Every weekday we feature two words: Word of the Day and Academic Vocabulary of the Day. The rationale and target audience for each is different.

Academic Vocabulary of the Day is aimed at intermediate to advanced English language learners and middle and high school native speakers who need exposure to Tier 2 academic vocabulary words.

The words are selected from the 2000 most frequent general academic vocabulary words in American English. These 2000 words come from Mark Davies’ analysis of published academic texts in the Corpus of Contemporary American English. This academic vocabulary list is comparable to Coxhead’s Academic Word List (AWL), but is based on 120 million words of academic texts in the 425 million word corpus. Words are considered to be general academic vocabulary if they fulfill these criteria:

    • They appear at least 50% more frequently in academic texts than in non-academic texts;

    • Across disciplines, they appear more frequently than in non-academic texts. In other words, they are words important in all academic domains, rather than specialized, domain-specific technical terms.

    • Finally, they are among the 2000 most frequent of these general academic terms–the core.

Because the context in which the Academic Vocabulary Word of the Day will be most useful is academic writing, we also highlight the sense or senses of these words that are most frequently used in academic discourse. For example, the verb “conduct” has an important meaning of “leading an orchestra,” and a specialized meaning in the study of electricity, yet the in the context of general academic vocabulary, the most important meaning is “to carry out or lead,” as in “conduct a study/investigation/seminar.”

The Academic Vocabulary of the Day words belong to the Tier 2 words which have been identified as of especial importance in the Common Core State Standards.

Word of the Day

Word of the Day covers less frequent, more advanced Tier 2 words, useful for SAT study and for acquiring a wider and deeper knowledge of English words. The Word of the Day is drawn from levels 3 to 5 (grades 7-12+) of the Wordsmyth Vocabulary Index (WVI), a forthcoming resource covering vocabulary words for K-12+ in five levels. WOTD is often accompanied by images, quotations from literature, or other aids to word learning, such as Greek and Latin roots and endings.