100 Words High School Students Should Know

Suffragist, quotidian, expurgate? These are just a few of the words high school students should know. If they’re foreign to you, time to bone up!

Now you can do that thanks to a book from the editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries who compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know.

“The words we suggest,” says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, “are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language.”

The following is the entire list of 100 words in infographic format courtesy of WriteAtHome:

words every graduate knows

Thumbnail source: (Calamity Meg/Flickr)


  1. MrsH

    December 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Great list. Please fix the typo in the editor’s quote.


    December 28, 2012 at 7:21 am

    This is strange. No word on WHY students should know these words.

    There doesn’t seem to be a story here, just a statement that is put out which encourages people to believe it for no good reason.

    Let’s please see some evidence behind what is shown here. Why these particular words and not others? Who chose these words? Is this just a bit of free publicity for the dictionary?

  3. Hilal Al Hnanaei

    December 31, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I agree. It’s very strange to be the 100 words to be know. I am teaching English and find those word very difficult to learn. I think the writer means those words for students who are studying science not literature or art.

  4. Andy Holyer

    December 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    It would be churlish to point out that “laissez faire” is two words – so it’s actually 101 words.