each column is a separate list of words.)




Phrases & Expressions


a rest

to relax

"A change is as good as a rest."


a nap

to rest

for recreation


a siesta

to nap

for pleasure


a massage

to sleep

for enjoyment



to unwind

for leisure



to refresh oneself

"to recharge my batteries"



to meditate

 to take my mind off my studies (or, off my work)



to stretch out



light exercise

to take it easy



soothing music

to revitalize oneself



a warm bath

to relieve stress




to take a nap = to have a nap




to stretch the legs (= go for a walk)


    to "chill out" (This is slang but ok to use with younger examiners. Pronounce it clearly.)  



33. Tradition





traditional a tradition to observe a custom  
customary a custom to follow a custom  
ceremonial a ceremony to bow  
religious a ritual    
superstitious a rite    
formal a practice    
conventional a convention    
ancestral folklore    


a superstition  



a belief  



a myth  



a legend  



a festival  








34. Change

The topic of "change" is a very frequent topic throughout the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests.

Most of the verbs in this list can be changed into nouns, often by adding "ion" to the verb.

Similarly, many of the verbs can be changed to become adjectives by adding "ed", for example, "improve" can become "improved".

Make sure you use a dictionary to see examples of how any new words are used. Using an impressive word in the test but using it incorrectly often causes you to lose points for vocabulary rather than gain points. This is because the listener (the examiner) might become confused about what you mean – clear communication is the Number 1 thing in the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests!





Verbs (continued)




to grow

to restrict

"A change is as good as a rest".


a development

to increase

to suppress

"Variety is the spice of life."


a metamorphosis

to rise

to abolish

go out of fashion


a transition

to expand

to renew

go out of style


the rate of change

to extend

to rejuvenate

to die out (Some old traditions have "died out".)



to broaden

to renovate

exponentially (exponential growth)



to widen

to revamp

 to “change for the better”



to lengthen

to streamline

 to “change for the worse”

a radical change


to intensify

to recondition

behind the times = no longer fashionable

a gradual change 


to magnify

to refurnish


an imperceptible change 


to decrease

to rehabilitate


    to fall to regenerate  
    to contract to reform  



to shorten

to reverse




to reduce

to improve




to fluctuate

to develop




to vary

to mature




to move

to modernize




to relocate

to enhance




to transport

to advance




to shift

to ameliorate




to divert

to alleviate




to substitute

to relieve




to transform

to correct




to replace

to deteriorate




to convert

to worsen




to build

to age




to construct

to decay




to demolish

to degenerate




to fix

to aggravate




to repair

to exacerbate




to update

to impair




to alter

to corrupt


    to modify to discontinue  
    to limit to abandon  
    to contain    



35. Non-Electrical Equipment in the Home

Here, "equipment", "devices", "tools", "gadgets" all mean, more or less, the same thing.

In the Kitchen

 a measuring cup  a bottle opener  a frying pan  a meat cleaver
 a ladle  a corkscrew  a saucepan (U.S. pronunciation is also acceptable: saucepan)  a cutting board
 a spatula  a nutcracker  a vegetable knife  a dish rack (a dish drainer)
 a can opener  a wok (锅)  a vegetable peeler  a timer
 a water dispenser  a serving spoon  a strainer  

In the Bathroom

 a bathroom scale (= a set of bathroom scales)  a toothbrush holder    
 a toilet plunger  a razor    
 a toilet brush  a hairbrush    
 a toothbrush      

In the Study

 a stapler (a stapling machine)  a pencil sharpener    
 a ruler  a pair of scissors    
 a hole punch  a magnifying glass    

Cleaning Equipment

 a broom  a feather duster    
 a dustpan (and hand brush)      
 a mop      
 a mop bucket      

Exercise Equipment

 an exercise bicycle  a dumbbell    
 a rowing machine  a barbell    
 a treadmill  a skipping rope    
 a set of weights      

Handyman Tools

 a hammer  a ladder  a tape measure  
 a screwdriver  an adjustable spanner (U.S. = an adjustable wrench)    
 a pair of pliers  a saw    
 a set of jeweler's screwdrivers  a hacksaw    


 a sewing needle      
 a torch (U.S. = a flashlight)      
 a coat hanger      
 a pair of nail clippers      


37. Bags

There are many types of bags. Below are some of the types of bags that you might want to mention in the speaking test.

