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5th Grade Vocabulary Words: Essential Terms for Academic Success

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Welcome to our article about 5th grade vocabulary words. As students advance to the fifth grade, they are expected to have a solid foundation in vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills. This is a critical year for students as they prepare for middle school and beyond. In this article, we will cover some of the most important vocabulary words that fifth graders should know to help them succeed in their academic and personal lives.

5th Grade Vocabulary Words

5th Grade Vocabulary Words: Essential Terms for Academic Success

Understanding 5th Grade Vocabulary Words

As a 5th grader, you are expected to have a strong vocabulary. Vocabulary is the body of words used in a particular language, and it is important to understand its meaning and usage to become a better communicator. Here are a few tips to help you understand vocabulary better:

Read, Read, Read

Reading is one of the best ways to improve your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you will come across, and the more you will understand their meaning. Make sure to read a variety of materials, such as books, newspapers, and magazines, to expose yourself to different types of vocabulary.

Use Context Clues

Context clues are words or phrases that surround an unfamiliar word and help you understand its meaning. Pay attention to the words and phrases that come before and after an unfamiliar word to help you figure out its meaning. For example, if you come across the word “parched” in a sentence like “After walking in the desert for hours, you were parched,” you can understand that “parched” means very thirsty.

Use a Dictionary

A dictionary is a great tool to help you understand the meaning of unfamiliar words. Look up words you don’t know and try to use them in sentences to help you remember their meaning. You can also use a thesaurus to find synonyms (words with similar meanings) and antonyms (words with opposite meanings).

Practice, Practice, Practice

The more you practice using new vocabulary words, the more confident you will become in your communication skills. Try to use new words in your writing and speaking, and ask your teacher or a parent to give you feedback on how you are using them.

Importance of 5th Grade Vocabulary

Improved Reading Comprehension

When students know the meaning of more words, they can better understand what they are reading. This is because vocabulary knowledge is closely linked to reading comprehension. The more words a student knows, the easier it is for them to comprehend what they are reading.

Better Writing Skills

Having a diverse vocabulary allows students to express themselves more clearly and effectively in writing. They can use a variety of words to convey their ideas and thoughts, making their writing more interesting and engaging.

Higher Test Scores

Many standardized tests, including the SAT and ACT, contain vocabulary questions. By having a solid understanding of 5th grade vocabulary words, students are better equipped to answer these questions and achieve higher scores on these tests.

Improved Communication Skills

Having a strong vocabulary also helps students communicate more effectively in their daily lives. They can express themselves more clearly and accurately, which can help them build stronger relationships and succeed in their future careers.

Common 5th Grade Vocabulary Words

As a 5th grader, you will encounter a variety of vocabulary words in your daily studies. Here are some common vocabulary words that you should know to help you succeed in your English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies classes.

English Language Arts

In English Language Arts, you will encounter many new words that will help you understand what you are reading and improve your writing skills. Here are some common 5th grade vocabulary words in English Language Arts:

Word Definition
Analyze To examine something in detail
Character A person or animal in a story
Conflict A struggle between two opposing forces
Dialogue Conversation between characters
Plot The sequence of events in a story
Theme The main idea or message of a story


In Mathematics, you will learn about numbers, shapes, and how to solve problems. Here are some common 5th grade vocabulary words in Mathematics:

Word Definition
Decimal A number that includes a decimal point
Equation A mathematical statement that shows the equality of two expressions
Perimeter The distance around the outside of a shape
Polygon A closed shape with three or more straight sides
Ratio A comparison of two quantities


In Science, you will learn about the natural world and how it works. Here are some common 5th grade vocabulary words in Science:

Word Definition
Ecosystem A community of living and non-living things interacting with each other
Force A push or pull on an object
Gravity The force that pulls objects towards each other
Photosynthesis The process by which plants make food using sunlight
Species A group of organisms that share similar characteristics

Social Studies

In Social Studies, you will learn about history, geography, and culture. Here are some common 5th grade vocabulary words in Social Studies:

Word Definition
Citizenship The status of being a member of a particular country and having rights and responsibilities
Democracy A form of government in which the people have a say in how they are governed
Economy The system of producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services
Geography The study of the earth’s physical features and how they affect human activity
Revolution A sudden and dramatic change in government or social order

List of 5th Grade Vocabulary Words


  • to officially end or eliminate something; e.g. The government abolished the law that had been in place for decades.


  • to successfully complete or achieve something; e.g. She accomplished her goal of finishing the marathon.


  • correct or precise; e.g. The weather forecast was accurate.


  • to make a public statement or declaration; e.g. The company announced its plans to expand into new markets.


  • feeling worried or uneasy; e.g. She was anxious about the upcoming exam.


