toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books

100 Words Encountered in

Nature & Ecology

Other Interests
rainforest
We visited the rainforest in Costa Rica.†
rainforest = a forest with heavy annual rainfall — perhaps in the order of 100 inches per year
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
global warming
Al Gore is a champion for those who want to make global warming the top priority.†
global warming = a gradual warming of the Earth's surface temperature — especially as caused by human activity
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
glacier
Scientist believe Europe will continue to face greater glacier retreat due to global warming.
glacier = a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river

(editor's note:  To see pictures, click on the Google Images link that is shown after clicking on the word link.)
DefinitionGenerally glacier means:
a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
allocate
allocate time and resources†
allocate = distribute according to a plan; or set apart for a special purpose
DefinitionGenerally allocate means:
distribute according to a plan

or:

set apart for a special purpose
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
habitat
a marine habitat
habitat = the type of environment in which an organism or group normally lives
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
radiation
Ionizing radiation has enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules.
radiation = particles emitted by nuclear decay (i.e., particles smaller than an atom that are sent out due to radioactivity)
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
species
It is an endangered species.
species = a similar group of animals or plants identified as separate from others because they can interbreed with each other
DefinitionGenerally species means:
a similar group of animals or plants identified as separate from others because they can interbreed (create baby animals)  with each other
Word Statistics
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
adverse
She did an impressive job given the adverse circumstances.
adverse = working against one's interests
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
dispose
as in:
dispose of the waste
How will they dispose of the waste?
dispose = throw away (get rid of)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispose means:
to throw away
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
indicate
These maps are drawn with north to the top unless otherwise indicated.
indicated = pointed out (shown)
DefinitionGenerally indicate means:
to show (point out, demonstrate, express, or suggest)
Word Statistics
Library38 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 10
Web Links
topography
Los Angeles is prone to smog because of its topography.†
topography = the features of the surface area of a region; or their study — especially changes in elevation
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
genus
It is a rare long-arm squid of the genus Magnapinna.†
genus = a taxonomic group containing one or more species
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
emerge
China recently emerged as a world power.
emerged = came out (became)
DefinitionGenerally emerge means:
to come out, or to appear
Word Statistics
Library46 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
arid
My skin dries in the arid desert climate.
arid = dry
DefinitionGenerally arid means:
lacking sufficient water or rainfall

or:

lacking vitality or spirit
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
appropriate
as in:
it is appropriate
These clothes aren't appropriate for work.
appropriate = suitable (fitting) for a particular situation
Word Statistics
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 100
Web Links
botany
She is studying botany.†
botany = the branch of biology that studies plants
DefinitionGenerally botany means:
the branch of biology that studies plants; or all the plant life in a particular region or period
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
deplete
The poorer a country's people are, the greater the temptation to deplete the country's forests and fisheries.
deplete = use up (resources or materials)
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
parasitic
She picked up a parasitic infection while in Africa.
parasitic = from a species that lives in another species and eats from it
DefinitionGenerally parasitic means:
of a species that lives on (or in) another species and eats from it without providing return benefit

or:

a person who lives off others' efforts without providing return benefit to them
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
symbiotic
Canada and the U.S. each benefit greatly from a symbiotic relationship.†
symbiotic = a relationship between two species (or entities) that live in close proximity — typically helping each other
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
flora
flora and fauna of the region†
flora = all the plant life in a particular region or period
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
fauna
She is an expert on the fauna of the rain forest.†
fauna = all the animal life — especially in a particular region or period
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
essential
The essential feature of the pen is that it writes so consistently.
essential = absolutely necessary; or of greatest importance
DefinitionGenerally essential means:
absolutely necessary; or of the greatest importance

or:

the defining or most important aspect of something
Word Statistics
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 500
Web Links
entomology
The entomologist is an expert on termites.
entomologist = someone who studies the branch of zoology that studies insects
DefinitionGenerally entomology means:
the branch of zoology that studies insects
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
municipal
municipal government†
municipal = relating to a city or town
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
compliance
Our policy is in compliance with the law.
compliance = to conform to rules or the wishes of others
Word Statistics
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
perish
...government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
Abraham Lincoln  --  Gettysburg Address
perish = be destroyed or cease to exist
DefinitionGenerally perish means:
to die — especially in an unnatural way

or:

to be destroyed or cease to exist
Word Statistics
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
vulnerable
The computers are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
vulnerable = easily hurt
DefinitionGenerally vulnerable means:
easily hurt; or easily influenced or subject to temptation
Word Statistics
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
urban
want to revitalize the downtown and limit urban sprawl†
urban = relating to a city
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
indigenous
Los Angeles replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day.
indigenous = originally from there
DefinitionGenerally indigenous means:
of local origin
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
flourish
as in:
the business is flourishing
The children are flourishing.
flourishing = thriving (growing or developing well)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of flourish means:
to thrive (grow or develop well)
Word Statistics
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
confront
You must confront your problems.
confront = deal directly with an unpleasant situation
DefinitionGenerally confront means:
to deal directly with an unpleasant situation or person

