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English Vocabulary

One word substitutes

Sometimes it is possible to express the idea of a phrase or even a clause with just one word. One-word substitutes make your writing concise and hence they are the best friends of a writer. Here is a list of common one word substitutes in English.


Abdicate – to give up a throne voluntarily

Aborigines original inhabitants of a place

Alimony financial support to ex-wife

Ambidextrous a person who is able to use both hands with equal skill

Adolescence – the period between childhood and adulthood

Aggressor – a person who attacks first

Amateur – one who pursues some art or sport as hobby

Amphibian – a land animal that breeds in water

Ambiguity – an expression or statement that has more than one meaning

Aristocracy – people of noble families or the highest social class. Also, government of a country by a small group of people, especially hereditary nobility

Atheist – a person who does not believe in God or deities

Autobiography – an account of a person's life written by that person himself

Anarchist – a person who rejects the need for a system of government in society and proposes its abolition

Arbitrator – somebody designated to hear both sides of a dispute and make a judgment

Autocracy – rule by one person who holds unlimited power


Bibliophile – a great lover of books

Botany – the branch of biology dealing with plant life

Bilingual – a person who speaks two languages

Belligerents – nations engaged in war

Biography – an account of somebody's life written by another person


Cannibal – somebody who eats human flesh

Convalescence – the gradual return to good health after a period or illness or medical treatment

Circumlocution – the indirect way of saying something

Catalogue – a list of books

Centenary – celebration of a hundredth year, once –a-century

Colleague – a co-worker or a fellow-worker in the same institution

Contemporaries – persons living in the same age

Credulous – a person who readily believes whatever is told to him/her

Callous – a man devoid of kind feeling and sympathy

Cosmopolitan – a man with a broad and international outlook

Celibacy – abstinence from sex


Demogogue - one who foments political discontent

Dermatologist - the specialist who treats skin diseases

Deteriorate – to go from bad to worse

Democracy – government of the people, for the people, by the people

Draw – a game in which neither party wins


Egotist – (also egoist) a person who always thinks of himself; somebody who is selfish or self-centered

Extempore – a speech or a presentation made without previous preparation

Etiquette – established rules of conduct; rules of acceptable behavior

Epicure – somebody who has refined taste for food; somebody who loves sensual pleasure and luxury

Exonerate – free somebody from blame or guilt; free somebody from an obligation

Eradicate – destroy or get rid of something completely; root out an evil or bad practice

Epitaph – inscription on a tombstone

Edible – fit for eating

Endemic – a disease that occurs within a specified area, region or locale

Epidemic – an outbreak of a disease that spreads among a group of people quickly and extensively

Epidermis - outer layer of skin


Fanatic – somebody who has extreme and sometimes irrational enthusiasms or beliefs, especially in religion or politics

Fastidious – a person difficult to please; a person who is concerned that even the smallest details should be just right

Fatalist – a person who believes that all events are pre-determined; one who believes in the philosophical doctrine of fatalism

Feminist – a believer in women's rights

Fratricide – the crime in which somebody kills his or her own brother


Geriatrics – specialty dealing with the medical problems of the elderly

Graphologist – a person who analyzes handwriting

Gynaecologist - the specialist who treats the female reproductive and sexual organs


Honorary – a post which doesn’t carry any salary

Hostility – intense aggression or anger; state of antagonism

Herbivorous – an animal that eats only grass or other plants

Honorary – holding an office awarded as an honour and receiving no payment for services provided in that office


Idolatry – the worship of idols or false gods

Illegal – that which is against law

Illicit – that which is considered wrong or unacceptable by prevailing social standards

Illiterate – a person who cannot read or write

Impracticable – that which cannot be practiced

Impervious – a person who remains unmoved and unaffected by other people's opinions, arguments or suggestions

Incorrigible – impossible to change

Invisible – that which cannot be seen

Inaudible – that which cannot be heard

Incredible – that which cannot be believed

Invincible – that which cannot be conquered

Indispensable – something that is essential and cannot be dispensed with

Inevitable – that which cannot be avoided

Insoluble – incapable of being dissolved in a liquid

Inflammable – something that quickly catches fire

Infallible – incapable of making a mistake

Infanticide – the killing of an infant

Irritable – a man who is easily irritated

Irrelevant – not applicable

Irrevocable – that which cannot be changed


Kidnap - To take somebody away by force and hold him or her prisoner, usually for ransom


Matricide – killing of one’s own mother; killer of one’s own mother

Monarchy – a political system in which a state is ruled by one person

Medieval – belonging to the Middle Ages

Matinee – a cinema show which is held in the afternoon

Manuscript – handwritten book

Mercenary – somebody who works or serves only for personal profit. Also, a professional soldier paid to fight for an army other than that of his or her country

Misogynist – a person who hates women

Misogamist – a person who does not believe in the institution of marriage


Notorious – a person with an evil reputation

Namesake – somebody or something with the same name as somebody or something else

Novice – one who is new to a trade or profession


Obstetrician - the specialist who delivers babies

Ophthalmologist - an eye specialist

Omnipotent – all-powerful; possessing complete power and authority

Omnipresent – one who is present everywhere

Optimist – one who looks at the bright side of things; somebody positive

Omniscient – a person who knows everything

Omnivorous – an animal or a human being that eats any kind of food


Pediatrician - the specialist who treats childhood illnesses

Panacea – a supposed cure for all diseases or problems

Parasite – a person supported by another and giving him/her nothing in return

Patricide – the act of murdering one's own father

Pedagogy - principles of teaching

Potable – fit for drinking

Prosecute – take legal action against somebody

Pugnacity – inclined to fight or be aggressive

Polygamy – the custom of having more than one spouse at the same time

Polyandry – the custom of having more than one husband at the same time

Philanthropist – a person who helps others, especially those who are poor and in trouble

Plutocracy – the rule of a society by its wealthiest people

Postmortem – medical examination of a dead body

Patricide – killing of one’s own father; killer of one’s own father

Pessimist – very negative person; somebody who always expects the worst to happen

Postscript – a short message added on to the end of a letter after the signature


Synonyms – words which have the same meaning

Smuggler – a person who imports or exports goods into or from a country secretly because they are illegal or in order to avoid paying duty on them

Somnambulism – sleepwalking

Soporific – a drug or other substance that induces sleep

Stoic – a person who is unaffected by emotions


Theist – a person who believes in the existence of God

Triennial – taking place once every three years

Transparent – a substance that allows light to pass through with little or no interruption so that objects on the other side can be clearly seen


Usurer – somebody who loans money to other people and charges them exorbitant or unlawful interest on it

Usurper – a person who seize something without the right to do so


Verbatim – corresponding word for word translation

Valetudinarian – somebody who is excessively concerned with his or her own health

Vegetarian – Somebody who doesn’t eat meat or fish

Venial – A pardonable offense

Veteran – Somebody who is considerably experienced in something


Widower – a man whose wife has died

Widow – a woman whose husband has died


Zoology – The branch of biology dealing with the study of animals

See Also

Personality types
Sciences vocabulary
scientists and their field of study


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