Try to pronounce the compound nouns (the words that are composed of two nouns) with the stress more on the first word than on the second word. Mimic the recordings to learn this.


a 'handbag  (The bag that most women carry.)

a purse (Usually a purse is a small bag that a woman uses to hold her money and she keeps it in her handbag when she is carrying her handbag. But sometimes, especially in American English, "a purse" is used to mean "a handbag".)

a 'shoulder bag

a 'backpack (A "rucksack" and a  "haversack" are words for a bigger type of backpack that people use when they are hiking and camping, although we also can call those bigger bags, "backpacks".)

a 'book bag (A book bag can be a shoulder bag or a small backpack that school children use.)

a 'briefcase (Carried by businesspeople and also by some older students.)

a suitcase

an 'attaché case and 'attaché case (A type of briefcase that is flatter and more solid than a briefcase and has a more squared shape than a briefcase.)

a laptop 'computer bag  (Some people use this to carry things other than their laptop computer. Or some people always carry this with them wherever they go because they take their laptop computer with them everywhere. It can hold a few extra small things besides the laptop computer.)

a 'shopping bag (and  'shopping bag) (A bag that is usually carried by a woman , especially an older woman, when she goes shopping.) = a carry bag


Some more bags are listed here: and on this page,



38. Types of Cards

See the long list of cards at Make sure you know how to pronounce these compound nouns (= two-word nouns) with the first word stressed more than the word, "card". Mimic some of the recordings.

For the Part 1 topic of "Cards", you only need to know a few of these examples. " A postcard " seems to be one of the words used in the Part 1 questions. In fact, this might be the only card that you will be asked about.


39. Types of Vehicles



sports cars

convertibles (the roof can be retracted)

station wagons

SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle)

Off-road vehicles (similar to four-wheel-drive vehicles & SUVs)

four-wheel-drive cars

electric cars

hybrid cars

a utility = a "ute" (Australian English) = a pick-up truck in American English

 a racing car (e.g., a Formula 1 racing car)

a beach buggy

a stretch limousine

a vintage car (a car that was produced earlier than about 40 years ago, especially those cars produced in the 1920's to the 1950's.)



Motor Homes


caravans (not a self-powered vehicle)


mountain bikes (BMX bikes)

racing bikes

electric bicycles

fold-up bicycles

a bicycle built for two


Motor Cycles

(Sometimes called "motor bikes" in British English)

a racing motorcycle

scooters (

electric motor cycles

sidecar (on some motor cycles)

Other Vehicles


horse-drawn carts

a rickshaw

a mini-bus

a go-cart


40. Humour

(See different languages at the left-hand side of those pages)

See note about appropriate usage


humour (= "humor" in American spelling)


a sense of humour

laugh, laughter

to smile, to grin, to chuckle, to snigger

funny (NOT the same as “interesting” or “fun”)

my "funny bone"


wit, witty, a witicism

ludicrous / ridiculous / absurd / laughable


comedy (a type of performance or a type of TV show or film)

a sit-com (= a situational comedy TV show)


a jokester / a comic

a stand-up comic (performer)

a "wise-crack"

cross-talk (in China)

a clown

a joke

to crack a joke / to tell a joke / to tell jokes

“rolling in the aisles”

a "dirty joke"

a practical joke

a gag

a pun

to jest

a pun = a play on words



to satirize

a satirist

to make fun of somebody / something


 41. Politeness   (See different languages at the left-hand side of that page)

See note about appropriate usage






common courtesy (= everyday small acts of courtesy or politeness. Most often, these acts involve consideration of others. Examples include saying, "Thank you", "Excuse me" and greeting those we know such as saying, "Good morning". )


good manners

table manners (



formal, formality

ceremony, ceremonial

custom, tradition

to bow

social status

to respect

to show respect

using honourific language (eg. 您 in Chinese)


informal, casual




uncultivated, uncivilized, ignorant (related to low social class)

genteel, refined, well-bred, gentlemanly (related to higher social class)

unaffected, natural, simple



to offend, offensive



To Page 4