or:

to challenge someone — often by presenting evidence
Word Statistics
Library23 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 1000
Web Links
photosynthesis
Nature helps to remove carbon from the atmosphere via photosynthesis.
photosynthesis = the process by which plants and other things make food (such as sugars) from carbon dioxide by using the energy of the sunlight
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
diverse
The college wants a diverse student body.
diverse = varied — in this case consisting of a population of different kinds of people — such as different ethnic groups and genders
DefinitionGenerally diverse means:
varied (having variety amongst things of the same kind) — especially with regard to ideas or members of a population group
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 100
Web Links
hydrocarbon
They hope to create a genetically engineered yeast to produce a hydrocarbon replacement.†
hydrocarbon = an organic compound containing only carbon and hydrogen
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
greenhouse effect
In 2010, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication reported that only 57% of Americans can explain what the greenhouse effect is.†
greenhouse effect = the partial trapping of solar radiation as in a greenhouse or in the earth's atmosphere
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
greenhouse gas
The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.†
greenhouse gases = gases that increase the greenhouse effect (global warming) when they are in the atmosphere; e.g., carbon dioxide
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
taxonomy
animal taxonomy
taxonomy = a classification of organisms into groups based on similarities of structure or origin

or more rarely:

the classification of anything
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
soluble
The doctor said I should include more soluble fiber in my diet.†
soluble = capable of being dissolved in some solvent — typically water
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
stratified
Middle Schools are stratified into cliques of different types of students.†
stratified = divided into layers or subgroups
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
plankton
Plankton are important in marine food chains.†
plankton = tiny or microscopic plants and animals that float in water such as oceans or lakes and are eaten by larger animals such as fish
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
turbid
the turbid underworld of illegal drug traffickers†
turbid = of liquids:  clouded as with sediment

of thinking or conditions:  confused and not clear
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
alkaline
an alkaline battery†
alkaline = having a pH greater than 7 (this is the opposite of acidic)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Sierra Club
The Sierra Club has over half a million members.†
Sierra Club = an environmental organization
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
carnivorous
Carnivorous plants are capable of trapping and digesting insects.
carnivorous = feeding on animals
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
herbivorous
It is a peaceful herbivore.
herbivore = feeding only on plants
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
potable
potable water†
potable = suitable for drinking
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
diurnal
studied the creature's diurnal activities†
diurnal = happening daily, over the period of a day, or in the day rather than the evening
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
biodiversity
Greater biodiversity increases the stability and resilience of an ecosystem.†
biodiversity = the variety of life in all its forms and levels — typically in a specified area
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
tundra
Tundra reindeer travel as much as 3,000 miles a year.
tundra = a vast treeless plain in the northern arctic regions where the subsoil is always frozen (between the ice cap and the tree line)
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
attenuate
The problems of poverty are attenuated by the social safety net.†
attenuated = reduced in strength
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
aerate
the worms help to aerate the soil
aerate = expose to air
DefinitionGenerally aerate means:
expose to air

or:

to add a gas to a liquid such as adding carbonation to a soft drink
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
chlorophyll
Chlorophyll absorbs light most strongly in the blue portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.†
chlorophyll = the green substance in plants that absorbs light energy that is converted to chemical energy through photosynthesis
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
agrarian
China is transforming from an agrarian to an industrial economy.†
agrarian = relating to agriculture (farming)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
monsoon
We didn't extend our trip to visit India because it was the start of the monsoon system.
monsoon = rainy season in southern Asia when wind blows from the southwest
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
arable
China has almost 20% of the world's population, but has only 7% of its arable land.
arable = capable of being farmed productively
DefinitionGenerally arable means:
of land:  capable of being farmed productively
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
acidify
She wants to acidify the soil to grow blueberries.†
acidify = turn into an acid
DefinitionGenerally acidify means:
to turn something into an acid
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
loam
In those days the loam in that area was four feet thick.
loam = rich soil
DefinitionGenerally loam means:
a rich soil consisting of a mixture of sand and clay and decaying organic materials
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
grassroots
a grassroots movement for nuclear disarmament†
grassroots = of or involving the common people as contrasted to elite leaders
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
pressure group
It's a classic example of a small, but effective pressure group due to concentrated interests.†
pressure group = a group of people who try actively to influence legislation
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
interspecific
interspecific competition for light†
interspecific = arising or occurring between species
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
intraspecific
intraspecific competition for prey†
intraspecific = arising or occurring within a species
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
injurious
The belief is not only foolish, but potentially injurious.†
injurious = harmful — especially to human health
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
arboreal
arboreal apes†
arboreal = relating to trees — often of a species that lives in trees
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ozone layer
seasonal thinning of the ozone layer
ozone layer = a layer in the stratosphere (roughly  20 miles up) containing enough ozone to block most ultraviolet radiation from the sun
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
extirpate
The medication assists where surgery cannot completely extirpate a tumor.
extirpate = to completely remove, eliminate, or destroy
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
half-life
Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days.†
half-life = the time required for something to fall to half its initial value — especially radioactivity or (within the body) medication
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
biome
The Eden project houses artificial biomes.†
biomes = a basic type of ecological community such as tropical rain forest or desert
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Green Revolution
The Green Revolution largely consisted of the spread of existing technologies from industrialized nations.†
Green Revolution = the introduction of pesticides and high-yield grains and better management during the 1960s and 1970s which greatly increased agricultural productivity
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Greenpeace
He said he left Greenpeace in protest of its support for a universal ban on chlorine in drinking water.†
Greenpeace = an international organization that works for environmental conservation and the preservation of endangered species
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
John Muir
As a young man, John Muir walked  a thousand miles from Indiana to Florida.†
John Muir = U.S. naturalist instrumental in forming Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Club (1838-1914)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
windward
The windward side of the island gets more rain.
windward = the direction from which the wind is coming
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ecotone
Frequently, there more species in the ecotone between a mature forest and the adjoining grassland than between two types of forest.†
ecotone = a transition zone between two types of ecological communities such as where a field meets a forest
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
taiga
The Canadian taiga is being attacked from all sides.†
taiga = a cool forest of cone-bearing evergreen trees; also called a boreal forest
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
chaparral
prescribed burns of chaparral
chaparral = dense vegetation typically consisting of bushes found in dry climates
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
desalination
When water is already recycled and leaking infrastructure has been fixed, desalination may be a cost-effective for affluent communities near the coast.†
desalination = the removal of salt from sea water
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
phylum
Angiosperms (flowering plants) are the largest phylum in the Plant Kingdom.†
phylum = a major category into which scientists group types of animals and plants (more precisely:  the taxonomic category below kingdom and above class)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
tragedy of the commons
Government needs to address this situation since it is clearly a tragedy of the commons in the making.†
tragedy of the commons = a metaphor used to illustrate the conflict between individual interests and the common good;