  • to come near or closer to something or someone; e.g. The plane approached the runway for landing.


  • the act of agreeing to or accepting something; e.g. The committee gave its approval to the proposed project.


  • close to the actual or accurate amount, number, or time; e.g. The approximate cost of the car was $20,000.


  • a disagreement or debate between two or more people; e.g. The couple had an argument about where to go for dinner.


  • to stay away from or prevent something from happening; e.g. She tried to avoid the traffic by leaving early.


  • quickly and energetically; e.g. The runner jogged briskly through the park.


  • to stop or come to an end; e.g. The music finally ceased after hours of playing.


  • to state that something is true, often without proof; e.g. He claimed to have found a cure for cancer.


  • to bring to an end or finish; e.g. The meeting concluded with a vote on the proposal.


  • a disagreement or clash between two or more people or groups; e.g. The conflict between the two countries led to war.


  • always the same or behaving in the same way; e.g. The athlete’s performance was consistent throughout the season.


  • the circumstances or conditions that surround a situation; e.g. The context of the conversation gave meaning to the words spoken.


  • to persuade someone to do or believe something; e.g. He was able to convince her to change her mind.


  • the customs, beliefs, and way of life of a particular group of people; e.g. The culture of the country was rich and diverse.


  • a period of ten years; e.g. The 1990s was a decade of significant change in technology.


  • not happy or content with something; e.g. The customer was dissatisfied with the service she received at the restaurant.


  • to have control or power over something or someone; e.g. The team dominated the game from start to finish.


  • feeling sleepy or tired; e.g. He felt drowsy after taking medication.


  • able to be eaten; e.g. The fruit on the tree was edible and tasted delicious.


  • difficult or impossible to read; e.g. The handwriting on the note was illegible.


  • to increase or intensify; e.g. The conflict between the two countries escalated into a full-blown war.


  • to set up or create something; e.g. The company established a new branch in the city.


  • to assess or judge the quality or value of something; e.g. The teacher evaluated the students’ essays.


  • information or facts that prove or support something; e.g. The detective found new evidence in the case.


  • to use up completely; e.g. He was exhausted after working a long shift.


  • the act of increasing in size or scope; e.g. The company announced its plans for expansion into new markets.


  • a belief or hope that something will happen or be the case; e.g. The employee had high expectations for a promotion.


  • to convey or communicate a thought or feeling; e.g. She expressed her gratitude for the gift.


  • to make something longer or larger; e.g. The company decided to extend the deadline for the project.


  • well-known or easily recognized; e.g. The street was familiar to her because she had lived there before.


  • happening often or at regular intervals; e.g. The restaurant was a frequent destination for locals.


  • extremely large or huge; e.g. The elephant was gigantic compared to the other animals in the zoo.


  • the main point or essence of something; e.g. He gave her the gist of the story without going into detail.


  • a strong, bright light that is difficult to look at; e.g. The sun’s glare made it hard to see the road


  • severe or cruel; e.g. The punishment was too harsh for the crime committed.


  • brave or courageous; e.g. The firefighter’s actions were heroic in saving the family from the burning building.


  • to pause or delay before doing something; e.g. She hesitated before jumping into the water.


  • extremely funny or amusing; e.g. The comedian’s jokes were hilarious and had the audience in stitches.


  • of great importance or significance in history; e.g. The signing of the Declaration of Independence was a historic event.


  • parallel to the ground or level with the horizon; e.g. The table was horizontal and level.


  • unfriendly or aggressive; e.g. The two countries had a hostile relationship and were often at odds with each other.


  • to gather closely together for warmth or to discuss something; e.g. The football team huddled together to plan their next play.


  • to recognize or establish the identity of something or someone; e.g. The detective was able to identify the suspect from the security footage.


  • equal in value, amount, or meaning; e.g. The two currencies were equivalent in value.


  • the power or ability to affect someone or something; e.g. Her words had a great influence on his decision.


  • to examine or study something closely in order to learn more about it; e.g. The police were called in to investigate the crime scene.


  • to find one’s way through or around a place or obstacle; e.g. The captain was able to navigate the ship through the storm.


  • in conflict or disagreement with something or someone; e.g. The two politicians were opposed on many issues.


  • common or usual; e.g. The day was ordinary and uneventful.


  • a way through or into something; e.g. The narrow passage led to a hidden garden.


  • to convince someone to do or believe something; e.g. She was able to persuade him to change his mind.


  • most important or main; e.g. The primary goal of the project was to increase sales.


  • in the near past; e.g. She had recently moved to the city and was still exploring.


  • a source of information or citation used to support a claim or statement; e.g. The author included a reference to a study in the article.


  • to examine or evaluate something critically; e.g. The teacher reviewed the students’ homework assignments.