Specifically, a hypothetical example of a pasture shared by local herders. Since nobody has an owner's incentive to manage the pasture, it is overgrazed and thus ruined.
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
friable
The remodeling was expensive because the floor tile was friable and contained asbestos.†
friable = easily broken into small fragments or reduced to powder
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
continental shelf
Countries have exclusive right to mine minerals in the subsoil of their continental shelf.†
continental shelf = gently sloping underwater plain from the continent's shore to about 200 meters
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
continental slope
Sediment from the continent settles at the base of the continental slope.†
continental slope = steep descent (2-5 degrees) of the seabed from the continental shelf to the deep ocean
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
trade winds
The trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere.†
trade winds = any surface winds that blow along a regular course with relatively regularly — especially strong easterly winds that blow through the tropics and subtropics
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
El Niño
West coast surfers love El Nino for warm water and big waves.†
El Nino = warmer than usual ocean currents associated with drier winters in the Pacific Northwest and wetter winters in the Southwest United States
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
La Niña
La Niña is often preceded by a strong El Niño.†
La Niña = cooler than usual ocean currents associated with wetter winters in the Pacific Northwest and drier winters in the Southwest United States
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
deciduous
the eastern deciduous forests
deciduous = tending to fall off — typically of plants that shed leaves at the end of the growing season

or much more rarely:  of  teeth, antlers, and scales shed at the end of a period of growth
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
red tide
The 2005 red tide closed shellfish beds in Maine and Massachusetts.†
red tide = a noticeable red (or brown) discoloration of sea water caused by an excessive growth of microscopic algae
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
coniferous
Coniferous forests have less biodiversity than deciduous forests.†
coniferous = relating to plants bearing cones and evergreen leaves
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
continental divide
The Continental Divide Trail runs 3,100 miles between Mexico and Canada.†
continental divide = a line of elevated terrain from which a continent's rivers flow in two different directions
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
sedimentary
This sedimentary rock was formed from a few millimeters of sediment that accumulated on the ocean floor each year.†
sedimentary = rock which has been created from layers of sediment laying on top of one another; one of three basic categories into which rocks can be classified
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
anthropology
She majored in anthropology and just finished a report for the State Department that describes tribal customs in eastern Africa.
anthropology = the social science that studies the origins and social relationships of human beings
Word Statistics
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
secrete
The pancreas secretes insulin.†
secretes = produce and discharge small amounts of a substance — especially from biological glands
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
capital
She worked hard to raise capital to start their new company.
capital = cash (or more generally, material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of capital means:
material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets
Word Statistics
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®top 500
Web Links
Amazon River
Most people associate the Amazon River with Brazil.†
Amazon River = South American river which is largest in world by volume of water and world's 2nd longest river (4000 miles)
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
domestic
as in:
a domestic animal like a dog
We work to reduce abuse of domestic animals.
domestic animals = referring to animals kept as pets or for ranching
Word Statistics
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
domesticated
Dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago.
domesticated = made fit for service to humans or home life — by breeding or taming
DefinitionGenerally domesticated means:
to make fit for service to humans or home life — by breeding or taming
Word Statistics
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™ and does not endorse this site.