  • a rebellion or uprising against authority; e.g. The people staged a revolt against the oppressive government.


  • in short supply or rare; e.g. Water became scarce during the drought.


  • important or meaningful; e.g. The discovery was significant in advancing the field of medicine.


  • the origin or beginning of something; e.g. The river was the source of life for the nearby town.


  • to give a brief overview or summary of something; e.g. She summarized the main points of the article.


  • better or higher in quality or rank; e.g. The athlete was superior to his opponents in every way.


  • a feeling of stress or strain; e.g. The tension in the room was palpable before the exam.


  • to allow or endure something; e.g. She couldn’t tolerate the noise coming from the construction site.


  • to shake or quiver involuntarily; e.g. He was so cold that he began to tremble.


  • not expected or anticipated; e.g. The sudden storm was unexpected and caught everyone off guard.


  • not known or recognized; e.g. The town was unfamiliar to her because she had never been there before.


  • perpendicular to the ground or upright; e.g. The flagpole was vertical and straight.


  • requiring little or no effort; e.g. The task was effortless for him because he had done it many times before.


  • to move permanently to a new country or region; e.g. The family decided to immigrate to Canada for a better life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common 5th grade vocabulary words according to the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards provide a list of academic vocabulary words that are commonly used in 5th grade. Some of these words include analyze, compare, contrast, describe, explain, infer, summarize, and evaluate. These words are used in various subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science.

What are some printable lists of 5th grade vocabulary words and definitions?

There are many websites that offer printable lists of 5th grade vocabulary words and definitions. Some popular options include, K5 Learning, and Flocabulary. These lists can be used for studying and practicing vocabulary words at home or in the classroom.

What are some 4th and 5th grade vocabulary words that students should know?

In addition to the Common Core vocabulary words, students in 4th and 5th grade should also know words related to their grade level curriculum. For example, in science, students should know words such as ecosystem, photosynthesis, and energy. In social studies, students should know words such as democracy, constitution, and geography. In math, students should know words such as multiplication, division, and fraction.

What are some difficult words that 5th graders should learn?

Difficult words for 5th graders can vary depending on the student’s reading level and background knowledge. Some challenging words that 5th graders may encounter include ambiguous, formidable, meticulous, ubiquitous, and vehement. These words may require additional practice and explanation to fully understand their meaning and usage.

What are some Tier 1 vocabulary words for 5th grade students?

Tier 1 vocabulary words are basic words that are commonly used in everyday language. Some Tier 1 words for 5th grade students include happy, sad, big, small, fast, slow, and good. These words are important for building a strong foundation of vocabulary and are often used in reading and writing.

How many words should a typical 5th grader know?

The number of words a 5th grader should know can vary depending on their reading level and background knowledge. However, research suggests that a typical 5th grader should know around 10,000-12,000 words. Vocabulary development is an ongoing process and students should continue to learn and practice new words throughout their academic career.

Some challenging vocabulary words for 5th graders include:


  • Perplexing
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  • Conundrum
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  • Pensive
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  • Quizzical
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  • Elusive
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  • Ambiguous
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  • Enigmatic
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  • Inscrutable
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  • Nebulous
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  • Cryptic
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"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What are some printable worksheets for 5th grade vocabulary words and definitions?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"

Some printable worksheets for 5th grade vocabulary words and definitions include:


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  • Vocabulary worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheets
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"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What are some spelling words for 4th and 5th graders?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"

Some spelling words for 4th and 5th graders include:


  • Accommodate
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  • Conscience
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  • Embarrass
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  • Harass
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  • Occasion
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  • Possess
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  • Recommend
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  • Separate
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  • Succeed
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  • Vacuum
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"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What is a good website for learning English vocabulary?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"

Some good websites for learning English vocabulary include:


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  • Khan Academy
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  • Quizlet
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  • Memrise
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  • Duolingo
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"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"How can I assist my 5th grader in improving their vocabulary?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"

You can assist your 5th grader in improving their vocabulary by:


  • Encouraging them to read books and articles
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  • Helping them to learn new words by discussing their meanings and using them in sentences
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  • Playing word games with them, such as Scrabble or Boggle
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  • Providing them with vocabulary worksheets and quizzes
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  • Using flashcards to help them memorize new words
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"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"What are some essential vocabulary words for kids?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"

Some essential vocabulary words for kids include:


  • Analyze
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  • Comprehend
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  • Evaluate
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  • Infer
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  • Interpret
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  • Predict
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  • Summarize
  • \n

  • Synthesize
  • \n

  • Compare
  • \n

  • Contrast
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Using these words in everyday conversations and activities can help kids to develop a strong vocabulary and improve their language skills.